With two longtime incumbents stepping down, a dozen candidates are tussling for three Folsom City Council seats available on Nov. 6.
Three contenders stand out: Sarah Aquino, Kerri Howell and Mike Kozlowski.
Aquino was elected to the board of Folsom Cordova Unified School District in 2014, and has the smarts and temperament to be an effective council member. Howell has the experience of 20 years on the council, but still has the drive to serve. Kozlowski, who ran unsuccessfully for Sacramento County supervisor in 2016, will be a pro-business, but reasonable voice.
Aquino, Howell and Kozlowski also have been endorsed by the Folsom Chamber of Commerce, Folsom Police Officers’ Association and the Folsom firefighters union.
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With at least two newcomers to replace Steve Miklos (on the council since 1994) and Andy Morin (first elected in 2002), it’s crucial to have a good balance among the five council members. It already includes a contrarian in Roger Gaylord, who pulled off an upset in 2016.
So what the council needs is what Aquino, Howell and Kozlowski offer: pragmatism and common sense to keep Folsom safe, friendly to business and financially stable. Part of the job is to carefully guide the sweeping expansion under way south of Highway 50, so it doesn’t cause a traffic mess or change Folsom’s character.
While the affluent Sacramento suburb of more than 78,000 is perennially rated among the best places to raise a family in California and boasts a powerhouse high school football team, it is not immune to some of the maladies afflicting other cities. These include homelessness, and political misinformation and personal attacks on social media.
One of Aquino’s primary campaign pledges is to bring back civility. If elected, she says her first action would be to introduce a governance handbook that includes a code of conduct for council members. It’s a good idea. Whoever is elected must work toward ensuring there is reasoned debate.
Folsom voters also will decide three ballot measures on Nov. 6.
No on Measure E
Measure E would increase the local sales tax by a half cent to 8.25 percent, raising about $8.4 million a year.
While city officials have made it plain that the money would go to parks and other amenities, they didn’t want a special tax that would require a two-thirds majority to pass. So they kept the measure a general tax, which means legally the proceeds can be used for any governmental purpose.
For that reason, Aquino, Howell and Kozlowski all oppose it, and they’re right.
By rejecting this measure, Folsom voters wouldn’t be putting the city’s finances at risk (which is a different situation than Measure U in Sacramento, which would renew an existing half-cent sales tax that funds basic city services and also add a half cent). Folsom voters would just be telling the council to be more honest about how the money would be spent. That’s the right message.
No on Measure C
Measure C would impose term limits on the City Council. After four consecutive, four-year terms, a council member would have to sit out at least four years.
The Sacramento Bee editorial board is opposed to term limits on principle. Voters should decide when an elected official has been in office long enough. But 16 years isn’t much of a term limit anyway.
Yes on Measure D
Measure D would increase the limit on individual contributions to city council candidates from $150 to $500.
This is reasonable. Raising the maximum to $500, which accounts for inflation since the $150 limit was adopted in 1994, would hardly give the wealthy too much influence. It could, however, help counter-balance larger donations from political action committees and boost grassroots campaigns.