The final week of campaigning filled with Toni Shroyer’s “Judy, we know why” and Arnold’s “Toni Shroyer Got it Wrong” cannot hide the very basic and substantive differences between the two candidates. An aged and apparently not very healthy Arnold is fighting to convince voters that she has singularly created significant legislation. The facts don’t support this – not even close.
Voter complacency is Arnold’s best friend. Toni Shroyer has energized many voters who are tired of being constantly besieged to pay “just a little bit more” taxes and fees. They are successfully resisting the Arnold-backed tax measures as evidenced by their recent overwhelming rejection of Arnold’s bogus tax Measure E flood control money-grab attempt. It lost by a two thirds margin despite Arnold and her coterie of special interest schemers outspending the local Measure E opposition ten to one in their failed campaign.
Sage political observers recognize Arnold’s mediocre record as one of merely going along with the Southern Marin Supervisors’ wishes and “not rocking the boat”. In return, she has been repaid with enormous donations to her campaign treasury by out-of-district special interests, labor unions, developers, public employee unions, and anonymous political action committees. The hundreds of thousands of dollars donated by these pay-to-play groups dwarf the campaign treasury of the local street fighter Toni Shroyer who was only 215 votes shy of victory over Arnold the last time they met.
Toni Shroyer scares Arnold. Shroyer has established a strong voter base by being actively involved in her community and constantly walking her District personally listening to the concerns her soon-to-be constituents. The active easy-to-meet down-to-earth Shroyer contrasts with Arnold who has perfected the politician’s disconcerting “crocodile smile”.
Both are competitive, but for very different reasons. Toni Shroyer is unchained to special and vested interest donations through her refusal to accept them. Toni Shroyer remains true to herself, being unencumbered by political favors and choosing instead the Novato community’s criteria of transparency and unquestionable ethics. She is by far Novato’s best advocate.
Toni Shroyer’s campaign, emphasizing vigorous and transparent representation of Novato’s interests in the County Supervisors Chambers, has propelled her to the forefront in her race against the increasingly defensive incumbent Arnold. Most Novato voters are concluding that after 12 years of poor performance in office, the soon to be 78 year old Arnold should be retired.
It is time for a change because tired and old approaches to today’s new challenges have not been working. The happily married Toni Shroyer at 50 years old with two children more accurately represents today’s Novato residents’ expectations and concerns, and even more importantly, she has the energy, drive, and intelligence to put Novato’s interests far ahead of outside special interest.
Arnold is Novato’s and Marin County’s representative to the SMART rail transit Board. As such she should be looking out for Novato’s best interests. But that’s not happening. Recently, she once again failed to do just that, silently standing by as SMART slammed Novato taxpayers with a totally unexpected $2,000,000 bill for a part of a system-wide train control system.
Arnold just disappeared, leaving a defenseless City of Novato holding the bag. Now Novato must come up with the money this year. The Hill Recreation Area playing fields and bocce ball courts project is potentially on the chopping block thanks to Arnold’s negligence and indifference.
In May 2017, the Novato City Council controversially approved $3.1 million of funding for a downtown platform and switching equipment despite a City Staff recommendation against it. The City Staff was right.
As a condition of being allowed to connect to the SMART commuter rail system, Novato was required to build and hand over ownership of the platform and rail-switching to SMART who did not and would not commit to providing any level of service to the new station. Eyebrows were raised over the “no obligation” contract with SMART to provide any rail service at that location at all.
The Athas-Fryday-Lucan vote majority on Novato’s City Council pushed to capitulate completely to all of SMART’s demands. Councilmembers Pat Eklund and Pam Drew withheld their support preferring to negotiate rather than quickly capitulate. Eklund and Drew were right.
An already financially stressed City of Novato struggling with a structural deficit had to borrow money to build the platform. Additionally, millions more will be required to provide parking and to restore the old crumbling railway station building. The project has become a money rabbit hole.
Arnold, as Novato’s representative and a member of the SMART Board, quickly took credit for arranging for Novato’s “gift station” while conveniently failing to mention SMART’s refusal to commit to any level of service to downtown Novato. If limited service is eventually authorized by SMART, it can easily be retracted by SMART if deemed necessary in the best interests of “priority commuter service” requirements. SMART’s charter is as a “commuter rail line” first, not an excursion railway to downtown Novato.
