Endorsement rationales

Lots of good candidates this election.

The Reno News & Review's endorsements (so far)

U. S. President: Barack Obama

U. S. Senate: Shelley Berkley

Representative in Congress, District 2: Samuel Koepnick

Nevada Senate District 13: Debbie Smith

Nevada Senate District 15: Sheila Leslie

State Assembly, District 24: David Bobzien

State Assembly, District 25: Pat Hickey

State Assembly, District 26: Rodney Petzak

State Assembly, District 27: Teresa Benitez-Thompson

State Assembly, District 30: Mike Sprinkle

State Assembly, District 31: Skip Daly

State Assembly, District 32: Ira Hansen

State Assembly, District 40: Rich Dunn

Washoe County Commission, District 1: Andrew Diss

Washoe County Commission, District 4: Vaughn Hartung

District Court Judge, Department 9: Cal Dunlap and Scott N. Freeman

State Board of Education, District 2: Donna Clontz

Justice of the Peace Reno/Verdi, Department 1: Patricia Lynch

Justice of the Peace, Reno/Verdi Department 6: Pierre Hascheff

University of Nevada Regent, District 9: Michon Maupin Mackedon

School Trustee, District E: Howard Rosenberg

School Trustee, District E: Diane Nicolet

Reno City Council, Ward 1: Jenny Brekhus

Reno City Council, Ward 3: Oscar Delgado

Reno City Council, Ward 5: Kitty K. Jung

Reno City Council, At-Large: Hillary Schieve

Nevada State Question No. 1: Vote Yes

Washoe County Question WC-1: Skip this one

Washoe County Question WC-2: Skip this one

Reno Question RNO-1: Vote No

OK, OK, enough of this election b.s. Let’s knock out our final endorsements.

First, you didn’t think we’d do it, but here it is. We endorse Samuel Koepnick to be our U.S. House member from District 2. We know the guy is running uphill, and we know Mark Amodei is better than most Republicans in Washington, D.C., but as someone wiser than us once said, “It’s a democracy. It’s not a crime to vote for someone you actually support.” It would serve Koepnick right to have to go to Washington when it seems he applied for the job on a lark.

As for the ballot questions, we’re going “yes” on State Question 1 and “no” on City of Reno Question 1. The state question will allow the Legislature to be called into session even when the governor is against it, like when the governor is an irresponsible administrator who needs to be removed from office—a scenario that appears to happen more and more in this country—or when the governor vetoes after the lawmakers have gone home for a year and a half. As far as the city of Reno question, the current method of elections ensures an elite and/or beholden Reno City Council by making it harder for ordinary citizens who have neither the benefit of money nor incumbency to win.

With regard to the Washoe County questions, those questions don’t belong on the ballot. Period. We elect leaders to make the tough decisions. For them to throw the tough votes back to citizens so they don’t have to deal with the political fallout is the height of cowardice. We’re not even going to vote on WC-1 or WC-2. We’ll skip them. In the education races, we’ve already endorsed Diane Nicolet for School Trustee, District E, and Donna Clontz for the State Board of Education, Seat 2. We’d like to add the capable and experienced Howard Rosenberg to that list for School Board Trustee, District D.

We’re not endorsing in the School Board Trustee, District A race and here’s why: We asked all the education candidates a simple question: “Would you please clearly state your opinions about teaching evolution and/or creationism in public schools?” Both Dale Richardson and Lisa Ruggerio refused to answer the question. Why is that? Are their views so radical that they can’t even put them into writing? Isn’t this exactly what happened in Kansas? Even Clontz opponent Dave Cook, who believes in Intelligent Design, pointed out the Nevada School Standards require the teaching of evolution as the single method of life creation on Earth. It’s kind of a no-brainer for the RN&R: If a candidate is too fearful to truthfully state their views about teaching religion in the public schools, then those candidates have no business near our kids or influencing their curriculum.

Finally, in the State Senate, District 13 race, we’d like to see Debbie Smith in the state senate. She’s an effective legislator. Besides, not only did Kathy Martin dodge our requests for information, she just came off as underhanded, unneighborly and nasty during this campaign.

People who don’t have enough respect for our readers—the most educated, high earning, involved, active, charitable and good-looking readers of any publication or news source in Northern Nevada, well, they’re just not smart enough to represent you in any office.

For all the news stories and commentary we’ve published or posted this election cycle, plus to see which candidates cared enough about your vote to answer our questions, check out www.newsreview.com/reno/liveballot. You’ll be glad you did.


Elect Barack Obama

In Sept. 1936, Franklin Roosevelt characterized Republicans who opposed the New Deal but publicly praised it because they knew it was popular: “Of course we believe all these things. We believe in social security. We believe in work for the unemployed. We believe in saving homes. Cross our hearts and hope to die, we believe in all these things. But we do not like the way the present administration is doing them. Just turn them over to us. We will do all of them, we will do more of them, we will do them better, and most important of all, the doing of them will not cost anybody anything.”

