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Our View: Hanley, Powers and Snyder top choice for council

Our View
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This November, Auburn residents will consider six city council candidates on the ballot, but there are three who stand out as the clear choice to serve our community for the next four years. Current city Councilman Kevin Hanley and Mayor Bridget Powers, along with planning commissioner Bob Snyder, who served on the council from 2004 to 2008, are worth residents’ vote in this election cycle. Each brings the drive to accomplish the goals they talk about achieving, which include building up the local business economy, maintaining a conservative budget and working aggressively to keep the American River Canyon open and accessible to residents. Hanley has led the highly successful Project Canyon Safe, utilizing volunteer labor to create and widen a fuel break around the city. This critical swath could help stave off a catastrophic fire emanating from the American River Canyon. Hanley’s leadership and hands-on approach, working with the state and federal governments, is impressive and potentially lifesaving. Hanley has great ideas, like the Think Auburn First business campaign, which he also puts into action. He is well qualified and deserves support. Additionally, he is working on a citywide economic development plan to identify what needs Auburn business has and how those can be met. Bob Snyder also is a hands-on problem-solver. Snyder is an idea guy with the guts and determination to move Auburn forward in creative ways. The jewel in Auburn’s backyard, the American River Canyon, is in serious jeopardy of losing state and federal funding needed to police it and maintain its infrastructure. Snyder proposes the city take matters into its own hands, controlling its own destiny, rather than lobby the state or federal government to come to the rescue. Snyder is very budget savvy and wants to rebuild the city’s depleting reserve account. He is a leader Auburn needs for the next four years. Bridget Powers has been a successful leader, helping form the Auburn Airport Business Association, serving on the Endurance Capital of the World Committee, marketing Auburn as a tourist destination, and in working with the Amgen tour. Powers has also helped the fire department by starting the Auburn Fun Run to raise money for equipment. She also has real estate experience that she plans to put to use if and when the city will decide on the proposed 725-home Baltimore Ravine project. She has come up with several workable and successful ideas, has great contacts in the community and is a team player that Auburn needs. They clearly are the top three for three positions on the ballot. Of the other candidates: Current two-term city Councilman Mike Holmes is an Auburn native, available full-time and talks a good game. He, too, is deeply concerned about the city’s reduced reserves and wants to collaborate on marketing the Auburn area. But Auburn is at a crossroads and needs a lot more than talk. It needs action. Dan Sokol is a two-issue guy: Police and fire services and infrastructure. With the complex financial issues facing the city, creative marketing and other out-of-of the-box ideas and implementation will be necessary for Auburn to truly thrive. That’s not Sokol’s expertise. Joe Labrie appears unqualified and unprepared to serve on the council. He is antagonistic toward the team and city leaders, and that attitude won’t help Auburn move forward nor take advantage of its unique history, location and recreational opportunities. This election, it’s important to let the political officials closest to us know that the town needs a stronger business economy, a constant drive to maintain the well-used parks in our backyard, promote our city as a tourist destination and keep a close eye on the city’s budget. Hanley, Snyder and Powers are the candidates who can carry out those tasks.