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Sparks city candidates lecture to seniors about government
by Sarah Cooper
Sep 17, 2008 | 821 views | 15 15 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Osher Lifelong Learning Member Betty Lou Marquardt, center, talks politics with Sparks City Council ward one candidates Larry Wilson and Julia Ratti. Marquardt led the class for seniors on local government.
Osher Lifelong Learning Member Betty Lou Marquardt, center, talks politics with Sparks City Council ward one candidates Larry Wilson and Julia Ratti. Marquardt led the class for seniors on local government.
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LaMerne Kozlowski leaned forward in her seat , propped herself up on her cane and asked two of the candidates for Sparks City Council what they planned to do about Spanish Springs growth.

Kozlowski, a Sparks resident of 61 years, was one of the more than 20 senior citizens who attended the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute’s government class Wednesday.

Larry Wilson and Julia Ratti, candidates for Sparks City Council ward one, were joined by Neil Grad, candidate for Sparks city attorney, as guest lecturers at the institute.

“This is an intelligent group of people,” said former OLLI president Kozlowski. “They really want to know what is going on.”

Wednesday’s class was the third in a series of classes on American government. Each of the candidates for any Sparks office were invited by the institute to talk about city government – and hand out a few campaign fliers.

At the class, the candidates were each given time to discuss the issues that mattered to them, as well as address the questions of the class.

In response to Kozlowski’s question on growth, Wilson said he was concerned with the development at the Sparks Marina.

“I’m concerned that the people in Sparks are going to lose whatever grass they have on that (the marina park) because of the casino,” Wilson said.

His answer to unchecked growth was developing a better plan.

“Let’s get a real big master plan going and follow it,” he said.

As Wilson handed off the microphone to Ratti, his fellow ward one candidate, who agreed that growth needed to be better managed.

“I believe the solution is one that allows for growth but it has to be done in a way that we can afford and supports infrastructure,” Ratti said.

In addition to growth, both candidates discussed redevelopment needs in Victorian Square, agreeing that past planning for the area was bungled.

“When there is not a special event, you can shoot a cannon down there and not hit anyone,” Ratti said. “I don’t disagree with Larry that the past could have been handled differently.”

Wilson added that he believed a solution for Victorian Square redevelopment lies in developing and sticking to a more concrete plan.

“We need to have a plan of action,” Wilson said. “I think we have studied everything way too much. Let’s get it going.”

In addition to the city council candidates, the class heard a presentation from Grad, who is running against incumbent Sparks city attorney Chet Adams.

Grad began his presentation by explaining to the class how city law can be changed, discussing both changes to the city charter and the municipal code.

“If you want a new law, talk to your council person,” Grad told the class.

In his presentation, Grad discussed recent council decisions regarding garbage franchise agreements, Charter cable’s proposition to move public, education and government channels to paid cable subscriptions and the different ways Reno and Sparks have handled similar legal situations.

Grad said that he was not opposed to a shorter franchise period for services contracted by the city, such as garbage collection. He also added that he would provide free legal services in order to keep public education and government channels free to those with analog TVs.

“I am doing this for free because councilman (John) Mayer asked for it,” Grad said. “That and extra money per month (for a cable subscription to view the channels) could mean the difference between one thing or another for someone living on a fixed income.”

Grad told the group that there were many differences between the ways the cities of Reno and Sparks have handled recent financial pinches.

“We have the same economic circumstances,” Grad said. “But they have managed it better.”

Grad also gave the city of Reno credit for its handling of a fall 2007 lawsuit regarding the First Amendment rights of a street artist. The artist attempted to sell his paintings without a city use permit and was cited for the infraction. However, the artist claimed that his paintings were equivalent to free speech and as such did not need any special permits.

“Whoever drafted that ordinance was wrong,” Grad said.

The city of Reno settled the case, paying about $30,000. The same artist sued Sparks and the city lost the case this spring, paying $250,000.

After Grad finished his presentation, institute member Betty Lou Marquardt took the microphone and thanked the candidates for their participation.

“I get personal satisfaction knowing that we offered something to people to learn,” Marquardt said. “I feel passionately about government and I don’t want ‘politics’ to be a dirty word for these people.”

The institute’s mission is to bring educational and social opportunities to older adults, according to its course catalog. The institute is a part of the University of Nevada, Reno’s extended studies program and is funded through a grant from Bernard Osher. The Osher foundation has funded more than 120 other institutes nationwide that are committed to senior citizen education.

According to Marquardt, the classes are generally led by members of the institute who have a specific skill or community members who can contribute their knowledge to the class.

Comments
(15)
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charles burns
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September 19, 2009
thats Kolo news iwitness page
charles burns
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September 19, 2009
read lolos iwitness report on warning to sparks residents
no joke
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September 20, 2008
Hey birdbrain,

In your words, "the city attorney is there to advise the city counsel (that's supposed to be spelled council) and to follow the law. To protect and defend the city and it's people."

