Op-Ed: Council Candidates Act as if Nothing Has Changed

Pam Drew, chair of Novato Community Alliance and a former member of the City Manager’s Housing Ad Hoc Working Group, says the city's neighborhoods need to unite.

Novato neighborhoods have gotten a lot of bad press over the past 16 months, first for simply reacting to an ill-designed outside-sourced plan for a large low-income housing development on the west side of town, and second for attempting a plan with dispersed locations. Clearly the neighborhoods can no longer function effectively going it alone.

The state has exacted a new price of commercial development from cities by forcing them to zone significant portions of their land for low-income housing and to reduce the emissions of the new commercial and housing developments. Over the current cycle of city general plan updates (2007-2013), Novato failed to collect enough from the developers and last year made a Hail Mary pass of the bill directly to the neighborhoods — one neighborhood in particular. Unless the council-to-be changes course, the same problem will recur in the next housing cycle. 

Growth in retail, housing or jobs now brings increased housing quotas and the mandate for emissions reductions on the towns that allow it. Local political races continue as if nothing has changed.

We are grappling with the forced residential integration of medium- and high-end housing with low-income housing, on a county-by-county basis, through state mandate with regional execution of the plan. Although the rich may continue to commute, our regional government's growth plan, called One Bay Area, says an increasing number of the poor must be housed near where they work regardless of the cost of the subsidy.

The environmental cost of building low-income housing is being swapped for the environmental benefit from theoretically reduced commuting by those who live in subsidized housing closer to work or in transit-oriented developments. We are also trying to figure out how to pay for it.

Even though Novato already has the most economic integration of housing of any town in Marin, there is no end to the state's required growth process. Essentially the state says that since we grew over the past decade we must continue to grow, but our council hasn't realized that you can't grow your way out of a deficit anymore.

All of our Novato neighborhoods need to come together so that our energy can be put to better use to improve our town. The neighborhoods need to speak in a united way so that Novato City Council candidates by the (Jeanne MacLeamy, Madeline Kellner and Eric Lucan) will support the need for commercial linkage fees and housing elements for commercial developments.

What's the chance the chamber will say we should increase the costs of development by forcing developers to shoulder some of the resulting housing and emission mitigation costs to the city? If the chamber doesn't say this (and it hasn't), the citizens should consider no longer ceding the council to the chamber. We ought to consider voting for an independent.

“What's good for business is good for America” has changed.  Novato neighborhoods need one or more seats on the council to make it like it should be: "Everyone including commerce must pay their fair share of new state mandates up front. Big business shall not overshadow small business. And the neighborhoods count."


What’s different about Novato politics these days? To explore this question, join us for Council Candidates Night, Monday, Oct. 17 at the banquet room. You are welcome if you are a Novato resident or live within her urban growth boundary. Brent Ainsworth of Novato Patch is moderating the event, which begins at 7:30 p.m. A $5 donation is suggested. Novato Community Alliance is sponsoring. If you have questions for the candidates, add them to the bottom of.

Steven Norwin October 16, 2011 at 10:36 PM
Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr October 17, 2011 at 02:04 AM
Good, that means that we can split the legal expense of fighting COG/ABAG with Irvine, or get Sacramento to disband COG/ABAG.
Gomer October 17, 2011 at 03:34 AM
Game, set, match..... http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-e-verify-20111017,0,5139224.story
Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr October 17, 2011 at 05:06 AM
Wrong. I have not yet begun to fight. Assemblyman Fong stated that the E-Verify system should be banned until it can be "fixed up". He lies. With 99% first response accuracy, and 90% of false negatives due to women who married and forgot to advise Social Security of their name change, E-Verify is the most accurate federal system. Fong and the other Brown-outs have amended California laws so that any law that adversely affected illegal aliens has been eliminated. The Brown-outs have achieved Amnesty in California without the adverse publicity it has received at the national level. A legal citizen? You had better get used to sitting at the back of the bus, because you are now second class. Will the Brown-outs make bank robbery by illegal aliens not a crime because they were just trying to better themselves? You may feel immune, but you will feel it when an illegal alien does something that bites you in the buttocks. Call La Raza, because the police have been handcuffed. Vote! Or you deserve what you get.
Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr October 26, 2011 at 09:39 PM
I have been accused of being a "racist", in this column, I wrote a Letter to the Editor of Novato Patch clarifying my position on race, and the editor declined to print it. The editor wrote: "We'd like our site to be the forum for civil discussion and productive changes of ideas." Out of respect for the First Amendment rights of Freedom of Press, I am not going to try to sneak that letter into comments, However, I have to reiterate the recent court argument of Michael Richards that only Caucasians can be called "racists". Racist acts and words by non-Caucasians are immune. Why?


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