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Saturday, June 25, 2022

Novato City Council veteran will not seek re-election

After nearly 12 years on the Novato City Council, Denise Athes says she will not run for re-election in November.

Athas, who was elected in 2009, said she decided to leave her fourth term to spend more time with her husband, George Athes, with whom she runs a downtown real estate business.

“He has been extremely patient with me being very generous with my time and it is time for us to start doing other things,” Athas said. “We still have our brokerage and we are not retiring from real estate. We will always be engaged in the city. It’s just our nature. Now is the time to pass the torch.”

Prior to joining the council, Athas was a board member at the Novato Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Novato Business Association. On the city council, Athas served as mayor – a position each year among council members – in 2012, 2017 and 2020.

The departure of Athos would prompt a race for the District 2 seat, representing Novato South, northwest of Novato Boulevard.

Pat Eklund is the only remaining council member who served when Athas joined in 2009. Eklund said she was disappointed to hear that Athas was leaving.

“He added a lot of value to the council and I will miss him,” Eklund said.

Eklund’s seat in District 4, representing southwest Novato, is also in play for the November election. Eklund, a former US Army Corps of Engineers and US Environmental Protection Agency employee, has been on the council since 1995 and will seek a seventh full term.

“I really stand up for the people and I believe that’s what elected officials should be doing, really standing up for the city’s defense and making sure the city continues to grow,” Eklund said. .

The District 5 seat representing southeastern Novato will also be up for election in November. The council appointed Mark Milberg to serve in the seat until November 2022, following Amy Peele’s decision to step down from the council in 2021.

Another vacancy on the council could open up if Mayor Eric Lucan, who represents District 3 in the downtown area, is elected to the Marin County Board of Supervisors this year. In that event, the Council may choose a replacement or hold a special election.

Athos was elected as part of the first all-female city council in Marin County history and the second all-female council in California history.

“We’ve always been more inclined towards women,” Athas said. “Right now it’s probably the most balanced. But a historic moment and it was really a thrill to be a part of it all.”

While Athas said his experience working with the city’s business organizations played a part in his running for public office, the decision was strengthened after his mother’s death in April 2009. There was a convalescent hospital in the city at the time and Athas said he decided instead to hire a 24-hour caregiver to look after his mother.

“It was a promise to my mom that I wanted to make sure we had a place for seniors where seniors could age and they don’t have to move somewhere or another city to take care of them.” need and move away from them. Your hometowns,” Athas said. “I think my biggest achievement, 13 years later, is the fact that we have people living in Oakmont in Novato and Elegance in Novato and There are many other opportunities for seniors.”

Athas also joined the council at a time when local governments were feeling the stress of the Great Recession. Novato faced a major shortage and laid off employees. A decade later, the city faced another crisis from the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in layoffs for the first time since the recession.

Athas said the struggles of the pandemic were not a factor in his decision to leave the council, but added that it led to a change in his priorities. Athes stated that his city duties and many other commitments, such as those of the League of California Cities, have always taken precedence.

“You start to see who knows how many years are left, and I want to make sure George and I hit some of our bucket lists that we’ve been putting off for a long, long time,” Athas said. Told.

World Nation News Desk
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