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Proposed charter needs clarification

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Re: proposed Auburn city charter (full text and pro and con — Journal, April 6):
I have a few questions/concerns for our city fathers, the Auburn Chamber of Commerce and the proponents/opponents of the subject proposal, and I doubt that I’m the only one that has these same questions/concerns.
First, what is it about our current form of city government that is so broken that it requires us to reject it in its entirety and start over with something that is untried and untested in Auburn?
Yes, I know that there are successful charter cities in California, but I also know about the horrific examples of Bell, Vallejo and Stockton (stay tuned, it’s still deteriorating). That tells me that the devil is in the details of the implementation.
Hence some further questions: What provisions have been written into our Auburn city charter that would preclude the kinds of irresponsible, special-interest governance that occurred in Bell and Vallejo? Please identify those safeguards (checks and balances, anyone?) specifically.
The second paragraph of Article 3, Section 301 of the Auburn charter states: “The City shall encourage, support and promote economic and community development and preserve and enhance the small-town and historic character of Auburn.”
As I interpret that sentence, economic development is placed first, at a higher priority than preserving the small-town historical character of Auburn. Which is it? It can’t be both ways.
I would like to see some clarification written into the charter to indicate that preserving the small-town history and character is not a secondary, lower-order consideration.
If the first and highest priority of the (charter) city is indeed economic development, then what is the purpose of the chamber of commerce? It would seem to be redundant.
Is the (charter) City of Auburn to become a rubber-stamp for the chamber of commerce?
Finally, where is the Auburn Journal editorial staff on this issue? Surely, you have an opinion. If not an opinion, then at least some hard questions that would clarify the issues on both sides.
Has the Journal editorial staff interviewed the proponents of the point/counterpoint presented in the April 6 edition?
Follow-up interviews with some analysis by the AJ editorial board would be most helpful.
Ralph Petri, Auburn