comments

Former Rocklin Unified trustee coming to aid of the city

Election 2010
By: Jon Brines, Placer Herald Correspondent
-A +A
Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of profiles of Rocklin City Council candidates. All profiles will be available online at placerherald.com. Former Rocklin Unified School District Board Trustee Mark Klang wants to run for Rocklin City Council. He felt compelled to bring his leadership to the city after seeing the economic pressure create hard decisions for the council. “We’re at a crossroads and we’re going down the wrong fork,” Klang said. Right now two seats are up for grabs. City Councilwoman Kathy Lund is retiring and Mayor Scott Yuill is running for re-election. Klang hasn’t sought endorsements from the establishment and believes the incumbents need to go. “I want to stop the unethical and excessive pay that the city council is providing to the good ol’ boy network here in Rocklin,” Klang said. “Politicians in office too long just don’t have a sense of reality anymore.” Klang doesn’t support the city’s policy of allowing double dipping, the practice of allowing retired annuitants to be rehired on a contract basis while collecting a pension. He also doesn’t support the city’s early retirement incentives to reduce the city’s payroll. “We can’t afford (city) pensions anymore,” Klang said. “One hundred and eighty thousand dollar pension for the city manager of a town of 50,000 people is unnecessary. Pensions need to be revamped. Get rid of them and make them 401 (k) plans.” Klang thinks the city could do a better job making Rocklin a business friendly community. “We can’t blame the economy on the empty store fronts,” Klang said. “The council has allowed excessive business taxes (and fees) and we’ve lost businesses and revenue over the years because of it. “ Klang wants plans for the downtown to be sped up. He wants the next city manager to have a five-year plan for the Rocklin downtown including seeking federal funding. “We need to make Rocklin into a destination,” Klang said. “You start with the downtown.” Klang thinks the new proposed program to create $100,000 grants or loans to downtown business for improvements doesn’t go far enough. “That’s a new coat of paint,” Klang said. “It needs to be trans-formative.” Klang likes the idea recently floated to turn Rocklin’s old quarry into an amphitheater. He said it starts with attracting new businesses with lower taxes and fees. Klang wants to partner with Field of Dreams, an organization that swaps public land for tournament quality ballparks, which in turn would attract high-profile entertainment and sports tournaments to Rocklin. He said with his plan, which includes selling naming rights to the various city parks, the park tax would not be needed. “I want to see cooperate sponsorships in all parks,” Klang said. The idea here is that vendors would sell their goods, rent free, during recreation events in exchange with contributions to help the city maintain the parks. Klang is a retired navigator from the U.S. Air Force where he was a major. Currently he works for a company in the defense and homeland security area, but also owns an aerospace consulting company. He also coaches for his daughter’s basketball team. During his tenure as a Rocklin Unified trustee, Klang led the effort to get the district to rescind its policy allowing students to leave school without parent’s permission for medical appointments and was a key vote in establishing the Rocklin Academy charter school which his daughter now attends, according to Klang. He’s also no stranger to controversy. He’s been criticized for how he treated teachers in public meetings and describing Rocklin schools as mediocre. “I didn’t have a temper, I’ve never been rude to any of the teachers,” Klang said. “I didn’t support the teachers union even though my wife’s a teacher. I still stand by that.” During his 2004 re-election campaign, he took heat for allowing his then campaign manager to speak for him at a candidate forum in which he said Rocklin High School graduates couldn’t count change at Taco Bell. Klang said it was an error that people need to get past. “I took a lot of abuse for that,” Klang said. “I gave him a speech to stick to and he went rouge. We’re friends. If this was a big campaign you’d fire the guy.” For more information, go to his website at www.markklang.com. The Election is Tuesday, Nov. 2. The last day to register to vote for this election is Tuesday, Oct. 18. The Klang File Age: 49 Party: Republican Lived in Rocklin: 16 years Top Three Priorities: 1. Make Rocklin Business Friendly 2. Push new downtown 3. Address City Manager’s pay Website: www.MarkKlang.com