P-L-E-A-S-E!! NONE OF WHICH YOU'VE DONE WHILE IN OFFICE! As for your girlfriend, Nevada Lady, you've been as much involved in the p***ing match as anyone who reads and comments on this stuff. You two make a fine pair. Much luck to you both in the real world when you get the boot. What goes around, comes around.... And that's directed at you, birdbrain.
JOHN 3:16
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September 19, 2008
NEVADA LADY. you are such a liar. You have been defending Adams from the beginning in blog after blog. Anytime something is said about Adams there you are defending him. You know he is slime. Yet you stick with him. Are you that desperate? He claims to be protecting the city from DUI's yet he has 2 in his office plus his alcoholism. What a hypocrite. You deserve what you get. I pity you as you are pathetic as he is.
a fan of this stuff
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September 19, 2008
Adams may not have beat a woman, neither has Grad. All it takes is one person to say something to the right person, and all hell will break loose. Did anyone bother to check the reputability of the people making the claim? People can be bought… everyone has a price. Backstabbing, lies, and just plain made up stuff so the other guy gets to sound like he's the best one for the job. What's the difference between your government and anyone else’s' government? Only the names change. Change is inevitable; it is the only constant in our world. Writers posing as someone else, but really are in, or have been in, a relationship with the guy. Gee, if my elected official was having sex with me, sure as rain I'd vote for him, and I'd shout from the highest roof tops what a great guy he is. Come on people, these elected officials are trying to make it easier for all people, no matter what their income or status is, to live in harmony with those that are at the other end of the scale. If you really listen to what is being said, and not read between any lines, you may understand what they are saying, and make your decision based on fact. Not fiction. Good luck to all who are running, may the best person for the job get the job.
Nevada Lady
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September 19, 2008
John 3:16

1. I was not speaking to you.

2. I don't know who you are but I am not Chet's girlfriend. My husband will be offended by your remarks.

3. How dare you speak to me like that. I don't have to come down to your 2nd grate level either. Put your slingshot back in your pocket. I don't have time for children like you.

JOHN 3:16
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September 19, 2008
Nevada Lady,

Why don't you identify yourself as Chet's girlfriend? You know nothing about DUI convection (sic) rates. They are very easy to get. GRAD has prosecuted and defended hundreds of them. Adams has not. GRAD has much more experience than ADAMS. Moreso, he is honest, unlike ADAMS. Adams has cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars because he used his office for a dating pool. And the credit of what happens in the criminal division belongs to Tim Randolph, not Adams. Adams has lost a fortune for the city by taking cases as far as they can go instead of EVALUATING them. By being a jerk, Adams got rid of his best attornies. Simeoni, Salter and Creekman. They all work for the DA's office now. Sparks' loss.

As for your not knowing anything about Grad, you are showing that you are as much a liar as Adams.

You were taking potshots at him for months! Lies you got from Adams. If you care about him, you should convince him to save his money and retire now as he is not going to win. Those who know him in Sparks have nothing good to say about him and are voting for Grad. Sparks simply cannot afford what Adams cost it. The money paid out because of him and his making the office a laughingstock.
Nevada Lady
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September 19, 2008
Get-A-Life

I've heard Julia speek and I agree with you. Mr. Wilson brings a lot more focus on the city as a whole than Julia. I felt that she is looking to help just the ward she lives in and not the city as a whole.

As for the pi**ing contest. I've never heard anything about this guy Neil Grad or what he has done in the past. I think Chet Adams's record speaks for it self. I don't know about you but a 95% convection rate for DUI's sounds pretty good to me. I do know that in the past Adams has to give some advise to the city council and the advise was not followed. The city then was faced with law suits. That's part of the job I guess. The advise he gave the council on the Lazy8 matter has backed up by a judge as being the right advise. Like any client it's up to them to either listen to the advise of the attorney or not. Fighting a losing case happens too. But that's part of the job too. When the client says to fight it well like any good atttorney they will advise against it then go ahead and fight the good fight. Even if it is a losing battle.

After reading this artical I'm not so sure that Reno and Sparks are as much alike as Mr. Grad says. But this election is for Sparks City Attorney and not Reno. Let's focus on our town Mr. Grad and what you can do for us, not Reno. I'm just not hearing anything like that from Mr. Grad.
Get-A-life
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September 18, 2008
This article was about Sparks candidates speaking to a group of citizens. There is absolutely no reason to start in on personal attacks between the city attorney cadidates. Grad was there, Adams was not. I think we as voters can figure out who provided information and who did not. Personally, I am getting tired of this pi**ing contest between the Adams & Grad supporters. I'm more interested in who has the best and the PROVEN qualifications, experience and accomplishments.

These personal attacks are just devisive and do little for me. I'm interested in issues, not who did what to who. Can they do the job and what have they done for me, a Sparks taxpayer to warrant my vote? Please take the annimosity back to the playground where it belongs.

