Who is Running for Sacramento City Council in the Natomas District?

Angelique Ashby is not running for re-election for the Sacramento City Council seat, which she has held since 2010.  That means North Natomas voters will see an open field of candidates in June's election.

Angelique Ashby is not running for re-election for the Sacramento City Council seat, which she has held since 2010. That means North Natomas voters will see an open field of candidates in June’s election.

xmascarenas@sacbee.com

A real estate agent, school board member and LGBTQ community leader run for Sacramento City Council seat, representing the fast-growing North Natomas neighborhood.

Councilor Angelique Ashby, who has held the seat since 2010, is running for the State Senate and is not seeking re-election. After the June 7 primary, the top two candidates will move to the November 8 general election. The winner takes office in December.

Like Ashby, all three candidates for District 1 are moderate Democrats, but they have some notable differences.

Nate Pelczar, 44, was raised in Michigan before moving to Sacramento in 2009 and has been a homeowner in North Natomas since 2010. He works at the California Product Stewardship Council, an environmental organization. He is a board member of the Stonewall Foundation of Greater Sacramento, which serves LGBTQ+ youth. He is assisted by Ashby and Councilman Jay Schenirer.

Lisa Kaplan, 46, grew up in Oregon before moving to Sacramento in 1999 to attend McGeorge Law School. An attorney, she has owned a home in North Natomas since 2005 and has been a member of the Natomas Unified School Board since 2001. She is supported by City Councilors Eric Guerra and Rick Jennings.

Alyssa Lozano, 42, was born in Northgate and has lived in North Natomas since she was four. She is a broker and President of the Natomas Chamber of Commerce. No sitting councilor has endorsed Lozano, but Rep. Kevin McCarty has.

Kaplan has raised large donations from developers and real estate groups. She received $6,000 from the California Apartment Association, $3,500 from the California Real Estate PAC, and $1,800 from developer Sotoris Kolokotronis.

Pelczar also received $1,800 from Kolokotronis and $6,000 from the Sacramento Police Officers Association.

Lozano has mostly received small donations.

Homelessness Ideas

The city is converting a motel in North Natomas into a homeless shelter. It is in Ashby’s district today, but the district’s boundaries will change in December. District 1 will not have large homeless projects after this change, although there are scattered homes.

Pelczar said he wants the city to convert more motels into shelters and shelters, including in District 1. He’s also open to safer grounds — where people live in tents or vehicles with access to bathrooms, showers, medical care and resettlement services — but only if the planned secure parking lot at Meadowview isn’t enough, he said.

“Whatever the community can endure, I will welcome it with open arms,” ​​Pelczar said. “But every district has to do its bit.”

Lozano is proposing that the city open a safe ground on a city lot in north Natomas where about 100 small houses and trailers have been unused for over a year.

“They’re already there, it’s close to transportation, there’s a lot of space,” said Lozano, who was on the fenced lot.

While home and business owners are often opposed to opening local homeless camps, Lozano said she thinks they would support one at the city camp because it would get people away from Steelhead Creek.

“Our companies want to help get people off the dike,” said Lozano. “Valley View area residents are upset their levees and bike path are littered with debris.”

Kaplan said she would like to see a homeless settlement in North Natomas along the Jibe bus route. She doesn’t have a specific place in mind or a type of accommodation to suggest yet. She wants to see an audit of current homelessness programs and spending first, she said.

In 2020, she led a campaign to raise funds from Natomas residents to house homeless families in motels for 10 weeks around the holiday, she said.

All candidates want more Sacramento cops

Following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, activists have called on the council to reduce police funding and reallocate that money to youth programs, homeless services and social workers. Despite this, the police budget has grown, hitting an all-time high of $165.8 million in the current fiscal year.

All three candidates said the department needed more officers.

Lozano, whose father was a Sacramento police officer, said the department should hire dozens more officers to fill vacancies and also improve transparency and accountability.

“We definitely need to do better to ensure bad cops aren’t in our squad and on our streets,” Lozano said.

Pelczar, who is supported by the city’s police officers’ union, agreed.

“Not everyone feels safe with more police coming in, so we need to get the problem people out of the department,” he said.

Kaplan said more officers would help with common problems like porch pirates, catalytic converter thefts and mailbox break-ins.

“We have the same number of officers as we had 10-12 years ago, but the city has grown,” she said.

New projects in Natomas

The candidates have different preferences for a major development planned for the site of the former Sleep Train Arena, a proposed $1 billion hospital and medical school administered by Elk Grove-based California Northstate University. The site is a key part of North Natomas’ commercial development plans.

The City Council advanced the project in February by approving its planning documents. California Northstate announced at the time that it plans to require financial incentives from the city based on the number of jobs it creates.

Kaplan said she doesn’t want the city to give any money to the project unless the for-profit medical school gets full accreditation.

Pelczar said he would give the city money for it.

Lozano said she wasn’t sure yet.

The candidates have some other ideas for projects they would like to cultivate in North Natomas.

The hospital project will include space for a Natomas Unified School District building — a project Kaplan helped direct, she said.

Lozano said she wants the city to build a sports complex on vacant land in North Natomas Regional Park.

And Pelczar said he wants the city to offer subsidies to developers so they can build homes faster for all income brackets.

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Theresa Clift covers Sacramento City Hall. Before joining The Bee in 2018, she covered local government for newspapers in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. She grew up in Michigan and graduated from Central Michigan University.

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