Since early voting began yesterday, I'll offer a few General Election endorsements today. These are my own personal opinions on the candidates and issues and don't necessarily reflect the opinions of the Nevada Appeal or anyone else (not even my wife), for that matter.
Statewide offices: I support the re-election of Gov. Kenny Guinn even though he's going to raise our taxes next year. The governor finally faced the facts last week when he announced across-the-board tax increases to resolve a huge state budget deficit. Besides, I simply can't vote for his opponent, State Sen. Joe Neal (D-N. Las Vegas), who wants to hike gambling taxes by more than 60 percent -- an absurd proposal. It's too bad Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa decided not to run for governor; she would have given Guinn a run for his money.
What has Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt done for us lately? Not much, as far as I can tell, so I'm voting for her opponent, Clark County Commissioner Erin Kenny, a Democrat. Ditto for State Controller Kathy Augustine, who's been mostly invisible around here. My vote goes to Democrat John Lee. I'm also supporting Congressman Jim Gibbons, Secretary of State Dean Heller and State Treasurer Brian Krolicki.
I believe that Reno Republican Brian Sandoval, who earned a reputation for honesty and integrity as chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission, is the most qualified candidate for attorney general. His main rival, Las Vegas Democrat John Hunt, has no experience in the public arena and has accepted some questionable campaign contributions.
State Assembly: If you've been around Carson City for a while, this is an easy choice. The Republican candidate, Ron Knecht, is a California carpetbagger who's lived in Carson for about a year. His opponent, Democrat Stacie Wilke, is a local businesswoman who was elected to the School Board. I'm voting for her because I want a Nevadan to represent me in the State Legislature. Carson Country's state senator, Mark Amodei, who faces only token opposition, deserves reelection as does Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Maupin.
Local offices: Of course the spirited race for sheriff has captured most of our attention, as well it should given the sorry performance of outgoing Sheriff Rod Banister. I thought candidates Ken Furlong and Bob Guimont were running neck-in-neck until Guimont decided to accept a campaign contribution from controversial businessman Ron Weddell, who has sued almost everyone in the courthouse. That decision convinced me to vote for Furlong, an experienced law enforcement officer with deep roots in the community. But I urge Guimont, a straight-talking street cop, to try again in four years.
The only other competitive local race is between Chief Deputy Assessor Dave Dawley and real estate agent Taunya Milligan to replace outgoing Assessor Kit Weaver. I'm voting for Dawley. City/County Clerk Alan Glover, an outstanding public servant, merits reelection as do District Attorney Noel Waters, Treasurer Al Kramer and Supervisor Robin Williamson. It's a toss-up between Supervisor Pete Livermore and challenger Neil Weaver and I'll probably flip a coin or abstain on this one. I also plan to vote for unopposed School Board candidates Norm Scoggin, Jim Hukari, Bob Crowell and Sheila Ward while urging them to hold the line on high school graduation requirements.
Ballot questions: In my opinion Question No. 2, the "protection of marriage" amendment, is redundant because the State Constitution already defines marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman. So I'll either vote "No" or abstain on this question.
Because I'm inalterably opposed to drug legalization, I'm voting "No" on Proposition 9, which would permit possession and/or use of up to three ounces of marijuana, enough pot for more than 150 "joints." Although out-of-state proponents, disguised as "Nevadans For Effective Law Enforcement," talk a lot about medical marijuana, this dangerous proposal isn't about medical marijuana (already legal in Nevada); it's about drug legalization. White House drug czar John Walters said it best during a recent visit to Reno: "This is a con and it's insulting to the voters of the state ..." Amen! Just say "No" to the drug legalizers and their pothead friends.
Carson City Advisory Question No. 1 would betray the public trust by permitting the city to sell the Fuji Park fairgrounds to commercial developers for construction of an "upscale lifestyle center" (whatever that is). Proponents say that those of us who oppose this measure constitute a "small, militant special interest group." But I think a majority rejects this sale, which would relocate the fairgrounds to a barren city dump site previously discarded by the supervisors. Vote "No" on this one. But I'm voting "Yes" on Carson City Question No. 2 to honor our late friend Grace Bordewich, a legendary schoolteacher. This $3.75 million school bond issue would fund the removal of toxic mold from Bordewich-Bray Elementary School and create safer facilities for students.
Guy W. Farmer, a semi-retired journalist and former U.S. diplomat, resides in Carson City.