Carson City supervisor: Jean Bondiett

Name: Jean Bondiett

Age: 54

Education: B.S. Human Ecology, focus in Community Services Admin, minor Business Admin; UNR; 1997 (Human Ecology is the interdisciplinary study of the social environment we live in Ð the interactions of our family, church, school, work, community, and government Ð as well as our habitat)

Political experience: Chair, Nevada Caucus Site and Precinct, 2008; Chair, Carson City Shade Tree Council, 1999-2005; numerous volunteer advisory and taskforce committees, including the Mills Park Arboretum, Carson City Master Plan, Downtown Consortium

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

Born and raised in Colorado; Carson City resident since 1986. Married Bob Bondiett in 1989, no children. Worked full-time as a breakfast waitress/relief shift supervisor at Harveys for 10 years, putting myself through UNR part-time. Unpaid intern with Carson City Parks & Recreation Administration, then managed Human Resources and Marketing as Administrative Assistant at Eagle Valley Golf for five years. Carson City Leadership 2001. Currently a housewife, an on-call activity guide for Destination Lake Tahoe, and Treasurer of Carson City Soroptimists. In addition, a volunteer for Muscle Powered, Advocates to End Domestic Violence, and other local non-profit organizations.

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

No, I haven't. I did get a tour of the jail as part of the Carson City Leadership program, though. I was raised, the oldest of five, to be honest and courteous, play fair, and to take responsibility for my actions and decisions. On just about any issue, I'll take the time to do the research and try to hear both sides before I act. If it turns out I'm wrong, I'll take the blame, apologize if necessary, then start figuring out why and what went wrong, and what needs to be done to solve the problem.

Describe your vision for the Carson City of the future:

Carson City needs leaders Ð creative, competent, communicating people of courage and character with common sense Ð not politicians. I have the time, education, and financial resources to undertake this position as my job. I'll research the issues and decisions to be made, seeking out and listening to citizens unable to take the time off to attend Supervisors meetings, asking questions of staff. I'm a creative problem-solver, with experience in non-profit management, where money is always in short supply. We need to level the playing field in policy and financial decisions Ð stop handing out favors only to those with the right connections.

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

1. the economy and our budget Ð declining income, as tourism suffers the effects of high gas prices, impacting jobs and discretionary income; state and federal budget problems reducing both funds and services provided, we must pick up the slack or do without; maintaining infrastructure while cutting staff and services; unfunded mandates

2. an aging population Ð needing more services while contributing less revenue; possible negative effect on school funding

3. environmental issues Ð inadequate water supply; rising energy and fuel costs; emergency response to wildfire, earthquake, other catastrophic events

We need leaders with creative problem-solving abilities, proactive and able to plan ahead.

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

I think Carson City has sufficient casinos, but wouldn't reject a gaming facility in an appropriately zoned location, complying with our local ordinances including the hotel room requirement. As with any business startup, I expect them to have done their homework, have a sound business plan, and sufficient financial resources. I'd prefer to see more manufacturing, healthcare, and technology industries relocate or start up here. I believe emphasis on our quality of life and educational facilities, existing tax structure, and providing the infrastructure necessary for such development is the best way to attract and retain these types of businesses.

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

When collective bargaining agreements hamper the ability of our various City Departments to operate within their budgets and adapt to a changing economy, something has to give. If revenues are falling, then it's only common sense that expenses must be reduced. I'd consider a number of different options Ð including reduction of staff or hours worked, privatization of services, efficiency studies, wage/benefit negotiations, combining resources for the economy of scale, and other more innovative solutions. I'm a creative problem-solver, willing to take the time to research options and work with staff, and accept the responsibility of making the tough decisions.

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?

Crime rate overall in Carson City has dropped; youth-related crime in the U.S. is dropping Ð at its lowest level in 30 years. It is only the occasional high-profile violent crime that scares us into demanding an immediate answer. There is overwhelming evidence that cities, such as New York, that use extensive social resources Ð job training, mentoring, after-school activities, and recreational programs Ð make significant dents in gang violence. Areas that rely heavily on police enforcement, such as Los Angeles, have far less impact. Law enforcement alone is merely a Band-Aid Ð the root of this problem is social.

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?

When I look at the research regarding the crime question above, and then read the Sheriff's justification for raising his top Deputies salaries to over $100,000, more than twice the mean income for local Public Administration, Education & Health Service, Construction, or Professional & Business Services employees, because collective bargaining agreements raised the salaries of those under them, I question the necessity of this tax increase. I especially don't like the politics of inciting fear of the consequences to justify what may be inefficient and costly business practices. The more I investigate this question, the less I like it.

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?

