Carson City supervisor candidates speak to Rotary

Carson City Ward 4 supervisor candidate Richard Staub said Tuesday Carson City government needs to begin looking for alternate routes to alleviate traffic congestion on Carson Street now, not when the freeway is finished in 2008.

"No one has to look just on Carson Street or Highway 50 or Roop Street to know we have a problem here," Staub said. "Now what faces the Board of Supervisors is what to do until 2008. We'll continue to grow and while a freeway in 2008 or 2010 will be welcome, we need to find alternate routes."

Staub and opponent Verne Horton are vying for the seat being vacated by Kay Bennett, who has served as Ward 4 supervisor for 12 years. They spoke Tuesday to members of the Carson City Rotary International Club.

Staub said traffic is his number one concern, but also discussed issues such as public safety and governmental accountability.

Both Staub, 48, and Horton, 59, addressed economic stability, which Horton said is his top concern.

"We are all well aware that in 15 to 20 years, Carson City will be built out," said Horton, a former planning commission chairman. "It is critically important to look at the available land and evaluate the economic value of that land. Government needs to establish an environment for private industry to come forward to maximize land use."

Horton, a commercial/graphic artist, said the flip side of maximizing economic development was the continuing need to fund government.

He supports the city doing zero-based budgeting to justify its expenses to the community.

"This allows us to make sure we are doing what the public wants," he said. "Precisely what they want, no more, no less. We need establish a formal performance evaluation for the city."

Staub, a local attorney and developer, commended city officials for "creative" means to attract Costco and said the city "needs to work with business people to create projects like Costco and Lowe's."

"The end, in some cases, justify the means," Staub said.

Staub also said he has been criticized for previous statements that he doesn't support immediate funding of any city government arm, including public safety, without justification of the expenses.

"We need to look at departments on an ongoing basis to make sure they're operating efficiently," Staub said. "Supervisors have a right - a responsibility - to ask for accountability. I want to see accountability in government."

Asked by one attendee about proposed affiliation for Carson-Tahoe Hospital, Horton said it is one of the biggest issues that may come up, "short of selling government.

"It's probably something we're going to approach as cautiously as we can," Horton said. "The hospital is one of the biggest assets the community owns. It's sad to me when we consider losing control over what is a large part of our quality of life.

"Once we have made that commitment, once we affiliate or sell or whatever, our opportunities to get that control back are going to be expensive if the ability is there at all."

An 18-year Carson resident, Horton has been involved in various city committees. "I've tried to make it a personal action for me to be involved in the community," Horton said.

Staub noted he is almost a life-long Carson resident who enjoys the quality of life here.

"I was elated and humbled by the support in the primary," he said. "I believe I can be an effective supervisor."

Staub won the Sept. 5 primary with 3,685 votes to Horton's 2,586. Horton edged out third candidate Frank Sharp by 252 votes.


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