Letters to the Editor
Tell the truth, George
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The Community Voice
In this last month there have been numerous quotes and comments from George Barich in what would appear to be an ongoing competition with former Mayor Robert Coleman-Senghor, perhaps based on resentment or possibly personal jealousy, comments that are unfortunately levied against someone who is no longer here to defend himself.
I’m reminded of what Mayor Coleman-Senghor often said to Mr. Barich at council meetings, “Tell the truth, George,” because once again Mr. Barich’s “facts” don’t seem to match up with reality.

Barich claims that Bob Coleman “passed out on the floor” in Sacramento, that I never insisted Bob get a physical check up and that he never got properly examined or received medical treatment. Stunningly, Barich goes further to publicly state that I “…was probably pretty happy about that and got him out of the way.” Regarding the memorial erected in Rose Park to Mayor Coleman, Barich claims that this “was never publicly vetted,” that there was “no council discussion” for this, “no public discussion,” that this was done “at city expense” and that there was no precedence for this action.

None of these things are true.

Mayor Coleman-Senghor did not “pass out on the floor,” but instead had a bout of dizziness. He was fully examined by the paramedic ambulance crew that I insisted we call. I rode with him in the ambulance to the emergency room, where he received a full workup from the staff. Bob was admitted to the hospital for overnight observation by the medical team and released the next day; the dizziness was related to a simple mix-up with a new medication. I won’t dignify the comment that I “got him out of the way…” other than to say in addition to being a good colleague, Bob was a close friend whom I cared for very much, and I miss his wisdom and benevolence to this day.

The memorial for Mayor Coleman-Senghor was both publicly vetted and discussed openly by the City Council at the annual strategic planning meeting on March 21, 2012. This meeting was of course open to the public. The cost of his memorial was not borne by the city, but by donations from community members and businesses. The precedence for this memorial was exactly the same as the memorial across the street for accordionist Jim Boggio, a publicly instituted honor in response to the unexpected loss of someone who was well loved and who had made a difference in their community.

Beyond the troubling pronouncements above, the vague and continued allegations of Anti-Americanism made against Mayor Senghor-Coleman leave me shaking my head. Those who knew Robert Coleman-Senghor knew that one of his proudest and most cherished achievements was his service in the United States Marine Corps. They also knew that Bob was a driving force behind the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Grove at SSU. These are not the actions of a man who didn’t respect the military or love his country. Whether Bob chose to participate in any pledge was his own business, a right every American has. And, unlike some of his detractors, Bob actually served his country to help preserve that right.

If there are any “ridiculous attempts to change history” going on, one could have the opinion that they seem to be largely coming from Mr. Barich. If he is truly concerned about “malicious charges damaging his good reputation,” I would make the same friendly suggestion Mayor Coleman-Senghor made, which would be to “Tell the truth, George.”

Mark Landman

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