I have lived in Carson City since April, 1960. I attended Carson City schools, graduating in 1969. I then attended UNR, graduating in 1973. I then attended law school, graduating in December, 1976. I have practiced law over the years and have developed some commercial real estate in downtown Carson City.
I am married to Janet and have two children, Sam and Sadie. My extended family also live in Carson City.
I serve on the Regional Transportation Commission, the Carson Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Airport Authority, the Community Council on Youth, the Senior Citizens Advisory Board, the Debt Management Commission, Auto Row Work Group, the City Audit Committee, the Redevelopment Authority, Mayor Pro Tem and Hospital Board of Finance.
Describe your vision for the Carson City of the future?
Living here most of my life, I have watched Carson City grow from a very small town to what it is today. Carson City has offered my family a safe and peaceful place to live over the years. I want Carson City to continue to prosper and offer the quality of life that it has offer to me and my family. That would include safe neighborhoods and streets, good schools, a healthy business environment citywide, a health downtown, exemplary public services, adequate and well maintained parks and recreational facilities, and open space in our surrounding mountains.
List the three most important issues Carson City will face in the next few years
First, finishing the freeway is still a priority to me. It affects a number of goals we have set including moving our resident around and through town and redevelopment to downtown Carson City.
Second, in these very difficult economic times, maintaining a balanced budget while providing our residents good services without increasing taxes and fees. This will include our efforts to promote continued citywide economic development and protecting our sales tax base and the retailers which produce it.
Third, protecting and improving our safe and prosperous quality of life discussed above.
Aesthetics and first impression of Carson City=s business districts?
First impressions are very personal and subjective. And remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, favorable or unfavorable. I would like to believe, as the state capital and with our historic past, Carson City=s first impression is very favorable and, in many cases, enviable. Just ask the residents who have visited Carson City over the years and have now made it their home. As for mandating tougher standards, fines and business closures, such an ordinance would have to be studied by the City, Redevelopment Authority, the Chamber of Commerce and city business owners in order to achieve an equitable and reasonable consensus regarding what direction we might go in this regard.
Sales tax revenues have been declining steadily in the city due to the slow economy. If this trend continues, what can the. city do to compensate? For example, would you consider layoffs as part of the solution?
First, the City continues to do whatever it can to expand our sales tax basis i.e, promoting our business community, citywide. Second, strategically reduce our expenditures which we have been doing. The City=s work force has been reduced by approximately 50 positions without layoffs. Lastly, the City has put aside funds over the years to help us through lean times in our Contingency fund, Stabilization Reserve Account and our ending fund balance from previous fiscal years. Because of these prudent actions, I do not believe layoffs will be necessary at this time. However, all budget options must be on the table for consideration by the Board of Supervisors. While layoffs are never a desirable budget solution, when approximately 78% of our annual budget is dedicated to employee salaries and benefits, these cost areas cannot be ignored in order to achieve expense reductions.
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?
According to recently published crime statistics, serious crime in Carson City is slightly down. I believe we must first identify, with some degree of accuracy, our local crime activity including what portion is gang related, so that we can properly evaluate the problem and promulgate an appropriate law enforcement response to the activity. I believe the Sheriff has consistently received a budget which provides sufficient staff to provide adequate public safety to our citizens. However, the Sheriff has continued to face challenges maintaining a full compliment of officers due to staff attrition and other vacancies.
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 offices?
An Ad Hoc advisory committee recommended to the Board of Supervisors that Carson City needs more firefighters, a new ambulance unit and additional deputies. The Board decided to authorize this ballot question because we are in difficult economic times and the issue of raising our property taxes at this time is critical. The is now a matter before the voters of Carson City, and I will abide by 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?
Again, the Board decided to authorize this ballot question because this matter has been before the citizens of Carson City before and it remains a diverse issue among our residents. Further, the Board again recognized that we are in difficult economic times and the issue of raising our sales taxes at this time is critical. The is now a matter before the voters of Carson City, and I will abide by the vote of the people. However, in our current economy, I am not in favor of any new taxes.
Is there enough for young people to do in Carson City? Could the City do better? If so, how?
