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Learn more about what the candidates running for nine races in Reno, Sparks and Washoe County have to say about environmental issues.

2022 Elections: Sparks City Council Ward 2 Candidate Surveys on the Environment

Illustration with a KUNR logo and text that says, “Candidate Surveys on the Environment. Sparks City Council, Ward 2.” There is an implied surface with a pencil, a roll of stickers and a ballot box placed on top of it.
Crystal Willis
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KUNR Public Radio

Earlier this year, KUNR Public Radio launched a survey asking community members to share topics or issues they would like to hear about from candidates running in Nevada’s 2022 elections. Many community members voiced concern about climate change and wanted to know how their local politicians would respond to environmental issues. With additional environmental questions collected from a group of University of Nevada, Reno students majoring in a variety of fields, KUNR created a questionnaire for candidates running for nine races in Reno, Sparks and Washoe County.

This election cycle, there are two candidates running for the Sparks City Council seat in Ward 2. Municipal races in Nevada are nonpartisan:

  • John “Johnny” Eastwick
  • Dian VanderWell (Incumbent)

Editor’s notes: Candidates have been listed in alphabetical order by last name. We have provided candidates’ responses to our questionnaire, and each answer had a limit of 1,000 characters, with the exception of a yes or no question. Responses have not been edited for spelling, punctuation or grammar. Candidates’ answers have been fact-checked, and editor’s notes have been provided as needed. Editor’s notes were also added to provide additional context.

Some candidates did not respond to the questionnaire after being reached out to multiple times; however, we will post their responses if they become available. Candidates were also asked to submit a headshot, and these photos were included upon availability.


John “Johnny” Eastwick

Johnny Eastwick is looking toward the camera and smiling.
Courtesy of Johnny Eastwick
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Johnny Eastwick, a candidate running for Sparks City Council Ward 2.

When our region experiences poor air quality from wildfire smoke and high temperatures, how would you assist our community’s more vulnerable populations, including unsheltered individuals and outdoor workers? (We would like to hear your local mitigation ideas.)

Building shelters is a multifaceted issue that we don’t have the answer to yet. I believe it’s something that needs to be done though, and done soon. With the support of our community, I’m looking forward to tackling this issue with the council.

How will you help ensure that we have enough drinking water for the increasing population of Reno, Sparks and Washoe County? And more broadly, what would you do to improve water management and sustainability in our region?

I think new developments should be desertscaping and even zeroscaping, we should be saving the grass for our parks. Fortunately for us, according to TMWA, we have much less of a water issue than most people think.

Editor’s note: The University of Colorado defines xeriscaping, or “zeroscaping” or “desertscaping,” as any landscaping practice which prioritizes water conservation, often by utilizing drought-tolerant plants in a way that mimics a desert environment.

The Truckee Meadows Water Authority Water Resource Plan lays out how water will be made available over the next 20 years. The plan states that population growth, drought, and wildfires could negatively impact the region’s water supply in this timeframe.

Do you believe that human-caused climate change is real? (Yes or no response only.)

Yes.

What other environmental issues would you like to address for your constituency, and how?

The river is a big issue for me. I know people who won’t take their families to the river in sparks in fear of what may have washed down the river from Reno. I would like to work closely with the city of Reno on this issue.


Dian VanderWell

Dian VanderWell is looking toward the camera and smiling.
Courtesy of Dian VanderWell
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Dian VanderWell, an incumbent seeking re-election for Sparks City Council Ward 2.

When our region experiences poor air quality from wildfire smoke and high temperatures, how would you assist our community’s more vulnerable populations, including unsheltered individuals and outdoor workers? (We would like to hear your local mitigation ideas.)

It is important that we work regionally when wildfire smoke and high temperatures affect our community. Where available and accessible we should allow shelter in our public libraries and community centers.

Editor’s note: According to a spokesperson for Washoe County, libraries are public spaces that can be used as a respite from extreme heat, cold and wildfire smoke.

How will you help ensure that we have enough drinking water for the increasing population of Reno, Sparks and Washoe County? And more broadly, what would you do to improve water management and sustainability in our region?

The City of Sparks has a representative that sits on the Truckee Meadows Water Authority Board of Directors so that the city has a voice in water planning. The TMWA Board of Directors every 5 years updates the Water Resource Plan making sure that the region continues to have enough water resources for our increasing population. The report was updated in 2020 with the top concerns being population growth and extreme climate variation. The updated report can be found on the TMWA website. At the City level it is important to continue our use of effluent water for our parks and golf courses along with understanding that we live in a desert and create and implement policies for alternative landscaping.

Editor’s notes: You can view the members of the TMWA Board of Directors here, which includes Sparks City Council members Kristopher Dahir and Paul Anderson. You can read the 2020 TMWA Water Resource Plan here.

According to Water & Wastes Digest, effluent water is “sewage that has been treated in a septic tank or sewage treatment plant.”

Do you believe that human-caused climate change is real? (Yes or no response only.)

Yes.

What other environmental issues would you like to address for your constituency, and how?

As not only our City is growing but the region is growing also. I will continue to support safe alternatives to vehicle travel. Where we can in parks with public private partnerships create polices for community gardens where neighbors can come together. Encourage through polices using drought resistant landscaping.

Editor’s note: The University of Colorado refers to drought-resistant landscaping as a landscaping practice that prioritizes water conservation, often by utilizing drought-tolerant plants in a way that mimics a desert environment.

Learn more about Dian VanderWell at Votevanderwell.com.


Click here to view candidate surveys for other Sparks races, as well as city council and mayor in Reno and commissioner in Washoe County.