Vote for Jim Petray – Stop the County Supervisor’s Plan to Silence District 1’s Independent Voice

Jim Petray’s academic credentials, extensive business experience and poise place him ten steps ahead of his Squad-Arnold opponent Susan Wernick.

Many Novato residents recognize that he will be a force for much needed positive change while serving on the Council. Refreshingly, he uses his web site to speak directly to District 1 constituents on issues of specific interest to District 1.

                  Jim Petray

A candidate’s academic credentials are a strong indicator of an individual’s ability to master basic analytical tools and to understand and find solutions to complex problems. Jim Petray is head and shoulders above his competition Susan Wernick.

Jim Petray graduated in Accounting from Santa Clara University. He shortly thereafter became a Certified Public Account passing the Uniform Certified Public Account Examination. He became a Partner of Burr Pilger & Mayer LLP, the largest California-based accounting and consulting firm. Through his extensive experience, he has developed an outstanding not-for-profit organization expertise in addition to strategic business and private client consulting.

Jim Petray has the analytical tools and experience to publicly discuss City financial issues in real time, enabling the City Manager and Staff to interact with an easy to work with, inquisitive, experienced, and seasoned senior financial consultant who sits on the Council.

Jim Petray’s volunteer work includes The Family Justice Center, Novato Human Needs and the Novato Youth Center. He has coached youth sports for many years and continues to give back to the Novato community.

In sharp contrast Susan Wernick has an AA degree from the College of Marin. Her business experience is limited to working as a part-time employee for two small local businesses. She is not a “merchant” as the Marin IJ recently and misleadingly stated. Her present employment status is “in transition”.

The same article in the Marin IJ did get it right though when it pointed out that “Petray has a strong background in finance, which any council would find helpful as it works through budget and pension issues”. The IJ could not say Wernick had any comparable ability or experience in this critical area simply because she has none.

Jim Petray brings to the table substantial expertise unifying people to achieve a consensus to resolve issues for businesses and organizations of all sizes including public charities, trade associations, and private foundations. His specialties include tax planning, strategic business consulting and process development and improvement.

Wernick is under water when critical budget planning and funding issues are broached. Whereas Petray has proposed several innovative initiatives to improve the City’s financial dilemma, Wernick when asked could only reply “she would consult with whoever the city picks to be its new finance director on how the city could proceed”.

Apparently, Wernick does not know that according to Section 2.08 of the city Council Policy Manual “Councilmembers shall make their requests for information to the City Manager or City Clerk and not directly to individual members of the staff.” She clearly lacks an understanding of the duties of the position for which she is running.

How County Supervisor Arnold and the Special Interest Groups Plan to Silence and Control District 1 Residents

Wernick is just a nominal placeholder for the Novato political agenda of County Supervisor Judy Arnold. The reality is Jim Petray is running against “Squad Arnold” which includes County Supervisor Arnold, the Marin County Democrat Party chair Paul Cohen, the Novato Chamber of Commerce, the trade unions and the Marin IJ. Squad Arnold is part of the County politicians ongoing program to eradicate Non-Democrat Party endorsed local district candidates. This contradicts the basic concept of fair grass-roots democracy.

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Squad Arnold is dedicated to the elimination of independent district election influence in the City of Novato. Squad Arnold has a “tied” candidate in each Novato district race, i.e. Susan Wernick – District 1, Eric Lucan – District 3, and Amy Peele – District 5

The underhanded strategy being used to eliminate the importance of district elections is the Squad enters a single tied candidate in each race who has kissed the ring of the Marin Democrat Party Chair Paul Cohen. Then, the Squad overwhelms any opposing candidates with immense amounts out-of-district campaign funds, county union and special interests’ endorsements, massive signage, and numerous last minute repugnant slick hit-piece mailers full of innuendo and half-truths.

