Sentinel staff report–
The five residents running for three seats on the Citrus Heights City Council have varying views when it comes to homelessness, mandatory rental inspections, rent control, red light cameras, under-performing schools, economic development, and whether the new gas tax is a good way to fund local road repairs.
In responses to a nine-question survey sent out by The Sentinel, candidates offered their position on each issue in 100 words or less, giving voters an opportunity to see where each candidate stands on issues affecting Citrus Heights.
A question about Proposition 6, which seeks to repeal the new gas tax as a way to fund transportation-related projects and local road repairs, was among the questions drawing varied responses. Candidate Porsche Middleton, who currently serves as a City Planning Commissioner, was the only candidate to state clear opposition to Prop 6, while others either expressed support for the repeal effort or did not provide a clear answer. Middleton was also the only candidate to state clear opposition to the city’s red light camera program.
Asked about rent control, none of the candidates took positions in favor of implementing such controls in Citrus Heights, although Middleton said she was “open to a community wide discussion on the stabilization of rent” for vulnerable populations.
On the topic of accomplishing the City’s strategic goal to “enhance and expand” public safety, Mayor Steve Miller and candidate Treston Shull each offered the most specific plans in their responses.
Shull, a labor relations manager who also volunteers on the Birdcage Heights Neighborhood Association board, said the city is less safe today than it was four years ago and advocated for adding more police patrols. Miller, who has served on the City Council since being appointed in 2005, said he would work to “step up patrols” at all the parks in the city, “specifically targeting drug and alcohol use.”
On improving education, candidates were split on whether to work with the San Juan Unified School District or pursue other means. Jeannie Bruins, who was first elected in 2002 and is currently serving as vice mayor, has advocated for pursuing a charter school and said she’s “ready to partner with other education providers if SJUSD isn’t going to listen.”
The three incumbents, Miller, Bruins and appointed incumbent Al Fox, were the most likely trio to share similar views in their responses to questions on various issues — including on whether the City Council made the right decision in August to vote on pursuing a mandatory inspection program for thousands of rental homes and apartments in Citrus Heights. All three incumbents voted to pursue the program, although a finalized ordinance still has to be presented to the council for a vote.
Fox said rental inspection programs, properly administered, can be a “safeguard” for owners and occupants, while Shull and Middleton both criticized the $500,000 proposed program as the wrong approach and one that would add fees and increased costs to already expensive rental prices.
The area of most agreement between the five candidates was on how to best allocate the estimated $5-6 million annually that will become available in 2022, when Citrus Heights finally begins to receive its share of property taxes, after a 25-year “revenue neutrality” agreement with Sacramento County comes to a close. Most agreed that a portion should be allocated for reserves and a portion should be invested in road repairs.
See each candidates’ full, 100-word responses to each of the nine questions on local issues: