Election 2014: Carson City candidates make final pitches as early voting starts | NevadaAppeal.com
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Election 2014: Carson City candidates make final pitches as early voting starts

John Barrette
jbarrette@nevadaappeal.com

Early voting today

Early voting in Carson City takes place at the County Clerk’s Office at the Courthouse, 885 E. Musser St., Suite 1025.

Voting will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today and Oct. 25. And Monday-Friday, Oct. 20-24 and Oct. 27-31 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Courthouse.

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 4 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Carson City Community Center, 851 E William St. For more information contact the County Elections Office at 887-2087 or elections@carson.org.

Speed was the drill sergeant as various candidates for Carson City offices ran through their paces at a Vote Smart Nevada forum Friday evening.

All four candidates for city supervisor and one of the two running for district attorney attended the session at the Silver State Middle School and Sports Complex building. Also on hand were four of the five school board of trustees candidates, but that included those paired off against each other in Districts 1 and 3. The format included two-minute talks, plus individual four-minute speed meetings for interested audience members afterward.

Supervisor John McKenna and challenger Lori Bagwell from Ward 3 each in their two-minute talks cited credentials and made quick campaign points.

Bagwell, businesswoman and former state deputy director of Corrections, said she recently visited the senior center and “was reminded how difficult it is for them to meet their basic needs.” She said as a supervisor she wants to keep fees and taxes in check so residents, including seniors, don’t struggle with them and can make ends meet.

It used to cost less to live in Carson City than elsewhere, but now it costs more, she said.

McKenna, an accountant seeking his second term on the Board of Supervisors, said when he ran years ago a big issue for many people was downtown’s proposed library project. “The only thing they wanted to discuss was the library project; the only thing I wanted to discuss was the economy,” he said.

He said since the economy was tanking, taxes had to be raised to retain services, including public safety, but part of the property tax increase has since been lowered. He said now reserves need to be built and more needs to be returned to taxpayers. He also said sewer fees had to increase because the sewer treatment plant upgrades couldn’t be avoided due to federal oversight.

Supervisor Karen Abowd, a businesswoman seeking reelection from Ward 1, used her two minutes to promote her vision of Carson City as a drive to, not a drive by destination. She said she wanted to spur economic development, make the city a place young people stay in as adults, and added her business background makes the new city manager’s lean operation efforts attractive to her and colleagues.

She also said the board is challenging, requires time and patience, as well as evaluating all opinions — “even those bordering on personal insult” — but called it an “intrinsically rewarding job.” Questioned afterward, she said that quotation referred to a Carson City politics website.

Lisa Helget, the Ward 1 challenger who’s retired from the Nevada Department of Transportation, didn’t attend the two-minute talk session, but did attend the four-minute speed meeting session afterward.

District 1 School Trustee Ron Swirczek cited the district’s strategic plan and $10 million race-to-the-top federal grant as accomplishments and said he wants to continue creating what he calls extraordinary schools. The other District 1 candidate, Jim Bathgate, said he will bring a different perspective to the school board. He said his doctorate is in economics, he’s an instructor/tutor, and a stay-at-home dad with the interest and background.

District 3 School Trustee Stacie Wilkie said she’s the current board president. She also cited the strategic plan and rate-to-the-top grant, saying she wants to see it all through. David Carter, the other District 3 candidate, said he worked as an accountant for California school districts. He wanted “more local control” and opposed Common Core, the federal overlay he said was necessary to compete for the race-to-the-top grant.

Views of Ryan Green, the lone school board candidate in District 4, were read from a document as he didn’t attend but provided those remarks in writing.

Also not attending was Jason Woodbury, who’s running for district attorney. It was announced his daughter had been involved in a bicycle accident. Woodbury is an attorney in private practice, but previously had experience a dozen years ago in the district attorney’s office.

Mark Krueger, now in that office and the other candidate for DA, was on hand.

He cited experience in 40 jury trials, but said he also knows the civil side, favors open government and has strong involvement in victim-witness assistance efforts and other programs the office has initiated.

The more than 50 in attendance also heard Ande Engleman’s and Larry Messina’s opposing views on the Carson City Question 1 on the ballot.

If approved, the advisory initiative would invite legislative authority to change the city charter so supervisors would be nominated by ward voting, elected citywide. The current system is citywide balloting in both cases. Currently supervisors must reside in their ward but run citywide in June and November elections.

Engleman said it’s a simple proposition that would lead to “neighbors nominate, everyone elects.” Messina, who urged people to vote no, posed hypotheticals though Engleman encouraged him to avoid that. He said the question appears innocuous but voiced fears the matter could widen, opening the city up to an expanded ward balloting situation.

He said people then would be represented by the mayor and one supervisor, rather than all five board members.

Engleman is a longtime government watchdog advocate who once ran the Nevada Press Association. Recent local government service has included a utility oversight and ethics review committee work. Messina serves on the Charter Review Committee and also is active on community organizations.