I like Larry over Julia because he seems to represent me. Now, lets discuss that for a change can we? I'm sick of the lawyers trying to monopolize on issues they have no business discussing.

Thank you!!
THE TRUTH
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September 18, 2008
You are right Chet. YOU ARE NOT AN EXPERT IN MUNICIPAL LAW. You have worked there for 17 years and you have learned very little. Pathetic. You say the city attorney is to advise the council? Then why did you try to be a super councilman in the summer of 2006 and at the behest of Carlos Vasquez, Lazy 8 spokesman, order the council to change their vote? First you tried to hold an illegal meeting until the attorney general shut you down. Grad can change a lot of things. He can reduce the budget by not sexually harassing his staff. He can properly draft ordinances so that they are constitutional. You haven't.

Grad was fired by YOU because he got too close to the settlement that the city had to pay for you forcing your ex-girlfriend out when she broke it up with you. She got $24,999 plus attorney's fees of TAXPAYER MONEY. And, that is only one. You on the otherhand have been seen putting up your signs during office hours on the taxpayers' dime.

Then you make up lies about GRAD beating up on a woman. There were no arrests or convictions. You shopped that case around and threatened that lady to lie. You threatened taking her children away even when you don't have the power. They witnessed everything and said GRAD did not hit anyone. Even chief prosecutor Bill Gardner from Reno said there was no case. He did find a case against your senior assistant Tom Riley when he had a hit and run and DUI. Stop making up lies and resign. There is no way you can win. Save yourself some money. You will need it. You are scum and incompetent. You lie through your teeth.

Do, Cindi, Christi and Mary have to go on TV to prove you are a liar?
desertrat144
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September 18, 2008
This is to BrirdBrain, Please provide specific details to the beating(?) in question. You also state that "he sure talks it up... [and] ... all these promises he makes..." Please state when and where what promises were made, and why they are not connected to the City Attorney's job. I'm not a member of either campaign but if one is going state something as fact, that person should be able to back it up.
BirdBrain
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September 18, 2008
I'm not an expert. I do know that Grad can not change anthing. The job does not have that kind of power. The city attorney is there to advise the city counsel and to follow the law. To protect and defend the city and it's people.
THE TRUTH
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September 18, 2008
Chet, you are really desperate. You fired him because he got too close to the latest (at the time) settlement of pushing Christi out of the office because she broke off her affair with her.

How many proposals did you get through the Charter Committee for 2007? That is right, a big whopping goose egg. Grad got his through. It is part of the City Charter.

The myth that Grad beats women was made up by you. The truth is, she was hallucinating when she called the police. Her children, one being 16, told the police that he never hit her. She had been brutalized in Georgia and had been hospitilized at NNMH for it. She was on a lot of conflicting medications. She admitted she was on those medications and recanted. YOU threatened her with taking away her children and with filing a false police report. GRAD told her you did not have the power. You shopped that report around trying to get it prosecuted. No one would take it because IT NEVER HAPPENED! Bill Gardner, the chief prosecutor for Reno refused to prosecute it because NOTHING HAPPENED! No, arrest or prosecution. You keep reminding her of her personal hell by bringing it up for your own sake. You are the real scumbag. Harming a traumatized woman. By the way, Bill Gardner prosecuted your pit bull, Tom Riley for DUI and got a conviction. Not working Chet. You are one sorry SOB. Just another one of your lies like the one you told the state bar who kept you from being licensed for 8 YEARS, because of lying about your criminal past. Or, like the ones you told investigators about your sexual harassment of female employees in your office? How many lawyers did you fire because they would not lie for you? It took a picture of you and Christi on a cruise before you changed your mind and admitted you LIED. And Christi, brought an action against the city and got the full amount of $24,999 plus her attorney's fees?

Then you pushed the next woman out and she got a whopping sum of money. It stops now Chet. Why don't you resign, work something out with the council and look for work elsewhere. You know you cannot be re-elected. Maybe if you resign now and save yourself and Grad campaign costs,Grad won't sue you for libel or go after you for the $200,000 you have cost the city with your personal misconduct. If you work out something with the city, spend some of it on alcohol rehab.
Turridu
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September 18, 2008
Bird Brain, since you seem to be the expert on city government, why don't you tell us all what the city attorney does?
BirdBrain
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September 18, 2008
Grad sure talks it up... but he has no control over what he is talking about. All these promises he makes are not part of the job. Grad has no idea what it is that the city attorneys job is. That's why he was fired from the city, for not doing his job.

I could never vote for any man who beats women either. I heard from a friend that his girlfriend was beaten by Grad in front of her kids. She filed a complant against Grad but took it all back because he threatened to beat her again if she didn't. Grad is scum.

Adams is not perfect but he don't beat women. I'm voting for Adams.
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