My vote on the matter is inconsequential Ð I'm only one of more than 27,000 registered voters in Carson City. What you should be asking the candidates is, if elected, whether they will implement the will of the majority regarding this advisory question. At a recent Board of Supervisors meeting, discussion was whether a "yes" vote really does "ensure" completion of the line through the canyon and into Carson City. Our Supervisors admitted that this is misleading Ð it will help, but still will not be enough. I'd like to see the business plan and solid financial information before supporting this request.

What impression do you think Carson City makes upon visitors? What things can be done to improve Carson's "first impression?"

Those enticed to stop end up being pleasantly surprised. As a member of the Downtown Consortium, we've made a good start on a very small area. There should be more marketing positioning Carson as "The Hub" of the entire area. Our public transportation system should have route maps/times at each stop, hours extended to evenings and Sundays, and reach to lodging properties outside the downtown core. We need cooperative cleanup efforts addressing cosmetic issues such as the abandoned Armory, vacant businesses, and trash on our roadsides. We need leaders committed to creating a vibrant cultural and recreational environment.

Do you agree with one supervisor candidate©ös statement that Carson City has wasted assets and resources by poor planning in its projects?

We need leaders that plan ahead for the good of Carson City instead of their own self-interests Ð the "shoe-horned" in, short-lived A&W at Clearview Drive, millions allocated to develop the still-nonexistent car dealership south of Rhodes Street, the old K-Mart kept vacant despite requests from non-profits to use the space on a temporary basis, an ice-skating rink in the Pony Express Pavilion, the Aquatic Center construction fiasco Ð to name just a few. Plus, all too often it seems, our current projects concern issues that should have been addressed years ago, but now with cost estimates wildly out-of-date.

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?

I'd prefer two lanes each direction, losing the middle left-turn lane and the on-street parking while still widening the sidewalks. I'd make Stewart and Roop paired one-way streets. Parking would be in shaded, free, public lots in the blocks on either side of Carson Street, with better signage informing traffic. Designating a block or two as a promenade only creates an outdoor mall. In order to have a walkable downtown, you need continuous and connected routes to and from places, stretching from Adeles to the BAC to the Carson Mall. I like the plazas and urban stream parts.

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?

We need a level playing field for use of redevelopment funds. Those monies should be used for infrastructure updates and maintenance, instead of benefitting only the chosen few. Preserving and improving the quality of life here Ð our recreational opportunities, educational system, cultural activities, natural environment, tax advantages Ð would serve as their own enticements. Our Supervisors need to make the time to be active representatives promoting Carson City, welcoming and getting to know the decision-makers thinking of relocating businesses here, answering questions, allaying concerns, pointing out area attractions. I work as a tour guide Ð I know how to sell Carson City.

Do you believe Carson City©ös library is adequate? Why?

It's adequate, but we have the opportunity to make it exceptional Ð a meeting place that can truly be the soul of this community. This is an item we can address today that will make a big difference in the quality of life here tomorrow. The more we options we have to attract and engage our youth, the better chance we have of reducing gang problems. Libraries also serve the aging, limited-income population Ð keeping them connected and involved in our community. Life-long learning opportunities are fundamental to a thinking, educated population; the Library and WNC are key components.

Do you believe Carson City has an adequate number of parks and similar facilities? Why?

It's important to balance how many parks we have with our ability to maintain them. Assuring access is just as important. Having big sports complexes on Edmonds and Arrowhead, without safe routes for our children to get there is poor planning, as is allowing development to block traditional public access to BLM and Forest Service Lands surrounding Carson. Our Unified Pathways Master Plan has been gutted, fragmented, and has not kept up with changing developments to the point it is useless for alternative transportation planning. Also, something should be done about the slime pond at Ross Gold Park Ð it's disgusting.

Some candidates have made comments about some citizens being subjected to treatment more fair than others. Do you agree? If so, in what areas has this occurred?

I don't know how to respond to this question. Not knowing what personal agendas motivate the incumbents and other candidates, I can only answer for myself. I have the time, the dedication, the education, the resources, and the talents to undertake this position as my job. I will study and research the issues, seek out differing viewpoints, ask questions and listen to the answers, before deciding what is fair, honest, and in the best interests of Carson City. We have some tough times ahead Ð Carson City needs financially perceptive leaders willing to communicate, to innovate, to work for what's needed.

What else would you like to say to voters about your qualifications and ideas?

I'm a quiet leader Ð I get things done, and inspire others to follow. People trust me Ð I say what I mean, not what's going to get me votes, and can be counted on to be fair. I'm a creative problem-solver, at my best when money is tight and things need to get done. I'm not afraid to make the tough decisions, and it's not in my nature to expect others to take the blame. Numbers and statistics come easily for me Ð I'm good at financial planning and budgeting. Carson City needs leaders, not politicians. Elect Jean Bondiett Ward 4 Supervisor.

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