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Our View: Nesbitt, Kirby best picks for council

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Four candidates are running for two seats on the Auburn City Council. Although each candidate would bring individual strengths, Keith Nesbitt and Bill Kirby are best suited to serve and deserve to be elected Nov. 4. Nesbitt is a clear choice. The moderate and thoughtful incumbent has earned the respect of business leaders, public officials and residents. The 20-year Auburn resident has been accessible to residents who want his ear, comes to council meetings prepared and works well in a team setting. Auburn’s mayor has focused on keeping the city in a financially sound position, despite a tough economic climate. Nesbitt’s passion has been establishing Auburn as a walkable community. The Streetscape plan, started during his tenure, looks to unite Old Town and Downtown in a way that will attract tourists and locals alike in a positive shopping environment. Nesbitt cares deeply for Auburn and his passion shows in his commitment to improving the city’s quality of life. “I love this town,” Nesbitt explained. “My son was born here. My wife died here and this is where I have set down roots.” Of Dr. Bill Kirby, Lisa Worthington and Dan Sokol, Kirby would bring the most talent and knowledge immediately to the board. The former Little League president, chief of staff at Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital and Auburn Recreation District director has plenty of leadership experience. But he also understands there would be a learning curve for him if he is elected to the council. He pledges to study the issues, listen to fellow councilmembers and staff and then vote according to his heart. Kirby served on the Auburn Recreation District board during fairly tumultuous times. The former recreation district chairman played an important role in transitioning the district into a higher functioning agency. Having been through some political battles, Kirby has matured and won the endorsements of a virtual who’s who of Auburn community leaders and elected officials. Worthington, a newcomer on the Auburn political scene, should continue on her path to one day in the near future leading this community. The Auburn-planning commissioner is bright and dedicated. She has good ideas and brings a young working mother’s viewpoint along with expertise in planning. Worthington would be well advised to continue in her role with the planning commission and find other volunteer leadership opportunities so she can become more well-rounded in community activities and become more well known. Sokol also brings a unique perspective to the race. The taxpayers’ advocate supports extremely small government, basically touting public safety and maintaining infrastructure as the city’s only responsibilities. The retired geologist is a tireless government watchdog who helps keep the council fiscally minded, but his views are too narrow in scope when matched against the major challenges facing Auburn today. The city must make some critical decisions about its wastewater treatment plant and aging delivery system in the near future. City leaders must work to attract and keep principal-wage-earner jobs in the community. Auburn’s small-town feel and historic past must be preserved and cherished. Its role as the Endurance Capital of the World should be expanded and well publicized. The two seeking election who are most capable of meeting the challenges facing Auburn today are Keith Nesbitt and Bill Kirby. They are the best choices on the Nov. 4 ballot to serve on the Auburn City Council.