Carson City Board of Supervisor Ward 4 |

Carson City Board of Supervisor Ward 4

John Barrette

John Barrette

Occupation: Writer/Researcher

Age: 74

Contact info: and

Record of service: Church Vestry (governing board), Church Finance Committee chairman; member of Rotary Club, Muscle Powered, Brewery Arts Center, Carson City Arts Initiative, Historical Society, Nevada Press Association, Kiwanis Club

Education: Bradley University, Bachelor of Science degree in journalism and political science


Occupation: Board of Supervisor and Retired from the Carpenters Union

Age: 65

Contact info:, 775-720-5761, Facebook: Re-Elect Jim Shirk Carson City Supervisor Ward 4; Blog:

Record of service: U.S. Navy Vietnam Veteran. Led the effort to bring the 9-11 Memorial Steel I-Beam from New York to Carson City. Past CASA Volunteer. Past volunteer for our church mission trip to Africa. Regularly volunteer within the community.

Education: Attend Junior College way back in the 70s. Received degree from the school of hard knocks.

John Barrette

A brief statement about your platform

My platform includes but isn’t limited to these matters:

Tackle deferred maintenance, particularly street repairs

Provide governing decisions that help achieve sensible and well-managed growth in housing and commerce

Promote excellent quality of life via solid public health and safety, as well as enhance arts and overall culture to enliven the city while helping drive the economy

Collaborate through city government with educators, trainers and industry or other businesses to upgrade workforce development for 21st century jobs

Build on achievements already in place regarding government transparency.

Do the above things with fiscal restraint by deft program pruning, directing available funds to today’s and tomorrow’s needs before costs zoom higher.

In addition, because Carson City is Nevada’s capital city I believe it must move forward and thrive intelligently to stave off power grabs of Las Vegas and Reno.

Those more populous areas send large delegations to Nevada’s Legislature, so this community must remain relevant to them and the entire state. We’re the star city.

Relevancy, therefore, is among my platform planks because irrelevancy would invite stagnation.

Do you agree with Carson City’s current growth ordinance? Why or why not?

I agree with Carson City’s growth management ordinance in principle because well-managed growth requires working within the constraints of our resources.

The ordinance, in essence, would allow 3 percent growth per year. The city, however, hasn’t tested that cap and likely won’t without a major economic boom.

Growth at any cost, for me, is too expensive. I believe we want sound growth that enhances our community.

It should fit in with current and future residents’ hopes. It should retain the legacy of a rich history and the solid values that exemplify Carson City.

Growth stalled during the recent recession. Yet a boomlet – and Nevada certainly has boom/bust cycles – isn’t impossible at some point.

Growth is a means to an end, not an end in itself. It must be sensible and in tune with the environment.

But I’m a growth advocate when it fits in and is reasonable given our environmental, fiscal and other resources. This means we must grow wisely.

Carson City in another ordinance prohibits foothills growth and keeps it, basically, to Eagle Valley, which also acts as a check that helps keep growth sensible.

What is your top priority for Carson City in 2017?

Streets and deferred maintenance are my top near-term priorities.

In the Great Recession maintenance issues, including fading street conditions, have piled up. It’s a difficult problem, if understandable.

Because construction costs go up like crazy with the passage of time, these needs must be addressed.

Construction costs increase currently at three times the rate of general inflation. Road construction costs — if streets crumble enough — go up fivefold or more as roads go from bad, to worse to approaching impassable.

It’s not now or never because never isn’t realistic; it’s now or bust the budget and break the city piggy bank. Such problems, if allowed to get out of hand, will eat our city budget the way termites eat wood.

As the old Fram oil filter commercial on TV warned in a bid to promote timely action, you can pay the mechanic now or pony up much more later when your engine conks out completely.

In your opinion are arts, events, and cultural happenings important to Carson City economy?

Arts and culture — everyones’ interests, in the broadest sense of these terms — are money makers locally and even greater economic drivers nationwide.

There is ample evidence a lively arts and cultural scene will help any city’s local economy grow. We should enliven our strengthening arts and events offerings.

Nationally, according to the organization Americans for the Arts, this industry was generating more than $135 billion of economic activity annually for a year analyzed during the recent recession.

In 2010, non-profit arts and culture organizations piped an estimated $61.1 billion into the economy, according to the organization’s report.

In addition, the group said, audiences forked over $74.1 billion in events-related expenditures. It also said an attendee spent $24.60 per event, atop the cost of admission, for extras like dinner, parking or shopping.

These are significant figures, but they fail to capture the overall uplift of arts and culture in any given community. We’re not just talking art in parks or occasional concerts.

Culture here includes Epic Rides mountain biking, Jazz and Beyond, classic car shows, sports tournaments, art shows and galleries, everything we do individually and collectively to entertain and enlighten ourselves.

How should Carson City ensure there are affordable housing options available for its residents, especially veterans?

The Board of Supervisors can help add affordable housing options by zoning policies and the permitting process for structures that encourage us to spot it throughout the community.

Affordable housing, however, is among public/private cooperative matters and almost always requires investment from developers.

Collaboration is key and I’ll work with colleagues or others to achieve the goal. Currently those with a median income of about $53,000 annually may buy homes priced about $215,000.

But this requires a 20 percent down payment, which can be difficult for some. City government can work to link residents in this category to groups supporting first-time home buyers by helping with financial options.

Some make less than the median income and have more limited options. This group may include young adults starting their work lives. As a consequence, affordable rental and other units must be explored.

For veterans, there are programs federally and in the state that can help. Appropriate city workers should be briefed on helping direct veterans through the government maze to get such aid for housing.

