Candidates gear up in race for Storey County Commission seat

Five candidates are vying for one slot in the Republican primary race for Storey County's District 3 Commissioner. They represent a range of agendas and opinions, so voters have a distinct choice in District 3.

Here's a look:

- Karl Trink

Incumbent Karl Trink, campaigning for his second term, is a retired security systems salesman. He moved to northern Storey County in 1986 from the San Jose area, is married and has four children.

"I ran four years ago because I didn't like the people that were running," Trink said, noting he believes things are worse now than they were then.

"Four (of the candidates) are backed by former Mustang Ranch owner (Joe) Conforte," Trink said, adding it's a complication that will split the vote.

Trink is an ardent advocate of the clean-up effort in Storey County, an effort he said should have started eight years ago. He feels the two other commissioners have failed to cooperate with him concerning the effort, although strides are being made at the grass-roots level.

"A lot of people are trying to clean up Virginia City because it needs it," Trink said.

He also thinks either five commissioners or a good county manager would better serve the county.

"Five (commissioners) would give fair representation, which we don't have now," he said. He believes the Virginia City Highlands and Mark Twain Estates are not getting the representation they need. "Mark Twain is very unhappy with Storey County because they can't get results or answers on calls."

Trink also feels the sheriff's department is way over budget, and he says the county needs a good financial officer.

"With money coming from TRIC (Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center), we need someone with more financial ability than what we have now," Trink said, noting the county is expecting a $20 million increase in revenues because of the center.

And while he may regard some Storey County leaders with disdain, he had nothing but praise for many county employees.

"We have wonderful people working for the county ... as well as in the public works department and building department," Trink said.

- Phillip Oldani

A resident of Lockwood, 52-year-old Phillip Oldani has lived in Nevada since 1978. He worked first at MGM/Ballys for 10 years and then later as a blackjack dealer, taxi driver and cashier at the Mustang Ranch. A single dad with an 11-year-old son, he now works as a dispatcher.

Originally from Wisconsin, Oldani spent two years at the University of Wisconsin in Oshkosh, where he majored in speech and theater. He said he is passionate about local politics and disenchanted with the alleged mediocrity of the current commissioner.

"I would be more dynamic in representing the citizens of Storey County in the same spirit as the Sagebrush Rebellion," Oldani said. " We live in Nevada because Nevada citizens are a special breed. We choose to live here because we are rugged individuals. I intend to stand up to the faceless bureaucrats from Washington D.C. who feel they can bully Nevada citizens with their federal mediocrity."

Oldani also feels strongly about keeping Sheriff's Department spending in check.

"We do not need an overzealous, overstaffed, overfunded sheriff's department because we are law abiding citizens," Oldani said.

When asked about water rights, Oldani said they should not be sold to interests outside Storey County.

"The sale of any water rights from Storey is a travesty," Oldani said, noting that once sold, they possibly can never be bought back. "I won't be intimidated by special interest groups that want to sell Storey County down the Truckee River."

- Juanita Cox

At 52, Cox is a lifelong Nevadan who has lived at the McCarran Ranch in Patrick for more than 16 years. She is a former systems analyst and programmer for the city of Sparks and a citizen lobbyist. She does a weekly television program and is a paralegal. Now working on her criminal justice degree, Cox is a member of such groups as Citizen Alert and the American Media Association and has represented Storey County on the Citizen Advisory Board.

Citizens' individual rights, and the abuse of those rights by those in power, are the primary foci of her campaign.

"Storey County has been a friendly little town with lots of freedom," Cox said. "That's why people like it, and that's why I object to Gestapo-like tactics."

Cox is referring to the cleanup campaign and the tactics she said were employed to enforce the project.

"The approach should be, let's all get in and help clean up," Cox said. "Not, you better clean it voluntarily, or we will come in and take your stuff, put it in storage and attach that bill to your property.

"My county commissioner is not representing me," she said, noting Trink is in trouble over unapproved letters he sent concerning the cleanup effort. "He does not understand civil rights or constitutional rights. He is in hot water at the moment because of that issue.

"He wrote a letter on his own without county commission approval, paid for by taxpayers' money, which basically threatened people's property rights."

Cox said large government is encroaching on Storey County's water rights, property and resources. She calls the situation intolerable, and feels she can help.

"I have a lot of experience with these issues, abuses of government and encroachment on our resources," Cox said.

- Bob Kershaw

An engineering relief supervisor at Circus-Circus casino, Bob Kershaw has lived in Rainbow Bend for 11 years. At 40, he is a single father and lives with his 14-year-old son.

Kershaw has served on the Canyon General Improvement District for 3 1/2 years and served three terms as Debt Management Commissioner. He spent four years on the school board, his term ending in December.

He chose to run for the commissioner position rather than the school board because the commisioner's job is a bigger challenge and there are issues at home that need attention. He feels his experience on these boards will be an asset to Storey County.

"I'm running because I care for Storey County, and I'd like to see it go in the right direction," Kershaw said. He noted that good times are coming with the business park and increased tax revenue to improve infrastructure, but he said there are still problems.

"I'd like to see something done with truck traffic on Canyon Way," Kershaw said, adding traffic can be diverted out of residential areas if the county completes the Hafed bridge and Reno Disposal builds the road.

"That bridge has been promised for at least 11 years, but Carl (Trink) hasn't really supported it," Kershaw said. "Trink supports widening the road, which isn't too popular with people along the road."

Canyon Way goes through Rainbow Bend and Lockwood Mobile Home Park, both residential areas. According to Kershaw, the road is zoned commercial, but the truck fumes and exhaust aren't good for kids or seniors with health problems.

"For a small area, we get a lot of traffic," Kershaw said, noting trucks back up on the freeway during business hours.

He feels the traffic on Canyon Way and water problems are hurting property values in the River District.

- Sharnel Silvey

Sharnel Silvey has lived in Storey County for six years and in Nevada for 25. An unemployed office manager, Silvey served as general manager for the Mustang Ranch. She just finished up classes in political science and computers at Truckee Meadows Community College and would like to continue her education.

Silvey is 32, and this is her first run for public office. She said she's enjoyed door-to-door campaigning.

"I've been asking people what they would like to see change, and I've gotten a great response from all areas. People have so much to say, but they haven't been listened to," Silvey said, noting she's been attending county commission meetings regularly. She feels communication is lacking between the community and its commissioner.

"I've seen and heard a lot of issues, ideas, complaints, and not gotten involved before. Now it is time. . . to get off the fence and do something about it," she said.

She feels the traffic on Canyon Way Road is a major issue.

"The (Hafed) bridge is the alternative that would be on the next exit and pull all traffic to that road," Silvey said.

She is also concerned about the water shortages in the area. "We need to research more of what is available," Silvey said. "Are we really low or is there something else going on?"


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