Finish the Job! – Who you Should Vote for in Novato’s District Elections and Why

District 1 – San Marin

Jim Petray versus Susan Wernick

Vote for Petray

District 5 – Hamilton Field Area

Marie Hoch versus Amy Peele

Vote for Hoch

District 3 – Business District – Northeast – Presidents Areas

Kevin Morrison versus Eric Lucan

Vote for Morrison

District 1 – San Marin

Jim Petray with his financial skill set as a CPA and as a seasoned manager/partner with a major regional accounting firm brings to the table exactly what the Novato City Council has lacked in the past., i.e. a  Councilmember who understands in depth the structural financial challenges Novato is facing and will face in the future.  More importantly, he has solved similar financial dilemmas in the past.

Jim Petray

Petray graduated from Santa Clara University with a degree in Accounting and shortly afterwards received certification as a Certified Public Account (CPA). Within his profession he is recognized as a senior professional manager with exceptional personal relationships skills. Exactly what Novato needs.

Petray has been a pillar of the community who has personally contributed significant time and energy to working with Novato’s youth. His character is unquestioned as is his sense of ethics, integrity and honesty.

Best of all he is a truly independent candidate free of any political baggage. He refuses to seek endorsements or campaign donations from politically oriented groups. In this way, he is very different from other candidates in his approach to securing a seat on the Council. His academic credentials and professional success speak for themselves. He is refreshingly low key rather than confrontational when discussing potentially contentious issues.

Petray is a proven motivator and advisor while reaching a group consensus on how to move forward on group decisions – something sorely missing during the past six years on the City Council.

Running against him is the very politically ambitious candidate and current Planning Commission member Susan Wernick who is burdened with a boat load of political debts and baggage based upon her ardent political activism as an insider during the last five years. Her extraordinary close ties to the Novato Chamber of Commerce cloud any pretense of having an “independent” perspective. Her academic credentials remain a mystery.

Susan Wernick

She was very active in the regrettable print and social media political lynching campaign against current Councilmember Pam Drew using the disguise of “uncivil behavior” by Drew. Councilmembers Eklund and Drew were striving for public transparency and recognition of the severe financial and staffing problems the City was facing which then City Manager Candelario refused to admit existed.

Marla Fields

The six months long underhanded gaslighting campaign by Marla Fields, Suzanne Crow, Susan Wernick, et al against Pam Drew was nauseating. It was a vicious, nasty personal assault against Drew – not on the principles and standards on which she stood.

Pam Drew

The undeniable fact was Councilmember Pam Drew was proven right in the end by subsequent events while Wernick and her cohorts were proven completely wrong as evidenced by the recent involuntary departures of ex-City Manager Regan Candelario and Public Works Director Russ Thompson.  Assistant City Manager Michael Antwine chose to “resign”.

City Manager Candelario was unable to find suitable replacements for the critical Finance Manager position and for the respected and long-departed Assistant City Manager Peggy Flynn. The divisive atmosphere coupled with Candelario’s reputation for imperialistic micro-managing made these positions very unattractive to potential candidates.

The turmoil, secrecy and divisiveness promoted by Candelario, who Wernick unquestioningly and defiantly supported, created and left staffing and financial messes that will cost the City of Novato hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix. By refusing to recognize the City’s recent ethical problems, candidate Wernick has “unclean hands” as she defended Candelario and his nefarious crony “consultants” while ignoring and pushing back against Drew and Eklund’s continual public warnings.

Deep concerns remain surrounding Wernick’s activities as a political insider and as an aggressive political activist with long-established special interest connections that contributed to last month’s ethical meltdown at Novato City Hall. Fortunately for the City of Novato, Wernick’s “kill the messenger” efforts were not successful and resulted in the recent City Council’s unanimous termination of the City Manager and the Public Works Director. Let’s continue to clean house. Vote for Jim Petray.


District 5 – Hamilton Field Area

Marie Hoch has been an active and successful participant in resolving Hamilton Field issues for over a decade. She focuses on Hamilton’s concerns as they relate to City-wide activities. She is and has been an articulate and well-informed long-time advocate for Hamilton area residents’ interests and matters.

Marie Hoch

As a past President of the Hamilton Field of Marin Owners Association and as a past five-year member of the City of Novato Planning Commission, Marie Hoch brings tremendous experience to the table. She has solid academic credentials with technical degrees in Chemistry and Math from the university of Chicago that give her the essential analytical tools to effectively understand the causes of Novato’s current financial dilemma and what can reasonably be done to return the situation into balance and free of deficit spending.

Amy Peele

Running against Marie Hoch in District 5 is Amy Peele who is relatively unknown in Hamilton and not an active participant in past Hamilton Area community discussions. She is touted as the “chosen” candidate of County Supervisor Judy Arnold and the Marin County Democratic Party’s political machine. Peele is a graduate of the South Chicago School of Nursing and is a mystery writer.

