“Incivility” Runs Rampant – A New Work of Fiction by Novato City Manager Regan Candelario

Nice try. The deceptive “civility” issue self-servingly fabricated by the Novato City Manager and “the ribber-stamping 3” members of the Novato City Council is nothing more than a silly diversionary tactic to divert people’s attention away from the serious fact that Novato is facing a no-end-in-sight structural financial deficit.

With the only two full-time sitting members on the Novato City Council – Pam Drew and the dedicated long-serving Pat Eklund – asking valid questions on behalf of Novato residents, the City Manager is obviously beginning to feel the heat.

By surreptitiously “looting” reserves by “re-allocating” Measure F’s critical infrastructure funds to plug holes in a self-generated operating deficit, while sticking his financial head in the sand, he presented a “balanced” budget to the City Council.

Novato continues to increase its spending faster than its income can handle. This abyss of deficit spending is made larger by ignoring the rate of rapidly rising pension costs. Do the math – the City of Novato’s financial future is not pretty. That Novato is not in as dire financial straits as other cities are is no excuse.

Examples of unnecessary reckless spending by the City Council are the creation of a new position of Sustainability Coordinator at $120,000 a year and the new $100,000 annual project cost for ten paid student interns to work at Novato’s City Hall. All are “feel good” moves but are financially irresponsible in view of the City’s substantial financial problems.

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In an obvious attempt to divert attention from Novato’s looming financial operating issues and a projected need for yet another City tax increase, a nasty character assassination letter-to-the Editor campaign fueled by Supervisor Judy Arnold’s cohorts, ex-City Manager Assistant Jennifer Goldfinger and Judy Loring, has been orchestrated and launched. It has been ugly, and a blatant public attempt to damage Drew and Eklund’s images. Goldfinger and Loring’s attacks served only to display their lack of tolerance and civility towards people with differing opinions in effect revealing their contempt for those with whom they disagree.

As part of their diversionary tactics, a complicit Marin IJ Editor Robert Sterling has inexplicitly sought out the low-ground by publishing a personal character assault story and editorial aimed at Eklund and Drew. We all know newspapers are struggling these days but stooping to the level of a supermarket tabloid is not helping the IJ.

You can’t make this stuff up. Or can you? Supervisor Arnold reportedly loathes Drew and Eklund as they are independent of Arnold’s pay-to-play vote-for-sale campaign funding. They are unapologetically independent of the Marin Democrat Committee Party machine, yet both Drew and Eklund are true-blue Democrats. The self-absorbed Arnold has difficulty adjusting to this lack of fealty.

Novato City Manager and “the rubber-stamping 3” vote bloc (Lucan, Fryday, Athas) are “unhappy” that Drew and Eklund ask “impertinent” questions such as “what in the hell is going on here” especially when it involves the City Manager making City policy and informal commitments before approval by the Council. Or, asking “are we raiding reserves for promised projects” when Novato faces a serious financial operating deficit? These are somehow labeled “uncivil“ to ask. Drew and Eklund are sadly the only members of the City Council looking out for voters and their pocketbooks.

How can these embarrassing probing questions be stopped? The proposed ludicrous solution to this “tempest in a teapot” is a compulsory public Orwellian “communications training” session specifically aimed only at Drew and Eklund. No wonder the rest of the County regards Novato’s political gyrations as inconsequential, if not amusing.

This juvenile news episode has dragged Robert Sterling’s Marin IJ and his newspaper’s minions deeper into the swamp in which the once respected Fourth Estate finds itself. This fabricated “issue” has been an anchor thrown to the sinking Marin IJ. No wonder digital news feeds now rule.

The two losers in this verbal piñata are the Novato City Manager Regan Candelario and the Marin IJ Editor Robert Sterling. They have been exposed as Trumpian purveyors of “fake news”.

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