Carson City mayor: Jim Shirk

Name: Jim Shirk

Age: 58

Phone number and campaign Web site:


Please write a short biography of yourself (you might include such things as birthplace, career, community involvement, family, etc.):

Born December 25, 1950 San Jose Ca. Union Carpenter/Construction Management/Precision Concrete, Owner-Operator/presently RealtorĀ®. As Mayor, Community goals are my top priority. Pre-planning and implementation will require residents, community based groups and local businesses input, all are equally important for success. My Leadership Qualities; I will always be engaged in the learning process, I will use common sense, my decisions will be reasonable and dependable, I will create an atmosphere that encourages others to participate, I will demonstrate a positive attitude, I will be accessible, I will listen, I will communicate, I will be Your Full Time Mayor.

Have you ever been arrested? Yes. If so, when and for what offense?

1960's - smoking marijuana 1980's - DUI. Discussing this is publicly, with one adult child and two teenage step daughters at home is quite difficult. I find this discussion to be much more difficult than the one I had forty years ago with my Dad. As parents we want to set good examples for our children but I hope they can learn from my mistakes. It was a humbling experience then and now. Two dates etched in my memory that brought dishonor and shame. I still remember how disappointed my Dad was and how embarrassed I felt.

Describe your vision for the Carson City of the future:

I visualize: "A Clean and Beautiful City" this is by far the most powerful economic and social dimension for success. The most successful cities are modeled after this concept. I visualize a strong local business economy that rivals that of any surrounding community. When businesses flourish everything else will follow. I visualize residents, businesses and visitors enjoying a world class Carson City. I visualize high quality, efficient and easily accessible public services from our city government. As your Mayor three things I visualize for all residents and all businesses of Carson City; Prosperity. Livability. Opportunity.

List the three most important issues Carson City will face in the next few years:

The Economy. The Economy. The Economy. Every challenge we will face in the next few years will be centered on our local economy. As Mayor my focus will be a short term intermediate plan that will have an immediate positive impact on our local economy and will boost our City Revenues. How can we improve our local economy right now? Do other candidates have a plan? I do! It will be presented in this article. The cure all for everything is "a strong local economy" without one we are subject to even further deterioration of our public services.

Do you think Carson City has a healthy number of casinos? Would you support more casinos?

We live in a free society which endorses free enterprises. If an individual(s) wants to start a business city government should not, must not, can not regulate what type of businesses should be allowed. Citizens will determine if a particular business is needed with their spending dollars at that establishment. My focus will be on a safe, clean and healthy community which supports local businesses. A community that is family oriented with strong social and community values which promotes and supports the arts, culture and history. A strong City needs a strong economy and strong economy needs a Great City.

If the city continues to face budgetary problems, would you consider layoffs as part of the solution?

Presently the City Manager and Departments are reducing positions and funds as a precaution due to the limited revenues that are presently available. Further consideration could be given to; reduction of work hours, health care benefits, and volunteers for early retirement. As with any business employees are your extended family we need to make sure that every option has been looked at first before we proceed with any layoffs. When the economy strengthens (and it will) this is the time when the Mayor and Board of Supervisors should streamline our budget even further to help build up our future reserves.

How would you characterize the level of crime in Carson City, including gang-related crime? Do you believe the city needs more law enforcement officers? ?

One crime is one crime too many. I am reminded of a story; when a prize fighter has his opponent on the ropes he never ever lets his opponent off the ropes to regain his strength. The prize fighter knows he needs to keep his opponent on the ropes and then put him onto the mat. That is what we need to do with crime. It is on the ropes right now and we must put it on the mat; we need to knock crime out! Remember that old saying "Back the Badge" that still holds true today.

How will you vote on the public safety ballot question that asks voters if they want to increase their property taxes to add more fire fighters, paramedics and law enforcement officers.

Ambulance services are measured by response time. That time starts from the moment a call comes into dispatch to the time the ambulance arrives at the scene and that time has been steadily increasing. There are many factors for this such as traffic, population increase and the number of incidents. Do we need another ambulance service? Yes. If we do not budget for this now we will deeply regret that decision later. We should be planning for an additional Fire Station now as there will be a need for one within the next few years.

How will you vote on the V&T tax ballot question, which proposes using sales tax to provide $10 million for the railroad in return for a share of the profits.

First we need a financial plan for this venture. What company will be running the daily operation? The voting rights of the V &T Committee must be aligned with the funds contributed per County and more funds must be contributed by other counties who will most certainly prosper from this venture. I feel there is not sufficient information available to vote in favor of this question. If citizens do pass the V&T Ballot then Carson City should negotiate for a larger return on its investments, and we will also need to re-evaluate and consider redevelopment for the V&T corridor.