The involvement of non-district level political groups and higher-level politicians such as Judy Arnold in local district elections is deeply troubling and contrary to the purpose of having district elections in the first place. Peele will be given all the County endorsements that County Supervisor Arnold can muster.

Judy Arnold

To Novato’s detriment, Supervisor Arnold has effectively controlled Novato’s City Council on key votes using three subservient Councilmembers (Lucan, Athas, Fryday) who were beholden to her political appointment powers and political campaign treasury contributions by Arnold’s special interest groups, i.e. big unions and big business most of whom are not even located in Novato. We need to bring back local control to Novato.

The coming Novato City Council elections present an opportunity to cleanse the Council of Arnold’s suffocating personal control and self-interests. Arnold intends to use the reelection of Lucan and the election of Peele and Wernick to serve as her personal political pawns on the City Council. She is determined not to let any political disinfection take place.

Peele thus far appears to be just another one of Arnold’s political foot soldiers. She will do what outsiders tell her to do “for the good of” Novato’s residents. Without a doubt, Marie Hoch should be Novato’s District 5’s choice – not Arnold’s choice (Peele) for District 5. Vote for Marie Hoch.


District 3 – Business District – Northeast – Presidents Areas

Kevin Morrison

Kevin Morrison is a work in progress. Eric Lucan is a stubborn unquestioning proxy for Supervisor Judy Arnold within the City Council Chamber. He is a frequently used Arnold tool as she exerts her outside influence on important internal Novato Council decisions.

Kevin Morrison as a Councilmember probably terrifies Arnold as she contemplates the frustrating future of playing political whack-a-mole while trying to tame Morrison and his progressive outside-the-box agenda.

Morrison’s political leverage would be derived from Novato residents who vote him into office providing him a platform from which to present his ideas. This presents an ominous threat to Arnold who feels it is her right to use local political platforms as personal launching pads for her County and Regional initiatives and to receive rubber stamp approval at the local level.

Arnold rewards political obedience and allegiance with appointments to regional boards that are very useful for ambitious politicians’ resume adornment during their next election. Using this Pavlovian reward system, Arnold has for years neutered the City of Novato’s independent political influence in Marin County political circles. It has ended up being all about Arnold – not Novato residents and community.

If Kevin Morrison can define himself in simple terms to open-minded District 3 voters, he could be a much-needed diverse viewpoint on the Council. With Morrison as the Councilmember representing the district that includes downtown businesses, the Chamber of Commerce can only reach for the Alka Seltzer as they see their dominant self-interest-driven political control slipping away.

Loyal Judy Arnold political foot soldier and politically ambitious sham Mayor Eric Lucan has a big problem. Some politicians’ surface appearances can be deceiving and Lucan recently reaffirmed that to be true.

Eric Lucan

Lucan shamelessly voted to make himself the Mayor with its accompanying publicity benefits for his next election (potentially at the time running against Drew) even though Drew finished ahead of Lucan in their last election and was the existing Mayor Pro Tem.

The Lucan, Athas and Fryday “Triad” stripped the next-in-line Mayor Pro Tem Pam Drew of the forthcoming Mayor’s position she was entitled to by established precedent and protocol. Obviously, Lucan felt by doing so he improved his reelection chances and its Mayoral related publicity benefits – forget about integrity, fairness, ethics, and voter preference.

This type of political chicanery does not reflect well on Lucan and goes against Novato residents’ core values of play-by-the-rules for the good of the community. Eric Lucan comes across pleasant and gentlemanly on the outside. Don’t be misled. It is what is on the inside that is the major cause for concern and reason for replacing him after eight years as a single-minded obligated local political pawn for Arnold.

Lucan refused to recognize and take seriously the numerous signs of existing

Pat Eklund

significant personnel and financial problems within City Hall that Councilmembers Drew and Eklund warned the City Council about for months. His inability to differentiate priorities between personal political ambition and fundamental, critical problems within City Hall is alarming and more than enough reason voters should not vote for him and choose Kevin Morrison instead.

The City Council finds itself at a crossroads. The voters in Districts 1, 3 and 5 can make a difference by whom they elect as their representative on the City Council. They can elect new Councilmembers who are free of any prior political commitments and associations. Or, they can elect established insiders under whose watch the City Manager, two Assistant City Managers, and the Public Works Director have departed under questionable circumstances, with the notable exception of Assistant City Manager Flynn.

Sham Mayor Lucan and Chamber of Commerce supporter Susan Wernick have been part of the problem that led to most of the senior City Hall’s Management’s forced departures while under a cloud of impropriety. They should be held accountable as they provided cover for the perpetrators.

Marie Hoch, Jim Petray and Kevin Morrison as Councilmembers will arrive with fresh perspectives and enthusiasm to work with a new City Manager and an unshackled and dedicated City Staff.

Novato must return to its rightful place as a creative, vibrant City that is not to be taken for granted or used by outside special interests and higher level politicians.

The opportunity for change is at hand –your vote can make it happen!

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