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SMITH: The candidate who interviewed himself

Published: Saturday, October 20, 2012 at 3:58 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, October 20, 2012 at 3:58 p.m.

About now, many candidates for city councils strain to differentiate themselves from the pack, but not George Barich.

Barich is the character recalled from the Cotati City Council in 2009 and fined earlier this year by the state Fair Political Practices Commission for violating campaign contribution laws.

Determined to be heard in Cotati and unhappy with local media coverage, Barich launched the monthly Cotati Independent. He recounts in a recent issue how he loads up a 1992 Nissan Sentra with 147,389 miles on it and personally delivers 4,000 copies of his newspaper to homes and businesses.

It was front-page news in the Independent, of course, when Barich decided to seek re-election to the city council. A new complaint to the Fair Political Practices Commission by Cotati resident John Moore, who led the successful effort to remove Barich from the council, contends the candidate is distributing campaign materials masquerading as a newspaper. The FPPC can sort that out.

But one Cotati Independent story in particular illustrates Barich’s hutzpah. Under the byline “Story by Staff Reporters,” it reports that the paper invited all four of the Cotati City Council candidates on the November ballot to participate in a 30-minute interview with the Independent.

“All declined,” Barich’s newspaper reported, “except George Barich.”

The Independent publisher presumably interviewed himself and now ponders which candidate the paper will endorse.

AND IN OAKMONT a village of seniors prepares a pasta feed and send-off for the guy they trusted for decades to fix their cars and not drain their bank accounts.

The Nov. 3 event by the Valley of the Moon Rotary Club just may be history’s largest public appreciation party for an auto mechanic.

Guest of honor is Roy Blinn, who has sold his Calvary Tire & Brake on Sonoma Highway. His customers, many of them Oakmonters, adore him for his hugs and for treating them honestly.

The retirement party at the Berger Center is open to Oakmont residents and their guests. Tickets are $15 and can be bought at the offices of OAS Management or Oakmont Financial, or from Rotary’s Valerie Hulsey (

Blinn will introduce Scot and Rick Jensen, the twins who bought the garage and hope Oakmont folks will adopt them.

A SISTER’S SENSE: How courageous of Lori Burleson to stand before a large crowd the other day and talk about why her sister, Kimberly Baucom, never made it to a nephew’s ball game one Sunday last April.

Burleson told the people gathered for the one-year anniversary of Sonoma County’s Family Justice Center that her sister, Kim Baucom, “fell in love with someone who in her words turned out to be an imposter.”

Baucom, an beloved teacher at Petaluma’s Meadow Elementary, had left her controlling and jealous husband several times and then went back to him. She believed she’d at last escaped him the morning she went to see an attorney prior to a baseball game.

Burleson told the Family Justice Center crowd she herself had long sensed there was something seriously wrong about the marriage, but did not foresee her brother-in-law shooting her sister to death in the street and then killing himself.

If we perceive someone we care about is in an abusive relationship, she pleaded that we speak up and help them get out of it.

“Trust your instincts,” said the grieving sister and aunt to four orphaned children. “They’re there for a reason.”

BIRTHDAY PAJAMAS: Santa Rosa twins Austin and Travis Richter had a party for their 7th birthday and told friends all they’d like to have is PJs.

And despite receiving a pile of pajamas at their party, Austin and Travis asked even more friends and relatives for birthday PJs.

Soon they’ll donate 50 pairs to the Sleep Train program that collects them for kids in foster care.

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