Toni Shroyer’s campaign is being enthusiastically embraced by large numbers of Novato residents who feel abandoned by Novato’s current District 5 twelve-year incumbent Judy Arnold whose political ties have, to the detriment of Novato, become overly cozy with the special interests of the three southern Marin supervisors.
During Board of Supervisor deliberations, Novato’s residents’ political interests are taken for granted as being identical to those of southern Marin. Novato is definitely different from other parts of Marin County and deserves a distinct voice during deliberations. This has not happened for 10 years with the passive, acquiescent Arnold.
Candidate Shroyer again faces a tough battle and looks to overcome a close 255 vote deficit from the end of the 2014 District 5 campaign that saw Arnold barely hanging on to a win.
Many district voters are hoping for a fresh new approach to the substantial financial issues facing Novato residents who have grown weary of Arnold and the rest of the current County Board of Supervisors whose “kick the can down the road” financial practices are negatively affecting Novato’s quality of life. Once again, Novato’s residents are facing a tsunami of new regressive tax proposals, increased tolls, and fees that continue to drain residents’ checking accounts. It never seems to stop.
New taxes and government spending are increasing faster than the taxpayer’s income, sadly eroding quality of life here in Novato. Residents are understandably concerned and defensive as governmental agencies appear to consider them an ATM machine for the agencies’ incessant demands for ever-increasing amounts of money despite the fact tax collections are outpacing wage increases.
UCLA graduate Shroyer recognizes the current and future consequences to Novato residents and their children, who are and will continue to be saddled with paying for today’s unsound financial choices if something doesn’t soon change. These unnecessary and continually increasing financial demands make it almost impossible for you, your children and your aging parents to live in the community in which they grew up or want to retire. Novato is becoming less affordable for all of us.
Shroyer, a very successful real estate agent, meets daily with stressed Novato residents facing a major economic decision as they contemplate purchasing another home in Novato or having to sell and move away.
The myth of contented families living in Novato is shattered. Shroyer witnesses families sadly selling their homes and leaving Novato because they can no longer afford to live here. Shroyer’s work places her on the ground where the rubber meets the road when those decisions are made. Increasingly, that road leads out of Novato and California. Arnold has neglected to recognize this problem and has failed do anything about it. In fact, she has only contributed to making the problem worse by promoting numerous new unnecessary taxes on us all.
Shroyer has the natural ability to easily meet and quickly establish a meaningful relationship with people she has never met before. This contrasts with Arnold who has always worked as an insider political staffer relating to people primarily in groups on a political basis trading favors rather than developing meaningful relationships with engaged individual members of the community at large.
Shroyer, the effervescent, enthusiastic, and always-in-motion working mom with two young children, more accurately reflects the typical Novato household. Arnold will be 78 in July and decades past having to deal with the challenges of raising children and ensuring the best for them.
Arnold’s elitist approach is validated by her having few friends in the very neighborhood in which she lives. For years she refused to contribute her small share of the annual neighborhood private road maintenance fee, making her unpopular with the overwhelming majority of her neighbors. Nor has she participated in her own neighborhood annual meetings, clean-ups or socials. Only after being publicly outed during her last campaign did she finally agree to begin paying her fair share of the maintenance cost for the road she uses every day. She is an outsider even in her own neighborhood.
Contrast that with the grounded and locally popular Shroyer, who takes care of her mother living in an adjoining area of their home. Shroyer is reminded daily of the concerns and challenges Novato’s senior citizens face, and consequently she is a strong advocate of in-law units. And, rather than talk endlessly about how to provide these units, in true Shroyer fashion, she just did it. Her mother is happy and so is Toni and her family. Shroyer knows how to get the important things done.
Some might ask why Shroyer hasn’t acquired her political experience by first running for a seat on the Novato City Council. The fact is she would like to do just and has the broad and enthusiastic support of the community, but she lives in an unincorporated area of Novato, making her ineligible to serve on the City Council.
However, this has not deterred Toni from gaining extensive experience at the City and State level. For three years she put pressure on the State and the City of Novato to clean up the criminal mess at the huge non-profit Wyndover Apartments complex on Diablo Ave. After three years of effort she forced the much-needed changes providing Novato residents with a very positive outcome. We have Shroyer to thank for that.
Using her own money, Shroyer singlehandedly purchased copies of Novato police activity logs and reports that substantiated her charges of extremely high levels of criminal activity on the non-profit owned Wyndover property. When the police documents became public knowledge, the Novato Police department was forced to publicly admit there was a major crime problem there.
The Novato City Staff, under the iron-fisted dictatorial rule of City Manager Michael Frank starting in 2009 continued to deny a serious problem existed. The City Council feigned interest but did nothing despite repeated appeals by Shroyer at City Council meetings. Keep in mind that a majority of the Council had/has close political ties to Arnold, who played a part enabling the Wyndover Apartment complex to be built. Arnold loyalist on the City Council did not want to allow support for a possible future Arnold opponent such as Shroyer who has a history of a successful public interest projects.
Consequently, in 2011 Shroyer publicly called out the sitting Novato City Council and City Manager Frank for their lack of accountability in a searing article she wrote which was printed in the Novato Advance.
Shroyer is for safe low-income housing and affordable housing, but against crime wherever it is, especially when that crime affects the children of residents living in low income and/or affordable housing.
Fairfield Wyndover LP, owners of Wyndover Apartments, operates as a non-profit business. As such it does not pay any property or school taxes. The only tax Wyndover’s owners pay is to the Novato Sanitary District ($19,538/year in 2017) representing 95% of their tax liability. Novato’s taxpayers subsidize all other City service Wyndover uses. The Wyndover Apartment complex was built using State of California bonds issued in 2004 by the California Statewide Communities Development Authority (CSCDA) specifically for building high density housing for low-income residents.
