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David Turturici is one City Council candidate who said he refuses to drink the arena "Kool-Aid” because he thinks it’s a bad deal for the city. Instead, he wants to see Sacramento use its resources on shoring up basic services – especially public safety – to get the city headed toward being more livable.
“The Kings are part of the city culture, but they’re not the only thing,” Turturici said Wednesday. “To gather up everything we can find to spend trying to keep them here is unconscionable.”
Turturici, an estate planning attorney who moved to Sacramento from the Stockton area in 2000, is running for the City Council District 4 seat.
He said he never considered running for a political office – until the idea of a new entertainment and sports complex started gaining traction in the city.
“I’m a private person and I prefer to stay out of any spotlights,” he said, “but the arena issue really lit a fire under me.”
Turturici, 39, said the arena deal represents everything that is going wrong with the City Council right now.
“It’s representative of a problem with their way of thinking,” he added.
Turturici said he opposes the arena deal on principal and on its terms.
“I would never enter into a deal with a for-profit organization while it’s questionable whether the city will ever get its money back. It doesn’t make sense,” he said.
Public safety and enhancing schools are top priorities for Turturici if he gets elected, he said.
“Sacramento’s crime rate is double the average rate for California cities,” Turturici said. “If we want to make Sacramento more appealing to visitors and businesses, we need to start with making (the city) safer.”
Turturici said he wants to invest the city’s resources in hiring back Sacramento Police Department officers who were laid off in the last two budget cycles.
“Public safety is the first thing a local government should be concerned with. Not just throwing money at it, but also doing more community-oriented policing and especially working with kids (who are) at risk of ending up in the juvenile justice system,” he added.
Turturici said he sees the big picture for the city, but he believes his priorities for the city have an important application in his district, too.
“Bigger-spending projects – like the arena – are bleeding us and are inefficient and causing the more district-related priorities to suffer,” he said.
One example for Turturici is the idea of adding bike lanes to Freeport Boulevard.
The Freeport bike lane project is still in the planning stages and would be expected to create safer routes for bicyclists to travel along one of Sacramento’s busiest thoroughfares.
“(The project) involves public safety and preventing kids who are riding to school from getting injured, but we are saying we don’t have money,” Turturici said. “But, we do have money for the arena or $300 million in bonds for water system infrastructure.
“We are sacrificing almost everything for the arena,” he added.
Turturici said the big sales pitch for the arena is job creation – but he isn’t buying it.
“I say we are only allocating some construction jobs with the arena. Allocate the money for other jobs – like hiring back city workers,” Turturici said.
Increasing the city workforce to pre-economic downturn levels, Turturici said, will go a long way to improve the level of city services.
Turturici also wants to see the city use its resources to help school districts provide sports, music and arts programs.
Having a city that provides good services, a low crime rate and good schools will make the city more livable, Turturici said – and more inviting to businesses that would relocate to Sacramento and bring much-needed jobs with them.
“If we want to be one of the most livable cities in the nation, we need to start there,” he said.
Turturici joins six other candidates for the District 4 City Council seat that will be open when incumbent Rob Fong steps down at the end of his term. The other DIstrict 4 candidates include Steve Hansen, Phyllis Newton, Joe Yee, Terry Schanz, Neil Davidson and Michael Rehm.
Melissa Corker is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press. Follow her on Twitter @MelissaCorker.