Five people contending for Susan Peters’ open seat on the March 3rd ballot appeared before a standing-room-only crowd at the Carmichael Library on January 22nd. The Candidates’ Forum was hosted by the local Sierra Club, the Environmental Council of Sacramento, and 350 Sacramento. Jeff von Kaenel, publisher of the Sacramento News and Review, was the moderator. The candidates were: Tiffany Mock-Goeman, Rich Desmond, Catrayel Wood, Gregg Fishman and Matt Ceccato. Most of the time was spent with candidates responding to questions from the moderator, with just 3 questions allowed from the audience when the meeting time had nearly run out. The large audience listened intently to the candidates’ responses to the moderator’s questions. Those questions were primarily focused on regional aspects of County government - things like homelessness, housing costs, transit and climate change. So it was no surprise that the candidates gave fairly similar answers. The format did not give much opportunity to laser in on local municipal aspects. For example, we have a dysfunctional transit system here. So it seemed a little silly to have attention placed on how to increase transit use. Besides, the District comes up short on walkability and is not bike-friendly. We don’t really have mobility choices beyond our cars.
Some in the audience were wondering whether the concepts of democracy and local control would be brought up. Gregg Fishman, perhaps inadvertently, may have said it best when he stated that other Supervisorial Districts are better off; they have cities that address their infrastructure and municipal service needs. He noted that District 3 is largely unincorporated, saying the County could do a better job if it spent some money in the District. Well, excuse us, but what’s the common denominator in the other Districts? Cities! If our communities were cities, maybe the County wouldn’t have to scramble for money after the cows have left the barn. The final question of the night was about the obvious lack of traffic enforcement in the area. The candidates correctly said traffic enforcement was the CHP’s responsibility, not the County’s. The CHP is, of course, spread thin across the entire state. And when push comes to shove, they have to concentrate on state highways and the freeways. What the candidates did not say was that, were there new incorporated cities in District 3 (Arden Arcade, maybe?), those cities would have direct authority over traffic enforcement. Cities, you see, can prioritize resources to address local concerns.
For more information on the candidates, go to their web sites and consider attending other candidate events - as the moderator pointed out, there is a list of them on Tiffany Mock-Goeman’s web site. Without too much effort, you can probably figure out if a candidate represents the status quo or change. Read their endorsement pages, learn who is funding their campaigns. Ask them questions. If their answers sound too general for you, press them for specifics. Remember, this year is your only chance for the next four years to pick the person who will effectively be King or Queen of District 3. And by all means, please vote! The Primary Election is on March 3rd. Unless someone gets 50%+1 in the primary, the top two candidates will advance to the General Election.