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Candidates share how they would lead city

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The Press Tribune asked the six candidates running for two seats on the Roseville City Council to answer questions on leadership, growth and wasteful spending, including the $390,000 buyout of former city manager Craig Robinson's contract late last year. The following are their answers. ~ Michelle Carl, editor

 

David Brown

Age: 41

Occupation: Small business owner

 

1. What experience can you bring to the council and how would your leadership style benefit residents?

Small business owner for over 10 years. 

The city has to provide fiduciary responsibility of the people’s money.

My Philosophy “The Bigger the Government the smaller the Citizen” will always point Roseville in the proper direction.

I hold people accountable for their actions.

 

2. What would you do to lure businesses and jobs to Roseville?

Incentives (fee, and tax reductions). It costs money to move a business. Roseville is going to have to assist these businesses with these costs.

Reduce the fees and taxes that businesses have to pay. Give them a reason to show up in Roseville.

Allow business owners to keep more of their hard earned money, so they can use it for growth which creates more jobs.

 

3. As city revenues decline, what ideas do you have to save money and generate income for the city?

Reduce costs the city incurs. The prime area will be the city employees and services. There has to be cuts. The current employee benefits packages are unsustainable.

The primary area I would initially focus on would be to create salary and benefit packages that are more in line with what a citizen would be offered by a private employer.

If more cuts are required they would come from services the city provides.

 

4. Where and how should future development occur in Roseville?

Ideally it would be with the Drexel University campus, that has already been approved.

We are not going to go through a housing boom any time soon. Roseville needs to focus on the development of businesses over the next few years.

 

5. The current council voted to terminate former City Manager Craig Robinson with a severance package of $390,000. What did you think of that decision and what would you do to prevent taxpayers’ money from being spent unwisely?

This is ridiculous and I am appalled by the blatant disregard for the citizen’s money.

This type of situation is one of the main motivators for me to run for city council. There is no common sense in what the government is doing when it comes to benefits and wages. 

I will not vote for anything like this ever.

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Sam Cannon

Age: 43

Occupation: Chief of staff for Assemblyman Paul Cook

 

1. What experience can you bring to the council and how would your leadership style benefit residents?

I want to focus on economic recovery and job creation — and we achieve this by focusing on funding essential city services like public safety and work toward eliminating costly red tape when it comes to luring businesses to locate in Roseville. I have served the past 10 years as a community volunteer with service on many Roseville commissions, including: Planning, Utilities, Growth Management and Visioning, and Downtown Revitilization.

 

2 . What would you do to lure businesses and jobs to Roseville? 

I would continue to emphasize job restoration and creation in concert with the city manager and key employees on a “strategic job development task force.” To be most effective, Roseville needs to have a competitive advantage with regionally lower utility costs. We do that by better planning for and projecting utility costs so that Roseville is a premier location to attract new business.

 

3 . As city revenues decline, what ideas do you have to save money and generate income for the city?

One of the very best approaches is to engage the existing employees with a bonus program for coming up with effective ideas to bring about savings. We no longer have the luxury of a boom-economy and we must make difficult decisions accordingly to best manage within our means. We also need to lower costs associated with permits to encourage more investment in Roseville projects.

 

4 . Where and how should future development occur in Roseville?

Roseville has done an excellent job in planning and managing growth via the specific plan process. Paying for necessary infrastructure improvements as development occurs in the West and Sierra Specific Plans, for example. One of the things I called for early on in my role as a Planning Commissioner was for an expansion in the sphere of influence west of Roseville, so that the city could ultimately best decide how and when development occurs.

 

5 . The current council voted to terminate former City Manager Craig Robinson with a severance package of $390,000. What did you think of that decision and what would you do to prevent taxpayers’ money from being spent unwisely?

That is a difficult topic that I did not have the benefit of being able to vote one way or the other. What I do recognize is as we struggle economically, we need to make sure that the city residents get the most “bang for their buck” with city funds especially in an era of cuts. I will work to make sure we are effective as a team in the most transparent manner we can.

