*Candidate responses were not modified or altered.

Candidate Questions

Q1. What are your top 2 priorities for Reno?

Q2. How would you increase local funding and incentives to develop affordable housing for low and middle-income communities?

Q3. How would you address the displacement of low-income communities and communities of color due to gentrification?

Q4. How would you support the growing number of renters in our community?

Q5. How would you create a welcoming and supportive community for immigrants and their families?

Darla Fink

No responses or photo submitted

Kurt Gottschalk

No responses or photo submitted

Neoma Jardon


A1. Two of the most critical challenges facing Reno right now are public health and safety, and housing. Should I be elected to serve another term on the Council, it will be my mission to propose and support policies that ensure the public health and safety personnel are deployed in the community and well-equipped to serve our constituents.

I will also work diligently to find smart, creative and sustainable solutions to increase the housing inventory in our city across all income situations so that all Reno residents—including the homeless population, which must be included with the same seriousness as any other constituent group in our city—can enjoy the security and dignity that comes with having a home.

A2. I understand that incomes throughout the region have not kept pace with home prices, which are being driven up largely by rapidly increasing demand and diminishing supply. To that end, the supply problem must be mitigated, and there are a number of ways to do that. Financing for homeownership is another factor that must be considered over time.

To begin helping our low and middle-income communities secure affordable housing, the City Council will need to work with state and federal agencies to ensure that policies and programs are put forth which support the development of a more diverse variety of housing options (like multi-family homes, townhouses, duplexes, and courtyard apartments), that better leverage existing programs like the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, and that create efficiencies in financing product usage by the public. Going into my next term, should I be elected, it’s my intention to continue to aggressively pursue solutions along these lines.

A3. The issue of gentrification is complex. Where some people see improvements in the appearance or economic offerings of a given area, others are understandably concerned that new businesses, remodels and developments are signs of future displacement of their community. In reality, these things are not hand-in-hand. Socioeconomic progress and the retention of one’s home or beloved place of business, worship or gathering—these things are not mutually exclusive, or at least they do not have to be.

To mitigate displacement, however, we must do at least two things. We must first be open as a city to increasing our housing inventory, understanding that as our population grows, so will the need for residences affordable at a variety of income levels. Increased housing stock will ease the burden on low-income residents and communities of colors as an increased supply will diminish the pressure of outsize demand—and it will provide these groups with potential pathways to homeownership over time.

We must also make sure that small businesses, which are often cornerstones of low-income communities and communities of color, are supported in their endeavor to generate income, to afford tenancy or real estate ownership, and to remain sites of incredible value to the people who frequent them as part of their neighborhoods.

A4. Again, housing inventory is probably the most important factor impacting the communities of Reno—and this includes renters, who currently represent the majority in our city and whose number is growing and many of whom have seen rents rising dramatically year as the population grows (thanks to a diversifying economy, which is a net positive).

The problem is that you cannot have balance when there are more people than there are homes, and that lack of equilibrium, over time, becomes damaging to the community thanks to its impacts on things like workforce development, talent attraction and retention, public health and safety, and homelessness.

I’ve mentioned that housing is one of my top priorities going into this next term. As I seek to build pathways to new residential and commercial real estate offerings to Reno’s citizens through my support of smart, economically and ecologically responsible development throughout the region, I’m not just thinking of a handful of people who should benefit. I’m thinking of local future homeowners, of renters, of people from all income levels who want to see their dream of homeownership realized in our town. I think that each of these groups of people should have the opportunity to live in a safe, secure place that they can call home, and I am committed to making that a possibility through my programs, and through my advocacy to state legislators for necessary changes in things like Nevada’s presently flawed tax code.

A5. One of the many things that makes Reno such a special place is that its population is made up of a wide variety of people from many different places, cultures, and walks of life. I celebrate that diversity in our population, which is why in 2017 I supported and voted in favor of the City of Reno’s adoption of the “Welcoming City” resolution, which affirms our city’s official commitment to providing all of its residents and visitors with equal treatment, friendliness, and the safe opportunity to contribute to the city’s vibrant economic and social life.

It’s one thing to think about this, but another to make sure that it is practiced by our city’s institutions. One way that I’ll make sure to ensure that the spirit of our Welcoming City resolution is executed in practice is to ensure that its tenets are understood by our Downtown Partnership personnel, who serve as the welcoming, thoughtful ambassadors for all people in our town—immigrants included.

Lee “Chef” Wilhelm

No responses or photo submitted

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