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Crowded field for three seats on city council

Upcoming forum gives public opportunity to ask questions
By: Susan Belknap Press-Tribune Editor
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In addition to casting ballots on Nov. 4 for the highest office in the land, Roseville and Granite Bay residents will choose from local candidates for several races. One such race for Roseville voters is the city council, where ballots will include the names of six candidates vying for three seats that will be available come election time. The Roseville City Council consists of five members who each serve four-year terms and are elected from voters at large as opposed to districts. Currently the council is composed of Jim Gray, current mayor, John Allard, Gina Garbolino, Carol Garcia and Richard Roccucci. Candidates for this year’s race include incumbents Garcia and Allard, who are competing against Rene Aguilera, Sam Cannon, George Muntean and Pauline Roccucci, wife of current member Richard Roccucci who is not running due to term limits. Aguilera, 47, has been Roseville City School District Trustee for the past six years and is also a contract evaluation analyst for CalTrans. He said he decided to run for one of the three seats available on the council because he is “a proven leader.” “I want to provide a fresh face to the council,” Aguilera said. “I got my start in my neighborhood association and want to develop creative and workable plans for youth, families and seniors that revolve around entertainment, public art, railroad heritage projects, parks and athletic fields.” Incumbent John Allard, 51, has served on the council for the past five years. He said he wants to continue his work on the council because “there is still work to be done,” and because he wants to assist the council with the challenges the city will be faced in these current tough economic times. During his tenure Allard said he has worked to increase Rosesville’s attractiveness as a regional job and retail center. “I also want to carry on the work we’ve started with our bike trail system, our open space development, the downtown revitalization and maintain the top quality our public safety departments provide,” he said. Candidate Sam Cannon, 41, is a legislative director for Assemblyman Paul Cook. He is also a current member of the Roseville Planning Commis-sion. “I’m used to being in government,” Cannon said. “I currently work on behalf of cities and counties to see what they need. I will add value-added experience with my knowledge of state and local government. I want an opportunity to give back.” Garcia, 50, who was appointed to the council two years ago, is a fifth-generation Roseville resident who said she is interested in continuing her position on the council in order to play a part in the future of Roseville. Garcia is currently employed as vice president of Granite Community Bank. “I want to make a difference for the city and the residents of Roseville,” Garcia said. “I have a passion for this community.” Muntean, 58, is a newcomer to the political environment. Muntean said he wants to be a member of the city council in order to find out more about how cities are run. He said he came to the United States from Romania at the age of 23. Muntean is the owner of Muntean’s Bistro Restaurant on Foothills Boulevard in Roseville. “I want to help business owners to be able to survive in these times,” Muntean said. Pauline Roccucci, 60, a registered nurse, is no stranger to Roseville politics. She was a city councilwoman for nine years, two years as mayor, a planning commissioner and a director of the Placer County Power Agency. “I love this city,” Pauline Roccucci said. “My passion is making sure our citizens have good water and good utilities. I’m also interested in how things affect people. I will always listen to the people. I’m their servant.” Last week each of the candidates participated in an open forum sponsored by the Community Relations and Governmental Affairs committees at Sun City Roseville. Candidates were allowed the opportunity to answer questions from the committees as well as audience members including a question about their opinions regarding the most important challenge the city of Roseville is facing. Cannon and Aguilera said they felt issues with a down economy would be challenges. “Everywhere prices are going up,” Cannon said. “We will need to keep Roseville vibrant during these times.” Aguilera agreed and added, “We will need to be proactive and provide small businesses with strategies to keep them here.” Allard said protecting a high quality of life for all citizens would be a challenge in these economic times. “This economy is having an effect on our city budget as well,” he said. Garcia said keeping a level of sustainability is important for the coming years. “We need to maintain economic and environmental sustainability and make sure we have a green economy and good health care as well,” she said. Muntean told the Sun City audience he believes too much construction around the city has become a challenge. Roseville voters will have the opportunity to ask their own questions at the next candidates’ forum to be held from 7-8:30 p.m. Oct. 8 at the Martha Riley Community Library. Questions can be submitted to Mike Hazen at safetydad@comcast.net.