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Measure A opponents file $25K in campaign contributions

Pro charter city member calls for public debate
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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Preserve Auburn - No on Measure A has a $25,000 campaign budget, while the Auburn Advocates for Local Control - Yes on Measure A haven’t yet reached the $1,000 mark, according to election documents filed with the city clerk’s office. If Measure A passes in the June primary election Auburn will become a charter city. Preserve Auburn representatives say the potential consequences of Auburn becoming a charter city are worth the campaign costs to defeat Measure A and the city is spending taxpayers’ money in a lawsuit brought by city clerk Joe Labrie against the authors of the ballot argument against Measure A. Auburn Advocates for Local Control representatives say they were expecting opponents of the measure to have strong financial backing from unions and are trying to raise more money to get their message out. Todd Stenhouse, spokesperson for Preserve Auburn - No on Measure A, said most of the funds will be spent on providing the public with more information on the potential consequences of the charter. The $25,000 contribution was made by the California Alliance for Jobs, which represents 2,000 heavy construction companies and 80,000 union construction workers in California. “The alliance that sponsored this campaign has a good number of members in the district and their concern is always on issues that could impact the economy,” Stenhouse said. “$25,000 is an awfully small price to pay to prevent a potential multi-million dollar catastrophe on Auburn residents. In many respects it’s a public service.” Stenhouse said the city has also spent thousands of dollars on costs related to the campaign because the city clerk filed a lawsuit against the authors of the ballot argument against Measure A. “Unlike the other side we are not spending thousands of taxpayers’ dollars on trying to silence dissent on this issue and I think that is one of the clear contrasts in this campaign,” Stenhouse said. Despite saying he is personally opposed to Auburn becoming a charter city, Labrie authorized for city attorney Michael Colantuono to file the lawsuit in his name, Colantuono said. The lawsuit calls for a judge to rule the authors of the ballot argument against Measure A — James Earp, Hank Gonzales and the California Alliance for Jobs — make amendments to several areas of their ballot argument and rebuttal on the grounds that they are false or misleading. “Two things are required. One is the city clerk has to authorize it and secondly the city council has to approve the expenditure,” Colantuono said. “The council authorized the expenditure and Joe authorized me to file in his name.” Colantuono said while Labrie may publically disagree with the charter, he allowed the lawsuit to be filed in his capacity as the head elections official. “Joe’s desire as an election official to ensure the voters don’t have to have to pay for false and misleading information at their expense and they have access to better quality information has nothing to do with Joe’s position as an elected official,” Colantuono said. A decision will be made by the Placer County Superior Court on April 3, he said. Labrie said in a press release issued by Preserve Auburn on Friday that he believes the charter is unnecessary and the lawsuit is hypocritical. “Auburn is working just fine the way it is, and if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it,” Labrie said. “Unfortunately, this charter seeks to fix it until it is broken. I believe it is both hypocritical and wrong for the city to spend thousands of taxpayer dollars trying to silence local opposition to this deeply flawed measure.” Auburn Advocates for Local Control have raised $160 to put toward the campaign so far, according to Bob Snyder, Auburn City planning commissioner and author of the ballot argument in favor of Measure A. “We always knew that they had unlimited resources that they could put against us. We knew they could fund whatever they wanted and I am sure they will because they just have to write a check from the union,” Snyder said. “We have to ask the community to help us fund a campaign.” Snyder said the pro-charter group hopes to raise at least $6,000 to $9,000 in the coming months to distribute mailers and purchase yard signs. Reach Sara Seyydin at saras@goldcountrymedia.com, or follow her on Twitter @AJ_News. ______________________________________________________ Charter City advocates call for public debate Proponents of Measure A are calling for a public debate over the issue of Auburn becoming a charter city. After the Auburn Democratic Club cancelled its charter city debate scheduled for April 5, Bob Snyder, Auburn City planning commissioner and an author of the ballot argument in favor of Measure A, sent an email Friday afternoon challenging Measure A opponents to a public debate before April 6. Auburn Democratic Club President Paul Berger said the board voted not to host the debate as was originally planned. “It wasn’t coming together the way we hoped it would, so we just decided to pull the plug on it,” Berger said. Snyder said he believed a public forum on the charter city issue was still needed. “I love debates,” Snyder said. “I love the whole notion of the ideas being presented and people having information.” As of Friday afternoon Todd Stenhouse, Preserve Auburn – No on Measure A spokesperson, said he had not yet read Snyder’s email concerning a debate, but generally speaking would be open to a debate. “In terms of a debate on this measure, from my vantage point we are happy to compare and contrast on this issue,” Stenhouse said. ~Sara Seyydin