Six City Council hopefuls give messages

Candidates have various goals for city
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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As the November election draws near, Auburn City Council candidates are working on their campaigns and sending out their messages to the community. There are three open seats for the council and six candidates vying to fill the positions. Councilman Kevin Hanley said he has several goals for the city including lowering the risk of fires in the area and trying to lower sewer rates. On Tuesday Hanley released an official statement about his experience and goals for the future. “I’ve worked to protect our town from wildfire, ensure fiscal responsibility, support job creation, and lower sewer rates,” Hanley said in an e-mail. “I have the skills and experience to build a safer and stronger Auburn. I will preserve Auburn’s small town charm and vitality.” Hanley said he doesn’t have any future fundraisers planned and is now focusing on walking through neighborhoods and talking with residents. “Campaigns are really positive … because you have a discussion of the issues and people bring forward what they think can be improved upon, and I think that’s a really valuable thing,” he said. Hanley said so far he has raised about $7,000 for his campaign and hopes to raise about $9,000 in total. He has contributed $2,000 of his own money. Councilman Mike Holmes said he is hoping to pass several initiatives to make living and working in Auburn better, while attracting more visitors to the city and keeping the current small-town feel. In a campaign statement Holmes said he hopes to improve Auburn’s financial status. “As the only Auburn native who is a candidate for the City Council, I have a special responsibility to protect the history of our community and am taking steps to do that,” Holmes said. “One of my major goals is restoring the economic viability of the city and the community so we do not have to rely on reserves to balance the city budget.” Holmes said he has a fundraiser planned for 5:30-7:30 p.m. Sept. 20 at Bootleggers Old Town Tavern & Grill on Washington Street. Holmes said he has raised $5,000 so far and hopes to raise $8,000 in total. He is not planning on contributing his own money to the campaign. Holmes said he is using media and other methods to get his message out to residents. “I have got a website and we are out talking and meeting with people every day, and we will be doing some house to house canvassing as the ballots go out,” he said. City Clerk Joe Labrie said he wants to make a lot of internal changes to the city’s government if he is elected. In a statement Labrie listed several of his goals for Auburn. “I think (being) a city councilman should be a full-time job,” Labrie said. “The city needs … more transparency and openness in dealing with the staff and the public. I really believe the council should have term limits.” Labrie said he doesn’t plan to hold any fundraisers, because he only wants to be accountable to the voters. However, he will accept donations. Labrie said he has been out talking to voters and plans on handing out information. “Some of (my communication method) is door to door, and I have a flier going out that is not (ready) yet,” he said. Labrie said he still wants to give his opinions on issues, even if voters don’t choose him for a seat. “I will continue to speak up whether I win this election or not,” Labrie said. Mayor Bridget Powers said she wants to focus on topics like filling vacancies in the city’s commercial districts, the continuation of the Streetscape project and the promotion of Think Auburn First. Powers said she hopes to lower the cost of local government without new taxes or fees. Powers gave a statement about her goals Tuesday. “I want to help maintain a strong fiscal oversight, and I want to maintain our high level of services, even though I know we are going to have to do it with less,” Powers said. Powers said she plans to have another fundraiser on Nov. 2 at tre Pazzi trattoria Italian Restaurant on Lincoln Way. So far Powers has raised about $10,000 and hopes to raise about $20,000 in total, she said. Powers declined to comment on how much money she has contributed to her campaign. Powers said she is now working to communicate with different neighborhoods in the city and plans to have casual meetings at residents’ homes. “I’m going to knock on doors,” Powers said. “I’m going to hold community coffees. I have a brochure, and I have a website.” Planning Commissioner Bob Snyder said he could provide certain assets to the council. “I think the thing I bring to the City Council is creative ways to solve tough problems,” Snyder said. “In these though financial times, I think I’ll be valuable if I’m selected. Snyder gave a statement about some of his goals Wednesday. “If elected, I pledge to foster the pioneer “can-do” spirit so clearly evident in Auburn and continue the small-town traditions that will pass on that spirit to future generations,” Snyder said. Snyder said he also hopes to bring Streetscape into Old Town and help improve trails in the American River Canyon. Snyder said he doesn’t plan on having fundraisers, but donations are accepted. Residents can also attend casual community meetings Snyder plans to hold for different neighborhoods throughout the city. Snyder said he has received a few hundred dollars in donations so far and has contributed $200 of his own money. Tax Advocate Dan Sokol said he wants more transparency in the city. “I think the most important part of this election is to bring out the issues so people understand the issues,” Sokol said. Sokol said he doesn’t plan on holding any fundraisers and is turning down donations. “At the moment I don’t plan on spending any more than I’ve spent, which is $300,” he said. Sokol said he is hoping to look into and prevent government waste if elected. Sokol said in a statement that he hopes to make spending more consistent in the city and give more attention to certain aspects of Auburn. “(I want) to concentrate our city’s resources on public safety and infrastructure without getting more money – without hitting the pocketbooks of the residents any more than we are,” Sokol said. Sokol said he is using word of mouth and a general knowledge of his feelings on issues to spread his message, because he doesn’t feel that meetings or fliers are effective methods. Reach Bridget Jones at ----------------------------------------------------- How to reach the candidates Councilman Kevin Hanley: Call (530) 906-1042, e-mail, website Councilman Mike Holmes: Call (530) 889-2780, e-mail, website City Clerk Joe Labrie: Call (530) 823-2870, e-mail Mayor Bridget Powers: Call (530) 888-7976, e-mail, website Planning Commissioner Bob Snyder: Call (530) 889-1989, e-mail Tax Advocate Dan Sokol: Call (530) 888-0464, e-mail