District 5 Placer supes candidates square off in Auburn

Soroptimist International of Auburn hosts three of five in race
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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AUBURN CA - Regional sewer support at the Placer County level should remain strong, if any of the three District 5 Board of Supervisors candidates speaking Monday in Auburn are elected. All three ? incumbent Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery and challengers Rich Johnson of Auburn and Jerry Johnson of Meadow Vista ? voiced pro-regional plan feelings during a question-and-answer session with the Soroptimist International of Auburn during the group?s noon meeting. Rich Johnson, a Placer County Planning Commission member, said that he favors the regional concept ? which would see North Auburn sewer district wastewater flow to a treatment plant in Lincoln. Auburn and other communities in the area could also be linked to the pipeline. ?It?s better to have an economy of scale,? Johnson said. Jerry Johnson, a developer and resident of the upscale Winchester housing development in Meadow Vista, said that he has favored the regional approach for decades. Jerry Johnson noted that he offered as Winchester developer to oversize the Winchester pipeline when the project was being built to allow other upstream developments to connect to but was turned down by the county. ?Now the county?s going to dig up a mile of sewer line (in Winchester) to upsize and repair problems I offered to solve for free,? Johnson said. ?That?s poor planning.? Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery said that once county staff was able to provide the needed information to make a decision, she became convinced that the regional pipeline plan would prove most beneficial. ?I came down firmly in favor of the regional plan,? Montgomery said. ?It?s the best option environmentally and economically for ratepayers.? Montgomery?s District 5 expanded into Auburn after census population numbers showed strong growth in the Roseville-Lincoln area compared to Auburn and the rest of eastern Placer?s District 5. That meant Auburn was added to District 5 and its supervisor, District 3?s Jim Holmes, was replaced by Montgomery. Holmes voted against the regional plan because he thinks upgrading the North Auburn plant would be more cost-effective. Montgomery, a Serene Lakes resident, is in her first term of office. As well as Jerry and Rich Johnson, she is being challenged by two other candidates ? Mark Wright and Gary Johnson. They did not attend the forum. While open to the public, the number of attendees was an estimated 18 people, including Soroptimist club members. Applegate?s Lisa Bloom, a member of Soroptimist of American River, said the three candidates all touched on things that were important to her, including the regional sewer issue. ?I?ve lived in the area only six years but it has surprised me that they hadn?t gone that route earlier,? Bloom said. Before presentations by the three candidates, former Auburn City Councilwoman Cheryl Maki said that there have never been so many candidates in recent memory vying for the same seat on the board. She attributed the number of candidates to Auburn?s inclusion in the district. If no candidates gain a majority in the primary June 5, the top two finishers will move on to a runoff in November.