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Sacramento Mayoral Candidates Disagree On Experience And Theater Future


Councilwoman Angelique Ashby and former State Senator Darrell Steinberg don't disagree on much. They both support Farm To Fork, public safety and flood protection. But they do disagree on the type of political experience that would best serve the city.

They both made their cases on why they should be mayor while at a debate Thursday hosted by Capital Public Radio's Beth Ruyak at the annual Sacramento Convention and Visitor's Bureau luncheon.

Steinberg last served on the city council 18 years ago. He has served in the Assembly and is the former leader of the State Senate.

"I think the city is looking for a mayor who has the experience, the record of accomplishment and what I call 'the reach' which means relationships with state and national leaders, the ability to draw resources to this community whether it's infrastructure, whether it's homeless services, whether it's education," Steinberg says.

Ashby has been on the city council since 2009.

"The biggest distinguishing factor between us is that I'm there right now," Ashby argues. "I'm a day-one mayor. I know exactly what's happening. In fact, I've been the sub-in for the mayor for the last four years straight. I know exactly what we need to do and where to go and how to get there quickly. We won't have to take pace back to wait for a mayor to catch up."

The candidates also disagree on the best plan for the Community Center Theater — Ashby wants to build a new one.

"Many users say it's too big, the acoustics aren't right, the bays need to be addressed, the bathroom situations are a problem," she says. "The city of Sacramento did come up with a plan to address the most minimal of those issues. But, I don't think the will of the council is to accept a minimalist standard."

Steinberg supports a renovation and expansion of the existing building to connect it to the Convention Center. He has questions about any new construction.

"I want to know if there's any real private-sector interest in building a theater at a different site or if that's just speculation," Steinberg says. "I want to know what the impact is on the east end if we were to build a new theater, for example, at Lot X." 

The candidates agree that the next mayor must help secure the future of Sacramento's Farm to Fork movement.

"Are we going to pass ordinances, for example, that create a greater incentive for urban agriculture?" Steinberg asks. "What are we doing with our schools to create pathways for young people who want to go into the hospitality business?"

Ashby says Farm to Fork has changed the world's view of the region, but can be improved.

"How do we make sure during drought years that we keep that alive?" she asks. "How do we handle the industry of refrigeration and transportation? How do our rules and regulation limit our ability to actually be a farm-to-every-fork city?"

The agency's leadership invited only the two candidates they think have the best chance of winning the election.

Nine people have filed papers to run for the office.