Lincoln Hills hosts City Council candidates
A crowd of 100 residents and all six of the candidates for the Lincoln City Council – three challengers and three incumbents – attended an Oct. 13 morning forum at the Orchard Creek Lodge.
The panel of candidates was given the opportunity to present themselves and answer questions from both the audience and the organizers of the forum. The candidates running for the Lincoln City Council are challengers Dan Karleskint, Brandy Waters and Holly Woods-Andreatta; and incumbents Peter Gilbert, Paul Joiner and Spencer Short.
Woods-Andreatta, who spent her childhood in Lincoln, said she believes the most important thing is transparency and accountability.
“The change I would like to see is the City Council having more accountability to the citizens,” Woods-Andreatta said. “It’s the council’s job to set policy, not the city manager’s; he works for the council.”
“The real heart of this election is accountability and transparency,” Woods-Andreatta added. “I am not beholden to developers or special interests.
Woods-Andreatta added she believes the city does a good job providing services but feels Lincoln should look into privatizing some services, such as garbage.
She added, referring to Gilbert and Karleskint, that “these men have earned their retirement but we need a different perspective.”
Short, a Lincoln native and current mayor, said the change he would like to see is the council following the city’s award-winning General Plan.
“We need to follow our game plan; the General Plan,” Short said. “We have to actually execute the plan.”
Short added that he believes the council needs to fully consider the impacts of land-use decisions.
“Housing is a loss-leader for the city; we need the proper commercial-residential mix,” Short said. “We also need to reach out and be more engaged with our neighbors and (pursue) stronger economic development.”
“The General Plan was designed with economics in mind,” Short added. “We can put ourselves in a position where we can compete with Roseville and Rocklin.”
“We need people on the council who have read the General Plan and understand it,” Short said. “I believe in one Lincoln; a single community, not disparate neighborhoods.”
Short also said new development must pay its way.
“We should not be cannibalizing commercial for residential, which will never pay for itself,” Short said. “Impact fees have to be updated quickly.”
Gilbert, a former member of the Sun City Lincoln Hills Homeowners Association, said it is important to prioritize the city’s spending.
“Public safety is the No. 1 thing we provide,” Gilbert said. “We need to focus on providing the best fire and police service we can.”
Gilbert added that he does not believe in new taxes.
“The only way to provide the services we want is to bring in more revenue,” Gilbert said. “We are not in a position to waste money; we need to bring in new businesses and new money.”
Gilbert said that, before the economic downturn, the “city spent money like a drunken sailor and did not plan well for the future.”
Gilbert also touted his efforts to help Lincoln Hills residents deal with a proposed solar array planned for one of the golf courses there. The proposed solar panels would have blocked the views of some Lincoln Hills residents and the city eventually enacted a moratorium on permits for large solar projects.
“That is the value of one of your own representing you,” Gilbert said. “It’s remarkable how well local government can work.”
Karleskint, the current chairman of the Lincoln Planning Commission, said he would like to see the city further the work started at the Lincoln Regional Airport.
“The Airport Fund is in a negative state because we have not been paying attention to it and it does not have a full-time manager,” Karleskint said. “We need to restructure the leases and get the leases in order.”
Karleskint added that changes have been made in the way that developers deliver amenities, such as parks. In the past, he said, developers paid into accounts for specific projects. Plans for the Village I development call for completed parks to be built by developers.
“The fees were not sufficient to pay for parks,” Karleskint said. “The developers paid what was required but it wasn’t enough.”
Waters said she sees a dichotomy in Lincoln; residents want to keep the small-town atmosphere and have a revenue-generating economy.
“The studies are wishy-washy,” Waters said. “There is potential for growth, but, if you build it, will they come?”
Waters added that accountability also needs to be addressed.
“We need to look at the percentage our city manager is paid compared to city managers regionally,” Waters said. “We want quality and service but the job is different than for Roseville and Rocklin.”
Joiner said delivery of services is the city’s main function.
“My position has always been to provide the highest level of public safety that we can afford,” Joiner said. “It’s important that we hire officers for their career and not for a year or two. I never want to see police officers laid off again.”
Regarding the Lincoln Regional Airport, Joiner said there is “great interest” to build new hangars at the airport.
Joiner added that he believes the city has been transparent in its business.
“If you want information it is available,” Joiner said. “This council is extremely transparent, when the law allows.”
All of the candidates said they support protection of open space. The Lincoln General Plan requires all new development to provide for 40 percent open space.