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Barich, ex-funk band member, promotes 'funky city' on his own blog, with controversial picture

George Barich is one funky white boy.

In the 1970s, he strapped on platform shoes and played bass in a funk band. He settled in Cotati, a former hippie town with a proud tradition of funkiness.

So it made sense to the rookie city councilman to come up with a new city motto -- "the funky city" -- and to post it on his personal blog, which features a modified city logo.

Trouble is, Barich, who also uses the blog to criticize the Obama administration, accompanied the suggestion with a picture of himself in blackface.

The site also features a comedy music video of black rappers at the controls of a purple jetliner under the title, "Air Force One takes flight with soul."

Barich said it's an attempt at humor, but some residents see the blog as racist and want Barich silenced. Others said he's heaped embarrassment on the town.

"This man does not speak for our city," said Cynthia Nixon, who owns Friar Tuck's Pub. "For him to use our city logo, disgrace it with blackface and then make a mockery of the new president is outrageous."

Barich, 51, said the images are not a slur but he will take them down if someone can convince him they are offensive. The photo is of him in a Halloween costume, he said.

"It's a fun Web site," said Barich, an electrical contractor. "I don't know who would be offended by me in this costume or a duck suit. I don't have a white sheet over my head, for Christ's sake."

The controversy is the latest surrounding Barich, an outspoken City Hall gadfly who campaigned last fall as a moderate independent.


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