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Tim Herman

Age: 49

Occupation: CEO, Personalized Dental Care

 

1. What experience can you bring to the council and how would your leadership style benefit residents?

I have varied experiences from volunteering in our schools, with youth sports, as a Parks and Recreation Commissioner, being president of the Roseville Chamber of Commerce, and running my own business. Unlike most people who have ever served on the council I understand what it means to make a payroll and to be responsible to my employees, who depend on me to make the right decisions that affect them and their families.

 

2. What would you do to lure businesses and jobs to Roseville?

Roseville is in the process of streamlining unnecessary impediments to doing business and I will encourage our staff to continue this process. We have an exceptional quality of life and prospective employers need to know there employees will be happy. I will work to get Drexel University to build on the land that was donated to them. In the downtown area possibly some public private partnerships to stimulate the revitalization of our city core.

 

3. As city revenues decline, what ideas do you have to save money and generate income for the city?

We need to focus on maintaining our core services. We need to use modern technology to be the most efficient in delivering these services. We have to be able to say no to funding and staff requests. We have a great retail base and we need to work to diversify that base by being open to new ideas, green technology, universities, and increased medical center campuses.

 

4. Where and how should future development occur in Roseville?

Future development should happen in both new and old areas of town. Our city has used the specific plan process, which has been successful in creating very livable neighborhoods. We should continue to use this process whether in green field or infill growth.

 

5. The current council voted to terminate former City Manager Craig Robinson with a severance package of $390,000. What did you think of that decision and what would you do to prevent taxpayers’ money from being spent unwisely?

The problem was not with the council deciding not to renew the manager’s contract and therefore having to pay him the large severance package. The problem was the contract the City Manager was given. Since I have experience in running a business I know that when you decide to not renew a contract you need to have that employee leave.

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David Larson

Age: 46

Occupation: Farmers Insurance Agent

 

1. What experience can you bring to the council and how would your leadership style benefit residents?

More than ever, it is critical that those running for office bring not only experience but also effective leadership and communication skills. As a successful Roseville business owner, an involved community member, and a current Planning Commissioner, I have a proven track record of listening to all sides of an issue, finding creative, inclusive solutions, and building common ground. People are hungry for fresh thinking and accountability. I will bring these qualities to City Hall.

 

2. What would you do to lure businesses and jobs to Roseville?

Marketing our resources in Roseville to attract employers is my priority. Roseville offers great schools, excellent medical providers, competitive utility costs, attractive parks and open space and regional retail shopping. We need to both save city jobs and recruit large domestic and/or international Head Quarters to be established in Roseville. I will work effectively with staff members who make up the Economic Development Team. Working together, we will bring new employers to Roseville. 

 

3. As city revenues decline, what ideas do you have to save money and generate income for the city?

The expenses of our city services need to be examined periodically to assure the most cost effective measures are utilized in the delivery of city services. The city services provided are based upon the needs and wants of our Roseville community. An additional approach is to generate revenue from (traditionally) General Fund expenses. Bringing new employers to Roseville (i.e. Drexel University) and working collaboratively with home builders will generate revenue for our city.

 

4. Where and how should future development occur in Roseville?

As a Planning Commissioner, I support smart growth principles and a balanced supply of housing for all income levels. Roseville has adopted the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) Blueprint Design. The largest (future) development projects will exist in the western portion of Roseville (West of Fiddyment Road and North of Baseline). We also need to continue revitalizing downtown areas (Historic, Vernon & Riverside) to attract additional business owners to strengthen our local economy.

 

5. The current council voted to terminate former City Manager Craig Robinson with a severance package of $390,000. What did you think of that decision and what would you do to prevent taxpayers’ money from being spent unwisely?

I did not support the severance package involved in terminating Craig Robinson. At the time, the City Manager contract lacked the proper severance provision needed. I have first-hand experience with, and a deep appreciation for, strategic planning, deadlines, managing staff, and maintaining operational costs within a budget. As Councilmember, I will be as conservative with your tax dollars as I am with the financial interest I have vested in my own business.