Under Arnold’s so-called “leadership” Novato now faces a $2,000,000 bill to cover its portion of a Federal “positive train control” collision avoidance system. The bill should not have arrived as a surprise since SMART adopted this technology in 2016. Arnold should have known that a $2 million invoice was coming due representing a 40% increase in Phase 1 and 2 project costs. Once again, the City of Novato will have to borrow money, then turn around and give it to SMART. The city of Novato can no longer afford Judy Arnold.
Toni Shroyer who works as a very successful real estate agent and who is responsible for generating her own income to pay her bills like the rest of us, contrasts markedly with Arnold who has always worked within the government sector funded by an ever-increasing stream of taxpayer money. Toni Shroyer understands the financial challenges Novato families face each month and the consequences of those challenges if they are not met. Arnold clearly does not.
Now the City of Novato is casting about for funds to pay SMART’s bill. One option is to seize Measure F funds designated for the Hill Recreation Area playing fields and bocce ball courts project and pay (give) it to SMART. Instead of the promised $2.3 million two artificial turf playing fields whose cost can be repaid by rental fees, the City could unfortunately “borrow” the Measure F money indefinitely, thereby delaying or killing the very popular and long-promised community project.
Measure F funds were never intended to be given away as a “gift” to SMART, but the working City Council majority of Athas, Lucan and Fryday are joined at the hip to the downtown business interests of the Novato Chamber of Commerce whose main interest is their members’ financial success, even though paid for by the entire Novato Community.
Arnold apparently considers the $2 million shortage as collateral damage to Novato and that residents will just have to deal with it. The non-response by an above-it-all Arnold to the difficult situation in which Novato finds itself is conclusive proof of why Arnold should go away.
Novato cannot afford Arnold’s passive “let’s see if there is grant money available” approach to financial dilemmas. It apparently worked once for her when in 1993 she defaulted on her home loan on 32 Erica Court only seven months after purchase. The same year Arnold served six months’ probation after pleading no contest to a petty theft charge filed by the District Attorney. Later, her daughter purchased a home on Ridge road in which Arnold resided, subsequently deeding it over to Arnold under undisclosed monetary arrangements. Financial disarray seems to be a core Arnold characteristic.
Novato is a great place to live because people responsibly meet their obligations financially and otherwise. Toni Shroyer brings no ethical baggage questions with her candidacy as does Arnold. Representing Novato must be transparent and unencumbered by pay-to-play financial donations. Shroyer has always earned her own money, enabling the independence that frees her to act in the best interest of the Novato community as a whole rather than being tied to those of the money-grubbing special interests with their huge campaign donations.
Toni Shroyer was born and raised in Marin as a minister’s daughter under very humble circumstances. She raised chickens and sold their eggs to earn money. She worked at a Jack-in-the-Box and Perry’s Deli to earn money to buy new clothes. She supported the Caesar Chavez movement and worked alongside farm workers in strawberry fields. She leafleted downtown San Rafael in support of their cause.
She was President of her high school class, ran track, and played soccer. When she became a high school freshman she owned only two pairs of pants. By cleaning homes, she was able to buy more clothes. She was popular with her classmates who elected her Homecoming Queen. In college, Shroyer paid her own tuition at UCLA from her own hard-earned money.
Toni Shroyer understands that an Indian Valley 4-H Club, Pennies for Police Dogs, School Fuel, gang graffiti abatement, Junior Horseman’s group, etc. however small are of tremendous importance to the quality of life to Novato and its children. It’s time to move past the entrenched distant professional politician Arnold to a true Novato representative born and raised in Marin who has always earned her own money and appreciates how hard that is to do.
Toni Shroyer is a tough cookie – make no mistake about it. She has experienced the hard knocks of life growing up underfunded but deeply loved like so many Novato families.
Novato needs Toni Shroyer as its District Supervisor. Return Novato to its rightful place in the County Supervisors Chambers as independently and honestly represented by a person who has spent her entire life in Marin and especially understands the unique Novato community. Toni has the drive, positive energy and ethics to get the job done for Novato residents.
It’s time to change from the old and to move forward with a fresh new perspective on today’s challenges. Don’t let this opportunity go by – every single vote will make a difference. Get out and vote to elect Toni Shroyer as District 5 Supervisor. It’s your chance to make a positive difference.
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