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Council Candidates Talk Issues at Public Forum

Six of the seven candidates attended Tuesday night’s forum and tackled issues like attracting a university to the area, pension reform, Downtown Roseville revitalization and more.

Roseville City Council candidates took stances on some of the big issues facing Roseville currently including pension reform, attracting higher education to the area and keeping business here during a .

Residents had the opportunity to ask candidates questions and listen to their answers during the forum, hosted by the Roseville Coalition of Neighborhood Associations. Candidates Scott Alvord, incumbent Carol Garcia, Bonnie Gore, Tracy Mendonsa, Phil Ozenick and Mayor Pauline Roccucci attended the forum. John Schwartz did not attend. The on Roseville City Council.

Each candidate had two minutes for an introduction, followed by audience questions and a closing statement.

Ozenick, a 33-year Roseville resident, said he previously served on Roseville City Council and is currently involved in Friends of Roseville or FORE, a local watchdog group.

“I am the taxpayer’s friend,” he told the audience.

Garcia has served as a councilmember since 2007 and will act on residents’ needs. If re-elected, she said she plans to focus on safe and secure neighborhoods, a sound budget and expanding youth and senior programs.

“I have a passion for serving,” she said.

Gore said she plans to build relationships and partnerships within the city and focus on keeping the City fiscally responsible.

“I love living in Roseville and I want Roseville to continue to be the best community,” she said.

Mendonsa said he would “work hard for all.” He said he knows that there is a need for a strong local government because of his background serving as a special agent for the U.S. government.

Roccucci said her emphasis is on water on electricity and keeping rates low and the services reliably.

“I have a very strong interest in Roseville,” she said.

Roccucci currently serves as Mayor on the Roseville City Council; she was also Mayor from 1989 to 1991.

Alvord said he is heavily involved in the City’s revitalization and as a 26-year business owner, he’s started three companies from the ground up.

THE ISSUES

What is your stance on attracting a university to Roseville?

All candidates said they were in favor of attracting higher education to the City.

Alvord said it would be “incredible for the community” because it would attract quality businesses to the area and keep highly educated talent here.

Garcia, Mendonsa and Roccucci all echoed Alvord’s statements.

Gore said a university would be a “great economic driver” that would bring jobs and a qualified workforce to Roseville.

What are your thoughts on pension reform and retirement benefits?

Candidates said it’s a challenging balancing act between fair salaries and affordable benefits.

“We have great employees who work really hard for us,” Gore said.

“We, as a City, should not overpay,” Mendonsa said, but pay enough to attract quality people. “Fair but not excessive.”

Ozenick said there is a petition currently circulating by Friends of Roseville to cap salaries and address these issues.

How will you preserve General Funds revenue?

Roccucci said it’s important to spend less and save more to keep a balanced budget. She said she also asks herself, when faced with a decision, “does it make economic sense to do right now?”

Ozenick said the City needs to invest in more development that pays for itself. Alvord agreed.

Candidates also echoed sentiments to fill vacancies, create more jobs and retain and attract businesses to the area.

OTHER ISSUES

Candidates also addressed issues like the gang-related shooting at the Placer County Fairgrounds; most candidates agreed that it was an isolated incident, but some said increased programs for youth were needed. Others said it’s important for the City to be more supportive of local nonprofits that aim to keep youth out of trouble.

Candidates were also asked their stance on Downtown Roseville revitalization, including the Town Square construction and the roundabout at Oak and Washington streets. Although all candidates supported revitalization, some had reservations about the roundabout. Garcia and Roccucci said the issue would come back to Roseville City Council for them to address again and take additional public comments.

Ozenick said he was “frightened about it (the roundabout).”

Who supports your campaign financially?

Gore said more than 200 individuals have contributed to her campaign including business leaders, friends and family. She is also supported by the Roseville Chamber of Commerce’s Political Action Committee, or PAC, she said.

Local nonprofits, family and friends support Mendonsa. He said he also personally contributed to his campaign.

Roccucci said she has a grassroots campaign and is supported by Roseville Police and Fire associations. Financially, she has received contributions from businesses, organizations, friends and groups, she said.

Alvord said his first contribution was a $500 check to support his own campaign. He said he’s also received contributions from small businesses.

Ozenick said his contributions have come from himself, family and individuals.
Garcia has received contributions from family, community leaders, business owners and friends. She said the Roseville Chamber PAC and police and fire associations also support her.

For more local election coverage, see our Election Guide 2012 topic page here.

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Franklin September 13, 2012 at 01:16 AM
Whomever the Chamber PAC supports will win. I hope the RPOA vetted the candidates before giving money to support candidate(s). If you look at many political races, Chambers of Commerce often are at loggerheads with municipal workers. Hopefully the RPOA took this into consideration before making their endorsements and contributions.

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