In a sign that the Roseville City Council race is heating up, candidate Jason Etten today refuted a mail flyer about him that he says is "dishonest" and "misleading."
A group calling itself "People for a Voice" has mailed out a flyer to residents that contends "Roseville Can't Afford Jason Etten." It blames Etten, the Parks and Recreation Commission chairman, for the city adopting a $19.5 million bond sale for a "parks renewal program" without giving citizens the chance to vote on the issue."
The literature also contends Etten wants to establish a Park Board that would have taxing authority and institute a local sales tax "so we can pay more to shop near our homes."
In response to what he calls an "attack flyer," Etten said today (Monday), "The flyer is dishonest, misleading, and attacks me for decisions I did not and could not make."
Etten is in a four-way for two seats on the Roseville Council. The other candidates are: Bill Hoffman, Lisa Laliberte and Karen Schaffer. The general election is next Tuesday, Nov. 6.
The following is Etten's response to the flyer:
"Dear Friends and Supporters,
Over the weekend many of you received a negative mail piece about me from an unknown group called “People for a Voice.” It is unfortunate for the citizens of Roseville that others involved in this City Council campaign have chosen to take the campaign in a negative direction.
The flyer is dishonest, misleading, and attacks me for decisions I did not and could not make.
Chairman Has No Power on Taxing
It deceptively implies that I as Chair of the Park and Recreation Commission have the power to tax and spend at will. The truth is that the Chair has no power whatsoever over taxing and spending, but rather serves as a volunteer who gathers ideas and input from citizens and makes recommendations to the Parks and Recreation Department and the City Council.
I do believe in the importance of our Roseville parks. I grew up in this community and chose to move back here to raise my family because I believe it is a great place to live. I volunteered to serve as Chair of the Park and Recreation Commission because I want to ensure Roseville continues to be a great place to live.
Our parks are an essential resource in our community, bringing tremendous value to all of our citizens. They enhance our quality of life, attract people to the community and increase our property values.
In my time working with the Park and Recreation Commission I have had the great privilege of working with hundreds of citizens of Roseville on a vision for our Parks and Recreation system now and into the future. Part of this process involved identifying the most critical investments needed in our Parks and Recreation system in the near future, and the end product of this work was the proposed Park Renewal Program.
This process was so thorough and comprehensive that even the City Council members who eventually voted against the program held up our citizen engagement as an example for our city.
Explanation on Park Renewal Program
The Park Renewal Program we proposed focuses primarily on much-needed maintenance for our current park resources, per the feedback of our citizens in a survey done in 2011. It also includes funds for our sidewalk and trail system, the number one new priority of citizens according to the survey.
When we brought the Park Renewal Program to the City Council we proposed bringing the program to voters through a citizen referendum. The Council decided to use city-issued bonds to fund the program instead of a referendum. I was not involved in this decision and had no control over the actions of the Council. I recognize it was and remains a controversial decision.
I do believe we need to make investments in our parks. The annual funds available for taking care of our parks infrastructure has declined substantially over the years -- from $250,000 in 1990 to only $40,000 in 2012. Many of the projects that citizens prioritized in the Park Renewal Program have built up over years and are past due. The average Roseville home will pay about $6 per month for this work.
If elected it will be my goal to work closely with the citizens of Roseville to do what is best for our entire city. I will work to ensure we have a safe city that provides excellent services for your tax dollars. I will be an advocate for the wise use of tax payer dollars.
Finally, I want to extend my sincerest thanks for your continued support. The support I have received from all of you on this journey has been incredible and humbling. I promise that if I am elected next week I will be an honest leader focused on what is best for the people of Roseville.
If you have questions, please feel free to contact me at any time. Also, feel free to forward this message to others if you feel it would help the community discussion or dispel misinformation.