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Neil Pople

Age: 30

Occupation: law clerk

 

1. What experience can you bring to the council and how would your leadership style benefit residents?

I have spent most of my career in the service industry. I listen to what people want and make sure they are happy with that assistance I provide.

It seems as though for too long government hasn’t understood that it’s a service to the public, and that elected officials are servants to the people they are elected by. As councilman, I will be an ear to listen and a voice to speak up for residents.

 2. What would you do to lure businesses and jobs to Roseville?

I want to be a jobs ambassador for Roseville. We need our elected officials to be our front line advocates, researching what businesses are looking to expand or relocate, and then personally reach out to show our community’s commitment to excellence. We need men and women who are willing to listen to our current companies’ needs before they leave our city as well. Retention of jobs is just as important as recruitment.

3. As city revenues decline, what ideas do you have to save money and generate income for the city?

Like any family unit would when times get tough, Roseville needs to learn how to tighten our collective belts and start looking at ways to reprioritize. From simple measures like enacting city office lighting policies to recycling to purchasing cheaper paper and supplies, we need to cut back on the nonessentials. We also have more city property than we need. Selling off surplus material … (is) a step in the right direction.

 

4. Where and how should future development occur in Roseville?

Any future growth in Roseville MUST be “smart growth.” We’ve had a great deal of success in implementing sound planning in West Roseville, with green belts, parks, and trails making our community more livable. But also being conscious of our residents’ time, we need to make sure that commercial growth occurs nearby, so we don’t have to spend unnecessary time on the road to the grocery store.

 

5. The current council voted to terminate former City Manager Craig Robinson with a severance package of $390,000. What did you think of that decision and what would you do to prevent taxpayers’ money from being spent unwisely?

It’s perfectly understandable that a city would want to attract top talent by offering great salaries and benefits, but the times are calling for more fiscal restraint. I would recommend future hires be based on comparably-sized California towns adjusted for regional cost-of-living to rein these salaries in a bit. In addition, there should be a provision in future employment contracts that makes sure there are differences between retirement and termination with or without cause.

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Susan Rohan

Age: 59

Occupation: part-time consultant

 

1. What experience can you bring to the council and how would your leadership style benefit residents?

I’m a local businesswoman, a Public Utility Commissioner, a former chair of the Roseville Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee, and a resident for 21 years who has raised her family here. I understand how issues affect residents and business. I study issues and listen to varied perspectives before forming opinions. I work for consensus. My goal is for the public to have confidence in the people who govern on their behalf. I will be accessible.

 

2. What would you do to lure businesses and jobs to Roseville?

We should fully engage in marketing the Sacramento region with regional players. We should govern, manage and market our city assets (water supply, land, electric rates, infrastructure capacities), engage the chambers on business issues and remove city-controlled obstacles threatening job retention. We must aggressively use grants and partnerships to stimulate new business, examine city processes to eliminate red tape in attracting new business, and devise incentives to businesses that will diversify our job base.

 

3. As city revenues decline, what ideas do you have to save money and generate income for the city?

We should engage the public on input for cost savings and service priorities. Staff and the Council must cut costs to deliver services. We must look at innovative options for handling public debt. Increases in revenues should come from economic recovery and job growth, and tools like T.O.T, paid by visitors, and not from increases in service delivery costs.

 

4. Where and how should future development occur in Roseville?

Vacant properties around town need to be developed in keeping with the already approved general plan. Future growth should be within the previously approved sphere of influence and in accordance with the long range comprehensive planning already done by the city on the west side of town. The SACOG Blueprint Project’s vision for Roseville is generally positive, especially since it encourages reinvestment in infill areas, which has broad public benefits.

 

5. The current council voted to terminate former City Manager Craig Robinson with a severance package of $390,000. What did you think of that decision and what would you do to prevent taxpayers’ money from being spent unwisely?

The community was shaken by news of the package. It is important to restore confidence in the Council’s handling of staff issues. I will be diligent in my obligation to understand and fulfill my role, and that of the Council’s, in managing and directing the City Manager’s performance and closely monitoring salary, pension and benefits so this is not repeated.