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Eight candidates seek three Galt City Council seats

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Posted: Sunday, October 20, 2002 10:00 pm

As in all Galt city elections in recent years, residential development is the defining issue.

All eight City Council candidates maintain they are for managed growth, but differences remain on just how slowly growth should be allowed.

Candidates for the three Council seats are Darryl Clare, Bob Kraude, Thomas Malson, Teresa Pearson, Dan Pillsbury, Jonathan Rotondo, Rob Sealey and Randy Shelton. Clare, Kraude and Pillsbury are incumbents.

Marylou Powers' name is also on the ballot, but she withdrew from the race for personal reasons.

Businesses United for Good Government, the Galt District Chamber of Commerce's political action committee, has endorsed Clare, Malson and Shelton, while the Sacramento Area Firefighters Local 522, which represents the Galt Fire Protection District, is backing Clare, Sealey and Shelton. Kraude has personally endorsed Sealey, while Powers endorsed Clare, Malson and Shelton. The Galt Police Officers Association has endorsed Clare and Shelton, while State Sen. Rico Oller, R-San Andreas, has also endorsed Shelton.

Council members receive $300 per month plus medical, dental, vision and life insurance.

Darryl Clare

Darryl Clare

Clare, 49, hopes to retain the City Council seat he won in the March Primary election.

A Galt resident since 1994, Clare had run for a council seat in 1998 and 2000, losing to the late Mayor Tony Gora by only six votes two years ago. He was turned down four times by the council since 1998 to fill a vacancy.

Clare says that he is for slow to moderate growth, although opponents continually label him as a someone who wants uncontrolled growth and will cater to developers' wishes.

Clare has consistently driven home the need for improved streets, alleviating congestion in overcrowded schools and making sure the city's water and sewer system are under control before the city even considers more residential development.

Before he was elected to the council in March, Clare said he supports the controversial Delta Greens proposal on Twin Cities Road, but he has since tempered his remarks, saying he learned at a League of California Cities conference that elected officials shouldn't state their position before a proposal is presented by the applicant.

Clare said he supported Delta Greens because it would provide revenue from impact fees for Galt schools while not adding students to their campuses.

Delta Greens is a 2,500-home proposal restricted from residents 55 years and older.

Clare said he also likes applicant Mike Guttridge's proposal to use recycled water to irrigate Delta Greens' 18-hole golf course.

Clare is also a strong advocate of actively promoting business and light industry coming to Galt, developing a new general plan to guide the city's future, networking with Sacramento County, regional and state officials to get more government and grant funds to Galt and for city staff to follow through on decisions the council makes.

The council has appointed Clare to represent the city on the Sacramento Transportation Authority, Sacramento Area Council of Governments and Cities and Schools Together, a joint committee of the city and Galt's two school districts.

Clare strongly supports a greenbelt between Galt and Elk Grove, saying that Galt should pursue freeway commercial development along Highway 99 between Twin Cities and Mingo roads while expanding the city's sphere of influence north to Arno Road.

Clare's candidacy is also based on his management experience at Westland Technologies in Modesto and service to Galt's Chamber of Commerce, concilio, historical society, two Galt High School committees and other organizations.

He has been active with the Galt District Chamber of Commerce, chairing the chamber's Economic Development Task Force last year, and serves on the Galt Community Concilio and South County Transit boards.

Bob Kraude

Bob Kraude

Mayor of Galt since February, Kraude brings the greatest experience - eight years - to the City Council.

Kraude, 53, prides himself as a slow-growth advocate who has accepted no campaign contributions. He declined to be interviewed for possible endorsements from any organization, including the Lodi News-Sentinel.

Kraude listed his top priorities as solving the sewer plant problems, updating the general plan, expanding the sphere of influence in order to allow commercial growth north of Galt, adding parking for Galt Market vendors and customers, a community park west of Highway 99, building a skateboard park on both sides of the freeway, improving areas near the railroad tracks to make the Oldtown area more attractive and adopting joint-use agreements with the fire district and both of Galt's school districts. Kraude said he supports the concept of the Delta Greens project as long as the developer pays the cost of doing business in Galt.

"On the surface, it would appear that an adult community would not be of material concern to the schools," Kraude said. "However, if marketing is directed toward current residents of Galt who then sell their homes, schools could be severely impacted."

