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Incumbents face opposition from community group

Rocklin Citizens for Council Change hope to unseat Storey, Hill, Magnusen
By: Michael Althouse, The Placer Herald
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Rocklin Citizens for Council Change, a political action committee set up to unseat three Rocklin City Council incumbents, recently kicked off its campaign, “160 Days to a New City Council.” RCCC said it hopes to find and support candidates who will run against Mayor Brett Story, Vice Mayor Peter Hill and Councilmember George Magnusen come November. According to Gary Susnara, a member of the RCCC steering committee, the current city council is unresponsive to the citizens of Rocklin. “This council has a sense of ‘we know what’s right for you,’” Susnara said. “The current council has been there for a long time, four of them have a combined 71 years on the council.” Susnara said he thinks the current members are out of touch with the citizens of Rocklin. “We think Rocklin is a fine city and a wonderful place to live,” he said. “We’re looking to the future for our kids and grand kids. We’re dealing with a Council that doesn’t listen to our concerns.” Regarding candidates the RCCC will support, Susnara said, “We want someone who will listen to the people and keep an open mind. Whenever you have all like-mined people, you’re not going to get any new ideas.” In a press release, the RCCC identified some issues it is concerned with include, “a deficit in the city’s operating budget, short-sighted economic development policies and council members who are out of touch with Rocklin citizens.” In the same release, RCCC Chairman Tony Rakocija said, “This is the year for change. Rocklin needs new and creative leadership – the challenges and complexities the city faces demand fresh and proactive governance. We want every Rocklin resident to know our desire for change at City Hall.” As the incumbent with the fewest years as a Council member, Storey said, “You don’t really become an effective Council member until your second term.” Storey was first elected to the City Council in 2000. “It takes that long to learn how the local, state and federal government works,” he said, adding, “I almost wasn’t going to run again until people came to me and said they liked what I have done.” Storey discounts the claim by RCCC that the entire Council is of one mind. “The only time we ever have 5-0 votes is when any five people would vote for or against,” he said. Serving as mayor five times, Hill has compiled 25 years of serving on the City Council. “My sense is that people are pretty happy and I think we’ve done a pretty good job. We’ll just let the voters decide,” he said. In regards to his 25 years as a Council member, Hill said, “I don’t like term limits anywhere. If you’re doing a good job, you’ll get elected and if not, you won’t.” Hill did indicate that he welcomes challengers. “It’s good for people with different ideas to run, but I’ll stand on my record,” he said. City Manager Carlos Urrutia said he does not engage in the politics of the city. “My role is to work for the City Council, not to set policy,” he said. RCCC has set up a website at www.betterrocklin.org Michael Althouse can be reached at mikealthouse@earthlink.net