Election 2012:Lento-Edrich, 18, wants to represent city's youth

By: Jon Brines, Placer Herald Correspondent
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Editor's Note: This is the second in a series profiling the candidates for Rocklin City Council. At 18, Jack Lento-Edrich maybe the youngest candidate in the race for three open seats on the Rocklin City Council, but he wants voters to know he’s not just a kid. He’s ready to lead. “I care what happens here. This is my home. I live here,” Lento-Edrich said. “I feel like I have opinions.” The Rocklin High School senior said the city needs to listen to his generation when making decisions that affect them. He said he was disheartened when the city used recessionary cuts to end summer swim lessons as well as close the Kids’ Junction after-school program. “I used those programs when I was younger,” he said. “I feel like these programs are important and can help a lot of people.” The city cut the swim program because it was being forced to subsidize the lessons with general fund dollars at a time when other departments were also facing cuts. Lento-Edrich disagreed, saying the lessons were a basic service that should have been continued. “It’s an investment,” he said. “There are a lot of pools in Rocklin. Kids need to know how to swim.” The registered Republican has followed the council’s activities and has attended meetings. With the California state legislature enacting pension reform that could affect employees in cities like Rocklin, Lento-Edrich believes the city needs to do more. “We should lower our pensions. It’s over the top,” he said. Lento-Edrich is also concerned to learn the current city council had voted unanimously to amend Police Chief Ron Lawrence’s 16-month-old employment contract with a 15-percent raise or $26,000. “If we’re calling for pension reform, we should not be giving out raises,” he said. “We need to draw the line on what’s reasonable.” Edrich doesn’t agree with Lawrence’s recommendation to eliminate pay for reserve officers, essentially making officers volunteers trying to win a permanent paid position. “He’s asking people to make sacrifices and then he’s lining his pockets, too. That’s kind of questionable,” Lento-Edrich said. “Everyone needs to give up a little bit.” In addition, he wants the city to conserve taxpayers’ money with energy savings. “I want to put solar panels on the city buildings. We’re just wasting roof space,” he said. Lento-Edrich is in favor of a revitalized downtown, but believes some of the city’s economic stimulus plans fall short. One example he gives is the facade improvement grants that would assist downtown businesses in getting exterior facelifts. “I don’t think we should be giving grants out. How about some low interest loans,” he said. “Giving (the money) away, that just doesn’t make sense.” He’s particularly concerned about the number of empty business pads around town. “We want to attract businesses around here. We should be more competitive with Roseville,” he said. Lento-Edrich said he plans to be around for the four-year term — opting to attend Sierra College next year. His parents support his run for council. “My mom said I should try for it and my dad is behind me. He thinks I can do some good,” he said. If elected, Lento-Edrich could be appointed mayor at age 21, the youngest mayor in Rocklin’s history. “It would be good experience for me,” he said.