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Novato City Councilmember Steps Down Citing Mental Health Toll Of Pandemic

Flickr / Creative Commons

Novato City Councilmember Amy Peele announced her resignation at the council's Tuesday meeting. She cited the mental health toll of serving as a local elected official during the pandemic.

Peele was elected to represent parts of southern Novato in November 2019 after retiring from working as a registered nurse and director of organ transplantation at UC San Francisco.

She said during the Tuesday meeting that during her tenure, COVID-19 restrictions hindered her ability to work collaboratively with other councilmembers and community members, limiting how often they could meet in person in and outside of council meetings.

Peele cited backlash to one of the city's initiatives to address homelessness by banning day camping in the city, investing in a local nonprofit, and eventually setting up interim housing for homeless individuals. The plan was met with anger from some homeless residents and a temporary injunction from a district court.

She said community members’ "constant name-calling, vitriol, shaming and toxic comments and emails" also contributed to her decision to step down.

The council will discuss options to fill the vacancy at their September 28 meeting.

Ben joined KALW in 2004. As Executive News Editor and then News Director, he helped the news department win numerous regional and national awards for long- and short-form journalism. He also helped teach hundreds of audio producers, many of whom work with him at KALW, today.