Allard, Houdesheldt get nod from Council

By: Brody Fernandez Of Gold Country Media
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It was a night of change and new faces as Roseville swore in new Mayor John Allard at Wednesday night’s council meeting.

City Council voted 3-2 in favor of the 12-year Roseville politician John Allard over current seated member Scott Alvord. The vote occurred after council unanimously appointed Bruce Houdesheldt to take over Bonnie Gore’s seat. Gore vacated her seat when she became a county supervisor last month.

By council appointing Houdesheldt, instead of spending money on a special election, that saved the city an estimated $100,000, according to a staff report. Houdesheldt will serve on the council until the next election in 2020.

Seven applications were received for consideration requesting appointment to the City Council to fill the vacancy, according to staff, which included Houdesheldt, Debra Jackson, David Larson, Tracy Mendonsa, Murial Moore, Scott Smith and Andrew Waldrop.

City Hall was packed Wednesday as mostly Houdesheldt and Larson supporters approached council before they appointed Houdesheldt. Many residents expressed frustration that council did not appoint Larson.

According to the Placer County Elections Office, Larson was runner-up in the last November election behind now seated Councilwomen Krista Bernasconi and Pauline Roccucci. Houdesheldt finished in fifth-place.

Multiple Roseville residents accused the council of disregarding the “voice of the people” for not appointing Larson. Others accused the council for already having their mind made up to appoint Houdesheldt, regardless of the other six candidates.

Roseville Vice-Mayor Krista Bernasconi assured the audience that no such Brown Act violation or pre-determination of a single candidate took place.  

Councilman Alvord also addressed concerns that the process was not fair to Larson.

“I know we have been absolutely inundated with emails and calls about this appointment. I very carefully read all of the applications. In regards to Mr. Larson finishing in third-place, we had nearly 25,000 votes for Krista (Bernasconi) in that election and nearly 20,000 votes for second (Pauline Roccucci),” Alvord said. “There was a huge drop-off mathematically from there, including the third highest vote-getter with (Larson) at 13,000. I just want to point this out, it wasn’t even close.”

Houdesheldt shared that he was grateful and thankful to council for unanimously appointing him to council.

“I am honored to be here with each of you,” Houdesheldt said. “We are united with love for this city. We will work hard to advance Roseville and address the issues we as a city are facing.”

Larson thanked those residents supporting him as a candidate.  

Houdesheldt received many endorsements that night, including some from former longtime Roseville City councilman Tim Herman.

“I’ve come here tonight in support of Bruce (Houdesheldt) He is one of the most ready persons that has come before this council for appointment,” Herman said. “Whether it comes to land planning, water issues or government affairs, Bruce is the best choice.”

Houdesheldt also received a warm reception from former Roseville Fire Captain George Titus.

“Last year in the November election we supported three candidates,” Titus said, “two of which are currently seated on council (Bernasconi and Roccucci). I want to let everyone know here tonight that the third member we supported in that election was Mr. Bruce Houdesheldt.”


Roseville’s new mayor

Councilwoman Roccucci bowed out of the mayor’s race before the vote was taken.

“I want to thank the people of Roseville for voting for me in the recent election,” Roccucci said. “As you see, there’s five people on our council. I was very fortunate to  serve Roseville twice as mayor. While it would be an honor to serve again, I felt it should be another's opportunity this time around. They (Alvord and Allard) would both would make very good mayors. If it were up to me, I’d have them split the time one year a piece.”

After being sworn in, Allard discussed the issues facing Roseville.

“I want to help our city secure the regional transportation services we so desperately need,” Allard said.

He also wants to ensure the ½ sales tax (Measure B) goes to the designated departments and areas where originally designated.

“I want to work with the county in order to keep working on addressing homelessness,” Allard said.

“There are many challenges with Roseville and we need to come together to and work well as a council  to address those challenges,” Allard said. “I want to thank the community for this opportunity and my loving wife, Lisa, for the tremendous support she has given me over these years. She is a strong  supportive spouse. I will do my very best and we will work on issues as a team.”


Other council news

Last year, Roseville-based manufacturing company TSI Semiconductors announced a workforce reduction of nearly 50 percent of its total workforce (240 employees) to take effect this month, according to TSI spokesman Scott Olsen.   

The company now approached the city of Roseville for financial assistance.

The only other agenda item at Wednesday’s council meeting was unanimously approved by council. It is an agreement to stabilize TSI Semiconductors’ future revenues and reduce the risk of needing to raise rates on other customers if the company ceased operations, according to a staff report. The term of the agreement began Wednesday night with approval through Feb. 5, 2021.

According to staff, the key obligations of the proposed agreement between the city and TSI Semiconductors include:

TSI agrees to:

  • receive electricity only from the city

  • provide load forecasts to the city

  • coordinate future energy efficiency projects with the city

  • participate in peak load reduction programs with the city

  • partner with the city to reduce energy demand during grid emergencies.

The city of Roseville agrees to:

  • provide a 15-percent discount on customer’s energy charges in the first year of the agreement

  • provide a 7.5-percent discount on customer’s energy charges in the second year of the agreement.  

According to a staff report, the city of Roseville’s Electric Utility has worked closely with its large energy-consuming customers to design future infrastructure.

Since 2000, the city has regularly entered into similar energy services agreements with NEC, Telefunken and the local school districts. One large customer that has a long partnership with the city but has not previously entered into an energy services agreement is TSI Semiconductors America LLC,  according to staff.

The agreement’s fiscal impact will result in the city of Roseville saving an estimated $1.4 million over the next three years with the revenue in utility reduction, according to a staff report.

TSI Semiconductors CEO Bruce Gray gave public comment over the decision.

“Frankly, we’ve had a very difficult situation over at TSI,” Gray said. “Our major customer suddenly and almost in violation of certain agreements cut off their manufacturing demand with us very quickly. It resulted in a reduction of our headcount of almost 50 percent. That was quite difficult and very brutal.”

If the company did not receive some type of support from the city, Gray said, the consequences would be dire.

“At that time, we really needed help to remain a functional and viable business unit. Between that time (City Manager) Dominick Casey and staff worked extremely hard to basically give us this opportunity. For the city to provide us with a little more runway,” Gray said. “We’ve hit the bottom hard. We just need a little bit of a cushion to soften the blow. We think we can do that this year and get back into growth next year.”