Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting puts other Bay Area food, music events on high alert

By Gwendolyn Wu July 30, 2019 Updated: July 30, 2019 8:09 p.m.

garlic shooting PD.jpg

As a gunman opened fire on a cheerful Sunday afternoon crowd at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, organizers of the Watsonville Strawberry Festival watched social media feeds in horror. Then they rushed to re-evaluate their own security plans for this weekend’s fruit-filled event, which is expected to draw more than 40,000 people to the city almost 20 miles from the site of the country’s latest mass shooting.

Extra police and first responders will be on site and on high alert Saturday as they patrol the two-day festival, Watsonville City Manager Matt Huffaker said.

Organizers of the strawberry fest had already planned for security at the entrance and police officers on patrol, but they’re now increasing the amount of law enforcement officers, including the Watsonville Police Department and Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office, to secure the two-day festival in the city’s historic downtown district.

“There’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to ensure public festivals are secure and safe,” Huffaker said.

Late July is prime season for the open-air food festivals that dot event calendars during California’s hot summers. Mass cookouts accompanied by concerts offer a popular way for cities and towns to celebrate the local fruits and vegetables that make up the backbone of the Bay Area’s agricultural economy.

But when thousands descended this past weekend on Gilroy — Santa Clara County’s southernmost city, known to many as the Garlic Capital of the World — the expectations included live music, pepper-steak sandwiches and the infamous garlic ice cream, not a gunman who would kill three and injure a dozen more at the famed festival.

Security checkpoints are commonplace at large public events and venues, but mass shootings in 2017 in Las Vegas at the Route 91 Harvest festival, which left 58 dead and hundreds injured, and in 2016 at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, which killed 49 people, have changed behaviors.

San Francisco’s Outside Lands Music Festival has had event staff search bags for weapons and sent attendees through metal detectors, and last year the event implemented a clear-bag policy.

San Francisco police provide security at the festival every year, and planning perimeter security around the concert grounds begins “months in advance,” said Sgt. Michael Andraychak, a department spokesman.

In Oakland, First Fridays organizers said security measures for the monthly community gatherings might be more expansive after the shooting.

But those patrol plans — extra enforcement from both private security and Oakland Police Department officers — were already in the works since six people were injured in an October shooting after a First Fridays event, said Mike Woolson, the event’s marketing director.

“I don’t think Gilroy changed the game for us,” Woolson said. “It was just another frightening reminder of what can happen.”

The garlic festival was supposed to be safe. Christmas Hill Park, where the annual festival is held, bars pocket knives and any weapons. A fence around the perimeter of the expansive wooded area surrounded vendors, volunteers and visitors. The shooter Sunday sawed through a creekside fence to gain entry, Gilroy police said.

Many variables go into security management, but it’s “rare” to have shootings as “horrific” as Gilroy’s, said Evan Barbier, founder of San Rafael-based Barbier Security Group. The group handles security for concerts and specialty events like the Marin and Solano county fairs.

“We’ll see that human nature is one where if they want to do something, they’ll try to get around it, regardless of the measures that are in place,” Barbier said.

Investigators still haven’t officially released a motive for Sunday’s shooting or a reason why the gunman picked the garlic festival. But mass casualties at a popular destination meant to be enjoyed through fair rides and novelty foods is incongruous, said Erika Rappoport, a history professor specializing in food, drink and consumer culture at UC Santa Barbara.

“While eating, your guard is down, you’re not looking around you and you’re usually talking and socializing,” she said. “Everybody partakes in eating, so it cuts down boundaries between people.”

Brian Bowe, executive director of the garlic festival, called the event an “annual family reunion” for the city of 58,000.

“Gilroy is an amazing, tightly knit community,” he said after the attack.

Although big events are winding down as the school year nears and summer ends, event organizers have been calling their private security contractors in the aftermath of Sunday’s shooting to prepare, Barbier said.

