Candidates talk to Douglas voters |

Candidates talk to Douglas voters

Michael Schneider

Douglas County District 4 commission candidate Kirk Ledbetter said he is against considering making the lake portion of Douglas County into a city at a candidates forum on Thursday night.

“I’d rather see less government than more,” the Republican Ledbetter told a crowd at Round Hill Pines Resort. “A city would add another layer of government that needs to be paid for.”

Independent candidate Janet Murphy said she’d like to see a city rather than an independent county in the lake portion.

“I’d like to see the money remain up here,” said Murphy, administrator for the Tahoe-Douglas District.

Republican Incumbent Don Miner left open the possibility of a city in the county.

“It has some benefit that should be explored,” Miner said, pointing toward a possible push within the Nevada State Legislature that could see the elimination of a portion of sales taxes for general improvement districts. He said each GID would suffer if legislation is passed taking away their sales tax. Miner said he expects this could happen within five years.

All three agreed the Douglas schools in the lake portion of the county could use some improving.

Murphy said Carson Valley schools have better technology and more diverse classes.

“We need to bring the lake schools up to the level of the valley schools,” she said.

Miner, a chiropractor with offices in both portions of the county, pointed to uncontrolled valley growth in the past leading to a decline in lake schools.

“Schools at the lake were under served because of uncontrolled growth in the valley,” he said. Miner said, now that the commission has a handle on valley growth, the school district money isn’t needed to construct new valley schools faster than they can be built, leaving more money for lake schools.

Republican candidate Bob Pruett did not attend the forum, hosted jointly by the Tahoe Douglas Chamber of Commerce and the Tahoe Citizen’s Committee.

State Senate incumbent Lawrence Jacobsen said he was late for the forum because he was at Fallon Naval Air Station where the Navy is on alert following the bombing of Sudan and Afghanistan.

When he arrived, 36-year senator and assemblyman he told the crowd prisons, juvenile crime, health reform and salary increases were the big issues this year.

“It’s not what you know, but who you know,” he said, saying he was not above using his seniority to help out his district. “I pride myself in getting things done.”

His opponent and fellow Republican Don Forrester, who serves on the state and Douglas County school district boards, said the state tax structure, the proposed Nevada nuclear dump site which he opposes, and schools were the big issues facing Nevadans.

“Schools are my passion,” Forrester said. “I want to work at the state level to raise the standard, but not abandon the local levels.”

Incumbent Assessor Barbara Byington, the county assessor since 1983, said she didn’t plan on handing her office over to anyone else.

She said her experience with the job was reason to vote for her as well as services she’s implemented such as Department of Motor Vehicle services at the Lake Tahoe Administration Building.

Her opponent and fellow Republican, Joe Fay said his 30 years of private sector management and small business management are reason to vote his way.

Incumbent Tahoe Township Constable Roger Hargis pointed to such accomplishments as the installation of a metal detector at the lake courthouse and a computerized fee collection system.

Hargis, a Republican and 18-year Tahoe resident, is serving his second term in office.

Wes Rice, a Republican and retired police officer from Pasadena, is in his seventh season on Douglas Sheriff’s Office boat patrol on Lake


He said improving customer service would be his goal if elected.

“Wild” Bill Kerr, the other constable candidate, was not at the forum.

Commission District 2 incumbent Jacques Etchegoyhen and incumbent District Attorney Scott Doyle also spoke at the forum. Neither is opposed in their bids for re-election.

Representatives for U.S. Senator Harry Reid, D-Nevada, and for gubernatorial candidates Jan Jones and Kenny Guinn also addressed the crowd briefly.

Skip Sayre, president of the chamber, moderated the forum.

The primary election is Sept. 1 and the final election is Nov. 3.

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