To expand the sewer treatment plant, Kraude said the best solution is to acquire more than 180 acres to aerate the secondary treated water until the city reaches buildout. Once buildout is reached, developers should volunteer to pay for a tertiary treatment plant, which uses reclaimed water, and all associate costs if the state requires a tertiary plant, Kraude said.

As for commercial expansion, Kraude said he strongly supports freeway commercial north of Twin Cities and expanding the city's northern boundary to the Cosumnes River Preserve to prevent Elk Grove from expanding toward Galt.

Kraude moved to Galt 24 years ago, when the city had a population of about 5,000. He has been a business teacher for 23 years at Galt High School and 30 years overall. He completed the Mayors and Council Members Academy by the League of California Cities, which he says is the cornerstone to building better communication, harmony and teamwork on the City Council.

Kraude supports Measure R, the slow-growth initiative on the Nov. 5 ballot, but he has stated publicly it's even more important to him that the voters determine the measure's fate at the ballot box.

The City Council and staff, the chamber and other Galt organizations need to agree that a school bond is needed to build a second high school. He also supports joint-use agreements with the school districts to build a library, auditorium and athletic facilities, which would save taxpayers money.

For more information, see www.softcom.net/users/rkraude.

Thomas Malson

Thomas Malson

Malson, 51, said that Galt needs "qualified" City Council members who understand the importance of updating the city's general plan, to increase the commercial tax base, expand the city's sphere of influence to give the city greater control in planning the area's future and establish a greenbelt between Galt and Elk Grove.

With growth as the primary issue in the council campaign, Malson doesn't envision Galt exceeding the 30,000 population projected for buildout of the existing city limits unless issues like transportation, sewer and the declining water table are addressed. Galt's population is slightly more than 21,000.

To Malson, a 21-year Galt resident, there is no issue more important than updating the city's general plan, which hasn't been updated since 1989, when the city had about 8,000 residents.

The general plan will outline the city's long-range plans for residential, commercial and industrial development, traffic circulation, open space, types of housing and other issues.

A senior facility engineer at Aerojet in Rancho Cordova, Malson cites his service on the Galt Planning Commission since 1989 and his work on the park master plan and Gora Aquatic Center and 1989 general plan committees.

He has also served on the regional Solid Waste Advisory Committee, Sacramento History and Science Commission and Sacramento Environmental Commission.

Although he says he is not pro-growth, Malson supports the controversial Delta Greens project, an upscale 2,500-home senior project proposed around a championship 18-hole golf course on the north side of Twin Cities Road west of Galt.

Malson said he would like to expand the city's sphere of influence to discourage development by Sacramento County or the city of Elk Grove.

Malson supports building commercial businesses flanking both sides of Highway 99 between Twin Cities and possibly Mingo road, but he would like to expand the sphere of influence as far north as Arno Road to establish a greenbelt leading to the Cosumnes River.

Businesses opening along Highway 99 would contribute traffic impact fees that would contribute to a greatly improved interchange at Twin Cities Road, he said.

To alleviate Galt's sewage problems, Malson said the city will be faced with complying with whatever the California Regional Water Quality Control Board requires when it renews Galt's sewage disposal permit next year.

"In my work, I work with regulatory agencies all the time," Malson said. "You have to go to the (state) water board with a positive attitude, ask them for help."

Another major challenge Malson would face is to overcome the personality conflicts on the council.

For more information, see www.electmalson.cjb.net.

Teresa Pearson

Teresa Pearson

Pearson considers herself a slow-growth advocate who prides herself in getting along well with people, no matter what their political positions may be.

Pearson, 33, says she can provide a positive change to the current City Council, which is mired in personality conflicts. Council members should leave their disagreements at the door once the meeting ends, Pearson said.

"There should be no reason to hate them because they disagree," she said.

To show that she isn't firmly in one political group's camp, Pearson said she supports one of Vice Mayor Tim Raboy's pet projects, is undecided on another and disagrees with him on a key growth issue.

Pearson is a strong supporter of Measure R, the growth-management initiative which Raboy authored, yet she supports Delta Greens, a 2,500-home development for people over 55 years old that is proposed on Twin Cities Road.

