The editorial board at the Sparks Tribune would like to see a little of both.
Sparks Mayor: Geno Martini
Starting on the local level, re-electing Sparks Mayor Geno Martini is the best choice residents can make. Yes, the city has had a rough couple of years but so has every level of government, especially in Nevada. No single politician is to blame for that. Through all the budget cuts and layoffs, Mayor Martini has been a positive and strong face of the city. He has always been forthcoming with his residents and with the media. This is the type of person Sparks needs at events and in parades waving to the citizenry.
Martini’s opponent, City Councilman Ron Schmitt, is a capable representative of the people but in the public capacity of mayor his persona would not nearly match that of Martini’s. While the council needs the questioning voice Schmitt brings to many matters, the mayor’s voice should be one of decisive unity with what the majority of the council thinks. For this reason, we endorse Geno Martini to retain his seat as Sparks mayor.
Sparks City Council Ward 2: Ed Lawson
At the council table a vacancy is being cleared by the term limit departure of Ward 2 representative Phil Salerno. Vying to replace him are Ed Lawson and Bob Lopes. Lawson is a 20-year resident of the area and was spurred to run for office by his work in government relations with Young Electric Sign Company. Lopes also is a longtime resident, owner of American Iron Gym on Rock Boulevard and has strong ties to the labor community.
Each man gave the Sparks Tribune some statements back in June stating their positions on various issues. Both men had good things to say, but a few things made us lean toward Lawson. We liked his focus on helping small business grow and although there are many cries about the understaffing of police and fire, we did not think Lopes’ statement about shielding all public safety from layoffs was practical. Certainly we do not want to see any more job losses at all, but to completely eliminate any department from the table (especially expensive ones) is not feasible given the circumstances.
Both men seem to have the city’s interests at heart, but based on what we have seen, Lawson is a better choice.
Sparks City Council Ward 4: Mike Carrigan
Not much to think about here since he is technically running unopposed, though apparently there will be another name on the ballot. Mike Carrigan has been on the council for a long time and has seen a lot of the ups and downs. It appears he will be around to see one more cycle.
Sparks Justice of the Peace, Dept. 2: Kevin Higgins
In our interactions with incumbent Judge Kevin Higgins, he is a very dedicated man who works hard in a very understaffed, overworked court. He is running against Christian Wilson, a longtime Washoe County deputy district attorney with a military background.
Although Wilson has extensive experience on the other side of the bench, given the Sparks Justice Court’s challenges with workload, it is best right now to retain someone with knowledge of its workings rather than try to throw someone new into the mix. So, we encourage a vote for Higgins.
District Attorney: Dick Gammick
Similar to our rationale for Higgins, the Tribune is endorsing longtime incumbent Dick Gammick to keep a steady hand on the ship’s wheel during turbulent times. He has a lot of experience in Washoe County justice and his office has done a good job prosecuting criminals. There has been some alleged discord among his staff and Gammick has a reputation for being a cowboy, but you wouldn’t send Jimmy Stewart to a wild west town to drive out the rustlers. You send Clint Eastwood.
Governor: Brian Sandoval
Moving on up the electoral ladder, Nevada’s next governor will need to pull in the financial reins to keep the state’s carriage from running over a cliff.
Ideologically, a Republican is the person to do this — or at least as much as possible with a Democratic state Legislature. No one wants to see further cuts to education or public safety, but looking at the big picture Nevada must keep spending under control first and foremost. Backed by a party that is fiscally conservative, we believe Brian Sandoval is more likely to lean that direction than his competitor, Rory Reid.
Senate: Harry Reid
While endorsing U.S. Sen. Harry Reid for re-election might seem an about face from endorsing Sandoval for governor, our recommendation of Nevada’s longtime senator is only loosely an “endorsement.” In this case, we favor Reid over Republican Sharron Angle because of how his experience and tenure can benefit Nevada. That aside, neither candidate is a great option. While change for change’s sake can be good, now is not the time for Nevada to gamble on an inexperienced freshman senator with some different ideas.
Election Day is Nov. 2. For more information on candidates, voting places, etc., visit www.co.washoe.nv.us and read the Sparks Tribune in the coming weeks for more reporting on the election.