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Posted 27 Feb 2001   For week ended February 02, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 13Feb01

By Rosemary Pollock

LDS Politician Part of a New Breed

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA -- The Sierra foothills of Sacramento are home to a new breed of conservatives. Much of the growth is coming from high-tech companies such as Intel and Hewlett-Packard. These companies are bringing thousands of transplants from the Bay Area who like the landscape and the politics. Eric King brought his family from the Silicon Valley to Folsom City, the new Orange County of the north.

King is a Mormon who holds deeply conservative values. His wife stays home to care for their two young children and he believes in maintaining the quality of life that drew him and his family here from Utah. As a resident of less than four years, King decided to run for office as an advocate of managed growth. In November he captured a Folsom City Council seat.

"I'm not anti-development," he said. "If you're going to do a development in a certain area, you have to have the water, the sewers, the police. It's got to be a package," he said. King decided to run for office after concluding that "the Good Old Boys Network", consisting of real estate developers and their allies, had too much power in the city and were approving new housing without ensuring the city could afford to support it.

King had little support from former mayors and leaders within the Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club. He found his support from local friends and longtime city activist Ernie Sheldon. "He was fresh and honest and he wasn't committed to any special interest groups," said Sheldon, an Air Force veteran. "This town belongs to the new people. Guys like Eric are inheriting the direction of this town and need to be part of where it goes."

Ultimately, King refused to take money from developers and won a council seat by spending only about $7,000 while two other candidates raised about $25,000 each. King's first big issue is what to do about the hundreds of acres south of Highway 50. His colleagues want to bring it into the city's sphere of influence, a move that King sees as a precursor to development. "Nothing should be built on that oak-laden land without a vote of the people," said King.

King's support for a bond measure for Folsom schools is predicted. One of the issues that triggered his interest in politics was his inability to secure a spot for his son in the neighborhood's overcrowded preschool. King knows that if he invests a bit of his own time and effort in an improved school system it will pay big dividends down the road.


Shaking up Folsom Council's 'business as usual'
Sacramento CA Bee 1Feb01 T2
By Daniel Weintraub


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