Measure R opponents maintain that it would kill the Delta Greens development on the grounds that a development team led by Mike Guttridge couldn't get financing if it is limited to an estimated 77 building permits per year. Yet Pearson said Delta Greens can be compatible with Measure R.

"I hope he could work it out," Pearson said of Guttridge. "I think where there's a will, there's a way."

On Measure Q, the campaign contribution ordinance on the Nov. 5 ballot that is Raboy's other pride and joy, Pearson said she is undecided on the issue.

Pearson placed fourth out of five candidates in the March election for the short-term seat won by Clare. She has lived in Galt for 11 years.

Pearson is a public relations representative for the Galt Community Concilio, serves on the Galt Boys and Girls Club board and is a member of the United States Fencing Association.

Pearson also wants to enhance Galt's parks and open space by adding hiking and bicycle trails and try to find a balance between the residential and business community so they can co-exist in harmony.

While other candidates are discussing issues like the two city ballot measures, traffic, parks and economic development, Pearson said she wants to focus on an issue that is uniquely hers - a strong desire to make information on Megan's Law and Amber Alert more available in Galt.

Whether she wins or loses the council election, Pearson said she wants Megan's Law data available to the public five full days a week and a half-day on Saturday. Currently, residents must make an appointment with the Galt Police Department.

For more information, see www.geocities.com/pearsoht.

Dan Pillsbury

Dan Pillsbury

For Pillsbury, serving on the Galt City Council is a love-hate relationship.

Pillsbury, 49, said he enjoyed his role on the council his first year on the council in 1999, but personality conflicts within the council has caused him considerable stress.

Personality conflicts have been so acute that Pillsbury has at times become openly hostile with Mayor Bob Kraude and Vice Mayor Tim Raboy, with whom he shares the greatest disagreement.

It was those personality conflicts, Pillsbury said, that caused him to be undecided about seeking a second term until just before the Aug. 9 filing deadline. Pillsbury said he decided to seek a second term after he was encouraged by supporters to run.

Pillsbury said he is not campaigning except for appearances at two candidates forums, and he hasn't accepted any campaign contributions.

"I don't see killing myself to stay on here," he said. "I'm proud of my record on the council."

Pillsbury outspokenly urges voters to replace Kraude with someone he considers more interested in attracting business and more moderate in his views about residential growth. Raboy and Councilman Rick Stancil, both staunch slow-growth advocates, have two years remaining on their terms.

"Hopefully, the citizens of Galt will realize what the problem is and make a change," Pillsbury said on his Web site. "I would love to have a council made up of thinkers and doers and start working again like we did in 1998."

A real estate agent in Galt, Pillsbury was elected for the first time in 1998 after being narrowly defeated four years earlier. Pillsbury said the council worked well as a team in 1999 with the late Mayor Tony Gora and council members Kraude, Jeff Bryant and Christina De La Cruz.

Pillsbury was elected mayor by his colleagues in December 2000, but he resigned the mayor's seat seven months later after being thwarted in his attempt to get the council to reconsider appointing someone to replace De La Cruz, who had resigned and moved to Texas.

Pillsbury strongly opposes Measure R because he wants the council to have the flexibility to make land-use decisions.

He also supports the Delta Greens proposal that calls for 2,500 homes for people 55 years and older.

"It's one of the best opportunities the city has had in a long time," Pillsbury said. "Right now, we don't have a council who will work with them."

For more information, search Pillsbury's Web site at www.smartvoter.org/vote/dan_pillsbury.

Jonathan Rotondo

Jonathan Rotondo

A June graduate of Galt High School who took a computer class from Kraude as a sophomore, Rotondo said he will provide a fresh face on the City Council if he is elected.

Rotondo, 18, appears to be the candidate who wants the greatest amount of growth in Galt.

"I want to grow," Rotondo said. "I'd like to see a little more than 5 percent growth."

While Measure R would limit growth to 5 percent or less, depending on the city's general fund revenues, Rotondo would like to see a higher growth rate, especially if it will bring more businesses to town.

"I want to look at Delta Greens; maybe we need to be 10 or 20 percent (growth)," he said.

"It goes back to what the people want," Rotondo said. "Do they want to keep shopping in Elk Grove, or do they want more shopping here?

