*Candidate responses were not modified or altered.

Candidate Questions

Q1. What are your top 2 priorities for Sparks?

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?

Donald Abbott


A1. A city that works for everyone, if you’ve lived here for 30 years or 30 days this city will be a city where anyone can call home. The City of Sparks consists of many moving parts and it’s my job to set policy & the budget to allow staff to keep the city running as efficiently as possible to serve all the people of Sparks. From public works, to parks, sewer and permitting it is monumental that what staff does for everyone and what the city does exceedingly well every day is promote a healthy environment that not only benefits the residents of Sparks but also creates a working system for other municipalities like county and school district so that they can thrive in the services and duties they perform for our community.

All generations of our city are important, but an often-overlooked population is our Senior population. One of my campaign promises of 2016 was to look into getting a Sparks Senior Citizen Advisory Committee up and running. Reno and Washoe County have one, but Sparks had not had one for just about a decade. The board is now up and running and has regular meetings as well as regularly scheduled concurrent meetings with Reno & Washoe County. One of the main goals is getting good information and passing it along to Seniors of all walks of life. This has been a priority from my day 1 and will continue to be one of mine.

A2. By continuing to support staff to work with the Washoe County HOME Consortium (WCHC) which is a program that makes loans available for the development of affordable housing units. The primary goal is to assist lower income families and individuals, including homeless and special needs groups, to obtain affordable housing in not only Sparks but Washoe County as a whole. The WCHC also allocates funds to housing assistance programs, including down payment assistance to first time homebuyers, monthly rental assistance, rental and utility deposit assistance, and homeowner rehabilitation assistance. The most recent project built in Sparks using these monies is the Alpine Haven project located on Oddie Blvd near Grocery Outlet. This project is made possible by good cooperation between jurisdictions from staff to elected level to ensure that quality projects are built in our region. I’m proud to say that I’m able to cooperate with others so we can get projects like Alpine Haven built that our community desperately need. I have a proven track record based off my votes casted in support of maintaining this program in operation in our city.

Working with our State Legislators and our public to build support for additional tools for our tool chest at a local level to help with this concern. This problem will not be fixed overnight but with good people doing the right thing we can make progress.

A3. Ward one is the most diverse wards in Sparks, and I am proud of that, our landlords & business owners are diverse in age, ethnicity, and their family backgrounds. I know many of the small business owners and a few of the landlords of the area and many live & work in Ward 1 and/or have rentals in the ward too. There are often services available that an individual may not know is available. The most important way to help is by continuing to do outreach so residents know that you can call me, and we can work together to find solutions the current issue that they are facing. I’ve been doing outreach since 2018 with residents in Ward 1 by passing out my cell phone and email with the intentions of them reaching out when they have a question or need help somehow. Ward 1 is the “Melting Pot” of Sparks and are diverse in many aspects that makes this part of Sparks a special place. A place that is welcoming to all.

A4. By continuing to do reach out to those populations and being accessible to help find solutions to their problems that I can help them with. The end goal for many who are renters is to become homeowners and helping to connect them with programs and people who are able to assist in achieving this goal is important. If we have more homes than people that will help with the price to buy a home as well as the cost of renting as well will be more accessible by a larger population of people in the area. There are also many people of our community that do not want to be homeowner and are alright with budgeting their monthly bills and not having to worry about how to come up with the money when a new roof or heater is needed. They also may only be planning to be here for short term but being a homeowner or not doesn’t affect their ability to reach out to their current City Council member and ask questions on how I can help set policy or look into something that would support their quality of life.

A5. By being accessible to them and hearing their problems as well as solutions that they may have that would benefit the city. Parks, potholes, traffic lights & sidewalks are used by everyone and end of the day none of those things care if you have lived here in Sparks for 1 week, a year or your whole life. None of those things care what language you speak or what your background is. WE as a community care that we have quality Parks for our families, Minimal potholes, traffic lights that are well timed and sidewalks that are well maintained to prevent a trip hazard for our younger generations all the way up to our elders. Another important factor for a community is ease of communication with Government. It is important for us to continue hiring staff across the city that are bilingual to allow for smooth conversations and interactions between citizens and the city. I may not be able to speak a second language, but I find it important to have my campaign website in both English & Spanish and a dedicated email to reply to emails that come in that are in Spanish. Just because I can’t speak Spanish fluently doesn’t mean we need to let that prevent us from communicating for the benefit of our community as a whole.

