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Candidates clash over Kranz coffee klatches

Montgomery says supervisor isn't responding to district concerns
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Supervisor Bruce Kranz found inspiration in a pot of coffee four years ago. And nearly every week since taking office as Placer County supervisor for the 5th District in 2005, Kranz has played host to a coffee klatch in either Auburn, Foresthill, Carnelian Bay or Colfax. Now, with an election brewing, Kranz is finding the sessions are grounds for some campaign questioning from challenger Jennifer Montgomery. More specifically, the Serene Lakes business owner said that there's little substance at the sessions. Kranz, conversely, said that the meetings bring him closer to his constituents than municipal advisory council meetings that are held throughout the district. You're not just sitting there, Kranz said. If you attend every one, they're so agendized and formal, you can't get to every issue that comes up. Montgomery is one of two candidates challenging Kranz in the June 3 election primary. He's done a good job in terms of P.R., Montgomery said. But while he shows up, being there isn't necessarily listening or responding appropriately to the needs of voters. Early in his first four-year term, after defeating incumbent Supervisor Rex Bloomfield in the second election between the two, Kranz started holding coffee klatches while making moves to change the municipal advisory committees to reflect the change in supervisors. Four years later “ after ousters that included a majority of Foresthill Forum members “ some are still seething, including Bloomfield. The former supervisor spoke in support of Montgomery's candidacy two weeks ago, and took time to criticize Kranz for gutting what he said was a sounding board that had won state honors. For Kranz, who said coffees in Foresthill and Carnelian Bay regularly attract 30 or 45 people, the meetings over a cup of joe have become important. The Auburn and Colfax crowds are lower because Kranz said he feels residents also have city governments that can respond to their needs. People love them, he said. They say they wish every supervisor would do this. I get good feedback from people. On Friday, the Kranz coffee klatch took over TJ's Road House in Colfax. Kranz brought along state Sen. Dave Cox, R-Fair Oaks. The supervisor said Cox first got him involved with coffees when the senator was a Sacramento County supervisor and he was a state parks superintendent in Folsom. Issues Friday ranged from forest fire concerns to requests for help with rough Interstate 80 stretches. Cox reported on the pending ban on alcohol use on the Truckee River. He also talked about the value of coffees from his perspective “ how as a supervisor he could have someone out the next day repairing a pothole in front of someone's property. Not counting county staff members, fire officials and law enforcement, a count showed nine people at the meeting. Staff can take an issue and respond to it immediately, Kranz said Monday. Kranz said he's listening and responding to community concerns through coffees. “ despite criticism from opponents like Montgomery. Montgomery said that she has attended on coffee and plans to attend the next MAC meeting in her area. Alta resident Dick Towle was at Friday's coffee klatch and despite some reservations about Kranz' way of doing things, was pleased to see a state senator visiting as well. There were a couple of people who had problems and I think Kranz's secretary took notes and I think they'll get some help “ as it should be, Towle said. I thought the meeting was good. The Journal's Gus Thomson can be reached at gust@goldcountrymedia.com, or post a comment at auburnjournal.com.