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The ever-widening field of candidates for District 4 opened up once again as Land Park resident Terry Schanz joined the 2012 City Council race.
Schanz (pronounced “Shawnz”), 33, said Friday that his background in public policy – extending from a degree in political science from UC San Diego, to community-building work in Cape Town, South Africa, to eight years with the State Legislature – is one reason he is the best candidate for the job.
“My experience is in public service,” Schanz said. “I live it every day. I understand it, and I understand what it takes to make good policy. City Council is, first and foremost, a policymaking body.”
For a self-described “hometown boy” who spent his younger years in the same Land Park house his grandmother grew up in, Schanz said he knows Sacramento and the fourth district intimately.
It’s that personal relationship with the town he loves, Schanz said, that gives him the drive to make it a city to be proud of.
“We are always saying, ‘if we have this one thing, then we’ll be a real city,’ or ‘if we only had this other thing, we’d be a real city,’ ” Schanz said. “Well, we are a real city already. Now let’s build up our city and make it a place to really be proud of.”
To do that, Schanz said, Sacramento needs efficient basic services above all else.
“When things are challenging fiscally, you have to pay attention to the basics,” Schanz said. “Public safety, police, fire, garbage service, parks, water service – we need to make sure we can maintain those basic functions,” Schanz said.
As a City Council member, Schanz said he would like to see the budget process emphasize basic services first before looking to less critical areas – such as how to pay for a sports and entertainment complex.
“Would I love to see a stadium anchor all the new development that will happen in the railyards? Yes,” Schanz said. “Do I want a vibrant and alive downtown? Absolutely.
“But, we are talking about closing public pools, and parks that are not being maintained and not knowing if police or fire trucks will show up in an emergency. Am I willing to sacrifice public safety or public services? No, I’m not ready to go there,” Schanz said.
U.S. Army Sgt. Aaron Crouch, 33, said he has known Schanz since the first day of senior year at C.K. McClatchy High School. Crouch said Friday that Schanz has always been a man of passion for helping people – even in his younger days.
“(Terry) has a huge heart, and he is unrelenting,” Crouch said. “He has this desire to lift all ships, starting from the bottom and working his way up. He’s all about making life better for everyone.”
Crouch said that when Schanz traveled to South Africa, he went to see what life was like somewhere completely different that what he knew, to get a sense of reality and contrast.
“That’s just one example of how he goes the extra mile to get a new perspective,” Crouch said.
Although Schanz said he has always had an interest in public service, Crouch said Schanz never set his sights on a higher office.
“People kept telling him he should run for office – president, even,” Crouch said, “but he has always wanted to stay local and help the people around him. He has no visions of grandeur.”
Listening to the people he would represent is the backbone of his campaign, and Schanz said all of his fundraising will happen from a “boots on the ground” effort: small-dollar fundraising events and plenty of knocking on doors and meet-and-greets at small businesses in the district.
“When people make even small donations to a campaign, they take ownership, in a way, of the candidate and of the issues,” Schanz said. “Come meet me. Meet my dogs. If you want to make a donation to my effort, that’s great – but I want you to know who I am, too.”
Melissa Corker is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press. Follow her on Twitter @MelissaCorker.
Editorial Note: A correction was made to this story after it was published: Schanz grew up the same house that his grandmother lived in.