Supervisors debate remains cordial
September 23, 2004
Between friendly comments and polite laughter, Carson City Water Utilities customer-service technician Rebecca Beisenstein and incumbent Ward 2 Supervisor Shelly Aldean presented their platforms for the November election at the League of Women Voters political forum Wednesday.
Beisenstein laughed and appeared relaxed around her opponent. She was sympathetic to Aldean when Aldean’s answers ran over the allotted time.
Beisenstein, a community volunteer with land-beautification groups and youth mentoring, referred to herself as a common citizen with “simple views.”
Aldean, a corporate broker and president of development corporation Glenbrook Co., smiled and earnestly congratulated her opponent for stepping up and running anyway.
They each answered seven questions from the audience. They agreed on most topics, and had differing, but not opposing views, on others.
They agreed Community Block Grant Funds from Housing and Urban Development should be used on street improvements.
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Both agreed the homeless population in Carson City should get more mental health services and shelter from the government.
“We need additional funding,” Aldean said. “Shipping them out of town is not the answer.”
“Those with mental problems should be assessed,” Beisenstein said. “We should work as a team to help them only if they want help.”
Aldean said big retail stores have left for Douglas County because it is more convenient and a better economic decision for them, but she hinted that supervisors could have been more aggressive in their efforts to retain them.
“There’s nothing wrong with being an aggressive suitor,” she said.
Beisenstein said city officials need to make Carson City a more attractive place for big retailers to do business.
“Retailers are moving out because of neglect and the incentives Douglas County offered them,” she said. “Maybe Carson City is going toward a ghost-town motif to go with the V&T Railroad.”
The audience wanted to know what the two would do about the city’s diminishing water supply.
The candidates agreed consumer restraint and conservation will help to restore the water table.
“We live in a desert, not a rain forest,” Aldean said. “We have to be mindful of the water we use.” She also advocated utilizing re-used water on public lands and increasing water rates for infrastructure improvements.
Beisenstein, also an advocate of conservation, was not in favor of water rate hikes.
“We have to fall back on conservation. If we do that, eventually the water level will go back up,” she said. “I don’t want to see rates double and triple. If that happens, people who live on restricted budgets will have to neglect their yards.”
If the two came even slightly close to disagreeing, it was over the $2.2 million the city spent this year on legal fees. One legal battle with American General Development cost the city over $300,000.
The company sued after the city terminated its contract in July 2000 and withheld $328,000 in payments for work already done on an aquatic center.
“No one likes to spend money on lawsuits, but sometimes you’ve got to stand up,” Aldean said. “It’s one of the prices of doing business.”
“You buy cheap, you get cheap,” Beisenstein said. “Most lawsuits can be avoided by honest and open negotiations.”
Contact reporter Robyn Moormeister at email@example.com or 881-1217.