One example is the Dream Makers program of the Nevada Rural Housing Authority, which can be combined with the Home At Last program, to help with partial down payment grants.

Is Carson City’s workforce prepared for the kind of businesses the city is hopeful to attract? What should be done?

Carson City‘s workforce is unprepared for the types of businesses the city seeks to attract. The reasons are many, solutions elusive but can be fashioned, and the need is paramount for the city and Northern Nevada.

Here are four keys to upgrading training and resultant workforce outcomes:

1. Forge a tighter, better and more active coalition involving city government, Carson High School, Western Nevada College, economic development officials, the Adams Hub, and top local industries such as Click Bond.

2. Using emissaries from the above coalition, target students showing promise and interest in 21st century job opportunities. Then get the students into internships or other advanced skill learning situations tied to actual employment prospects.

3. Using the same emissaries, contact and meet with parents of students to inform them of future opportunities so said parents, students and the coalition work toward similar goals. Mentoring guidance requires parental support.

4. Under Carson City’s City Manager and from his office, charge an existing employee who has ties to commerce with helping. On a one-third or half-time basis, the employee would shepherd the operation.

Though these integrated ideas will help, they are by no means capable alone of resolving this problem. As with the affordable housing issue above, government can help but some of the burden must rely on the private sector. Government must enable, not intrude or dictate.

But one way in which city government can contribute short of becoming overbearing in the private sector is to advocate that state government fine tune a few things.

First, the state must understand the WNC budget hampers workforce development in a region where it is crucial to economic development the state set in motion. I’ll help lobby for that understanding.

Secondly, I’ll help with lobbying for additional secondary school funding to boost STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) education/training at Carson High School and elsewhere.

Finally, I’ll also help as a community ambassador in lobbying to lure private, for profit vocational, technical or training firms to come to Carson City and join this effort.

Jim Shirk

A brief statement about your platform

Since 2012, I have stood for fiscal responsibility, transparency, and the safety of our community. I believe in reason and common sense; I stand for the people with the voice of reason. The business of governing a City is an honorable position that requires enormous dedication and a thorough knowledge of the subject matter along with the ability to use checks and balances.

Every one of my agenda item votes has an organized explanation. Voting is not a popularity contest of going along to get along, it is the most substantial decision an elected official makes. Our small, yet strong, community is like no other; we are unique. We have real and serious issues; including our budget, emergency services, infrastructure and streets. If I were allowed agenda items, these types of problems would be brought to the Board for solutions. It is the decisions entrusted to the Board of Supervisors that will shape our City’s future for the next generation and the leaders that follow.

This is a city-wide election and regardless of where you live in Carson City, vote to re-elect Jim Shirk. With integrity and responsibility I will continue to listen to the voice of the people.

Do you agree with Carson City’s current growth ordinance? Why or why not?

The current growth ordinance is a point of contention because while some citizens like it, others do not. It is my position to analyze what is in place and vote on what changes I would recommend.

In the last +/-10 years there have been no significant changes to the Master Plan to allow additional residential density; however, there are two exceptions: 1. The Lompa Ranch property, which has been identified for future development in the City’s Master Plan since at least 1996 as this project had required an Amendment for zoning prior to development. 2. The Vintage project has undergone review by City Staff which first required the applicant to submit a Conceptual Plan for review. Staff then requested compliance with city codes and then the applicant applied for a Tentative PUD Plan. This was approved by the Planning Commission.

I do agree with our Master Plan’s first Guiding Principle which is to provide “A compact and efficient pattern of growth.” However, the Master Plan and other similar plans should be reviewed on a more regular basis.

What is your top priority for Carson City in 2017?

The evolution of resolving major issues that face our community day-to-day and long-term is a never-ending top priority for me.

Government spending should focus on some very specific things that can improve our community such as our quality of life, infrastructure, and public safety which helps build for our future and economic growth.

There needs to be some improvement within the budget process because this will provide for sound fiscal planning with a vision for the future.

In your opinion are arts, events, and cultural happenings important to Carson City economy?

Absolutely. These events are an integral part of our community. The camaraderie of the City and its people that sponsor and participate in these events brings us all together.

The recognition of Carson City Arts and Cultural assets have been undervalued, they are an important element to our economy. These types of activities do draw both local and regional interest, helping to build economic benefits for our community.

How should Carson City ensure there are affordable housing options available for its residents, especially veterans?

If we want our community to thrive in the long run, we need to make sure there are housing options for everyone: veterans, elderly and families.

According to the Nevada Rural Housing Authority, they currently hold approximately 697 housing choice vouchers in Carson City. There are three elderly and two disabled complexes in Carson City. Talking with staff at the Veterans Resource Center (VRC) there are approximately 114 veterans living within our community, some are homeless and others are residing in our local motels/hotels. During routine inspections of these living quarters VRC occasionally accompanies city staff to check on living conditions of our Veterans.

I personally helped to bring the Brown Street project to Carson City. In the near future, this project will add housing to our community that will fill a much needed void.

Is Carson City’s workforce prepared for the kind of businesses the city is hopeful to attract? What should be done?

I believe Carson City is prepared for any kind of business the city attracts and we are ready for business growth.

We need to continue to build and strengthen our relationship with Western Nevada College. Higher education prepares students for specific career paths and WNC educates a highly marketable body of graduates ready and eager to fill the needs of business and industry. I believe we need to also encourage opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses. We also need to work with the Governor’s office to promote Carson City for businesses so they will relocate here.

In closing, thank you to the Nevada Appeal for the opportunity to share these ideas. And thank you to the citizens for continuing to get involved and speak your voice. I appreciate your vote in our city-wide election, no matter where you live in Carson City, you can vote for Jim Shirk.