I had the opportunity last week to meet with George “Eddie” Lorton, candidate for mayor of Reno. Why would an Incline/Crystal Bay Republican much care who gets elected mayor of Reno?
One huge reason is that when Reno gets into financial trouble by over borrowing, overspending and blowing taxpayer money on economically unsound projects the city dads start looking for ways to bail themselves out.
Annexation or otherwise controlling Incline/Crystal Bay’s $1.4 billion in assessed valuation has been bandied about in Reno’s city hall since about the year 2000.
Also, when things get so bad that the city tries to force Washoe County to contribute to a bail out (the Aces Baseball Stadium for example) Incline/Crystal Bay taxpayers are directly impacted.
And looming on the horizon is a mega-million dollar flood control plan to keep the Truckee River from overflowing in Reno and Sparks. The tax tentacles of this multi-governmental scheme will definitely reach toward North Tahoe.
Another reason is that Lorton is supported by our good friend and three-term county commissioner Jim Galloway. Jim has been a constant foe of taxpayer funded corporate casino welfare by the City of Reno so you can tell something by the company he keeps.
Still another reason is that we all go to Reno from time to time to shop, dine or enjoy entertainment venues. It is to our advantage to have a well-functioning public safety system, as we have here at Tahoe, instead of the squabbling county and Reno fire departments and an emergency medical response system that only works if you’re inside the McCarran loop.
What does Eddie Lorton bring to the table? For one thing he is a Republican. Well … so were the last two mayors so let’s look a little further. Eddie is a successful independent businessman and property owner and knows his way around a balance sheet.
Importantly he is not a political ladder climber; he wants to serve only one or two terms and is willing to donate his first year’s salary back to the city as an example to others if he wins.
“I don’t believe in people being full-time politicians,” he said. “You don’t make a living out of it.”
This is a refreshing attitude since the other folks rattling the “run for mayor” chain are city councilpersons who either have faced or are facing term limits and are historically interwoven with the $600 million debt load with which the city struggles.
Eddie has met with Reno police and fire chiefs as well as key people from the labor groups that represent city employees. He is a frequent participant in city council meetings
By the way, it was Eddie who, for the last three years, has paid to turn the Reno Arch “Wolf Pack” blue in honor of fallen police officers.
His manner is mildly reminiscent of William Shatner in the TV series, Boston Legal. Eddie is direct and to the point and yet exudes an engaging charm.
His immediate challenge will be getting to know voters and getting voters to know him in the slightly less than one year remaining between now and the June 10, 2014, primary election.
We’ll be watching from the mountains.
Jim Clark is president of Republican Advocates and has served on the Washoe County & Nevada State GOP Central Committees; he can be reached at email@example.com.