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Housing, Police Shootings, Homelessness — Sacramento City Council Candidates In Natomas Discuss The Issues

Capital Public Radio's Andrew Nixon, courtesy campaign, Capital Public Radio's Bob Moffitt

From top left: Sacramento City Council District One seat candidates Angelique Ashby, Gabriell Garcia, Don Sim and Edward Lewis.

Capital Public Radio's Andrew Nixon, courtesy campaign, Capital Public Radio's Bob Moffitt

Four people are running for the Sacramento City Council District One seat, including incumbent Angelique Ashby. She says skyrocketing rents are one of the problems the city must solve. But she's not a fan of rent control, or a proposed ballot measure that would bring it to the city.

“San Francisco: We know it didn't particularly work there,” she said of rent control-style policies in the Bay Area city. “So, I think we have to do something.”

She called the current proposal that is collecting signatures right now “a step too far,” but that she can “understand why people are frustrated enough to be in support of that measure."

The Stephon Clark shooting is a huge issue this election cycle. Ashby says it brought issues of social equality to the forefront. She sees the idea of community policing as evolving to include more input from people the police department serves.

"That includes allowing the community be part of things like hiring panels or policy discussions and we have that now much stronger than we did four years ago.  The next piece to that though is how we staff the department,” Ashby said.

Gabriell Garcia is one of three challengers going up against the incumbent. She says solutions to the issues raised by the Clark shooting must be worked out by both the Sacramento Police Department and other agencies.  

"I think bringing some training, sensitivity, weapons training, etc., to our police force could help with that,” she said, adding that investing in less fortunate neighborhoods is needed, as well.

Garcia, who owns a nightclub, is running to help homeless people.

"The homeless issues are extremely rampant in Sacramento right now,” she said. “That's at the forefront of my advocacy work at this time.”

A foster mom, she also works with foster groups and wants to make helping kids in need a priority.

Challenger Edward Lewis is a project manager for a nonprofit that specializes in helping low-income neighborhoods and has been on several boards and commissions. He says he would work to change the way police and the community interact.

"Law enforcement has to work with the community. The community have to also work with law enforcement,” he said.

He specifically wants to see “a collaborative partnership” on how to improve mental and behavioral health services.

"Service providers or local agencies have to able to meet the community. They have to be culturally and linguistically appropriate services," Lewis said, adding that they have to be affordable services.

The final challenger is Don Sim, a nurse who says the police department must be more efficient and effective.

"You have to change the culture,” Sim said, “The mindset has to come from the top. It's not going to cost any money. But, it takes a lot of time and work. But it must be done to build a bridge from the police department to the public.”

But Sim also thinks the community needs to understand that cops are in the community to protect.

“My mom told me a long time ago if I get a citation to say, 'Yes sir, no sir' get a ticket. If I have something to argue about, go to court to argue about it,” Sim said.

Sims says attempts to report crimes in his neighborhood were ignored and he felt compelled to run for office.

"They refuse to listen to us. If you don't listen and then you create a policy,  how do you know the policy is working for the people?,” he asked. “People flat-out say the city's not listening, the council member's not listening and people are frustrated.”

His three opponents call for more affordable housing, but also note the potential problems with a rapid increase in housing construction in Natomas. Each says the city must ensure the area does not grow too quickly.

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