Sparks citizens had the chance to socialize with their 2016 Primary candidates when The Sparks Tribune and 39 North Downtown hosted a Meet and Greet and 2016 Candidate Forum in the heart of Victorian Square.
Last week’s event began in the rejuvenated space between Cantina Los Tres Hombres and Victorian Saloon, a courtyard setting with a funky urban vibe inspiring business owners and residents what can be done to reinvigorate a part of the city once beginning to feel like a forgotten ghost.
The more seasoned candidates walked through the groups of two or three shaking hands, answering questions and visiting while people balanced snack plates, smiled, and enjoyed the warm Sparks evening.
From the informal gathering on the terrace, showcasing an invigorating vibrant “new Sparks”, a downtown treasured locale was chosen for the forum, The St. Mary’s Amphitheater. Built in 1989, most probably recall the stone setting as The Sparks Amphitheater, home of the original radio show “Radio City Sparks.”
Gary Cook, forum moderator and publisher of The Sparks Tribune, kicked off the event in pure hometown fashion by remarking to the crowd, “Well, this isn’t a Guns n’ Roses concert.”
On a more serious note, Cook reminded voters about changes in the upcoming legislature where people will no longer be free to cast their vote for a candidate in any ward, but will require them to choose from their ward. He went on to remind them, though, in this election, registered voters will still be allowed to cast their ballot regardless of their ward.
Former Reno mayoral candidate, Eddie Lorton, served as the evening’s audience question taker.
Candidates attending included Vaughn Hartung (R), and Maurice Washington (R), running for county commission. Also answering questions were City Council Ward 1 candidates Donald Abbott, Adam Khan, and Denise Lopez. They were followed by City Council Ward 3 with Ron Smith (Re-Elect) and John Rhoads. Also attending were Kristopher Dahir and John Walters, candidates for Ward 5, and Justice of the Peace candidates Matt Lee and Jessica Longley.
Cook, thanked candidates, other participants, audience members, co-hosts of the event, 39 North Downtown, then he took a moment to say:
“They want to offer you choice in government. Let’s be respectful. Get out and vote. It is all about Sparks. Do them the service and at least get out and vote!’’ he said.
Kim Ciesynski, 39 North Downtown, reports there were at least 85 people in the audience at one point, making the collaborative efforts of The Sparks Tribune, 39 North, the Candidates, Cantina Los Tres Hombres, Victorian Square and The St. Mary’s Amphitheater for the charming backdrops, and the incredible residents of Sparks a successful event.