Leader of failed effort to save the Mapes Hotel wins council primary

RENO - A woman who headed an unsuccessful effort to save the historic Mapes Hotel then turned her disgust toward city hall was the top vote-getter in a primary Tuesday for a seat on the Reno City Council.

All three incumbent city council members up for re-election survived stiff challenges to advance to the general election in November, as did Jessica Sferrazza-Hogan, daughter of former Reno Mayor Pete Sferrazza.

But not without a few tense moments.

The biggest showing was by Toni Harsh, president of the Truckee Meadows Heritage Trust, who nearly doubled the total of incumbent Tom Herndon - 47.5 percent to 26 percent - in the race for the Ward 1 council seat.

Herndon finished second, and the top two candidates for each seat advance to the general election, so he'll make a bid against Harsh in November to win re-election to a third term.

''Starting tomorrow, I start going door to door and getting the word out,'' Herndon said Tuesday night.

Among the other Ward 1 candidates, Larry Martin had 21 percent, Jerry Olsen about 3 percent and Guy Zewadski 2 percent.

Harsh was among several candidates who joined the race after the Mapes Hotel-Casino was demolished in January, the first time a building targeted for protection by the National Trust for Historic Preservation had succumbed to the wrecking ball.

In addition to the Mapes, those challengers generally are opposed to a hotly debated $213 million proposal that Mayor Jeff Griffin and several council members are backing to build a railroad trench through downtown.

Their critics include Sferrazza-Hogan, who was tops in a crowded field for a Ward 3 seat Tuesday night with 33.5 percent of the vote. She will face Glade Hall, a Reno lawyer who once operated a commercial salmon boat in Alaska.

Hall had 17.6 percent (688 votes) - narrowly outdistancing Richard Odynski, 16.8 percent (655), and Terry Herman, 16.7 percent (652), in a race that had no incumbent.

Two other incumbents targeted by the Mapes backers, Dave Aiazzi in Ward 5, and Pierre Hascheff in the at-large race, also survived primary scares to advance to the general election.

Hascheff had the best showing in the at-large contest with 37.3 percent of the vote. He'll face former City Councilwoman Judy Pruett-Herman, who edged Mike Robinson for the second-place finish, 25.4 percent to 23.7 percent.

Pruett-Herman lost to Griffin in a mayoral race two years ago.

''It's just begun,'' Hascheff said Tuesday night.

Robinson, another loud critic of the railroad trench and the Mapes demolition, is the leader of a petition drive aimed at recalling Griffin. He said the strong primary showing by challengers should strike some fear in the mayor and incumbent council members.

''I think the message has been sent to the council that people don't like them ignoring their wishes,'' Robinson said.

In Ward 5, Aiazzi claimed 40.5 percent of the vote to finish ahead of James Tracy 39.3 percent. Those two will meet in the general election in November. Their next closest competitor was James Seele with 13.3 percent.

''As long as I'm in the top two, that's fine with me,'' Aiazzi said as the ballots were being tallied.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment