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Barich responds to NAACP racist nonsense.

4-8-09: Joan Simon, Cotati resident and longtime council critic and Barich "basher" tells city leaders, "Barich is not a racist..."

Letter submitted to The Press Democrat on Monday, April 6 2009 in response to the NAACP that they failed to publish.

Dear Paul Payne, (Press Democrat)

Despite the recent statement by the Sonoma NAACP chapter, I have never had anything in my heart but complete respect for people of all colors. The photo of me in "brown face, black face, tan face" or whatever you wish to describe it as, is no different than the numerous contemporary actors who put on "black face", and "white face", which can be found through links on my web blog. I am not aware of the NAACP making any statements against any such contemporary actors, and I am left wondering why they are singling me out for denunciation. I never intended to offend anyone with the photo at issue, especially our President Obama, who has nothing to do with our city policy to deny elected officials the right to use the city logo in any and all written communications. I consider myself a man of "color", and proud of it.

In addition, I paid for my own airfare to Houston Texas in 2005 to assist in the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts after witnessing on television the sight of people of all colors screaming for help from their rooftops as the flood waters engulfed their homes and neighborhoods. I was mortified as the news reporters begged citizens in America to come help immediately because of the lack of government response. My efforts as a disaster relief volunteer at The George Brown Convention Center in Houston Texas have been acknowledged by The American Red Cross as being responsible for helping save hundreds of lives. Subsequently, the City of Cotati refused to acknowledge my efforts, and refused to answer my request to help with the relief efforts on the Gulf Coast in any way, shape, or form which threatened even more lives and property in the coming weeks as Hurricane Rita was about to hit. My formal request to the City of Cotati to do something to help in this regard is on the record. The city's failure to lift a finger for the victims of these two massive hurricanes was an affront to all people of every color, everywhere. For that, I am deeply disappointed and ashamed of our city's callous disregard for human life during our country's time of need.

When people of all color needed us most, I walked the walk. I left my home, my business, my family, to help hurricane victims directly, while our city leaders sat back and watched the disaster unfold on TV in the comfort of their living rooms. How anyone can claim, or even imply, that I am a racist is outrageous. I am owed an apology by the NAACP for implying that I am a racist, and should be acknowledged and thanked for my efforts during the Hurricane disasters of 2005 and striving to make Cotati, "colorblind" once and for all.

George Barich
Cotati City Council Member