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Charter city debate goes public

Moderated debate May 3 at State Theater
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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Two local organizations are co-sponsoring a public debate on Measure A — the initiative for Auburn to become a charter city. The League of Women Voters of Placer County and the Auburn chapter of the American Association for University Women are scheduled to moderate a debate between representatives for and against Auburn becoming a charter city from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 3 at the State Theater. Representatives from Auburn Citizens for Local Control – ‘Yes’ on Measure A and Preserve Auburn – ‘No’ on Measure A say they are looking forward to chance to be a part of a public debate, while league officials say they hope it helps voters become more informed. “The primary reason is to educate the public to hear both sides,” said Candace Massey, president of the League of Women Voters of Placer County. “I hope that they will hear both sides of the issue and get all of the information they need to make a good, educated decision.” Massey said the forum will be fair and balanced. It will include an unbiased summary of facts presented by the league. Audience member will be able to ask questions and the answers will be moderated by the league with a panel of two people in favor of the charter, two people opposed to the charter and representatives from neighboring cities with charter experience. “The league doesn’t take positions on things,” Massey said. “We are really out there to educate the public so they have as much information as possible.” Bob Snyder, Auburn City Planning Commissioner, who wrote the ballot argument in favor of Measure A, said he hopes the debate will help people become more informed to make a decision when they go to the polls in June. “It’s more of a word issue. What do the words mean?” Snyder said. “You need people to be able to challenge it and flesh it out.” Snyder also held a forum in Central Square last night, but no opponents of Measure A were scheduled to argue their point of view. He said he sent a letter asking James Earp, the executive director of the California Alliance for Jobs, to participate, but never received a response. Todd Stenhouse, spokesperson for Preserve Auburn – No on Measure A, said as of Monday he had not received an invitation for Preserve Auburn to participate and knew nothing of the forum initiated by Snyder. However, he said Preserve Auburn was looking forward to the opportunity to share more at the March 3 debate and possibly future debates held by other unbiased groups. “Preserve Auburn has received no other invitations to debate, though we are very much looking forward to the May 3rd forum,” Stenhouse said in an email Monday. “Schedules permitting, we will be happy to entertain invites from other non-biased groups as well.” The Auburn Chamber of Commerce hopes to have both sides of the charter city issue to debate their finer points at its quarterly business power breakfast, 7:30 to 9 a.m. Friday at the Holiday Inn in Auburn. Snyder said he is planning on attending the breakfast, but as of press time Tuesday the chamber had not confirmed if there would be a representative opposed to Measure A. Reach Sara Seyydin at saras@goldcountrymedia.com, or follow her on Twitter @AJ_News.