I believe the Carson City region offers virtually every kind of opportunity to our young people whether it be in employment, education, recreation or overall quality of life. While the City could always do better, I believe the City, through our Parks and Recreation Department and the Redevelopment Authority with the help of the Convention and Visitors Bureau and Chamber of Commerce, has done an excellent job to offer our youth (and our citizens) a diverse menu of activities throughout our community.
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?
As a member of the Redevelopment Authority, we have implemented programs which promote a friendly and accessible downtown whether by foot, bicycle or vehicle. Examples would be the blue line, the Ghost walk, the wine tour and most recently, the 3rd Street activities. We have worked hard to make the downtown more attractive for all of us to visit regularly. However, I cannot support lane reductions until the freeway is completed to the Spooner junction. Even with the freeway completed to Fairview, I do not believe we can divert enough traffic to the freeway to allow for an immediate reduction in lanes and yet maintain the efficient movement of traffic through our downtown.
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?
Unfortunately, economic incentives are a creature of jurisdictional competition for sales tax revenue. By law, sales taxes are the life blood of city governments. Another driving force for incentives is our effort to fill empty store fronts throughout Carson City, which I have been repeatedly told is a concern for many of our residents. Incentives have provided the City with a tool to maintain and improve our retail sales tax base and fill those empty stores. However, there are limitations. I would prefer that the City merely act as a facilitator between developer and landowner and go no further. However, I fear that wishful thought is not realistic in our current the political landscape.
Carson City has been in competition with Douglas County for retail businesses and the sales tax dollars they bring. Is this competition healthy? Are you in favor of exploring an arrangement that would continue business recruitment efforts and share sales tax revenue?
This competition is neither healthy nor desirable. In fact, it is destructive to the participants because needed tax revenue is diverted to incentives that are offered to the retail businesses. More importantly, the taxpayer ultimately ends up footing the bill. As in the past, I wholeheartedly endorse exploring mutually beneficial arrangements with Douglas County not only regarding recruitment and sharing of sales taxes, but other arrangements that can save both jurisdictions money such as sharing of infrastructure, water and sewer services. In the end, the taxpayer benefits.
Do you believe Carson City=s library is adequate? Why?
While I would like to see a bigger and better library, our current budgetary constraints do
not allow us to do so. However, that has not stopped us from looking to improve the library. We recently approached the federal government to ask whether the former post office might be available to the City for a new library location among other city uses. Unfortunately, our request was denied for now. Regardless, I will continue to support the library and do whatever I can to improve the facility as it becomes available.
Do you believe the city=s bus system is adequate? Should be expanded?
Currently, Jump Around Carson (JAC) operates 3 fixed routes throughout town. The City also operates the JAC Assist to those who require a direct service to and from their homes. The City budgets $300,000 toward this service and Federal government contributes approximately $485,000. Our ridership has continued to increase since the service began and now exceed 10,000 resident last month. As a member of the Regional Transportation Commission, we continue to evaluate this service and have altered our routes to better serve ouir community. I am confident that we will expand our service as funds and equipment become available to us.
Do you believe Carson City has an adequate number of parks and similar facilities? Why?
Yes. I believe Carson City has exemplary parks and recreational facilities. We also strive to improve them whenever the funding is available to do so. Just look at Fuji Park and the new fairgrounds facility currently under construction. And next year, I am confident we will see construction start on our new recreation center.
What role should the city play, monetarily and otherwise, in supporting private efforts in the areas of social services and arts?
Carson City has historically provided monetary support, through our community service grants, to a number of private, non-profit organizations who provides invaluable services to our citizens. If these organizations did not provide these services, the City would undoubtedly have assume these responsibilities and, I am sure, at an increased costs to the taxpayer. I believe it is entirely appropriate for the City to continue this effort in a reasonable and justifiable manner.
What else would you like to say to voters about your qualifications and ideas?
As Ward 4 Supervisor, I have promoted issues such as our freeway, alternative routes throughout Carson City, fiscally sound and accountable government, low taxes, and the preservation of our quality and safety of life. We have made significant progress in all of those areas. In the coming years, Carson City will face diverse challenges as our community grows, putting ever increasing pressure on our community resources. I will continue to meet these challenges as I have in the past. I have enjoyed the opportunity to serve my community and the citizens of Carson City. I would again appreciate that opportunity in the next four years.