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City council challengers urge change, incumbents say ‘continue’ path

Although mild for the most part, accusations of “backroom deals,” poor decisions and “PR mistakes” highlights some of the controversial remarks made during a second candidate forum for the Citrus Heights city council race, Thursday night.

Steve Miller at REACH city council candidate forum in Citrus Heights
Councilman Steve Miller responds to a question at Thursday night’s candidate forum, as challenger Bridget Duffy listens.

“I think we’ve done a heck of a job,” said current mayor and candidate Mel Turner, highlighting the opening of Stones Casino, which he says created jobs for 51 Citrus Heights residents. “No, we’re not perfect — yes, we can improve.”

Turner’s current colleagues Jeannie Bruins and Steve Miller likewise focused on their accomplishments while in office and expressed support for continuing in the same direction, while challenger Bridget Duffy criticized the council’s support of a failed 2012 local tax measure to pay for roads and more police.

“What kind of report card you would give your city council that’s in place today?” Challenger Tim Schaefer asked the audience, urging a vote for a “fresh perspective” on the council. “We’ve talked about economic development, we’ve talked about jobs, and I can’t say that I’ve seen much of that change in the last 12 years.”

Sponsored by the Residents’ Empowerment Association of Citrus Heights, each of the five city council candidates were asked a series of nine questions, all focusing on local issues and candidate qualifications and goals.

During opening statements, Miller emphasized his family focus and 30-year marriage, while Bruins highlighted her experience and involvement in the early cityhood effort. Schaefer and Duffy both focused on their opposition to a new city hall and concerns with budgetary issues, and Turner cited his “servant leadership” philosophy and 30-year residency.

*Editor’s note: check back soon for full audio and additional coverage of the forum, or listen to candidate answers to eight questions during the first forum here: VOTER FORUM: City candidates divided on taxes, new hall & Prop 47.

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