Over the past decade, he said he’s seen safety plans become more “purpose-driven,” focusing on deterring dangerous situations through guard placement and clearly defined duties.

“In the last few years it might be presence at the gate, but now because of incidents you’re bag-checking, wanding or checking people’s pockets,” he said.

Despite the frequency of mass shootings in the U.S. — a total of 248 have occurred just this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive — any fear of a shooting at a festival likely won’t keep people from attending.

“The only way to guarantee people would be safe is to never leave their basements,” Woolson said.

Gwendolyn Wu is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: Twitter: @gwendolynawu

San Rafael campus lewdness suspect arrested

By GARY KLIEN | | Marin Independent Journal

PUBLISHED: September 26, 2018 at 4:10 pm | UPDATED: September 26, 2018 at 5:44 pm

Investigators arrested a suspect in a series of indecent exposure incidents around students in San Rafael. Jose Antonio Garcilazo, 27, of Sonoma, was booked into Marin County Jail on Tuesday. He was released on bail pending further review by the district attorney’s office. The most recent incident happened on Sept. 9 in the Dominican University area. Police said a driver pulled up alongside two students who were walking on campus and appeared to masturbate while looking at them.

The students contacted campus security with a description of the driver and the car. A security guard saw the suspect in the area and approached to ask if he was a student at the university. The man claimed he was, but he could not produce an identification card on request. He fled, and the security guard called police with the vehicle’s license plate number.

San Rafael police linked the vehicle to Garcilazo, a convicted sex offender for prior indecent exposure cases, said Sgt. Lisa Holton. Police also connected the vehicle to a pair of flashing reports on a day in December, one near San Rafael High School and the other at Dominican.

On Tuesday, sheriff’s deputies in Sonoma spotted Garcilazo’s vehicle and stopped it in traffic. Deputies detained Garcilazo and turned him over to San Rafael detectives.

“SRPD commented that without the detailed report from our security team, Barbier Security, which included information about the suspect’s license plate, it would have been nearly impossible to identify and catch the suspect,” said Sarah Gardner, a spokesman for Dominican University.

Police are investigating whether Garcilazo can be linked to other reports of indecent exposure, Holton said.


The Entourages of the Travel Elite

The very wealthy can afford to bring their personal trainer, bodyguard or private chef with them when they travel. But for these support teams, what is the job actually like?

By Tiffanie Wen

2 February 2018


For Catherine Richey, being a personal chef doesn’t mean being cooped up in someone’s kitchen, slaving over gourmet meals at their every beck and call.  

Sometimes it means free travel for her and her whole family as part of her boss’s exclusive entourage.

“My client wanted me to cook for them at their ranch one Christmas. And I told them I couldn’t go without my family. So they flew my husband at the time, and our three kids, and all the groceries on our own private jet. My kids got to have a great vacation for five days.”

Richey is a personal chef and founder of Lavish Cuisine, who worked as a private chef for a wealthy oil and gas family from Texas for three years.

As a private chef, hers is a small number of professions that exposes her to the private and personal lives of ultra-rich clients. For the very wealthy who spend a lot of time travelling, it’s not uncommon to bring an indispensable trusted team on important trips – whether it’s for security, to maintain a fitness regime, or just to have the comforts of home while on the road.

Private chef Catherine Richey says when travelling with a wealthy boss, confidentiality is the most important part of the job (Credit: Catherine Richey)

Private chef Catherine Richey says when travelling with a wealthy boss, confidentiality is the most important part of the job (Credit: Catherine Richey)

But what is it actually like working in close contact with the rich and famous?


Circle of trust

The job had high demands and periods of high stress, says Richey, who would accompany her employers to multiple residences around the US, or with them on holiday further afield. Combined with work she did for other clients, she was paid about $65,000 a year, and hours varied according to whether she was travelling or not.

“The client might call and say ‘I need dinner for 16 people’, when they had originally planned to go out to a restaurant,” she says. “Or we might fly to a remote location that doesn’t have a decent grocery store nearby, so I would have to get all the groceries and equipment and meet them at the airport within a couple hours.”