That’s how Mitt Romney behaved in the Oct. 3 debate. He was against hot button programs like the Democratic health care program, but supported every Democratic program that is popular—energy, schools, all the cuts Obama made, small businesses that Obama has championed, the recommendations of the president’s Simpson-Bowles Commission—but he could do it all better. He kept all these positions from GOP primary and caucus voters.

When he wasn’t pandering, he was being devious.

He criticized the deficit—but was unwilling to admit that four fifths of that deficit was inherited by Obama. After getting mileage out of his tax plan during the Republican primaries, he could not, before a wider national audience, remember ever having such a plan. He repeated the word jobs repeatedly but had no plan except lower taxes. He embraced the policies of the Clinton administration—but gave no recognition to the fact that Bill Clinton rode the dot.com boom while Obama was handed a wrecked economy and nearly all of today’s deficit by George Bush.

Romney said he would deal with the dysfunctional, polarized Congress but did not say how.

He would dump federal programs on the states, but failed to say whether he would enclose checks to those states.

He touts business experience as proof he would know how to manage a whole economy, but his constant mantra about low taxes as a remedy to everything from recession to post-nasal drip could put the United States into an economic tailspin. As the Pulitzer prize winning tax analyst David Cay Johnston wrote last year ("Tax myths and misunderstandings,” RN&R, April 14, 2011), “A corporate tax rate that is too low actually destroys jobs. That’s because a higher tax rate encourages businesses (who don’t want to pay taxes) to keep the profits in the business and reinvest, rather than pull them out as profits and have to pay high taxes.” In the 1950s, remembered as one of the longest periods of unbroken prosperity in the United States, the top tax rate was 97 percent—and during the subsequent years when it has been repeatedly cut (it’s now in the 30s) the nation has been plagued by repeated recessions—1981-82, 1990-91, 2001, 2007-. Romney’s willingness to pamper his former corporate colleagues could destroy all the progress made under Obama and extend hard times for decades.

Romney’s disingenuousness, his economic incompetence and his pandering, all on display in the debate, make it clear that he would be a disastrous president. Moreover, he has changed his positions so many times on so many issues over the years, sometime repeatedly, that neither liberals nor conservatives know how he would govern. He has subverted the whole purpose of election campaigns.

We endorse Barack Obama. Whatever faults he has, they are nothing compared to those of his opponent. Obama has been intellectually honest with the public, respectful of his critics, willing to listen to people of opposing views. He has led the nation into a steadily stronger economy.


Elect Pierre Hascheff

You want to see a good example of why the term-limit laws aren’t wholly good things? Look no further than Pierre Hascheff on the Reno City Council. The guy has been on the Council for nearly 20 years, and in all that time, he has been—not just had the reputation for being—a measured, rational voice on the Council. He’s being term limited out. And that’s why we say he should be elected to Reno Justice of the Peace in Department 6—so we can keep a real public servant serving the public.

That’s not to say he’s been a dissenting voice. He hasn’t. In fact, in his competent way, he’s joined the establishment chorus on some of the most divisive issues of the past two decades. But somehow, he’s almost always risen above the political fray, a Council member who was known for preparation and for hearing both sides of an issue before pronouncing his opinion.

Wouldn’t it have been great to have an entire Council that didn’t somehow have its mind made up before the public meetings?

Hascheff is qualified in just about any way a Justice of the Peace should be qualified. He’s a certified public accountant and a lawyer, so he has insight in ways most people don’t. He’s been deeply involved in this community even outside the Council.

His opponent, Gemma Green Waldron, is somewhat of a mystery to the staff here. She did not respond to a request for information sent by this newspaper, and if she doesn’t care enough about our readers to at least answer a few questions, well, it’s pretty obvious she’s not seeking our endorsement. But beyond our specific complaint, she didn’t answer the Washoe County Registrar of Voters’ request for information, either. In fact, so you can decide for yourself, the most public statement she made about running for office was to the Reno Gazette-Journal. Her bio can be found on that site at http://tinyurl.com/9vjqauo

It’s not that she’s not qualified, after 16 years as a public defender here in Washoe County, she’s just not as qualified. And this election, we’d like to see qualifications matter in who gets elected.

In our candidate questionnaires, which you will get to see when our partner on our election site, Democracy Live, gets their technological issues straightened out, we asked candidates what the most important issue is in their respective races. Hascheff replied, “I will continue to improve the court’s technology upgrades making it easier for our constituents to obtain information from the court, pay their fines, and share information online rather than waiting in line at the courthouse. My 20 years as a Reno City Council member makes me uniquely qualified to understand and streamline the court’s budget. Because the Justice Court is the people’s court, I will bring a fair and balanced approach to the bench since everyone is entitled to a respectful and informed decision by the court. I believe technology upgrades and consolidating the court functions will reduce the operating costs of the court.”

We happen to agree. He is uniquely qualified to understand and streamline the court’s budget. We recommend you cast a vote for Pierre Hascheff for Department 6 Justice of the Peace.