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Duran vs. Rockholm: Opponents not pulling any punches in Placer County supes race

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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It’s a tale of two campaigns as Rocky Rockholm and Jack Duran duke it out in the race for Roseville-area seat on the Placer County Board of Supervisors. Duran, an attorney and Roseville Joint Union High School District trustee, is weighing in with accusations that Rockholm is wasting taxpayer money on a misguided public-information search. “It is telling that my opponent is asking our public school system to foot the bill for a desperate fishing expedition at a time when teachers are receiving layoff notices and classroom budgets are being cut,” Duran said in a prepared statement. The Rockholm camp is defending the records request on the grounds that the public needs to find out whether Duran has been a good steward of public funds. A retired Roseville Police sergeant who was first elected to the county board four years ago, Rockholm said he pared back on the amount of information being sought and requested that Duran provide them from his own files – something he’s disappointed the challenger hasn’t done yet. Rockholm has announced support from high-profile Placer County residents – including Lew Uhler, president of the National Tax Limitation Committee and father of Supervisor Kirk Uhler and Joanne Neft, an Auburn resident and high-profile agricultural advocate. Uhler’s support is a surprise to another taxpayer watchdog, League of Placer County Taxpayers President Wally Reemelin. Reemelin has issued a letter to potential Duran supporters stating Rockholm’s term as Board of Supervisors chairman last year was a disaster for taxpayers. Reemelin is backing Duran and was again critical of Rockholm for a 2008 private charter flight costing $10,000 that he took to a supervisors meeting from Utah. Rockholm subsequently repaid the cost of the trip to the county. Duran released a letter he sent to Rockholm, citing examples of what he says are differences in their attitudes toward the spending of public funds. Duran’s list includes his plan to not accept a county car as opposed to Rockholm’s use of a county-supplied Tahoe SUV valued at $43,000. The supervisor said the presence of consultant Todd Stenhouse on Duran’s campaign payroll shows that he’s running on a Democratic Party and labor union-controlled platform that are the “remnants of the Charlie Brown campaign.” Brown, a Democrat, ran twice for the 4th District congressional seat, losing to John Doolittle and then Tom McClintock. “They’re using a lot of half truths to accuse me of different things,” Rockholm said. Stenhouse said that Rockholm also has paid a consultant who had worked on the Brown campaign to assist with the race. He said Kent Pollock worked for him in support of Brown. Stenhouse, who is serving as Duran’s chief spokesman, said that the school board trustee is running for a non-partisan office and the election isn’t about party politics. Neft as a Republican had been willing to go against the political grain – most famously in breaking with Doolittle in the late 1990s. Neft described Rockholm on Tuesday as “totally supportive” of agriculture who’s a regular attendee at the annual Mountain Mandarin Festival and farmers markets. “He has, since day one, been supportive of all things related to Placer County agriculture,” Neft said.