"If we stay in a no-growth position, we will be eaten up by Elk Grove and Lodi trying to take all the land around us," Rotondo said.

Rotondo admits that he doesn't have all the answers.

"That's the beauty of the council," he said. "There are always four other people where you can mesh ideas."

He would like to see some youth-oriented business in Galt, such as a bowling alley or movie theater.

"A lot of kids can't drive," he said. "They're only 14 or 15 years old."

Rob Sealey

Rob Sealey

One of Sealey's biggest goals is to inform voters that he is an independent thinker who is not aligned with any person or organization.

Sealey, 49, has been linked in Galt as being aligned politically with Mayor Bob Kraude, Vice Mayor Tim Raboy and City Councilman Rick Stancil, especially on growth policies.

Sealey's platform appears to transcend various Galt groups. He supports the Measure R growth-management initiative which Raboy championed, yet says he supports some housing development and is more than willing to roll up his sleeves and discuss issues with developers.

Sealey supports senior housing, either through a scaled-down version of Delta Greens or some other proposal.

While he is sympathetic to Raboy's growth philosophy and has been endorsed by slow-growther Kraude, Sealey sounds somewhat like Clare when it comes to providing jobs and attracting new business to Galt.

"I want a Packard Bell-type of plant with $15- to $20-an-hour jobs," Sealey said. "I don't want a bunch of $6-an-hour Wal-Mart jobs."

However, Sealey wants to be his own man on the council.

"I don't like it that people are comparing me with other members of the council," Sealey said. "I'm telling them that I'm a fresh set of eyes. I am strictly an independent."

As a city councilman, Sealey said he will ask three questions when a request is made of the council: What does a particular special-interest group want? What does Sealey want? What is best for the community?

"What I personally want is second to what meets the needs of the community," Sealey said.

While opposing a 2,500-home senior development, Sealey said that Measure R, which he strongly supports, would allow enough building permits annually to accommodate seniors' housing needs.

Sealey is touting his educational, military, career and community service background as qualifications for serving on the council.

Sealey is a Department of Defense investigator and emergency planner at the Defense Logistics Agency in Tracy. He is an alternate on the Galt Planning Commission and serves on the St. Luke's Episcopal Church Committee and Valley Oaks Elementary School Site Council.

Sealey has also coached youth sports in Galt and been a Boy Scout and Girl Scout leader.

For more information, see www.robsealey.com.

Randy Shelton

Randy Shelton

A deputy state fire marshal with 36 years in the fire service, Shelton is running primarily on a pro-business platform.

Shelton, 54, said his top priorities include attracting new business and light industry to Galt, addressing the needs of current businesses, updating the city's general plan and improving the wastewater and street system.

And good old-fashioned communication - with Galt's two school districts, the fire district and all organizations including the Galt Community Concilio, senior citizens, Boys and Girls Club, chamber of commerce, historical society and service clubs.

"We need some town meetings," he said.

These meetings can involve smaller groups that include people with good ideas, but are uncomfortable at council meetings and talking before cable TV cameras, Shelton said.

It would be at these town-hall meetings where city officials could inform people about what's going on at City Hall before decisions are made.

Shelton also supports the Delta Greens senior housing proposal, provided that infrastructure needs like roads, water and sewer aren't affected.

"I'm pushing for that infrastructure," he said.

A 12-year Galt resident, Shelton has served eight years on the Galt Fire Protection District board of directors. He strongly believes in improved communication with county and state officials to acquire more regional funding for Galt projects, especially upgrading interchanges at C Street and Twin Cities Road.

Shelton says he supports commercial development along Highway 99 north of Twin Cities, but he won't know how far north is appropriate until the city researches, investigates and plans that development. He supports expanding the city's sphere of influence as far north as the Cosumnes River, although he doesn't support growth that far north.

Shelton feels strongly about expanding the police department.

"We're short seven officers," he said. "If we don't have the money, we have to seek grants."

Shelton also wants to improve relations among council members.

"Very rarely do I find anyone I can't work with," he said. "It's open lines of communication. It's also playing fair. No arguing in front of the public, clamming up, getting up and walking out. You agree to disagree.

"I won't make promises that I can't keep," Shelton said. "I refuse to be a fence sitter. You will always know where I stand."

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