Undeterred by the Novato’s City government’s lack of action, a determined Shroyer went to the CSCDA State Housing Authority with the facts – the Novato police records. The State Housing Authority readily agreed there was a major crime problem and threated Wyndover’s owners with loss of their operating permit as a non-profit business and loss of related tax breaks.
The chastened non-profit absentee owners in San Diego grudgingly agreed to implement a “best practices” program that with coordination and support by the Novato Police Department saw criminal activity plummet. Life at Wyndover became more normal. Shroyer’s concerns and her healthy energetic action resulted in a very positive outcome for all of Novato and in particular the fearful residents living inside the Wyndover complex. Novato wants and needs more of Shroyer’s positive energy and drive.
As expected in the world of politics, the very people politically aligned with Judy Arnold who studiously ignored the seriousness of the situation at Wyndover, immediately began giving each other credit for the positive change for which they did little, if anything. No official or public mention of Shroyer’s primary and fundamental role in the reversal of the Wyndover situation was allowed by the local political establishment. They publicly misrepresented how things were done and who did them, shamelessly taking credit for Shroyer’s tireless work and success on behalf of all Novato residents.
Shroyer provided the irrefutable evidence – the police logs (and her receipts for purchase) that cracked the code of silence of the entrenched political establishment determined to protect its reputation at the expense of the law-abiding residents living in fear inside the Wyndover Apartment complex.
Shroyer proved she could deliver despite the calculated indifference and adversarial attitude maintained by Arnold’s political interests and that of Arnold cohorts on the Novato City Council who did not want Shroyer’s success to be publicly recognized.
Despite the Novato Police Department’s slow initial response to the Wyndover Apartments situation, Shroyer continued to work successfully for donations to fund the Novato Police Department’s canine patrol which was facing possible extinction because the City cut back the program’s funding. The canine unit is a critical part of the police department as it greatly reduces an officer’s exposure to harm in many dangerous situations. The full staffing of the canine patrol was high on Shroyer’s priority list, but not in City Manager Frank’s budget. An adequately manned and equipped police force is an essential part of that on-going effort.
Shroyer has studiously avoided the negative campaign tactics so characteristic of Arnold and Arnold’s close inner circle of ethically challenged supporters, who were very much in evidence at the end of the previous campaign. Arnold supporters publicly attacked, on a personal level, Shroyer’s family with totally manufactured derogatory statements regarding her, her husband and small children. Attacks on a candidate’s family and especially their innocent children are universally condemned as unethical and unacceptable at all levels of the political spectrum.
For four years, Arnold remained silent and deliberately failed to publicly denounce this despicable last-minute pro-Arnold campaign video featuring Arnold’s supporters (including her personal political acolyte, the then recently resigned Novato City Manager Michael Frank) and its maliciously false footnotes. In many voters’ eyes this deafening silence summed up Arnold’s lack of ethics and compassion. Is this what we want for Novato? I don’t think so.
Shroyer has proven she can get positive change accomplished at the local and State level. Additionally, she does not accept campaign donations from any special interest groups and the attached strings that come with them. This contrasts markedly with Arnold who openly accepts big money donations from in-district and out-of-district special interest groups expecting a pay back.
Shroyer is Novato. She’s friendly, effective, energetic and accessible. She’s intelligent and recognizes that good government and common sense can go hand in hand. Some would have us believe that good government is like rocket science and that extensive experience in rocket science is required. Absolutely not. In fact, quite the opposite is typically true.
Effective government is using common sense to meet the needs of the community within an always-limited budget, and to do the best that can be prudently and responsibly done. In Novato this is most successfully accomplished by someone who is constantly on the ground walking among Novato’s residents going about their daily lives – not cloistered in wood paneled chambers like Arnold, with two personal staff aides at her beck and call.
Novato desperately needs to send a new representative to the Board of Supervisors, free of the tentacles of donated campaign funds by vested and special interest groups working against the best interests of Novato. Steadfastly, Shroyer refuses to accept money from such groups. She depends upon small donations. Arnold, on the other hand, accepts large special interest donations to an embarrassing extent. It’s no secret that special and vested interest groups donate money with the expectation of getting something in return.
Frequently, Arnold is faced with conflicts of interest between those of her special interest donors and those in the best interest of Novato residents. Guess who wins. Shroyer avoids this situation by refusing any special interest donations and remaining free of any implied obligations. She is free to do what is best for Novato.
Toni Shroyer is a disrupter to the insulated sanctuary of the political establishment and its co-dependent pay-to-play special interests. With Shroyer as the District 5 Supervisor, Novato’s unique interests will actually be represented for the first time in a long while. As the second largest city in the county with its own distinct aspirations and expectations, Novato will assuredly, with Toni Shroyer as District 5 Supervisor, once again take its seat the Board of Supervisor’s table where Novato’s interests will no longer be suppressed because of a submissive representative whose primary motivation is trading favors for personal gain.
For 12 long years Judy Arnold has (under)represented Novato during which time the tax burden on families has steadily increased and the proportion of middle-income families has steadily decreased. Now is the time to make a critical and much-needed change by introducing to the Board of Supervisors fresh pro-Novato ideas mixed with common sense from the working family’s perspective.
Big money donors should no longer be allowed to control what happens in Novato. The present situation sorely needs to be turned around. Toni Shroyer is exactly the person we need to make this happen for Novato.
Toni Shroyer for Supervisor!
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