Elk Grove Mayoral Candidates Meet at Fallbrook For Final Forum

Elk Grove mayoral candidate Jerry Braxmeyer speaks with a voter at the Fallbrook Neighborhood  Association's Candidates' Forum.  ...

Elk Grove mayoral candidate Jerry Braxmeyer speaks with a voter at the Fallbrook Neighborhood  Association's Candidates' Forum. 
With less than three weeks to go until Elk Grove's historic first opportunity to directly elect its mayor, all six candidates vying for the position met at a forum sponsored last night by the Fallbrook Neighborhood Association. (Link to complete audio of forum available on next page.)

A companion story as well as the complete audio on the EGUSD candidates portion from last night's Fallbrook meeting will be posted later today. See more pictures from the event here.

Held at Elk Grove Elementary School, the forum was the fourth such event where voters could see the candidates answer questions about a host of issues facing the city including public safety, economic development and the city's planned expansion.

Unlike the other forums, the question for the candidates came from residents in the Fallbrook area and included so-called speed questions whereby the participants where asked to quickly answer close-end questions in 15 seconds.

One of the more interesting speed questions asked of the candidate was where they would take a first time visitor in Elk Grove. Elk Grove Council Member Sophia Scherman quickly noted "Project Ride" while lifelong Elk Grove resident pointed to the the Elk Grove Regional Park.

While the speed questions provided the opportunity for lighter moments, each of the candidates staked out their positions on their various issues. Braxmeyer, who is running on his lifelong ties to the community and his business-friendly agenda, also noted his concern for police officers when commenting on the city's recent $3.3 million incentive granted to attract the California Correctional Health Care Services (CCHSC).

"I don't believe we should give a subsidy to a business," Braxmeyer said. "Police officers had to make concessions and had to forgo pay raises. That is too big of a price."

Lynn Wheat, who opposes the city's planned 8,000 acre expansion noted that the expansion could strain public safety resources. "I am concerned that with this expansion, the level of current services will be reduced," she said.

Scherman, one of two original city council members still in office said she is proud of the work she has done for the city over the last 12 years and is always accessible to constituents. To improve civic involvement Scherman also said she would reinstate the so-called community planning advisory councils (CPAC's) that neighborhoods had when Elk Grove was under county jurisdiction.

"I think every individual neighborhood needs to have their own individual CPAC," Sherman said.

Absent from this forum was the jousting between Scherman and her council colleague Gary Davis over dueling claims on who was actually responsible for recruiting CCHSC to Elk Grove. In the last two forums Scherman challenged Davis on his claim for being responsible for attracting the agency to the city.

While Davis mentioned the CCHSC in passing saying he made an instrumental cold call to the agency, he focused on overall economic development and promised to work on improving the city's job to resident imbalance. Davis went on to say the city has become a more business friendly place.

"The last two year in a row we received award for being the most business friendly city in the Sacramento region," Davis said. "That happened because we worked really hard to cut red tape."

Later in the evening Wheat countered Davis' business-friendly claim saying the city got the awards for cutting fees for developers while letting them off the hook for development of community parks.

"When it is mentioned that we have become more business friendly it has to do with dropping developer impact fees," Wheat said. "Please ask the gentleman who owns the gas station at the corner of Elk Grove Boulevard and Elk Grove-Florin if he believes the city is more business friendly."

Listen to complete audio here.

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