Robert L. Crowell
Phone number and campaign Web site:
Stanford University, A.B. Economics
Hastings College of the Law, J.D. Law
Carson City School Board Trustee: 1997--current
Please write a short biography of yourself (you might include such things as birthplace, career, community involvement, family, etc.):
I was born in Tonopah, Nevada and raised in Carson City. My wife, Susan, and I have been married for 37 years and have four children. I am an attorney, retired Navy captain and Vietnam veteran. I have served as president/chairman of the following: Carson Chamber of Commerce; Carson School Board; Carson Rotary Club; Colorado River Commission of Nevada; and the State Bar of Nevada. Currently I am a member of the Northern Nevada Development Authority Board, School Board and the Capital City Circles Initiative. I have also participated on the Citizens Committee on Public Safety and Partnership Carson City.
Have you ever been arrested? If so, when and for what offense?
Describe your vision for the Carson City of the future:
My vision for Carson City is a community that provides an attractive and active living environment for our younger generations and their families while providing a place to comfortably age. To achieve this I will help lead Carson City in a manner that renews the pride in our community, promotes civic involvement, and reaffirms our sense of belonging in a safe community allowing us to tap the energy and enthusiasm of all our residents. We must think strategically, and long term, but we must not forget that quality takes time and we should celebrate our accomplishments as they occur.
List the three most important issues Carson City will face in the next few years:
1 Maintaining Quality of Life
Carson is a wonderful place to live. Our economically troubled times will present the Mayor and the Board with tough choices in order to maintain our current quality of life.
We must be vigilant and prudent in our planning and expenditures to ensure accountability to our taxpayers.
3 Finish Bypass
Carson has more than participated financially in this project and alone doesn't have the funds necessary to complete it, nor should we. I am well acquainted with our State leaders and will begin immediately to work with them to craft viable solutions.
Do you think Carson City has a healthy number of casinos? Would you support more casinos?
For the most part, casinos have proven to be good neighbors. In addition to jobs, they are often the first to volunteer financial support and facilities for non-profit groups and charitable events. We need a mix of business types. Gaming certainly plays a part, but I would support a good diversity of new tech and small businesses.
If the city continues to face budgetary problems, would you consider layoffs as part of the solution?
Only as a last resort and according to established procedures. It is often overlooked how expensive layoffs are to any operation, public or private. We lose experience and knowledge, overall service to our citizens declines and severance packages required to accomplish layoffs can be expensive. I would suggest a full, top to bottom review of City government to make sure we're using our personnel and resources in the most efficient manner.
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?
Although crime rates in our community have decreased in the last four years compared to the rest of Nevada, gang activity has dramatically increased. Carson's law enforcement per capita staffing is lower than our surrounding counties. Of all public services, first responders are the most important. I will listen to our law enforcement professionals, evaluate their needs and use the top to bottom government review mentioned above to help make those decisions.
How will you vote on the public safety ballot question that asks voters if they want to increase their property taxes to add more firefighters, paramedics and law enforcement officers?
These services are the most fundamental and critical of all local government responsibilities. When we don't provide adequate protection for our citizens we have failed in our most basic public service. Through my participation on the Citizens ad hoc Committee on Public Safety I was provided with an extensive and critical analysis of all of our public safety functions and came to the conclusion that our public safety professionals are correct in their assessment of our community's needs. I will be voting in favor but will abide by the final outcome of the vote of the people.
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.
Regardless of the result of the ballot question, the next Mayor and Board will still be faced with dealing with a project in which $37 million of mostly public funding has been invested--$21 million of which has come from Carson. If the question fails, what do we do with the infrastructure already in place? If approved, we must then find the funding necessary to complete the project. Neither road will be easy to travel, particularly in these difficult economic times. I personally intend to vote yes but will abide by the final outcome of the vote of the people.
What impression do you think Carson City makes upon visitors? What things can be done to improve Carson's "first impression?"
I think we can do better at highlighting the many attractions and amenities Carson offers. Carson has so much history to offer as the seat of government and as a family friendly community, not to mention our canyons and river. We can make the gateways into our community more visually attractive. As a community we should actively support Downtown Answers which is an active consortium of concerned citizens and business owners focusing on our core downtown area.
Do you agree with one supervisor candidate's statement that Carson City has wasted assets and resources by poor planning in its projects?
Without knowing more about what that candidate had in mind, I am inclined to disagree. Carson City's Master Plan, Envision Carson City, was developed with substantial public input and represents a good planning platform for the future. That said, we should constantly think strategically and regionally in all our development endeavors to ensure that we don't waste assets or resources. We should encourage Smart Growth land use development principles.
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?
The extension of the freeway to Fairview will be an important milestone and offer opportunities and options that have not been available to us for our downtown. But we need to finish the bypass, get the big trucks off Carson Street and see how it works. Traffic and economic models don't always predict driver road behavior. Let's move cautiously before we make a costly decision to reduce lanes. We can and should continue to make downtown Carson City more pedestrian friendly in a manner that both compliments existing businesses and attracts new compatible businesses.
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 communities?
I would prefer we offer the kind of business climate that makes Carson an attractive place to set up shop without specific business subsidies and use redevelopment funds on common infrastructure improvements that benefit all. However, there may be occasions when incentives may be necessary and when that help is offered it should be done pursuant to approved criteria that include a payback mechanism after the business is established. It should never be an outright gift.
Do you believe Carson City's library is adequate? Why?
No. This is one of the best public services our community has to offer for all Ð young, old and everyone in between. The staff has continually found ways to provide quality programs with diminishing funds. We get a big bang for our buck at the library and it needs to be supported by the private sector, volunteers and government.
Do you believe Carson City has an adequate number of parks and similar facilities? Why?
No and I think parks and open spaces are absolutely key to maintaining quality of life for all ages. We shouldn't try to emulate the state parks but we can provide urban and surrounding foothill area experiences that are accessible to our residents, young and old. Generally, I think Carson has done an excellent job at planning for open spaces and parks expansion. But we must be mindful that each new facility brings with it a budget impact and increased costs.
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?
Government should always deal equitably and fairly with all.
What else would you like to say to voters about your qualifications and ideas?
I am prepared to hit the ground running. I certainly don't have all the answers, but I think our problems can be solved by working together. It will require consultation and collaboration with a broad spectrum of organizations, individuals and neighboring governments. I believe my background and experience lends itself to that task.
Carson City faces huge challenges over the next four years, but we have a very bright future because of our citizens and their dedication to our community. I will never forget that I work for the people of Carson City and my door will always be open.