What impression do you think Carson City makes upon visitors? What things can be done to improve Carson1s 3first impression?2

Mixed reviews. Carson City should be known as "A Clean and Beautiful City" with a strong local economy. How can we improve? People want to live close to jobs and opportunities and there is no better place to live or do business than in a clean, green, safe and crime free City. A city that has open spaces, public land and one that provides great public services for its citizens. Carson City can be a sustainable city that lives in harmony with its natural surroundings. Carson City can build upon the premise that anything is possible because nothing is impossible.

Do you agree with one supervisor candidate1s statement that Carson City has wasted assets and resources by poor planning in its projects? We better manage our assets and resources when the Board has stronger connection with citizens. As Mayor I will be actively engaged in building a better relationship with the community. We need to encourage citizens to volunteer their time allowing them to have input during the pre-planning and pre-design stages of projects. Empowering citizens to initiate improvements to projects within their local neighborhoods will truly put people first and can only improve the overall project. Allowing citizens to participate will only enhance the project, our community and build relationships.

Carson City has a detailed plan to make the downtown more inviting to walking traffic, which includes a reduction in lanes. Do you support the plan? What are your ideas for improving downtown?

No, presently downtown redevelopment is not going to solve any of our financial burdens and will only create more. We need some thing right now to sustain our economy. I have a plan with a proven track record, Sports Tournaments sponsored by our own Parks and Recreation Department. Economic impact for Carson City in 2007 total 11 million dollars and 2008 estimates are 17 million dollars. The City spent $48,000 in services and added $550,000 to our General Fund. That is great return on our investment. Build on this and our economy will rebound then someday downtown can become reality.

The city has recently attracted retailers by offering monetary incentives. Do you support this policy? If not, what strategy do you believe the city should use to attract businesses to locate here rather than in nearby


Monetary incentives offer no solution to the immediate sales tax short fall. Recently there is also talk about revenue sharing between county's. Presently I do not support this proposal either. Carson City must maintain our Historical & Western feel we need to enhance existing structures making our community more attractive and vibrant. When businesses flourish everything else will follow; more shops, more restaurants and more entertainment will come. How can we start to improve our local economy? By building on the Carson City Sports Tournaments our recovery time will be greatly reduced.

Do you believe Carson City1s library is adequate? Why??

Great libraries have great funding without great funding a library cannot achieve greatness. Is it adequate? I would say YES as much as funding has allowed it to become. We need our public institutions which have activities that appeal to people of all ages and all cultures in our community. We need to promote them and other similar facilities that highlight our community such as the arts, culture, historical and tourism locations. These crucial public spaces need to be turned into assets for both the institutions they represent and the communities they serve.

Do you believe Carson City has an adequate number of parks and similar facilities? Why? Open spaces, public land and parks are there ever enough? Never enough. Public spaces are planned and managed in a way that highlights, strengthens and benefits our community. Allowing residents to explore and enjoy the great outdoors at little or no expense. These areas should be plentiful as they improve our overall quality of life and enhance the beauty of our community. I would encourage; planting trees throughout our community, a bike rental exchange program at parks, recruiting local students for their input, an all-terrain Bicycle Park, a dog friendly park. Parks are great public destinations that are lively, secure and distinct in character, parks succeed when people come first.

Some candidates have made comments about some residents being subjected to treatment less fair than others. Do you agree? If so, in what areas has this occurred? I have no knowledge of such incidents. Citizens are entitled to fairness, high quality, efficient and easy accessible services from city government. As Mayor I will ask for strict enforcement of these standards. The Mayor is a representative of the City and it citizens. The main responsibility of the Mayor is to have a personal relationship with the community being able to touch individuals regardless of their status, from the poorest person in town to the richest. Such a commitment will require a fulltime Mayor. I can and will be your full time Mayor.

What else would you like to say to voters about your qualifications and ideas? As Mayor my focus will be our local economy it must become stable and reliable. When businesses flourish everything else will follow. With inspirational leadership and with astonishing array of enlightening green programs we can become safer, stronger, and cleaner. This will allow both residents and businesses each to flourish, and then pedestrians and bicyclists will become more numerous than cars. A Clean and Beautiful City this is by far the most powerful economic and social dimension for success. Three things all citizens and all businesses of Carson City should be guaranteed. Prosperity. Livability. Opportunity. Remember: You Win With Jim


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