More important than an extra pair of hands for a dinner party, though, is the need for discretion.

“A huge component of being willing to spend the extra money to fly someone along with you is that they trust you,” says Richey. “Knowing that I would be behind the scenes when the clients were with their family or work colleagues or friends, they have to have the confidence in knowing that whatever happened at the lake house that weekend wasn’t going to go farther than that.”

“Confidentiality is obviously key,” says Evan Barbier, founder of the Barbier Security Group, who has provided private security for celebrities, members of government and political candidates, and has flown with clients internationally. “You might be in the car listening to strategic conversations and political strategy and then the next day or a few hours later you’re listening to the opponent. These conversations have a real effect on society and you can’t share them. Everyone needs to trust you.”

Evan Barbier has protected celebrities, diplomats and politicians like former US Vice President Al Gore (Credit: Stuart Lirette)

Evan Barbier has protected celebrities, diplomats and politicians like former US Vice President Al Gore (Credit: Stuart Lirette)

Flexibility and confidentiality come at a high price – Barbier says personal security can cost $1,000-$2,000 per day per guard. Similarly, flying your own personal trainer out for a session can cost 20 times as much as a regular session in town.

Debrae Baren is a personal trainer in the US state of Ohio whose clients include business owners, doctors, and even the owner of an airline. Baren’s day rate, excluding her travel expenses, is $900. “But I know their routine, have created different and challenging sessions for them and know what they are working on,” says Baren. “Once you have the trust and rapport, they don’t want to change their trainer or schedule, even if they’re travelling.”

Richey says there are similarities in her profession. A chef will know a client’s tastes and dietary needs, and details such as what the kitchen and silverware are like. “A private chef frees up so much energy. Eating healthy or according to dietary needs is so important to our health. Having someone take care of that for you is huge.”

Don’t overstep

Members of the entourage, like private security detail, can also be thought of as a kind of travel companion, says Barbier. “To do this job well you’re a kind of a cross between security, a concierge and a personal assistant. I may pick the hotels because I’m taking a security-minded approach to it. We also talk to people early on about how visible they want us to be. Some clients are embarrassed to be seen with security. Others want us to be visible as part of their image.”

Barbier says it’s important for members of the entourage to remember their role. “A common mistake is that security people think they’ve inherited by proxy the principle’s status or wealth. It’s always a bad image for your client when your detail is trying to get free things or start calling the shots.”

While it’s clear that the service economy has overtaken manufacturing in industrialised nations, it’s hard to pin down the exact demand for elite service providers. But anecdotal evidence also suggests an increase in demand: Barbier says he’s seen an increase in demand for private security, including for holidays, which he attributes to violence in the media and fears of terrorism.

Personal assistants are most likely to be employed by billionaires, celebrities and large and influential families, says Winston Chesterfield, director of custom research for Wealth-X, a Singapore-based financial intelligence firm. Those with a net worth of less than $100m are less likely to have an entourage.

At Wealth-X, Chesterfield has seen an increase in travelling personal security, personal trainers and diet specialists, and personal beauty specialists such as hair stylists. He says that has to do with the use of larger private planes which allow for larger entourages. As well, he says the wealthy are spending longer periods away from home, which has created more demand for ‘home comforts’ and familiar faces when on the road.

Though flying a private chef with you on holiday is still a pipe-dream for most, Richey says private chefs aren’t just for the super-rich these days.

“We see more two-parent working families with kids who are exhausted by the time they get home and like a private chef to come prepare four different meals for the week, for example. It might be specifically healthy, low-carb, or adhere to a food intolerance, and the client doesn’t have the desire or capacity to learn to cook themselves. There are also more chefs becoming personal chefs, so there’s more availability.”

The gig economy has also brought a host of new business models, making personalised services more accessible. For example, apps like Soothe and TroupeFit make bringing massage therapists and personal trainers to your door easier than ever, and MiumMium links users up with personal chefs.

