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Sacramento City Council District Two Candidates Talk Government Transparency, Priorities

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

Allen Warren, Greg Jefferson and Sondra Betancourt are running for City Council District 2.

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

Three people are running for Sacramento City Council District Two, an area that has struggled with poverty and crime for years.

Allen Warren is the incumbent and a partner in a development company. He says his priorities include focusing on creating jobs and more places for people to conduct business. He says addressing public safety is an ongoing effort. 

"We initiated Shot Spotter in District 2 last year and are now rolling it out to other parts of the city of Sacramento," he says. "District 2 is such a diverse community, I'd like to help bring all the different organizations together to really push in a common direction, I think if we could do that, we could get to the finish line a lot quicker." 

Sondra Betancourt is President of the Ben Ali neighborhood association and is a retired government employee. She puts public safety as her top priority.

"Right neck and neck with that, though is valuing the stakeholders of District 2," Betancourt says. "The people of District 2 are very good people that have a right to know and be involved in the decision-making process of their surroundings -what's going to be happening to North Sacramento. They need to be even players, not just the business community who's coming in or who stands to profit."

Greg Jefferson is president of the Del Paso Heights neighborhood association and is a retired state employee. He also says public safety is his number one priority.

"Number two would be economic development because of the lack of jobs in District Two and my third platform would be programs," Jefferson says. "We have six community associations in District Two, but none of them use the community center."  

This week, and for the second time in two years, a grocery store chain announced it would be opening in the district. Last year, the police department re-opened a substation in the area.

However, the district's crime rate in April was worst in the city.

On the topic of government transparency, Warren was the subject of a personnel complaint last year and was exonerated. But, the contents of investigations into the matter by private attorneys were kept sealed by the City Attorney's office, who also said any payouts by the city in such cases would not be made public. 

Capital Public Radio asked each candidate about whether investigations of elected officials should be made public.

Warren said, "Public officials definitely should be held to a different standard. In terms of whether the investigation should be made public, I have no issue with them being made public. I think there's probably some others who might and there are reasons why they don't do it. One that I was told is if the investigations were made public, people would become more reluctant to testify because a lot of times, there are other people involved in the investigations, and if the investigations were made public, it might make it more difficult to get the truth. But, if it was left up to me, I have zero issue with investigations being made public to the extent they could be."

Jefferson said,"I absolutely support the notion of transparency as it relates to government officials, especially if it were paid for with public funds. Just the mere fact it was paid for with public funds, I think it was around $55,000, I think the public absolutely has a right to know, and the notion that it was not in the best interest of the public to know the results did not sit well with me."

And Betancourt said,"We're not dealing with individuals or Presidents of the United States or people who should be immune. Certainly they were, well, any elected official is a servant of the public and the public may, at the end of the day, have a right to know if they want to know."

The primary is June 7. If a candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, the race will not go to the general election in November.