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That old civics lesson about taking responsibility and voting is true

By: Carol Feineman, Editor
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Many residents are becoming involved in City Hall issues. That’s specifically in issues relating to the city’s budget and services. Instead of remaining isolated from what takes place in the city, residents are attending or watching televised council meetings and then talking and/or writing letters to the editor about city matters. Several of these residents are not happy with how council is running the city. Top complaints I hear include why a new and now almost-half empty City Hall was built, why police positions are being cut and why top city managers make hefty salaries and benefits. Six candidates are now running for two City Council seats, one of which is held by incumbent Linda Stackpoole. The residents referenced above are also becoming politically savvy by going to City Council candidate forums and asking questions. They want to know what the candidates stand for and why. Letters to the editor and online News Messenger blogs mention changing the current City Council by voting in two new council members this November. In today’s dismal economy, it’s not easy to be a council member. They’re making crucial decisions about what services to cut, what positions to eliminate and what new ways are available to increase revenue in attempts to balance the budget. And now, more than ever, council decisions are being carefully watched, and scrutinized, by residents. Council members are being regularly criticized by their constituents. With that said, we have six hopeful residents who want to serve a four-year council term. I asked them Monday, in 50 words or less, what their No. 1 priority is if elected. The following is what they e-mailed back: Richard Pearl “My No. 1 goal is stabilizing our financial condition, which means looking at all revenues, costs, and opportunities from regionalization and privatization. We have to get our employee salary and benefit costs in line with the new economic reality, and encourage new businesses to locate in Lincoln to increase our tax base.” Linda Stackpoole “My No. 1 priority, if re-elected, will be to continue to look for more efficient ways to deliver services leading to a reduction in expenditures. I will continue to pursue merging our bidding process with our surrounding cities under a joint powers authority for better purchasing power for items such as supplies, equipment and maintenance.” Gabriel Hydrick “First, orient the attention of elected officials to the citizens. Citizens know what it takes to make Lincoln safe, functional, aesthetic and profitable. Lincoln’s citizens yearn for a coherent city government to compliment their ambitions and fulfill their needs. Citizens should be the greatest source of inspiration for elected officials.” Stan Nader “The city must recalibrate the way services are delivered to its citizens through sustainability in the salaries and wages it pays. The citizens are demanding the city work within the revenue sources it has now. My top priority is to see the city do this for the people of Lincoln.” Jeff Greenberg “My No. 1 priority is to keep the police and fire at their current levels and slowly increase them to meet the standards that are needed as we start to increase our population and tax base. This is a must and we should not let anything stand in our way.” Reid Barney “My No. 1 priority, if elected, is to balance the Lincoln city budget, without raising taxes.” On Nov. 2, voters will fill the two open City Council seats and three Western Placer Unified School District school board seats. They will also decide if the utility users’ tax and the $163 million school bond pass in Lincoln. I hope that every Lincoln resident votes. Currently, 23,686 residents are registered to vote, according to Robin Bjerke, senior elections supervisor at the Placer County Clerk-Recorder-Elections Office. Of that number, 14,586 residents cast their ballot by permanent vote by mail (previously known as absentee voting). For those adults who have not yet registered to vote, there is still time to get a ballot for the Nov. 2 election. The last date to fill out a voter registration form is Oct. 18. Forms are available at post offices, libraries, the election department and online at SOS.ca.gov. Or call the county elections office at (530) 886-5650 for a form or, for that matter, more information about the election. Ballots are either filled or dropped off at the polls or received at the election office in Auburn by 8 p.m. Nov. 2. A postmarked ballot that is received after the 8 p.m. deadline will not be counted. What our civics teachers told us in middle school about the responsibility of voting still applies today. Also attend City Council and other governmental meetings. Council members and city staff work for residents. Local government and its constituents should talk with each other on a regular basis. Carol Feineman can be reached at carolf@goldcountrymedia.com