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ELECTION 2010

Pople feels he offers a 'different perspective'

Roseville Transportation Commissioner seeks seat on City Council
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the fourth in a series of Press Tribune profiles of the six candidates for Roseville City Council. All profiles will be available online at www.rosevillept.com. ---------- Neil Pople’s dog can be a real prima donna. The Roseville resident often takes his beagle Mimi on walks to the park and watching her grow up over the years has made him a “proud papa.” But she has her flaws. “She doesn’t like to listen too much,” Pople said on a recent afternoon at Veterans Park. Mimi stayed home that evening, as Pople, 30, visited one of his favorite local parks, where he goes running on the trails and enjoys the natural beauty. While Mimi may not be a great listener, Pople counts that as one of his best personal traits. Pople, a Roseville Transportation Commissioner, is running for Roseville City Council. He’s up against five other people to fill two vacant council seats. The election takes place Tuesday, Nov. 2. “I feel I offer a different perspective,” he said. “We’ve looked too many times to the same solutions. There are all these new problems and people are trying to apply the same old solutions. I want to listen and hear what people have to say. … As long as the idea is viable, why don’t we talk about it?” Born and raised in Roseville, Pople has spent 22 years in the area. He graduated from Lincoln High School, attended Sierra College and majored in government at CSUS. His great grandparents moved to Roseville in the late 1940s. His grandfather worked on the Union Pacific railroad and his father helped build houses on the west side of town as a contractor. “This is the community that’s raised me so I wanted to give running a shot because this is home, and you’ve got to stand up for what you believe in and the place you like,” Pople said. During high school, he was “a little bit involved in just about everything,” including Physics Club, National Honors Society and student government. He then worked in retail and food service, including a stint at Abercrombie and Fitch in Westfield Galleria. In college, he began interning on presidential and congressional campaigns, working his way up from door-knocking canvasser to speechwriter, field organizer and political director. He currently works as a clerk at a Sacramento law firm. In 2009, the council appointed him to the Roseville Transportation Commission. In the past year and a half, he said the commission has worked to expand trails, create safer bikeways and improve handicap-accessible sidewalks. “That’s been very rewarding to listen to what people really want,” Pople said. “You wouldn’t think the bike trails and roads could be exciting, but to me it is. We’re offering a service to people. Customer service is basically the entire role of small local government.” If elected, transportation would be near the top of Pople’s priorities. As a commuter, he said he understands the problems facing a growing city in terms of infrastructure and development of public transportation. He said he would also fight to secure funding for road improvements. Pople’s top priority, though, centers on job creation. If elected, he said he would work to bring new high-tech and green-collar jobs to Roseville and attract top-notch businesses. He fully supports the possibility of bringing a private university to the region. “I’d like to be a jobs ambassador,” he said. “We have to find solid jobs that are going to last, not just things that are fly-by-night that you can fit in a strip mall.” He said the city already has good business incentives, but the word needs to get out that this is a great place to do business because Roseville already has the infrastructure and quality services, such as great police, fire and school systems. If elected, Pople wants to build a greater sense of community throughout the city. He wants to bring back the canceled cultural arts commission as one way to celebrate the diverse heritage of local residents, such as the Polish, Greek, Italian and Hispanic populations. Pople has been endorsed by Roseville Board of Appeals member Chuck Sandoval, Assemblyman Dave Jones, former California Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin, Roseville Transportation Commissioner Robert Fiore and resident Olga Trevizo among others. Roseville resident Glenda Wertenberger also endorses Pople. The two met while working on a political campaign together about five years ago. “He’s great,” Wertenberger said. “He’s a real hard worker, he’s dedicated and he’s very interested in what’s going on (in Roseville). He’s a balanced person who would work with other people to make our city better. I admire him.” Pople’s past experience on political campaigns showed him the stress and exhaustion the process can cause. So before he decided to run for City Council, he thought and prayed about it, and talked to pretty much everyone he knows. “They all said, ‘You’ve got be crazy if you’re going to do it,’” Pople said with a smile. “So I guess I’m just the right kind of crazy.” Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com ---------- For more information about Neil Pople’s campaign, visit www.neilpople.com.