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ELECTION 2012

Schwartz a proponent of open government

Former HP project manager vying for seat on Roseville City Council
By: Sena Christian, Staff Reporter
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EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the sixth in a series of Press Tribune profiles of the seven candidates for Roseville City Council. All profiles will be available online at www.rosevillept.com.

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John Schwartz knew when he left Hewlett Packard after 18 years that he'd need to find something else to do besides his standing bowling date every Saturday night.

Schwartz, 57, left his job in July and around that time read a newspaper article about running for local elected office. He went to the city clerk's office and signed up to run for a seat on the Roseville City Council. He's up against six candidates vying for three seats. The election takes place Nov. 6.

"I'm running not because I'm mad at the city council or because I want to make big change," Schwartz said. "I feel like I can be a valuable contribution."

As a project manager at HP, he dealt with complex projects and often interacted with city, state and foreign governments. Now's his time to give back, he said. He's running on a platform of open government and increased transparency.

"I like the fact the city is open to gathering ideas," Schwartz said. "I'm very much for open government. Part of my project management experience is you have to identify all the stakeholders. If you don't talk to the stakeholders, you can never make the best decision."

He said cities aren't brain trusts - they should welcome new ideas. He noted one time when Roseville attempted to address traffic concerns and sent a notice to nearby residents seeking ideas and feedback.

"They made me feel involved and I think that's very important," Schwartz said. "You want people to be engaged in government."

Schwartz grew up in Sunnyvale and spent a few years of his childhood in South America before returning to the Bay Area. He's currently taking real-estate and business law classes at Sierra College.

Because of his love of learning, he's a proponent of the city's efforts to attract a four-year private university to Roseville - but he doesn't think city money should make this happen.

"I would love for a four-year college to come to town," he said. "It would be a selling point for Roseville."

Another selling point may soon be downtown, which is becoming an "appealing place to be," he said.

"I like that they're not just throwing money at (downtown redevelopment)," Schwartz said. "I'm very much a fiscal conservative and solving the problem is not necessarily throwing money at it. There are a lot of innovative ideas the city has."

He appreciates how the city is business friendly and involved with Advantage Roseville to attract new businesses to the area. He said the city has also worked well to promote business in downtown.

"Downtown is the heart and history of the city," Schwartz said. "Roseville has a pretty rich history and I think it's important to keep that up. The city has spent probably 20 years working on downtown and ... I think they're turning a corner."

He said he's impressed with how the city has managed to keep a balanced budget, and he's a big fan of local parks, especially the dog park near his house. He also appreciates how Roseville is a safe place to live with a low crime rate.

One thing Schwartz would like to see improved is traffic in some parts of Roseville. He thinks the city needs a cross-town expressway. He also thinks growth may present some challenges in the near future. Pensions and unfunded liabilities must also be addressed, he said.

Schwartz is not raising money for his campaign or soliciting formal endorsements. He said he's not a politician and has no agenda - besides wanting the opportunity to work hard for the benefit of Roseville's residents.

Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at SenaC_RsvPT.

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For more information about John Schwartz's campaign, email the candidate at presidentschwartz@gmail.com.