City Council candidates talk education, roads, safety

By: Penne Usher
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Five candidates looking to sit on the Folsom City Council attended a recent forum to answer a few pointed questions.

Roger Niello served as moderator for the event held August 24 at the Harris Center. About 200 attendees heard from the five candidates, Roger Gaylord, Rob Ross, Ernie Sheldon, Jeff Starsky and Chad Vander Veen.

In his brief opening statement Ross outlined his background working in Folsom, with government and his commitment to the city.

“I will work for our water,” he said. “I find it deplorable that Folsom saves water by putting buckets in their shower when Southern California wash their sidewalks.”

He said he’s running because he believes n the community.

“It’s time to help Folsom step up,” Ross said.

Sheldon, who is running for the seventh time and currently sits on the city council, said he’s put in his time in Folsom.

“I shouldn’t have to tell you who I am,” he said. “You can go around town and see what I’ve done.”

Starsky said he’s proud of Folsom and named several “best of” lists where Folsom has ranked at the top, such as best place to raise a family.

“My goal is to continue on that path,” Starsky said.

Vander Veen said he will work for Folsom and is “beholden” to the voters.

“Don’t give me your money, give me your time,” he said in his opening statement. “I’m beholden to the votes, not those who donate.”

Gaylord said Folsom is a special place to him.

“Folsom is that city for me and I want to preserve it,” he said.

When asked what is the single most pressing issue facing Folsom and what steps should be taken to address it, Gaylord said he talked to Folsom residents and they are concerned about water and the lack of a transparent government.

“We are solving problems with yesterday’s answers,” he said. Resident say they don’t have input.”

Sheldon and Ross agreed that the single biggest issue is managing growth and the South of 50 project.

“There’s no reason to keep getting bigger,” Sheldon said. “Growth is Ok, but South of 50 is a main concern.”

Ross said we need to be responsible when growing the city.

“That (South of 50) plan is 20 years old,” Ross said. “We need to make sure what the (people) want is adhered to.”

Starksy said the main issue of concern is making sure we are carefully growing the city and not neglecting cerain areas.

“Let’s not forget about our central business district. We need to be very cautious and not loose the hometown feel.”

Vander Veen said the number one priority should be public safety and education and he’s anti “dumb-growth.”

See future editions of the Telegraph for more in-depth interviews with the candidates.

Penne Usher can be reached at