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
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