The Arnold and Paul Cohen Squad’s long-term aim is to intimidate potential independent candidates who have not been “chosen” by the County Democrat political machine. If successful, neighborhood grass-roots democracy is eliminated and is replaced with County level “back room” insider control of local elections and local governing policy. Corruption usually follows. Local policy decisions are made “over coffee” at the Marin County Civic Center in San Rafael.

             Judy Arnold

The danger to Novato lies in the ability of outside County-level politicians and their codependent special interest organizations to manipulate Novato’s City Council elections. In Novato there are two sitting Squad Arnold “tied” Councilmembers – Eric Lucan and Denise Athas.

If any two independent candidates win in the coming district elections (Petray, Hoch or Morrison), Arnold’s chokehold on City Council debate can potentially be eliminated making independent local influence much more likely. Independent Councilmember Pat Eklund with two newly elected independents would breathe much needed life into Council decisions greatly benefiting the residents of Novato rather than outsiders.

Wernick is a Just a Tool of Outsider County Politicians

Wernick is an unapologetic puppet of Squad Arnold. Wernick’s list of donors reads like a roll call of Marin County and Novato Democrat Club members, very few of which live in Novato District 1. Remember, this is supposed to be a local election for District 1 residents.

Between Wernick’s deep ties to the Marin County Democrat hierarchy and her joined-at-the-hip relationship with the Novato Chamber of Commerce there is no plausible pretense of independence – simply follow the smell of money. They (mostly outsiders) intend to be rewarded with a loyal sycophant of the County sitting on the Council.

Wernick is so over-funded she will outspend Jim Petray four to one. Her campaign consultant is Marin County Democrat Party Chair Paul Cohen who she has already paid $2,400 in “consulting fees” which is equivalent to half of Petray’s total campaign budget. Follow the money.

Contrary to the purpose of local District elections, Wernick is relying primarily on out-of-district funding and as of Sept 21st had spent $15,000 on her campaign as noted in her required legal disclosure. It’s obvious that outsiders are intent on buying District 1’s place on the council, with the inexperienced Wernick their chosen manikin.

In stark contrast, Jim Petray has spent $5,000 – all of it his own money. He refuses to accept donations to his campaign to avoid any perception of compromising his independence and dedication to integrity, and he refuses to match Wernick’s campaign spending even though he could easily do so.

Jim Petray is focused on what he can do for the residents of his district while rejecting out-of-district would-be influencers. This is exactly what District 1 deserves where locals make the decisions – not some politician sitting in the Civic Center in San Rafael or the Chair of a County political party.

Between Wernick’s Chamber of Commerce supporters and her Squad Arnold connection and out-of-district pay-for-play political favor seekers, she has become a bought and paid for candidate. She will continue to be a puppet of and indebted to Supervisor Arnold who can justifiably say “we out-of-district folks paid for this, and you owe us”.

A review of Wernick’s and Petray’s California Form 460’s substantiates the flow of money to the candidates’ campaign treasuries. These forms are posted on the City of Novato web site: It’s obvious that Wernick’s donors arrogantly consider the local Novato District 1 election to actually be a minor County election.

For some time, Susan Wernick has been a very divisive activist on Novato’s local political scene. This is exactly the opposite of what the City of Novato needs now and in the future. Her polarizing outsider-controlled presence on the Council will make a Council consensus impossible and create a confrontational atmosphere.

It has been common knowledge that Wernick has been positioning herself to run for a seat on the Council. Since she has relatively little of her own education and accomplishments, she instead refers to her parents’ political activities in Mill Valley with the inescapable impression she feels that their work qualifies her to do the same in Novato and that it is her destiny.

Wernick Supported Unwarranted “Kill the Messenger” Attacks on Councilmembers Who Were Shining Light Upon Potential Corruption in City Hall

Hard evidence of her unrestrained ambition to create a space for herself on the Novato Council was her very public and brutal negative comments and endorsement of personal attacks on Councilmembers Pam Drew and Pat Eklund for allegedly being “uncivil” when they pressed the Council to discuss  the on-going serious City finance and personnel issues simmering in City Hall.

