June 14, 2017 Update: I sent this letter to Mayor Schieve and she kindly responded. We are meeting to discuss this and other topics at the end of the month. I will write a follow-up post after our meeting.
ORIGINAL LETTER BELOW:
Reno Mayor Candidate 2018
Ward 1 Resident
Reno, NV 89509
June 1, 2017
Mayor Hillary Schieve
City Hall, City of Reno
1 E. First Street,
Reno, NV 89501
Dear Mayor Hillary Schieve:
This open letter is in response to the recent last-minute legislative bill amendment, which you initiated and backed, that is intended to differentiate the Reno Mayor from the other council members by giving the Mayor separate veto power, as well as other changes to the position.
By now you know that I have announced that I am running for Reno Mayor. I saw that you have announced your intentions to run again, two days after my announcement, in response to that news. As someone who hopes to one day represent and serve the citizens of Reno, I want the voters to know that I am strongly against this amendment..
Regarding this situation, it is my opinion that your efforts are solely self-serving. It appears to me that this amendment only benefits yourself and your fellow former council members who were term-limited as decided upon by the Nevada Supreme Court. This amendment allows you, and these termed-out individuals, to bypass the term limits and effectively become what I consider to be an entrenched politician who can serve far beyond what the citizens of Reno have ever asked for. Your attempt to change the laws to serve your own needs is solely politically driven, and your actions in bringing this matter to the State Legislator appear to be underhanded and questionable. As a lifelong Reno citizen, I am greatly displeased that my mayor is more concerned with manipulating legislation to serve her needs instead of fulfilling the duties of her office and making good on past campaign promises.
As a Reno citizen for over 30 years, my expectation is that my mayor is authentic, honest and transparent. Considering this bombshell attempt to obtain more power in the local Reno political scene, and as a concerned constituent, I have a series of questions I would like to ask you, and I would like for you to publish your responses. Regardless of the outcome by the State Legislature or Governor, now that this situation has occurred, I think you owe the Reno citizens some explanation about your actions.
Can you name three instances in your last two and half years as Reno Mayor where you needed veto power over a council decision in order to better serve the citizens of Reno? As a follow-up, can you explain why as well?
My observation in this matter is that the Reno City Council almost always votes unanimously on the items for action.
Why was this amendment written by a State Senator from Las Vegas and not a Reno-based Legislator?
Why did you wait until the end of the Legislative Session, on the Friday of Memorial Day Weekend, to initiate this change?
To me, in my opinion, this was an attempt to sneak this in without drawing much attention to the issue.
Why didn’t you tell the other council members your intentions in advance of these actions?
How does this align with the Mission, Vision, and Priorities of the City? How does this align with the things like ReImagine Reno, the Downtown Master Plan, or other existing goals?
You stated in an article on the Reno Gazette-Journal that as a person who has served as a council member (Member at Large) and mayor, the positions are “very different”. Can you explain to me how things are different?
For this answer, I don’t want the obvious ones. The Reno mayor should preside over meetings, officiate ceremonies, and represent the city. That’s the job.
What are you not capable of doing now, that you could do if the new amendment is approved by the Legislator and Governor Sandoval?
Which Reno citizen or group of citizens have you spoken with that backed this idea?
As a Reno citizen who does pay attention to local politics, I feel blindsided by this situation. I believe that the mayor, in its current form, is setup and equipped with enough authority to effectively lead the city council and lead the city. As our mayor who is serving us, there must be a group who is backing this.
Personally, I believe in shorter term limits for politicians, including our local city council. With this amendment in mind, do you believe in longer term limits specifically for city council positions?
If this amendment did pass, and you were given this new authority, what would you do differently?
This is the fundamental question. If you cannot explain this one, then this whole amendment is in vain.
In conclusion, I look forward to your responses to my questions. I hope that your answers are sufficient and thorough. I hope that you can prove me wrong, that your actions are not self-serving and that you are always working in the best interests of Reno. If that is the case, I will happily concede all my points stated above.