Don't expect a cakewalk
Well, well, well. Let us say up front that the Nevada Supreme Court’s decision on whether termed-out Reno City Council members could run for mayor was affirming. We didn’t need anyone to tell us what the law said or to read the city charter for us, but it would be difficult to count the times people told us we were wrong and stupid since we first wrote about the issue on Jan. 12, 2012, http://bit.ly/1i9koIq. People should know that words have meaning, and words can hurt.
Now that the schadenfreude is expressed, and the “I told you so’s” are satisfied, let us tell you what we’re looking for in a mayor. It’s way to early to say if any of the citizens who’ve thrown their hats in the ring have these qualities. We can say it appears some should have thrown in the towel before registration began.
First thing we’re looking for in a mayoral candidate in 2014 is independence. Some of these candidates have aleady shown that they don’t have an independent bone in their body. They’ve been tools for the people with money and political power in this community, and their willingness to tow the company line is the very reason term limits got voted in. Others have had many opportunities in the past to step forward independently, to offer their own ideas in the public sphere, but chose not to. Again, while we’re looking forward to examining all the candidates’ accomplishments and ideas, it’s hard to imagine us endorsing someone who hasn’t shown an iota of leadership in the last 20 years. Some are only stepping forward because they think they see an opportunity to be monarch, which shows they’re completely unqualified for the job.
The second thing we’re looking for is someone who wants to work hard. In the days after the Supreme Court’s announcement, the RN&R did some informal polling to find out who might be running, and the reasons people were not running were telling. The mayoral position is largely ceremonial. While the real governance work is being done behind the scenes, the mayor is out front accomplishing little, but getting the credit for much. One candidate said all those ceremonial duties make doing real work impossible and therefore would not be running. So the best candidates won’t run. Irony noted.
The third thing we want is a candidate who is responsive to press inquiries and who possesses a sound public records policy. This community needs someone to prioritize and actuate a plan to bring Reno government into the 21st century with internet access for the public to all public documents. We need an administration that welcomes the scrutiny of public inquiry and wants to reduce the ridiculous size of the city’s public relations operation. Bureaucrats are trustees, not owners, and government is mandated with protection and dissemination of public documents. Government shouldn’t hide behind lawyers.
Here’s to all of the candidates who’ve signed up to run for Reno mayor. We look forward to taking a close look at your ideas and your platforms. But beware, yours is just one race in 2014, and we’ll be looking at how your friendships in other races inform your independence. Should be a hell of a year.