|Moore edges out Weaver for Cotati council seat
Cotati's City Council unanimously voted to appoint John Moore to fill the seat vacated by Pat Gilardi at its meeting on Wednesday night.
There were nine applicants for the seat, but only six showed up for the meeting, where the candidates were interviewed by the four seated council members - Mayor Mark Landman, Vice-Mayor John Dell'Osso, Susan Harvey and Wendy Skillman. Eventually, after four hours of presentations by the applicants, interviews and speeches from the audience, the council whittled the field down to two candidates, Moore and Eris Weaver.
The remainder of the field included George Barich, Isaac Freed, Linnell Hardy, Ed Hirsch, Sky Matula, Ashley Veach and Alan Wintermeyer. Hirsch, Matula and Freed did not attend the council meeting.
"We had several excellent applicants for this position and we appreciate all of those citizens who applied. We had to choose one, and John brings a legacy with his history of community involvement. With his experience as a small business owner and his negotiating skills he will contribute a unique perspective to the Council. We look forward to working with him." Landman said.
Moore, an insurance executive, was immediately sworn in as the new council member and then accompanied his colleagues into closed session, which took place at around 11:15 p.m. Before heading into the closed session, he said he had no indication he would be selected to fill Gilardi's seat. Gilardi resigned from the council in January to take a job as district director for Sonoma County Supervisor Sue Gorin.
"There were some good candidates, and I thought it was wide open," Moore said.
He said one of his immediate priorities as a councilman is to do something with Cotati's northern corridor on Old Redwood Highway.
"The Downtown Specific Plan is going to be different now, so we've got to create a project that will bring some energy to the community and that part of the city," Moore said.
The council was highly impressed with Weaver, who is new to the Cotati political scene, and suggested she remained involved with the city via either the Design Review Committee or a seat on the Planning Commission. Weaver, a 10-year Cotati resident who works as a conflict resolution facilitator, said she will remain involved with city government in some capacity. She said she was not disappointed with the council's decision.
"John's going to do a fabulous job for the city," Weaver said. "There will be plenty of other opportunities, whether it's with planning or design review."
The only sense of disappointment came from those who supported Barich, a former councilman who was recalled in 2009. Cotati City Hall was standing room only, and the majority of those in attendance were for Barich. They believed Barich should have been given the appointment because he was the only applicant who ran and garnered more than 1,200 votes. The majority of audience comments were in favor of Barich, who was fourth in a four-person race last November.
But both Landman and Harvey echoed similar sentiments as to why Barich was not selected.
"He was recalled, and since that recall, he has run two more times," Harvey said. "I'm going to guess that George will probably run again. And since he was recalled, I believe it's important that if the citizens want him in this position, it's the citizens who have to put him back in this position. They are the ones who took him out of office."
Said Landman, "The people of Cotati have said repeatedly, thoroughly, convincingly and over and over no to George Barich. I'm listening to them, we're (council) listening to them. Mr. Barich is the only one not really listening to them."
The process of paring the choices down to two people began with each council member choosing three candidates they could support for the seat. Weaver and Moore were the only two to appear on every council member's list.
Skillman's and Landman's lists also included Wintermeyer, while Harvey listed Veach and Dell'Osso also supported Hardy. Barich's name did not appear on any list.