Thursday Oct 25 2012
Voters gauge candidates at Springfield forum
By: Jon Brines, Placer Herald correspondent
Whitney Oaks residents pack community center
Candidates for Rocklin City Council sounded off on topics ranging from pensions to fender benders at a forum held Oct. 19 at the community center in the Whitney Oaks development of Springfield.
Six of the eight candidates were present: Ken Broadway, Dave Butler, Greg Janda, Jack Lento-Edrich, George Magnuson and Julie Millard-Stadel.
They all had an opinion on rising pension costs, neighborhood speeders, the city’s need for business growth and the need for a change in a proposed developer agreement to put the Highway 65 Interchange at Whitney Oaks Parkway on the fast track.
Candidates began the night weighing in on the $1 million in cuts during the recession to Rocklin’s Parks and Recreation Department that recently claimed its director position.
Millard-Stadel, a Whitney Oaks Homeowners Association board member, believes swim lessons should return, but said the recessionary cuts were necessary.
“ln my own house, when I don’t have enough money to do something, I have to do with out something,” she said.
All agreed it was necessary, but Broadway, a Rocklin coach and board member of Rocklin Girls Fast Pitch Softball, said cuts need to be balanced.
“We need to be careful as we make those changes that we provide the level of service in the Parks and Recreation that is necessary to sustain this community,” he said.
Incumbent Magnuson told the voters he deserves a sixth term on the council because he’ll bring his experience to a fairly inexperienced council.
“There comes a time where the old move on and the new move in,” he said. “I’d like to be one of those people who can help transition that change.”
Butler, who runs an educational nonprofit, said Rocklin needs to prioritize public safety, grow the economic base, open government and leverage civic volunteers. He said he wants to improve the city’s customer service and wants Rocklin to hire a retail recruiter to help fill vacant retail space.
“Our higher education infrastructure, William Jessup and Sierra College, those are assets no body in the region has,” Butler said.
“Those are two real huge assets that we can leverage to grow our economy.”
Butler came off as too savvy for Rocklin resident David Baker, who said he looked too much like a professional politician for his taste.
“Just too slick,” Baker said. “He’s a bit of a chameleon. Whatever he thinks will get him a vote, he’ll say.”
Baker favored incumbent Magnuson for “his truth and he has a lot of history.” Baker also favored Millard-Stadel for her “common sense.”
“She tells it like it is and I like that,” Baker said.
Millard-Stadel opened with a popular statement that resonated with positive forum goers.
“We need a different type of person running for office,” she said. “Someone with integrity and honesty. Someone who can do their best for the common good and not their own good.”
For Springfield resident Richard Conrad, Millard-Stadel’s lack of experience in government is a good thing.
“Julie, she was not a politician. She wasn’t comfortable in that role, but she presented herself as just a concerned citizen with some smarts,” Conrad said.
With three open seats on the council, Conrad will be able to vote for more than one. He gave Broadway’s and Janda’s re-sponses good marks as an impromptu question toward the end of the forum had the candidates defending the need to use Fire Department ladder trucks at fender-benders.
“I was personally most impressed with Ken Broadway’s grasp of issues and being comfortable with the problems presented,” Conrad said. “Mr. Butler had clearly thought about city issues for a long time and was familiar with them.”
For Rocklin resident Michelle Lynam, the forum did not change her mind about Janda, who came in third when he ran for council in 2010.
“I am suspicious of anybody who wants something as badly as he clearly wants it,” Lynam said. “There is an agenda there and I am a nervous small-town girl.”
Janda addressed why he ran again.
“It was easy at that time to just sort of walk away and say, ‘Oh it didn’t work out’ But I made a long-term commitment to the city and that’s why I am back again, running again. I’m committed to Rocklin.”
Lynam said it bothered her how Janda talks about bringing business to Rocklin but his own business is based in the Bay Area.
“His family is here,” she said. “It would be nice if he brought (his business) here.”
Janda said he’s been involved in the community and defended his business background.
“Having to constantly evolve and change with the economic times, and I’ve been able to survive that. I haven’t taken out any debts or any government handouts,” Janda said.
Council candidates Dan DeFoe and Wijaya “VJ” Perera did not attend. For past articles on the candidates, visit www.PlacerHerald.com.