Four candidates for mayor of Sacramento debated last night at Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs headquarters in Natomas. Sometimes, the underdogs in the debate were the most effective.
Russell Rawlings made gentrification of Oak Park a part of the discussion.
"It's a disconnect between those that are new to a community and want to take advantage of all of the rich, cultural and other experiences that can be had," Rawlings says. "But, If there's not an investment from those same individuals then there can be real separation issues."
On the economy, Rawlings says substantial increases in Regional Transit services would generate economic growth from poorer areas of the city.
Former State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg says the city should have more money than it does.
"I wrote many of the laws the city could take better advantage of whether it's the Mental Health Services Act, for housing for the homeless, whether it's the Cap n Trade Investment Act for bike lanes and for transit and other urban infrastructure," Steinberg says.
Sacramento City Councilmember Angelique Ashby says the city didn't receive its share of state money when Steinberg was in office.
"We're gonna have to work with our current senator to try to figure out how we're gonna go back and backfill Redevelopment (dollars) and the huge loss that that is to our region," Ashby says. "Because that is the impact that people are feeling in Oak Park and Downtown and Del Paso and Meadowview and all around our city and county for that matter."
Tony Lopez told the crowd he would help create occupational training in the city to help kids who aren't "cut out for college." He also said demanding a citywide audit would be his first act as mayor.
"When I first said a full audit of the city, oh boy, you should have seen the guys, man," Lopez says. "Their faces went 'fwoosh.' And so, then you know there's a problem. I'll tell you what, Sacramento, there's gonna be job openings in the city of Sacramento when I become mayor. Because if one and one don't equal two, 'Bye, Felicia. You're gone. Your job is open.'"
So who was most effective? Each candidate had supporters in attendance and they applauded after their candidates spoke.
Logan Rivera was one of two dozen young people who said he was undecided before seeing the debate. He says he appreciated Rawlings and Lopez's passion but thought Ashby and Steinberg had the experience required.
"They definitely have the heart for it and they really want to represent the people, but I don't think they have the tangible plans yet," Rivera says.
About 150 people attended.