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Residents undecided after candidates speak

Fourth forum set Oct. 11
By: Patty McAlpin Lincoln News Messenger Reporter
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While a candidate forum Oct. 4 in Lincoln Hills helped some residents decide who they want to represent them on the Lincoln City Council, others wanted more in-depth answers before they decide. Eight of the nine candidates for three seats on the Lincoln City Council were present at a packed forum in the Orchard Creek Ballroom sponsored by the Lincoln Hills Homeowners Association. There were 415 seats set up in the ballroom. Candidate Scott Glaser did not attend the third of four forums. Candidates answered five questions regarding economic development, the fiscal sustainability committee recommendations, contracting out services, the regional water plan and volunteer ideas for Sun City Lincoln Hills’ seniors. Each candidate was given 60 seconds to answer a question. Wolf Oplesch of the Homeowners Association’s communications committee instructed the first candidate answering each question to read that question out loud for the other candidates and the audience. “I don’t like the format,” said Virginia Alexander, a Lincoln Hills resident since 2003. “This doesn’t give me the chance to know what they are thinking. With that many people, it’s difficult. I’d like to see a debate. I’d be able to get greater insight. This is like 30-second sound bites on TV. The forum leaves me with the necessity to speak with the individuals and hope I get something out of that.” Nine-year Lincoln Hills resident Don Baylis said he also would visit candidates after the forum and pick up their literature to help him decide. “I think the forum was as informative as it could be, given that many candidates in that short of time - 90 minutes and eight people here,” Baylis said. “The candidates did a good job as they could to answer the questions.” Tables for candidates to hand out campaign literature and answer questions were set up in the hall outside the ballroom. The tables for candidates incumbent Mayor Spencer Short, incumbent Councilman Paul Joiner and Dan Cross were located closest to the Meridians restaurant near the first exit. Tables for candidates Christine Colvin, Allen Cuenca, David Kawas, Peter Gilbert and Candi Schipper were in the hall outside the ballroom’s second exit going toward the front of the facility. Treasurer candidate Terry Dorsey manned a single table. Oplesch said a table for candidate Scott Glaser was set up next to Short’s table but Glaser did not show up at the forum. “It would have nice if Scott had told us he wasn’t coming,” Oplesch said. “Perhaps he is doing something different with his campaign strategy. I expected at least a call to say he wouldn’t be there. He’s still on the ballot and people would have enjoyed hearing what he had to say.” Asked if the forum helped him decide which candidates to choose, Oplesch said, “I’m like a lot of voters. I haven’t got my absentee ballot yet. I won’t make up my mind until I make out my ballot.” Ten-year Lincoln Hills resident Barbara Hamer said she liked the forum but it didn’t give her enough in-depth information. “The reason I come to these is I want to see the person,” Hamer said. “I like seeing how they respond and their attitude.” Marilyn Young, also a 10-year Lincoln Hills resident, said the forum was “wonderfully informative” and the forum helped her decide how she will vote. “I did not know any of them except the incumbents. There were four I immediately liked,” Young said. “It would be nice to have a lady on the City Council. I go to City Council meetings.” During the forum, incumbents and non-incumbents expressed interest in exploring contracting out dispatch services. “I agree with (Mayor) Spencer Short. We could share an office with Rocklin for dispatch services,” Schipper said. “But if we contract out fire and police we could be at the mercy of an outside party.” Colvin said contacting out police and fire services is an option that needs to be researched. Kawas said he agrees with candidate Gilbert that contracting with other jurisdictions should be explored. “Lincoln could benefit from economies of scale,” Kawas said. Gilbert said the city needs to look at services and response times. Short said coordinating dispatching services with Rocklin makes sense but the loss of local control in regard to police and fire response times presents a problem because “we would lose control of our response times.” Cross pointed out that contracting with the Sheriff’s Department would cost more money because deputies make more money than Lincoln police officers. “We’d also lose the personalization,” Cross said. “A lot of our officers live here. They are active in the community and participate in community policing.” Joiner said sharing dispatch services with Rocklin may be beneficial but contracting out police services would results in a “loss of control and reactive law enforcement.” Cuenca said the city should consider all options when the city is “financially up against the wall.”