|Candidates line up for council seats
Harvey, Dell’Osso, Barich and Spillman to vie for Cotati seats
Four people will be vying for three seats on the Cotati City Council in the upcoming November election.
Three of the names should be familiar to those who closely follow Cotati politics – Mayor Susan Harvey, Councilman John Dell’Osso and former councilman George Barich, who was voted out of his seat during a recall election in 2009. The fourth name is Wendy Skillman, an attorney who currently sits on the city’s planning commission as an appointment by Harvey.
Dell’Osso is finishing out the term of Robert Coleman-Senghor, who died April 9, 2011. Janet Orchard has decided not to run for re-election, opting to pursue other challenges.
Of the four announced candidates, only Harvey has filed the necessary paperwork. The others have said they will file papers within the next week or so.
This will be Skillman’s first run for elected office.
“It’s like doing anything for the first time…it feels a little intimidating before you get your sea legs, and you always want to make sure you have people around you who know what they’re doing,” she said. “As far as timing, it’s a good opportunity. I enjoy doing community work, and I want to see what more I can do.”
Skillman said her goals are wanting to maintain the charm of Cotati and plan long-term so that project for the city will be long lasting.
One of the most controversial issues in Cotati has centered around roundabouts on Old Redwood Highway.
“As attorney, I’m able to see both sides of things,” Skillman said. “You can’t make everyone happy all the time. But you have to develop good working relationships with each other to reach long-term goals of the city. After the votes in November, we’ll see what happens.”
Depending on whom you speak or listen to, the roundabout issue is either wildly popular or a scourge on the Cotati landscape.
Opponents are likely to use this issue as the driving force to change the makeup of the council, which could make Harvey vulnerable. But Harvey is sticking to her guns and fears no backlash for her support for roundabouts.
“I would not use the word fear,” Harvey said. “I have talked to many people on this issue, and everyone has an opinion on this subject. Each person is entitled to their own view, and I respect differing views. My job is to make decisions for the community based upon analyzing information and taking input from the public. I feel I have done my job when it comes to this decision, but I understand that some citizens may not agree.”
Dell’Osso believes the city is ready to move in a positive direction following such a bruising battle over roundabouts, which effectively were taken out of the game because of Gov. Jerry Brown’s abolishing redevelopment agencies in the state. Redevelopment monies were to fund the project.
“I feel that the citizens of Cotati are going to vote for a council that is honest and willing to listen to their concerns,” Dell’Osso said. “I think we are all tired of negative rhetoric which seems to have no end. Let's move the city in a positive direction forward.”
Barich, who shows up for just about every city council planning commission or design review committee meeting in Cotati, feels his support is growing.
“Citizens see the recall for what it was, a complete hoax on the community, a witch hunt and complete waste of money and effort to only remove diversity and healthy debate from the dais,” Barich said in an e-mail to The Community Voice. “I am clearly the most qualified for the job. I have been asked to run for office by many people in town as an alternative to the tax and spend insanity at Cotati City Hall, the blatant mismanagement, the lack of leadership, the lack of transparency, their inability to play nice and tolerate other points of view, the lost priorities, the crumbling infrastructure, the dishonest city budget, the dependence on state and federal handouts, the ridiculous city salaries and benefits, the city's commitment to Agenda 21, to attempt to regain Cotati's reputation in the county, and so much more.”