Progressives to hold election forum

Pesticide use, green energy on agenda Sept. 17

Tim Omarzu

The five candidates vying for two seats up for grabs on the Novato City Council will have the opportunity to share their views at an election forum held by three progressive groups from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17, at the Novato Unified School District’s administration building at 1015 Seventh Street.

Sustainable Novato, the Novato Housing Coalition and Greenbelt Alliance will hold what their members say is a candidates’ forum with a “new format” to get “real answers” from the council hopefuls: incumbent council woman Pat Eklund, and challengers Denise Athas, John Coleman, Eric Lucan and Eleanor Sluis.

“We’ve noticed at past forums that candidates use a lot of buzzwords they think the audience wants to hear, like `improve the economy,’ or `maintain our small-town character,'” Whitney Merchant, Marin Field Representative for Greenbelt Alliance, said in a statement. “It isn’t until they are elected and making key decisions that we really find out where they stand on important issues.”

Organizers sent candidates a list of six questions accompanied by information about where the forum organizers stand on issues.

For example, one of the questions is: “Environmental toxins are insinuating themselves into our everyday lives, and even minute quantities in multiple combinations are biologically damaging. Should Novato enact an Integrated Pest Management Ordinance, similar to the County’s, to help reduce our exposures to herbicides and pesticides?”

The followup information provided to council candidates states that common pesticide formulations such as Roundup contain endocrine disruptors as part of their “inert” ingredients.

The forum organizers note that Marin County just approved a revised integrated pest management ordinance that seeks to use the least toxic methods of pest control possible to solve a problem, and that Novato has no such ordinance.

The information provided to candidates also encourages them to support the construction of affordable housing on North Redwood Boulevard as that’s redeveloped and for Novato to participate in the county’s Marin Clean Energy program that would take the place of electricity provided by PG&E.

“We want to ensure candidates understand the issues that matter most to our members and allow the public to understand how candidates feel about the issues prior to the election,” said Katie Crecelius, president of the Novato Housing Coalition.

The forum will be broadcast live on Novato Public Access Television.

This article was published in the Navato Advance, a Marin Scope community newspaper. Link to original article

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