The Nevada Sagebrush editorial staff formally endorses Hillary Schieve as the next mayor of the City of Reno. With her experience in community development and active involvement with university students, we believe that she will be a stronger advocate for students than her opponent, Ray Pezonella.
In Schieve’s time on the Reno City Council, she has been responsible for supporting a number of start-up businesses, both big and small. As one of the founders of the Biggest Little City movement, Schieve brought the MidTown district to life. The group has helped redefine the district with small boutiques, restaurants and thrift stores that employ students and rejuvenate the local economy. While Pezonella has a long history with the city through his work as an engineer and champion of the construction industry, he cannot match Schieve’s political track record.
Schieve has demonstrated her commitment to the revival of the city. The Reno High School alumna worked hard on the development of Startup Row along The Riverwalk District, which has already provided internship and employment opportunities to students at UNR. Despite Pezonella’s promise that he too will promote small businesses, Schieve has clearly proved her ability to create meaningful projects that benefit the Reno community and, more specifically, UNR students.
Reno is experiencing a major renaissance in terms of business development, financial growth and expansion, a phenomenon that has been reflected by the university. While the city has been attracting new businesses such as Tesla and Amazon, the university has been attracting new students and broke its record enrollment this academic year.
To cater to this growth, UNR President Marc Johnson’s State of the University address outlined the campus’ goal of expanding toward Reno’s downtown district. The plan demonstrates the university’s intentions to integrate with Reno more completely, making this round of city elections critical to the future of UNR.
The elected candidate will have the power to either promote or inhibit the university’s growth into downtown Reno, meaning this election will have a direct impact on our campus for years to come. The university has been experiencing an upward swing in enrollment and national recognition over the past few years, and the next mayor will have to choose what role the city will play in supporting further success.
Internships and employment opportunities encourage UNR alumni to stay in the state of Nevada and assist in its overall development. Whichever candidate is elected will have the duty of supporting these kinds of opportunities for students, unless they intend on the students to live somewhere else after graduation.
It appears that both Pezonella and Schieve tend to share a number of similar goals, including the promotion of small businesses and the creation of new jobs, but Schieve has an overall edge. This is due to her tangible accomplishments of owning both Plato’s Closet and Clothes Mentor and her deeper connection to the students on UNR’s campus.
Schieve has also surrounded herself with a variety of students, a fact which has been consistently evident throughout her campaign. Her use of students in promotional materials and “#SelfiesWithHillary” Instagram campaign have proven successful for her, as she has nearly 2,800 Facebook likes compared to Pezonella’s 600.
Admittedly, social media promotion does not dictate how successful a candidate will be, but it does demonstrate a willingness to connect with younger generations of voters. Furthermore, some have criticized current Reno Mayor Bob Cashell for running a “good old boys” club, which Pezonella seems to be a part of, and this limits influence from outside sources. Thus, Schieve’s branding efforts have cast her as something dramatically different from both Pezonella and Cashell, and we believe that this is a good thing.
The university, along with the city as a whole, is changing and growing, and we believe our new mayor should reflect those values.
Ultimately, whoever is elected has a huge job ahead of them. The victor will have to deal with the inordinate amount of debt that the city has built up during Cashell’s time. Even though he spearheaded multiple projects to help the city, including the construction of Aces Ballpark, a train trench and the ice skating rink downtown, they have all cost a considerable amount of money. According to an article in the Reno Gazette-Journal, the debt of the city has grown from $320 million to over $627 million during Cashell’s tenure, and the city’s general fund will not be liable for this. The current plan is to use a special sales tax assessment to take care of the problem.
The university is at a crossroads where it will either find support from the City of Reno or be forced to move in a different direction. As students, we should expect support for the university through the promotion of new jobs and the acceptance of new integration efforts by city leaders. Regardless of the outcome of the election, students must demand continued support from the new mayor. The university is becoming a more integral part of this city and it is time leaders and students alike start acting like it.
As the polls close on Tuesday, Nov. 4, denoting the end of midterm elections, The Nevada Sagebrush editorial staff hopes you fully consider the impact of your vote on the future of the university.
The Nevada Sagebrush Editorial Staff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @TheSagebrush.