Tuesday, June 10, 2008 • Susanville City Council welcomes a new member

Publishers’ note: This story appeared in the Tuesday, June 10, 2008, edition of the Lassen County Times.

The votes have been counted and Joe Franco will join seasoned councilmembers Lino Callegari, Doug Sayers, Vern Templeton and Kurt Bonham in making decisions for the city of Susanville.

By 36 votes, Franco beat Councilmember Rod BeBoer putting DeBoer in fourth place and no longer on the council.

Joe Franco.

The top three vote getters fill the three open positions. In two years, the other two council seats are up for election. Templeton and Bonham hold those seats.

Franco took 23.56 percent of the vote or 844 votes to DeBoer’s 808 votes or 22.55 percent of the vote.

Mayor Lino Callegari was the clear favorite to stay on the council and will begin his sixth term. Callegari garnered a little more than 28 percent of the vote, or 1,010 votes out of 3,583 cast.

“I appreciate the citizens trust and will do everything to keep that trust,” said Callegari the morning after the Tuesday, June 3 election. “I plan to move (the city) forward with what we have. It’s time to move forward.”

Councilmember Doug Sayers will begin his fifth four-year term on the council. Sayers took 894 votes, 50 more than third-place winner Franco.

“I want to thank the residents for their support. I am a resident of Susanville and will spend most of my time in Susanville,” said Doug Sayers addressing concerns by some voters that he will spend much of his time in Chester at the home of his wife Marian Forbes Sayers.

When Sayers chose to toss his name into the ring as incumbent for the city council, many people were surprised, in part, because at the at the Jan. 17, 2007 council meeting he said he continued to live on Plumas Street. He also said he did not plan to run for re-election in 2008. When his term ends, he will move his residence to Chester, he told the council.

The day after the election, Sayers said his intent was to retire from public service but after he was given a clean bill of health “from many, many doctors,” he decided to run.

Sayers suffered a heart attack in October 2006 and during tests a brain tumor was found and removed. Within  days Sayers was recovering better than expected, his daughter to Stephanie Sayers-Van Brunt said a few weeks after the surgery.

“I am here to represent the people and I encourage them to come to council meetings and voice their opinion,” said Sayers.

He admitted the council is facing some hard times dealing with its budget and the economy but he said the current city staff is the best since he has been a councilmember.

“The city administrator (Rob Hill) is doing a great job,” said Sayers on how his job making decisions for the citizens is easier when the staff is open and intelligent.

Sayers said one of his goals is to work toward getting a pool but he cautioned that the city needs the help from the county, the schools and other agencies to accomplish the goal. He added he had plans to go look at the closed Roosevelt Pool and see if there was “anyway to resurrect it.” The pool was condemned on Dec. 22, 2004 and after several attempts at getting a new pool built, the city and Lassen County are no closer in providing an aquatic facility for the citizens.

Franco is a newcomer to city politics. The city council approved his membership to the Planning Commission in January.

“I want to be open and listen to the public but when it comes down to it, I will make the most informed, objective decision,” said Franco, who added he hopes to bring a fresh perspective to the board.

“It will be a challenge to live within the city’s budget but we (the council) will have to do it,” said Franco about the fact expenditures are rising at a higher pace than revenues.

He said after attending the Wednesday, June 4 council meeting, he agrees fire protection and law enforcement are two huge areas of the city budget that cannot be shortchanged. He also said he would work toward a pool and other summer programs for children.

“If we can keep the kids busy, then it only makes sense law enforcement will have an easier job,” said Franco.

DeBoer, who recently retired as a Lassen County Sheriff’s deputy, said though he had some unfinished things he would like to have accomplished as a councilmember, he is ok with losing the election even by as little as 36 votes.

He said he leaves office at a time when the staff is the strongest and morale is the greatest. He added he will miss the work but he is still a citizen of the city and only wants the best for its residents.