So while most of us might not be able travel with an entire posse, perhaps, at home, we can pretend like we do.

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San Rafael Chamber of Commerce

February 16, 2016

2016 Spotlight Member of the Month: Evan Barbier                                             

In 2007, Evan Barbier and his wife founded Barbier Security in San Rafael. The company provides private security across the Bay Area and beyond, for corporate clients, nonprofits, Fortune 500 companies, and high net worth individuals.

How long have you been in San Rafael? 
My family has been in Marin since 1860. I’m a fourth generation San Rafael High School graduate. My father was a San Rafael police officer for 40 years. He retired from the force in 2010 and I brought him into the company as VP.

What’s your favorite food and can you cook it?
I like breakfast burritos and I do know how to cook them.
Do you have pets at home? 
No pets. We work all the time!
Do you have a hidden talent?
I’m a decent photographer, and used to do a lot of it. I would submit photos for local exhibits, but I don’t do that as much now.
Do you travel for adventure or relaxation?
I often have the opportunity to travel for work. I really enjoy traveling with my wife. Recently we vacationed in Mexico and it was great.

What are you afraid of?
Not doing my best.

How do you like to spend your spare time?
I like to go trail running in Novato, take day trips and spend time with my wife and family. I’m also really into history and because my family has been here a long time, I know a lot of stories about Marin. My great-great-great-grandfather, James Cochran, was the fourth district attorney for Marin County. I have family photos from the 1800s in my office, and I have a collection of old photos of local houses and receipts for putting on horseshoes.
What’s the best movie you’ve seen recently?
The new Star Wars was OK. And Sicario was really good.
Is there a cause you’re passionate about?
My wife, who’s from Oakland, is a board member of the Boys and Girls Club in East Oakland. We’re both involved in youth causes, helping kids find a positive path and not fall into delinquency. We’ve been involved for a while, so we’ve been able to follow people we interacted with 10 years ago. Some are in jail, some are not alive, some are OK. It’s so important to look at what they are doing in middle school. That’s the time when their future is decided and you can have more of an influence.
Who has influenced you most in your life?
Probably my dad. He has influenced me in every way—his work ethic, how he lives his life. He’s the hardest working person I know and he has great integrity. That’s why I hired him!

What do you see ahead in five years?
Hopefully I’ll be doing what I am now, only better. Being a positive influence on society, providing employment. I like doing something good for Marin and I feel lucky to be here.


Marin IJ.jpg

San Rafael woman arrested after break-in

Robbery in progress foiled by Barbier Security Group. 11/12/2012

"One person was arrested and another escaped after an alleged break-in Monday at a San Rafael car dealership, police said.

Marne Nicole Dager-Gallo, 37, of San Rafael was booked into Marin County Jail on suspicion of burglary and violating probation in prior theft cases. Her bail was set at $15,000.

The incident occurred shortly before 5 a.m., when private security guards responded to a burglary alarm at Sonnen BMW on East Francisco Boulevard, said San Rafael police Sgt. Scott Eberle. Guards found a back door that had been forced open and Dager-Gallo inside the building, Eberle said."

San Rafael Police Department Alert 

Read more at Marin IJ


Marin scion runs private security corps

Marin Snapshot 11/12/2012

"A FOURTH-GENERATION San Rafael native, Evan Barbier has big shoes to fill. He is the son of a well-known retired policeman, Harry Barbier; the grandson of the late San Rafael councilman Harry Barbier, for whom the city park is named; and a descendent of James Cochrane, one of Marin County's earliest district attorneys.

Evan Barbier, a 31-year-old Novato resident with a degree in criminology, has carved out his own niche as chief executive of the Barbier Security Group, a private security firm with 60 employees in distinctive black uniforms and vehicles. Barbier, who runs the operation with his wife, Carla, objects to the image of security guards as "Paul Blart: Mall Cop"-like caricatures."

Read more at Marin IJ


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