A six-months long social-media driven “gaslighting” campaign was waged against Drew as a person, not the points she was presenting, orchestrated by Novato Democrat club spear-carriers Marla Fields and Susannah Nation. The relentless, calculating campaign became a disgraceful attempt to wrongfully and publicly humiliate fellow life-long Democrat Pam Drew.

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It was negative, divisive, and an obvious “kill the messenger” politically driven smear campaign to prevent the looming financial disaster at City Hall from becoming public knowledge before the next election. Susan Wernick publicly endorsed and participated in the attempted public shaming effort.

Wernick signed a petition that was presented to the City Council to censure and limit Councilmember Drew’s efforts to bring to Novato’s residents’ attention the deteriorating financial and personnel issues within City Hall. Councilmembers Lucan, Athas and Fryday defiantly refused to acknowledge there were problems.

“Loose Cannon” Wernick is Proven 100% Wrong – Dirty Campaign Tactics Backfire

Fortunately, concerned residents saw through the smoke and brought to the public’s attention available substantiating documentation of the serious ethical and operational problems Eklund and Drew were trying to get the Council to recognize and investigate.

Within a month the sketchy Candelario-appointed financial “consultants”, City Hall senior staff, and City Manager Candelario himself were on their way out. Councilmembers Lucan, Athas and Fryday were forced by mounting evidence to join sides with Drew and Eklund and take action to avoid being publicly embarrassed. The mess at city Hall proved to be extensive.

It will cost between $300,000 and $400,000 to bring City Hall’s operating level back up to normal and ethical standards. After the City Manager was fired it was obvious that the City finance group, being understaffed and overworked was on life support and about to implode.

Councilmembers Lucan, Athas and Fryday made the debacle possible though their passive, subservient and “uninvolved” approach to their civic duty as Councilmembers. Councilmembers Eklund and Drew were the only Councilmembers paying attention and they turned out to be right in their assessment. This should not be forgotten.

Wernick and her political accomplices, on the other hand, were 100% wrong. This too should not be forgotten.

Do not be swayed by glossy last-minute political hit piece mailers containing half-truths and unsupportable innuendoes coming from Wernick and Arnold’s outside backers trying to make you forget about Wernick’s failure to acknowledge significant ethical issues within City Hall. It is a frequently used and typical Arnold dirty campaign tactic.

Novato residents have been treated to the unsavory spectacle of Susan Wernick, an appointed Planning Commission member, publicly and aggressively attacking a sitting elected Councilmember who was sounding a valid alarm over City Hall’s existing problems. This is Wernick’s political modus operandi in a nutshell.

When there’s a political “hot potato”, such as when the over-the-counter cannabis sales came before the Planning Commission, Wernick affirms her lack of leadership skills by simply not attending. When the going got tough Wernick was nowhere to be found.

When Wernick sought the endorsement of the AFL-CIO union their response was a flaccid “The group ultimately decided to recommend her if not very enthusiastically” – not much of an endorsement. Jim Petray does not play the endorsement game and declined to fill out the union’s non-essential questionnaire. It is a County level special interest group attempting to insert itself into District 1’s local election.

Electing Jim Petray is the Only Way District 1 Can Have a Highly Competent, Independent, and Ethical Voice on the Council

Jim Petray is a true independent and ethical candidate who brings extensive experience and an analytical skill set very much needed by the City Council. He sits on the Boards of several non-profit public service organizations and has dedicated countless hours coaching and supporting youth programs in Novato. Petray has the necessary experience, intelligence, proven track record, and ethics that Novato desperately needs on the Council.

Voting for Jim Petray is a vote for District 1 residents and for building consensus to resolve issues, rather than the confrontation of the past. He is by far the most qualified candidate and is completely free of any Squad Arnold’s “strings attached” commitments.

Novato needs to elect Jim Petray to the City Council enabling him to protect and promote the unique interests of District 1’s neighborhoods and make Novato a better place for all. District 1 must independently assert its views.

Jim Petray clearly deserves your vote.

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