Our View: Kirby, Nesbitt have earned council terms

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Watch a video (attached) of what Auburn city council candidates say what they think Auburn residents need the most and how they plan to address it.

When it comes to Auburn’s city council race, community involvement, ability to work with others, a forward thinking vision and having the community’s best interest at heart are keys to successfully working on behalf of residents.
The Journal editorial board feels that the city council candidates who have best shown they embody those qualities and will continue to do so for another four-year term are incumbents Dr. Bill Kirby and Keith Nesbitt. Kirby and Nesbitt are challenged by business owner Gary Moffat, who does bring some valid ideas and viewpoints to the conversation. However, his approach and history in the community leave us to question just how effective he’ll be and whether he’d be a good representative for his constituents.
Kirby, a urologic surgeon, has run a private practice in Auburn for 32 years, was chief of staff at Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital, and is going on year 33 of giving free physicals to Placer High School athletes and serving as the field physician.
In addition to that he’s served on the Auburn Recreation District board for four years and participated and volunteered in a variety of community events and fundraisers.
As a councilmember, Kirby said he is proud of the way the city has weathered the economic downturn and cites a 30 percent increase in sales tax revenue over the past six months as an indication that the city creates a good environment for business.
Kirby cited his elected roles as proof that he works well with others. He has also been elected chairman of the Placer Nevada Waste Water Authority for the past four years and was recently again selected to work with other partners to come up with an agreement regarding a possible regional wastewater plan.
The editorial board feels Kirby’s longstanding commitment and passion for the Auburn community, and his ability to work with a variety of people will help him work successfully for Auburn residents. Never one to sugarcoat how he feels, Kirby is straightforward when voicing his opinion and said he’ll continue to keep his phone number listed in the phone book for any of his constituents to call and share their views. That’s a transparency and openness that will serve voters well.
Nesbitt also has a long history of community involvement in Auburn. He is running for his third term on the city council this election. Prior to that, he’s served on the Auburn Planning Commission. He’s also served since 2004 on the city’s economic development commission and has had a role on the Auburn Chamber of Commerce board.
He said he’s proud of a recent video campaign targeting CEOs in the state to come do business and live in Auburn. Among his accomplishments, he cites working to improve Downtown’s Central Square through the streetscape improvement project as a way to physically link Downtown and Old Town Auburn.
Nesbitt said he is also proud of his efforts to make Auburn a more walkable community over the course of three years.
He said he’s worried about the impact of the state’s jail realignment directive that pushes more parolees into local areas such as Auburn. He said it’s something worth keeping a close eye on to make sure Auburn’s public safety can handle the consequences of that legislation.
When it comes to community service, Nesbitt is involved in Gold Country Rotary and is serving as the club’s president this year. He brought up in the editorial board meeting that often he’s asked how he has time for city council. That may be a fair question. Nesbitt’s track record shows he has worked to benefit the community in his public service roles and hopefully that focus on the city will remain if he serves another four years.
Nesbitt’s approach to working with others is to have discussions, even when there’s disagreement, with respect and decorum. He said he often tries to find common ground and feels he’s the councilmember who is frequently proposing a compromise.
Moffat has lived in Auburn for 12 years and has owned and operated Carpe Vino, one of Old Town’s most financially successful businesses. He’s running his campaign on creating a better economic plan for Auburn to attract more business to the area. It’s a key mark of his campaign, however, Moffat hasn’t demonstrated a lot of action of working to accomplish this goal outside of his own business.
Moffat’s community involvement consists of serving in the past on the Auburn Chamber of Commerce board and was a founding board member of Think Auburn First marketing campaign and the Auburn Wine Festival.
The main concern with Moffat as a city council candidate is whether he will be able to effectively work together with other councilmembers, city staff, local businesses and most importantly, his constituents.
Moffat, in his interview with the editorial board, brought up good ideas in regard to improving Auburn’s business economy and his desire to challenge the status quo is not necessarily a bad thing. He said he doesn’t want to stir things up and instead listen. Sharp, thoughtful questioning of why decisions are made can bring the truth to the surface.
However, Moffat has shown a history of serving up criticism, but not being able to handle a critique in return. And while he feels he’s been insulted during this campaign, he’s turned around and insulted his opponents as well. Moffat has not shown he’s able to work well with others, which is a critical component of public service.
Kirby and Nesbitt have been a part of a board that’s helped the city weather one of the worst economic crises since the Great Depression.
In our view, they have shown through time they are committed to working in and on Auburn and working with other leaders and community members to keep the city running well now and in the future.