Walt vs. Shirk; Bonkowski vs. Johnson
Incumbent Molly Walt and Jim Shirk advanced to the November general election in the race for Ward 4 supervisor.
The issue that divides them – whether the city should use public money to build the City Center library project – seemed to have little effect on the tally. Walt came in first, with 39 percent of the vote. Shirk was second, with 36 percent.
Amy Clemens trailed with 24 percent of the 4,592 votes cast in the contest.
Brad Bonkowski and Dennis Johnson advanced in Ward 2 – the seat vacated by Shelly Aldean, who chose not to run again. Bonkowski raked in 34 percent to Johnson’s 25 percent.
Stacie Wilke-McCulloch and Maurice White trailed with 24 percent and 17 percent, respectively.
Bonkowski said his goal is to help the city find its direction.
“I think the Board of Supervisors needs somebody that signs on the front of the check, not the back of the check,” he said. “I have the tools. I feel I can give back to the city.”
Johnson said that the vote provides campaign separation.
“It helps as far as definitions between Brad and I,” he said. “We’ll be able to be clearly defined now. We can say, ‘Here’s how I differ.’ “
Bonkowski said that he hasn’t taken a final position for or against the project.
“My position has been all along, ‘Let’s get all the information together before we make a decision,'” he said.
Johnson has characterized himself as a skeptic toward the City Center proposal and has advocated putting it on the ballot for a public vote.
Shirk said that his opposition to the City Center project stands in sharp contrast to Walt’s support for it.
However, both supported putting the issue on the ballot.
“I believe citizens should have the choice to put taxes on themselves,” Shirk said.
He said that he was also very surprised to find so many people not well-informed about the project.
Walt said she stands behind her support for the project but believes it’s important to let people vote on it.
“I think at the same time that’s on the ballot, it’s going to be important to inform the people on the entire project and who I am and what I’ve done,” she said.
With budget problems and the City Center controversy, Walt said, the past three years have not been easy.
“But we’ve moved forward,” she said.
The City Center project didn’t strike as clear a difference among voters interviewed at the Carson City Community Center as many advocates and opponents had believed it would.
Organizers of the petition drive to force a ballot question on whether the city should use public funds to build the $28 million project collected more than 300 signatures outside the community center Tuesday.
But petition backer John Vettel said that when he asked voters if they were willing to sign the petition, the most common response was, “What’s that?” He said that once he explained that the purpose was simply to put the issue of using public funds on the November ballot, a significant number of those people signed it.
“I think a couple have signed it that are in favor of it,” he said.
One of those was Dennis Mills, who said he signed the petition “way back.”
“I’m actually going to vote for the center,” he said.
Barbara Larson said she’s on the fence.
“I don’t know if I’m for or against it, but I’m leaning against,” she said.
Daryl Peterson said he opposes the center project. He said that the voters should get a say in how public funds are spent.