Kristine Grimes

A1. 1 Public Safety of the residents and visitors of Sparks. 2 Infrastructure to keep up with the economic growth

A2. Immediate solution would be to increase Real Estate Taxes Through legislation which is a more long term process/grants to build low income housing.

Aaturate the market with housing to bring costs down

A3. I find this question objectionable because poverty affects everyone. I believe communication is important for people to be one voice so they can stand strong in keeping their neighborhoods and homes. Keep community parks, libraries, schools in the neighborhood.

A4. In what way do you mean? With respect to the community I would like to increase safety for pedestrians as not everyone has a car. Access to public transportation is very important in Ward 1. A cleaner safer community. Properly maintained parks. Hardware, grocery, pharmacy and other stores that are close by.

A5. Community activism such as neighborhood park activities. Provide socialization such as Neighborhood Watch Programs with English / Spanish and any other needed language leaders.

Dick Kirtley

No responses or photo submitted

Wendy Stolyarov

A1. – Housing: Rent has increased by more than 50% over the past five years in many parts of Sparks. Wages have not. Promoting affordable housing, fighting for zoning reform that would bring down the cost of housing more broadly, and implementing a tenants’ advisory board are essential to ensure that housing remains accessible.
– Equity and Inclusion: Every resident of the city, regardless of their nation of origin, identity, or orientation, deserves to be served equally. The Council must not promote or tolerate bigotry or discrimination – and we must reach out to silent communities, meet them where they are, and listen to ensure that their needs are heard and served. I will fight to ensure that all residents’ interests are considered in City business.

A2. – Develop and provide a city library of approved, pre-permitted plans for townhouses, multi-unit, and ADU housing, reducing development costs.
– Aggressively pursue federal funding for affordable housing (including working with the state to lobby for additional Housing Authority funding in the region).
– Follow Minneapolis’s and Oregon’s lead: Upzone all single-family-only areas to also allow multi-unit development (duplexes, quadplexes, townhouses).
– Offer fee abatements to developers of affordable housing.
– On the less likely end in terms of actual implementation: At some point, we do need to consider property tax reform in the state if we want a sustainable source of municipal funding. One possibility is implementing a Land Value Tax. The City of Sparks should also consider inclusionary zoning requirements for new market-rate housing developments in the area.

A3. Gentrification gains a foothold in neighborhoods that become too expensive for long-term residents to stay. The biggest contributor to this sort of de facto segregation is increasingly restrictive zoning designed to keep wealthy communities wealthy (and keep out those who can’t afford to live there). Wealthy, majority-white areas are generally downzoned to single-family-only (and fight to keep things that way). Upzoning citywide would prevent older neighborhoods from being the only ones getting developed.

One option is developing programs that improve the rates of property ownership and homeownership for long-term residents and people of color.

However, the best way to address displacement is to prevent it before it starts. The best way to prevent it is to keep housing affordable for low-income communities and fight to strengthen tenant protections in order to prevent modern-day redlining.

A4. I’m a renter, too, so this question hits close to home. The first thing I’d like to do is establish a Tenants’ Advisory Board in Sparks parallel to Reno’s. It’s very important that tenants have the opportunity to be heard and to seek recourse.

Other potential policy prescriptions I’d like to consider include:
– Rental assistance
– Tenant counseling
– Proactive code enforcement
– Just Cause eviction policy
– Tenant right to purchase laws
Upzoning and incentivizing affordable housing are also helpful for renters, as more units being available gives them us more choices should we need to seek alternative housing.

A5. I believe that families belong together and that human beings have an essential, inalienable right to freedom of movement. I don’t think that the City of Sparks should do business with ICE – I would fight to end any such agreements. I would also promote an equity and inclusion campaign within the City. Sparks is a thriving, diverse community that is made stronger by its unique character.

City services should be offered in English, Spanish, and any other language spoken by a significant minority of Sparks’s population. I’d also like to see an increase in the number and locations available for community assistance for our newest residents. I’d also like to offer Welcome to Sparks packets to new move-ins in the area – a mailed package of documents with information about the City, available services, a letter of welcome, and contact information for questions.

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