Candidates agree: more jobs, businesses needed in Roseville

City Council candidates talk local economy, job creation during forum Tuesday
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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Jobs and the local economy dominated the discussion during a forum Tuesday for candidates running for Roseville City Council. The phrase “Roseville is open for business” was spoken by most, if not all, of the candidates at some point in the evening. Neil Pople, Sam Cannon, David Larson, Tim Herman, David Brown and Susan Rohan are running for City Council. These six candidates are vying for two open seats. The election takes place Nov. 2. About 40 people attended the forum at the Martha Riley Library, which the Roseville Coalition of Neighborhood Associations sponsored. Kathy Souza, president of the Placer County League of Women Voters, moderated. Candidates responded to 15 questions submitted by the audience, which focused primarily on ways to create new jobs, build the local economy, promote community and alleviate traffic congestion. Souza first asked the candidates to explain the No. 1 item on their agenda. “That’s an easy one, jobs,” Pople said. Pople said Roseville already has one of the lowest tax rates in the region and now the goal should shift to advocating for the establishment of another anchor company. Cannon said he would work to incentivize large companies to locate here. He expressed concern with the high number of vacant commercial spaces. He said, if elected, he’d try to develop a Strategic Jobs Task Force to recruit new companies. Larson, acknowledging that he sounded “redundant,” said his top priority would be jobs and the economy. He said he’d work with the city’s new Economic Development Department to give the city a competitive edge in bringing green technology companies here. “We need to look at emerging technologies that are coming out of the gate and going to be around for a long time,” Larson said. Herman took a slightly different approach and said he would ensure the city continues to offer quality core services, so when the economy recovers, employers and developers seek out Roseville as an ideal place to do business. Throughout the evening, all six candidates voiced their support of the Drexel University proposal to build a campus west of Roseville. Herman mentioned his support of the proposal several times and said the university would create jobs by employing construction workers and professors. Brown said he wants to create a better business environment by encouraging the city to reduce fees and regulations. Rohan said her main goal is to diversify the economy, and she used the two local hospitals as an example of anchor institutions that offer long-term, high-paying jobs. She also said city staff should streamline the process for new businesses. When asked how the candidates would keep the budget fiscally sound, Herman, Brown, Pople and Cannon said the city must work on reforming its pension and health benefit plans for employees. Rohan said she would work to cut non-essentials, while protecting core services. Larson said he would ask city staff to “think outside the box” and develop revenue-generating ideas, such as the Pay–to-Stay program at the City Jail. The candidates showed some differences when asked what they consider Roseville’s main environmental issue and how they would address the problem. Pople said he’d work to preserve open space and native species. Cannon wants improved transportation infrastructure to decrease greenhouse-gas emissions from vehicles. Larson said he’d ensure the protection of local water quality and supplies. Herman said poor air quality concerns him and he’d like more commuter buses to Sacramento and a neighborhood electric vehicle ordinance for Sun City residents. Brown said over-regulation is the biggest problem. “I am not that concerned about the global warming hysteria,” Brown said. “I think our No. 1 environmental problem is the (California Air Resources Board).” This board is charged with implementing the state’s Global Warming Solutions Act. Rohan agreed that tough environmental regulations pose a challenge and the city must figure out practical ways to comply so as not to deter business. After the forum, attendee Henry Gonzalez said he is preparing to move from Sacramento to Roseville and wanted to learn more about local leadership. “Some of the people seemed scripted and some seemed selfish,” Gonzalez said. “I liked Neil Pople. I think he was personable (and) he seemed very passionate.” Roseville resident Alexis Winter said she was impressed with the candidates but one stood out. “I thought David Larson was rather good,” she said. Sena Christian can be reached at ---------- The Roseville City Council candidate forum will be broadcast on Comcast Channel 18 and Surewest Channel 77 prior to the Nov. 2 election: 9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 16 Noon and 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 19 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. Monday, Sept. 20 10 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 21 10 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 22 9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 23 Noon and 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 26 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. Monday, Sept. 27 10 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 29 10 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 29 9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 30