|Barich faces FPPC complaint
Longtime foe Moore accuses Cotati Council candidate with numerous election infractions
Once again, Cotati’s City Council election is clouded over by a Fair Political Practices Commission complaint against candidate George Barich.
A similar one to the FPPC was filed against Barich in the 2010 election, and it resulted in money laundering and “improper campaign finance accounting” evidence against Barich and a few other Cotatians.
They were assessed modest fines, and the incident disappeared from local media.
The FPPC complaint was filed by John Moore, insurance executive and longtime foe of Barich (He had previously filed the 2010 FPPC complaint). Moore contends Barich’s monthly publication, the Cotati Independent, is the chief offender along with its publisher and owner.
Moore said Barich “violated FPPC rules by failure to disclose cash contributions, failure to disclose in-kind contributions, failure to include required language on election collateral, failure to file notice of intent to run (for council) prior to expenditure of funds for campaign purposes, and purposeful fraudulent attempts to circumscribe FPPC rules regarding newspaper exemption.”
A list of names of those involved (first page was missing in The Voice packet) includes Greg Karraker, Ken Coleman, Joyce Garcia, Tom Scott and Jeff Spackman, both managers at Oliver’s Market, and Patti Minnis, Cotati jewelry store owner and former city councilwoman. It can be assumed Barich’s name was on the front missing page.
Karraker, Coleman and Garcia are frequent contributors or letter writers to Barich’s newspaper. They’re billed as both “writers and opinion” spokespeople in the paper.
In expanding on his contention the Cotati Independent is not a genuine newspaper, Moore said, “It does not meet the criteria set by the FPPC…it doesn’t meet even the barest minimum requirements of journalistic standards regarding fact-checking accuracy and political impartiality, purposefully blending ‘story and opinion’ by Barich and other writers.”
In a phone call to Barich last Saturday night, he said he hasn’t seen Moore’s complaint to the FPPC yet, but scoffed at it.
“The FPPC gets hundreds of these complaints every election and most of them are routinely adjudicated and discharged,” said Barich. “It’s a political stunt. He must have composed it while sitting on a bar stool in Rohnert Park.
“Look, the FPPC has already said using a newspaper as a political tool is a legitimate function. I’m just exercising my right of free speech. Others are getting desperate about my city council campaign.
“The Cotati City Council needs diversity. Five people are running the city over a fiscal cliff.”
Barich offered space in his October issue for statements from the other candidates, but none of them replied. So he ran their photos with nothing but blank spaces underneath.
“The FPPC suit two years ago was aimed at defeating diversity on the council,” Barich added. “Now they’re doing it again.” He won a seat on the council but was recalled by voters several months later.
Barich claims Moore is “a political operative of the far left. To me, my newspaper is a labor of love, the money comes from donations and I spend three days personally delivering the copies.”
There’s no word out when the FPPC will act on Moore’s complaint. It’s extremely doubtful they’ll take any action prior to the Nov. 6 election, but will probably issue a response sometime next year.
The CV has never endorsed me, George Barich, for city council going back to 1998. I doubt John Moore of Cotati has even dared to send this alleged complaint to the FPPC (Fair Political Practices Commission) for fear he will be charged with a filing a frivolous or fraudulent complaint, which could come with a hefty state fine of its own if he is found guilty. The FPPC takes frivolous and malicious complaints seriously, and I will be asking them to investigate this to the fullest.
Again, there is no FPPC complaint to my knowledge, only an alleged complaint from a disgruntled Cotati citizen who was most likely put up to it by my opponents in this race. Did the CV newspaper confirm that the complaint was received by the FPPC? Probably not. How could Jud Snyder or the newspaper's owner Mr. Shaw be duped so badly by a man who has spent more hours sitting on local bar stools per day than he has ever spent at City Hall in his entire life? It's this type of irresponsible journalism that created the need for an alternative newspaper in Cotati (The Cotati Independent).
Had the Community Voice been doing their job all along and allowed more diversity of opinion and more fair and balanced stories, The Cotati Independent would have never been launched. Even Dave Williams, writer for The Voice, has stated publicly that The Voice considers The Cotati Independent serious competition. If that is the case, more reason to go out of ones way not to attack me with incorrect front page headlines of alleged misconduct.
Furthermore, why doesn't The Community Voice publish the lawsuits that have been filed against them over the years? And where was The Community Voice when former Cotati mayor Lisa Moore and her dysfunctional husband John stood before the Cotati City Council complaining that if the city did not do something to shut down George Barich's personal website, their son had promised to jump off the roof of the family home and do harm to himself? Why didn't city officials contact Child Protective Services for the sake of the children in the Moore house? The complete audio recording of the city council meeting where Lisa Moore spoke about her son's mental state can be reviewed on the city's website.
The Community Voice is becoming a tool of the far left radicals in Cotati, but no one I know is making a complaint to the FPPC about that. For years, The Community Voice has been doing the dirty work for Democratic candidates in Cotati, swaying popular opinion, and playing into the hands of Cotati's propaganda ministers at City Hall. I don't remember anyone filing a formal complaint for any of that. The Community Voice is as guilty as The Cotati Independent for being less than completely objective at times. Let me, George Barich, be the first to stand up publicly and admit that we cannot print what we do not receive in the way of criticism. We cannot write about what we do not hear from the community. Can The Community Voice say that?
With his decades of experience, Mr. Snyder should be aware of this distinction. This is an example of sloppy journalism at best, or a case of extreme bias, at its worst.