The abusive attempt by a small hyper-progressive group within the political Democratic Central Committee of Marin to “gaslight” Novato residents into believing that Pam Drew was uncivil, disrespectful, and bullying towards City Staff and fellow Councilmembers is a new low for Novato. Shame on Fields and her personal assailants.
Marla’s “meanies” attempted to humiliate Councilmember Drew by launching a snarky campaign to prevent her, as the sitting Novato Mayor Pro Tem, to become the next Mayor of Novato as established by long standing City Council protocol. Marla’s accomplices will likely lose in the end as Novato’s voters historically have voted for diligent, hardworking Councilmembers, not people who attack an individual on a personal level rather than simply disagreeing with their ideas.
“Meanies” they are as never once did they bring up the validity of Councilmember Drew’s questions or determination to make herself heard on behalf of the residents who voted her into office. Rather, they attempted to portray Drew’s legitimate inquiries as “bullying”, i.e. if I disagree with your point of view you are a bully for insisting on asking questions and expecting an answer.
In fact, the true “bullies” are Marla Fields and her Abusers who through their attempts to suppress open and frank discussion of public issues that includes those with opinions different from their own. Disagreements are normal in City Council Chambers. They are a healthy component of effective, efficient city government.
Democrat Committee member Marla Fields, the complicit Novato City Manager Regan Candelario, serial whiner/complainer Erin Lacey, Novato Planning Commissioner Reva Rao,
Susannah Nation – cosmetics craftsperson, digital wonk Thomas Engdahl, Deputy Clerk of the Marin Board of Supervisors – Susan Levin White, ex-Deputy Clerk of the Marin Board of Supervisors Patricia Stancato, serial media shrieker Anna Marie Camaroata, therapist (hopefully for the “Abusers” group) Patricia Ravitz, vitriol spewmeister David Fiol, etc. are all enthusiastic participants in this on-going political lynching campaign. (Should non-elected government employees and appointees be publicly attacking elected officials?)
Let it be very clear, Fields and the character assassination campaign group participants noted above are driven by a very elitist political agenda. Any unwarranted personal damage to Councilmembers Drew and Eklund is accepted collateral damage. Bottom line – they feel they know best how to run the City of Novato and anyone questioning that assumption is “incivil”, disrespectful, disruptive, ad nauseam. Sounds a lot like the current oppressive political atmosphere in Turkey with Erdoğan the autocrat.
Sympathetic Novato Councilmembers to the politically ambitious Fields have long held an unbreakable majority vote bloc on the Novato City Council. Then why do Marla Fields and the Abusers viciously attack an individual on solely a personal level? What could the end game possibly be? It is a smear tactic designed to publicly humiliate on a personal level and to intimidate and silence that person’s inquiry as her duties as a representative of all Novato voters requires.
Fields and the Abusers are into the ninth month of a continuous campaign to smear Novato Councilmembers Drew and Eklund. When long time Marin IJ Opinion Page Editor Brad Breithaupt retired in April 2018 and Editor Robert Sterling assumed the position, the attacking of individuals on a personal level rather than for their ideas became acceptable, effectively lowering existing journalistic ethical standards. This change opened the door for Marla and the Abusers to use the Marin IJ front page and Opinion Page as a publicity platform.
Under the sympathetic Sterling’s reign, the Marin IJ has provided support for self-appointed elitist activist groups such as Fields and the Abusers. Recently, the Marin IJ published as front page “news” a malicious article that was nothing more than regurgitated Abusers’ smear campaign rhetoric against Councilmember Drew who thankfully had the audacity to publicly question unexplained City Staff assumptions during Council discussion on items coming up for a vote.
The Marin IJ Editorial Staff and the IJ’s Novato writer/influencer Will Houston manufactured a media driven faux political crisis that provided cover for an outcome that had already been pre-determined by the Lucan, Fryday, Athas political alliance based primarily on self-serving political considerations, i.e. unseat Mayor Pro Tem Drew and replace her with Eric Lucan whom Drew would run against in the next election.
Lucan finished behind Drew in their last election. More Novato residents voted for Drew than voted for Lucan. By corrupting the established protocol Lucan would be placed in the media spotlight as Mayor rather than Drew – especially with the predetermined sympathetic coverage by the IJ’s Will Houston. How Eric Lucan can reconcile such Machiavellian machinations with his bachelor’s degree in Ministerial Studies at Novato’s Christian Life International Bible College boggles one’s mind.
The Mayor Pro Tem position serves to prepare a new Councilmember for the leadership role as Mayor of the City of Novato. It broadens the Mayor-to-be’s administrative skills set enabling a seamless transition to titular leadership of the community as Mayor. Holding the position merely brings a few administrative perks and publicity. It does not change the voting process and power of the Councilmembers. It does enhance the administrative depth and width of experience of the Council which is a definite advantage to the community of Novato.
Ignoring tradition and established civic protocol, Fryday, Lucan and Athas voted against electing Mayor Pro Tem Pam Drew to become Mayor and threw the Novato voters who elected Drew under the bus. They raised their middle fingers to the face of the Novato community choosing the path of down and dirty politics to further their personal political ambitions. Like the grim reaper, Marla Fields was dressed in black as she addressed the Council while attacking Pam Drew the person – not her ideas. It was vicious and ugly.
Just to make sure Drew and Eklund got the message that unsugar-coated dissent at City Council meetings would not be tolerated, the Fryday-Athas-Lucan triad voted their political ally Denise Athas to be Mayor Pro Tem. This is obviously intolerant political bullying in its rawest form. The real bullies are now exposed. This was an in-your-face abusive public smackdown. Decent voters in Novato will remember this repugnant execution when making choices in the next election!
Is it time to move to district elections for the Council where developers, big business and union political funds have greater difficulty dominating local political campaigns? Stay tuned.
The truly sad aspect of this disgraceful political episode is that anyone who knows Pam Drew quickly finds out what a thoughtful person she is. She and Pat Eklund are the only Councilmembers that regularly attend the unfashionable City Commission meetings and silently listen and learn from the detailed discussions on the City’s financial health, etc. They are both there representing and looking after all Novato residents.
In contrast, Lucan, Athas, and Fryday are rarely if ever to be found at City Commission meetings unless there are cameras or a news reporter nearby. That reveals the shallow depth of their interest in their duties as Councilmembers. Apparently, basking in the cosmetic glow of staff-packaged “community engagement” sessions attended by vested interest stakeholder groups is the limit of the trio’s intellectual contribution to our community.
Eklund knows more about the political history of Novato and Marin County that Lucan, Fryday and Athas will ever forget. She knows what she is talking about and that is a serious threat to that lazy trio and to City Manager Candelario who knows even less but is afraid to admit it and ask her advice. Candelario is playing politics by repeatedly ignoring Drew and Eklund’s information inquiries on forthcoming City issues. He has become part of the problem for Novato residents.
Drew is a retired Berkeley math teacher and a past faculty union representative. For decades she taught her students to ask questions and become factually educated and to be logically sound. Her hard work and dedication to getting the complete set of relevant facts rather than an ad hoc filtered set spoon fed by a city Manager that suits his agenda is exactly what an effective, competent Councilmember is expected to do for the citizens they represent.
Understandably, Drew pushes back when other Councilmembers attempt to shush her questions. She is a strong woman, as is Eklund. The lazy majority vote bloc Councilmembers should be concerned as their ignorance is and has been easily unmasked by Drew and Eklund. Their thin-skin attitude exposes their lack of political gravitas and fear of frequently being publicly outed as uninformed.
Fields and the Abusers are a political cancer in decent Novato. A cure is possible in the next city Council election.
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