|Marysville Mayor - Bill Harris|
Reporter Ben van der Meer talks with Marysville mayorial candidate Bill Harris about issues facing Marysville. September 24, 2012
|Marysville Mayor - Ricky Samayoa|
Reporter Ben van der Meer talks with Marysville mayorial candidate Ricky Samayoa about issues facing Marysville. September 24, 2012
Most Viewed Stories
Campaign 2012: Marysville mayor candidates differ on city's needs
OCCUPATION: Retired Yuba County probation officer/program manager.
POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Council member, 1998- 2004. Mayor, 2004-2012.
QUOTE: "Marysville has some struggles ahead, but I think we're going to manage, and that will be the result of our citizens and city hall working together."
OCCUPATION: Compliance officer at E Center Head Start, Marysville.
POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: City Council member, elected in November 2010.
QUOTE: "Things don't have to be stale, even in the economic conditions that we find ourselves in. But you have to have a vision; you have to have a plan."
Marysville's costly infrastructure needs and its $118,000 deficit made for a lively debate between Mayor Bill Harris and his opponent, Councilman Ricky Samayoa, during a recent Yuba-Sutter Chamber of Commerce forum.
The candidates have expressed differences in how they see local government's role in coloring the fortunes of the historic city and in their own duties as elected officials.
Harris has said he counts his vocal support of the Enterprise Rancheria Casino project and opposition to any past or future increase in city sales tax as signature positions.
The casino project, he wrote recently in an Appeal-Democrat letter to the editor, "would mean hundreds of jobs for the community." In addition, his letter reads, "The agreement would pay the city $250,000 each year for the first couple of years with the total package being worth approximately $5 million over 15 years."
"The vote was 3-2," Harris said Wednesday of his part in making sure Marysville was on board. "Had I not voted for the agreement, it wouldn't have been in place,"
Among other events that have occurred on his watch as mayor, Harris pointed out, are a series of improvements to the Ellis Lake area and several development projects he said are good for the city.
"I'm especially pleased with the Washington Square development," he said of the shopping center completed nearly two years ago.
His vote to proceed with the project's plans despite a lawsuit and controversy over the land's relative value as green space was key to its passing, he said.
"It simply would not have happened," he said, without his deciding vote in the 3-2 decision by the council.
The Rideout hospital expansion will likely also be a boon to the city, Harris said, in the form of new businesses to support the influx of employees.
But the specter of a failed 2008 ballot measure continues to loom large for the city's budget, and Harris' detractors have said the proposal is worth revisiting.
"I want to focus on my belief that the city will be able to manage without a half-cent sales tax increase," Harris said of his staunch opposition. "That's one of the worst things we could do in a time of economic crisis."
"It doesn't take into account the number of people who will shop elsewhere," he said. "With the cost of gas nowadays, people would save money going over the river," he said of a sales tax increase's potential effects.
"I'll never support that," he said.
As one of the relative newcomers on the City Council, Samayoa is going against the 14-year record Harris represents.
"Experience is one thing. Leadership is another," he said. "What I'm offering is leadership."
Samayoa said he favors collaborative efforts that involve the whole community to the more traditional government approach.
"It's very important to try and revitalize our neighborhoods and do what we can to improve this community without spending a lot of money," he said.
"I understand that (city) staff is reduced, and we can't accomplish everything," Samayoa said. The mayor's role, he said, should be "to help put priorities in place and get things moving forward."
Samayoa, along with Councilwoman Christina Billeci, pushed for the Marysville community garden project on Second Street.
That, and another fledgling community garden in Live Oak, he said, are examples of improvements he wants to foster.
Like Billeci, many of Samayoa's pet projects have focused on the area's youth.
Samayoa said that he, along with police, the local school district and Union Pacific Railroad are discussing ways to address safety concerns about kids who cross Highway 70/B Street near Marysville High.
"Instead of playing frogger across the highway, they're now crossing the railroad tracks, which creates another danger," he said. "We have to solve problems like this together."
He helped acquire a $75,000 federal schools safety planning grant for Marysville, he said, so that such issues can be addressed properly.
"We need an overall look at the entire situation," he said, noting a recent push by Harris for stop signs near Covillaud Elementary. "The problems are at more than one school. That's where analysis comes. You start by looking at the big picture."
Samayoa started a youth basketball league last summer with public safety workers. The project attracted Gold Sox players and employees to the mix this year.
"It's a preventative program," Samayoa said of the league and its goals. "The kids will have a different perspective, and a different relationship with law enforcement. Those are the kinds of things you build on."
Among his other works in progress are community cleanup days involving Marysville High School students, and plans for a "Christmas in the park" event involving a series of light and decoration displays by local organizations and youth groups.
"These are not my ideas," Samayoa said. "They came from young people in our community. You can do things like this while we're working on our (city) budget."
He said he'd like to see local business owners pool their experience and help address the still-vacant B Street retail property purchased by the city in 2007.
And he wants voters to decide whether they want a sales tax increase, after they have weighed in on the services they want the city to provide and what they will cost.
"We need to find out where the gaps (in service) are, and if people are OK with those," he said.
CONTACT Nancy Pasternack at email@example.com or 749-4781. Find her on Facebook at /ADnpasternack or on Twitter at @ADnpasternack.