Three candidates vie for two Auburn council seats

Kirby, Nesbitt attempt to maintain status as Moffat runs for first time
By: Amber Marra, Journal Staff Writer
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Voters will have their pick of three candidates for two open seats on the Auburn City Council on the upcoming November 6 ballot.

Incumbents Dr. Bill Kirby and Keith Nesbitt are both running for new terms in November and local restaurateur Gary Moffat is running for public office for the first time.

Kirby has lived in Auburn for 32 years and is chief of staff at Sutter Auburn Faith, as well as chairman of the tumor board there. He is chief of surgery at Sutter Roseville Medical Center. He is going for his second term as councilman.

"I think I've done a good job for the community, nothing is perfect, but I've always said that if I was lucky enough to get elected the first time I would run for two," Kirby said.

Kirby touts his accessibility and dedication to the community as reasons why he should be reelected. Kirby served on the Auburn Recreation District board of directors for four years and was heavily involved in starting Auburn Movie Night, during which he hands out free popcorn.

He's also involved with the Auburn Rotary Club and is headed into his 33rd year of working with the Placer High School athletic program. Kirby will give free physicals to new students who need them during the school year.

But Kirby said it's more important to focus on everything the council has done as a whole.

"We've increased sales tax revenues and now we're putting more money back into our reserves and have created a much more efficient government," Kirby said.

Moving forward with the council, Kirby said he would want to ensure public safety stays on track and continuing to work with the city's employee groups, as Kirby said since four years ago the amount of employees has decreased dramatically.

Though he says he would like to see a decrease in the amount of vacant businesses in Auburn, he still feels the city is in an upswing.

"I think Auburn is one of the best-run cities in Northern California," Kirby said.

That is one point where challenger Gary Moffat disagrees with Kirby.

This is Moffat's first time running for public office and said his status as a local business owner and Auburn resident puts him in touch with what people want to see accomplished. Moffat owns Carpe Vino in Old Town Auburn, which celebrated its 10th anniversary recently.

"I call it community cred. I've got plenty," Moffat said.

Aside from being opposed to the failed Measure A ballot, Moffat said he thinks the money spent trying to get it pushed through could have been put to better use. Measure A was a June ballot measure asking voters to make Auburn a charter city.

That ties into what Moffat wants to accomplish if elected to the council. He thinks the current council has not done enough to bring more small businesses to Auburn.

"The city needs to take action and develop an economic development plan that unites real estate companies and bank companies to make a clearing house of information people can use if they are looking to do business here," Moffat said.

Moffat said he would also increase the $6,000 budget of Auburn's Economic Development Commission. He added that since he has experience operating a local business he feels he will be an asset to bringing in businesses in a way the incumbent candidates cannot.

"I am the breakout candidate bucking the power structure and I intend to win, or I wouldn't have gotten into the race," he said.

Incumbent Keith Nesbitt feels to keep Auburn on the right track the current council needs to stay together.

Nesbitt is running for his third consecutive term, previously served on the economic development commission and chaired the Placer County Planning Commission.

"We have a really good team together and we've steered the city through some pretty rough water," Nesbitt said.

"We're on track and I want to keep us on track until it's time to turn the reigns over, but I want to see another four years and make sure I pass the city off in sound condition."

Nesbitt said he intends to keep advancing his platform he ran on during the 2004 election, which was to make Auburn more "walkable." Since then he said a sidewalk has been finished from the Maidu Market to Sky Ridge Elementary and another is being finished from Palm Avenue to E.V. Cain Middle.

He said he also worked with the Auburn Placer Performing Arts Center to improve the outside of the State Theater.
Nesbitt also said he worked to bring solar energy to the sewage treatment plant.

"That will save Auburn residents a million dollars over the next 15 to 20 years," he said.

If reelected, Nesbitt would like to see more areas of the downtown area improved by finding a funding source and he would like to see an extra Amtrak run through Auburn.

"To sum it all up we've accomplished a lot more in the last eight years than we did in the previous 20 and I want to keep the team together," Nesbitt said. "I'm not touting myself personally, but rather myself as an integral part of a team that moves things forward."

Contact Amber Marra at Follow her on Twitter @Amber_AJNews.