Editorials

Bonnie Gore’s unusual run for Placer County supervisor makes a lot of sense

Egbert Visker is hugged as he leaves a homeless shelter in Placer County last November for a new home in Auburn bought with a federal Whole Person Care money. Both candidates for Placer County supervisor want to continue efforts on the homeless.
Egbert Visker is hugged as he leaves a homeless shelter in Placer County last November for a new home in Auburn bought with a federal Whole Person Care money. Both candidates for Placer County supervisor want to continue efforts on the homeless. Sacramento Bee file

The one contested race for Placer County supervisor is unexpectedly between two experienced elected officials – two-term incumbent Jack Duran and Bonnie Gore, now Roseville’s vice mayor.

It’s a close call, but Gore offers voters an unusual opportunity to encourage more collaboration between the county and its largest city, to the benefit of all Placer residents.

From the outside, Gore’s decision to run for supervisor may seem curious since she is in line to become Roseville’s next mayor in December – her prize as the top vote-getter when she won a second term in November 2016.

If she wins on June 5, she must give up her council seat before becoming a supervisor in January 2019. She plans to serve as long as possible on the council, meaning she could be mayor for a few weeks. (If she steps aside, the council would decide whether to appoint a replacement, or hold a special election.)

Gore, however, makes a convincing case that she can represent the residents of Roseville just as well – and in some ways better – as a supervisor than as mayor. She says there needs to be even more cooperation between the county and cities on development, homelessness and other major issues, and suggests there could be savings for taxpayers by sharing some services.

A government relations director for Kaiser Permanente, Gore has the background and leadership style to forge closer ties – to break through the turf protection all too common between county and city governments across California. She promises to build consensus and to capitalize on her relationships with local elected officials in Lincoln and Rocklin (several of whom are endorsing her), as well as Roseville.

But Gore is completely wrong about one issue. At its April 11 meeting, she called on the Roseville council to go on record opposing California’s sanctuary state law. She should drop this divisive and fear-mongering idea that conflicts with her pledge to represent everyone.

Not surprisingly, Duran takes a different view of Gore’s surprise candidacy.

He suggests that Gore is trying to jump ship before Roseville’s financial crunch gets worse. For the second straight year, the city is facing a $2 million to $3 million budget deficit. Gore says the city is taking painful steps now to avoid bigger problems later.

While the race is officially nonpartisan, Duran, a Democrat, also says his seat is being targeted by local Republicans. He also claims endorsements from police unions, plus fellow supervisors Robert Weygandt and Jennifer Montgomery and Roseville Councilman Scott Alvord. Gore, a registered Republican, has the backing of local and regional GOP officials, as well as Roseville Mayor Susan Rohan and Councilman Tim Herman.

In his campaign, Duran points out that in his nearly eight years on the job Placer County has strengthened its finances and expanded its efforts on homelessness. Much faster than Sacramento County, the county has used federal Whole Person Care money to provide services to the mentally ill and homeless. In the latest count in January, the number actually dropped 12 percent compared to a year earlier – a record not many places in California can claim.

Duran, a business attorney and former Roseville school board trustee, says he wants to finish major projects, namely a regional university – an idea that took a detour when the University of Warwick in England announced last December it was canceling plans for a satellite campus. Duran says he’s talked to Hillsdale College in Michigan and remains optimistic the county will find a new partner.

In the other supervisor race on the ballot, six-term supervisor Weygandt is unopposed for the third time in the last 12 years. He’s certainly seasoned and knowledgeable. Still, it would be better if voters in District 2 – which covers Lincoln and the western parts of Roseville and Rocklin – had a real choice.

Voters in District 1 do, and the better one is Gore.

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