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A long election season almost over

On Tuesday’s ballot are seats for City Council and school district board, along with Measures J and K
By: Carol Feineman, Editor
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It has been a long four months of official local campaigning for the Nov. 2 election. Candidates have promoted their platforms at several area forums and debates. Letter-writers continue to send us accolades about the office-seekers they like. In addition, political signs are posted in every neighborhood and prominent street corner; it’s easy to see that the election is in full swing just by reading the signs’ messages. And it has become a high-stakes election, if you consider that three out of six City Council candidates have spent at least $47,068 between them, as of last Friday. That’s according to their California 460 forms, also known as the Recipient Committee Campaign Statement. That number is considerably higher this week, as it doesn’t include costs of the final election signs, fliers’ and other expenses ordered since last week by the candidates. Stan Nader, as of last Friday, spent $19,766; Richard Pearl spent $17,084 and Linda Stackpoole spent $10,218 on their City Council campaigns. The three candidates’ expenditures combined easily is more than a house down payment or the amount needed to keep the Carnegie Library open the eight hours a week it currently is. I can’t help wonder why these three candidates are committing so much money to get elected. While I appreciate the three residents wanting to be City Council members, I think their campaign expenses are exorbitant, especially in today’s economy. This is local government, after all, in a city where the U.S. Census, as of the latest figures available, estimate median household income to be $45,547. I hope the above candidates’ spending doesn’t set a precedent in that only those residents with ample financial resources can be on the council. Compare the above candidates’ expenditures to the other three City Council candidates’ election expenditures as of last Friday: Jeff Greenberg’s $2,440; Reid Barney’s $1,492 and Gabriel Hydrick’s $1,288. I also wish there were more than two seats open for City Council. The more council members there are with differing opinions means more discussion before city decisions are made. Since only the top two City Council candidates will win, four candidates will be disappointed after Tuesday’s votes are tallied. It takes a lot of courage, and vulnerability, for candidates to run for election and I am grateful that every candidate entered the various races. It’s not easy to express one’s solutions to city or school problems, only to know that some mean-spirited or ignorant residents will publicly ridicule the candidate or criticize well-intended ideas. For the four who are not elected to the council, I hope they still decide to help Lincoln. There are numerous other ways they can serve, such as on the city’s Planning Commission, library board and Park/Rec Committee. They can join these council advisory groups or just regularly attend, and express their opinions, at city meetings. Congratulations in advance to the two new City Council members and the three new Western Placer Unified School District board members. They should be recognized for wanting to help the community. And whether Measures K (utility users’ tax) and J ($163 million school bond) pass or fail Tuesday, it’s time for all residents, elected officials and city staff to put behind their differences and join together for possible solutions. I often hear residents say they don’t trust City Council and city top staff. And I also hear the city officials say that residents don’t understand “the whole picture.” This is when everyone needs to learn to work with each other. The general election will be over in a few days and the new elected officials will take their seats next to the incumbents; politically speaking, it will be back to business. With the economy struggling for many months to come, and fewer jobs, reduced salaries, more foreclosures and less revenues in Lincoln as a result; we must find new ways to make our city successful. Let’s work together, all the candidates, not just those voted in next week but everyone we got to know this past election season; along with city staff and interested residents. Carol Feineman can be reached at carolf@goldcountrymedia.com