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Auburn voters reject charter city initiative

Early results show measure failed by 66.06 percent
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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Auburn voters appeared to decide the fate of their city?s government structure Tuesday night, with early results indicating that Measure A, the initiative for Auburn to become a charter city, failed, according to the Placer County Office of Elections. Supporters of the measure said they were hoping becoming a charter city would give Auburn more autonomy from the state legislature, save taxpayers money on future projects and ensure volunteers will not need to be paid prevailing wage into the future. Opponents of Measure A say Auburn has been running well as a general law city and becoming a charter could have opened the door to corruption and higher taxes in the form of fines. Early results indicate 66.06 percent of voters don?t want Auburn to become a charter city, as of the last posting at press time. Todd Stenhouse, spokesperson for Preserve Auburn- ?No? on Measure A, said ?First of all, I am going to say we are cautiously optimistic and what we asked the people of Auburn to consider is the issue of transparency, fiscal responsibility and the track record of 125 years,? Stenhouse said. ?Unfortunately, the charter, however well intentioned, was riddled with loopholes, with potentially problematic costs and consequences for the Auburn community. And we?ll see where the rest of the returns come in.? The ?No? campaign was funded primarily by the California Alliance for Jobs, based in Sacramento, and the Northern California Carpenters Regional Council Issues Political Action Committee and the Operating Engineers Local Union No. 3 of the International Union of Operating Engineers, both based in the Bay Area. They had made nearly $80,000 in contributions by May. Members of Auburn Advocates for Local Control - ?Yes? on Measure A said they were fighting in a David and Goliath type election. The group raised nearly $8,000 through the contributions of local business owners and residents. Nearly $30,000 in legal costs was spent by the city suing the authors of the ballot argument and rebuttal against Measure A. Auburn Mayor Kevin Hanley said he believes there is hope for Auburn becoming a charter city in the future. ?The unions from Oakland outspent Auburn residents by 10 to one and achieved a temporary victory, but I believe as Auburn residents learn more about their constitutional right to gain more local control and lower city costs, that they will eventually adopt a city charter,? Hanley said. Hanley said he appreciated the efforts of volunteers from the community and the courage it took for the city council to pursue putting the iniative before voters/ Subhead: Auburn voters weigh in Robert Comer, 54, of Auburn, said despite predictions of a low voter turnout, he went to the polls for a couple of key reasons. ?Civic duty,? Comer said. ?Plus, it?s ?no? on A. I have only been here 12 to 14 years and things seem to be working fine.? Ted Bruce, of Auburn, said he is more interested in seeing some changes locally. ?I voted yes on that,? Bruce said. ?I think it?s time for a little change, see if something different works.? Wayne Trimble, of Auburn, said he didn?t vote for the initiative for Auburn to become a charter city because he doesn?t trust the city council has his neighborhood?s interests in mind. ?I?m friends with people who tell you to vote ?no? on Measure A,? Trimble said. Reach Sara Seyydin at saras@goldcountrymedia.com, or follow her on Twitter @AJ_News.