Attacks Fly in Ward 1 Race - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Attacks Fly in Ward 1 Race

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Reno City Councilmember Jenny Brekhus held a press conference Tuesday to respond to attacks from her opponent in the race for the Ward 1 seat on the council.

"We feel we owe it to the voters to show and explain and to show certain parts of the incumbent's record and so, we thought we would be doing a disservice if we just didn't bring any of this up."

"We felt the campaign itself needed to touch on some of these attacks that are being leveled," said Reno City Counilmember Jenny Brekhus at a press conference Tuesday.

She defended five different attacks against her from either the Salcido campaign or a super PAC supporting him. The two most misleading attacks are about Brekhus' vote to layoff firefighters in 2014 while receiving a raise that same year, as well as dysfunction within the council.

Brekhus did, in fact, vote to layoff firefighters with the City of Reno the same year she received a pay increase.

The pay increase is an automatic increase that happens annually for each council member. There is a voluntary giveback option, which Salcido's ads claim Brekhus didn't use. While she said she does not support the givebacks, there is no evidence that she didn't use them.

"I did not think the givebacks were a good policy," said Brekhus, "I thought it was like church, some were going to give more some were going to give less, and it could be used by some members of the councils as tools in efforts to lord over one another."

Brekhus argues that she has even fought to reform that rule but couldn't get enough support from fellow council members, "But I have, over the last four years, given back more to the City than what the raises brought to me if I had accepted those," said Brekhus.

The press conference Tuesday was at the Reno Firefighters Association, IAFF Local 731 headquarters where President Dennis Jacobson announced that the vote the council made in 2014 was based on incorrect information, even adding an endorsement.

"We are very much in support of, and endorsing Councilwoman Brekhus for reelection. She has been good for this city, she has been good for the Reno Fire Department."

"I think that was more politics," said Salcido in response to the press conference, "A lot of it, I think if you ask the rank and file you'll see that there was a lot of dissention with that."

The other big issue is with council dysfunction. While the Salcido campaign's ads accuse Brekhus directly of of micromanagement. The source is a report talking about an outside firm that said the council had an issue with micromanagement and indecision. Brekhus says that stems from issues that existed between council members and former City Manager Andrew Clinger.

"What may be perceived as micromanagement from outsider people who landed in here for a week," said Brekhus, "Could really have been council frustration at different individuals' levels on the lack of implementation follow-through by Mr. Clinger."

"I subscribe to what President Truman used to say," said Salcido, "Which is the buck stops here. And so if you're elected and you were the head of the Reno city government, I don't like this idea of passing blame off to someone else for dysfunction."

Andrew Clinger reached out to Channel 2 saying in a statement:

"While my record of working for three Governors, two Mayors and a dozen different council members speaks for itself, I thought it was important to address the councilwoman's comments. Two independent reports identified the issues at City Hall. The first was the Urban Land Institute and the second was the Olive Grove report. Not only did both these reports come to similar conclusions, they also provided suggestions for what should be done to correct these issues... Voters need to decide if they want city leaders that pass the buck or take responsibility for what's not working and get to work fixing it."

Other complaints against Brekhus are that she wants to close the Sky Tavern Ski Program and she supported the Poet Laureate Program. In December 2015, Brekhus said it was time to reexamine the city's investment.

Tuesday, she announced that the city has accepted a new term sheet with Sky Tavern which she voted in favor of. "And those comments actually led to the resolution that we have today," said Brekhus adding that the term sheet would go to the council for approval later this year.

Brekhus defense of the Poet Laureate Program actually turned into a false attack against Salcido. Brekhus pointed to the fact that the Poet Laureate is paid $500 per year using money from room taxes. She compared that to Salcido's support of a room tax increase in Clark County to pay for a football stadium and convention center expansion.

Salcido tells Channel 2 he has never even been asked about his support of the Las Vegas Stadium calling Brekhus' comments a red herring.

"I feel it doesn't really impact this race..." said Salcido, "I've had my plate full focusing on the issues that are impacting Reno. We talked about the dysfunction," said Salcido, "The things I'm focused on are economic development, investment in our community, bringing more jobs in here, public safety, cleaning up downtown, helping on the homeless issue, those are the issues that this race is about."

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