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Ward 3 Reno City Councilmember Miguel Martinez on public safety, housing and small businesses

Miguel Martinez is wearing headphones and smiling toward a microphone. He is sitting in a KUNR Studio, where a soundboard can be seen on a table in front of him.
Maria Palma
KUNR Public Radio
Ward 3 Reno City Councilmember Miguel Martinez at the KUNR Studios in Reno, Nev., on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023.

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Councilmember Miguel Martinez was appointed in October 2022. He serves Ward 3, which covers most of east Reno, extending from North McCarran Boulevard to South Reno. KUNR’s Maria Palma spoke with him about his goals for the coming year.

Maria Palma: Welcome, Councilmember Miguel Martinez. Thank you for being here.

Miguel Martinez: Of course. Thank you for the opportunity.

Palma: Well, you have been in your seat for a few months now; you replaced Councilmember Oscar Delgado. Tell us what these past three months as a council member have been like?

Martinez: Yeah, they’ve been super busy. I think there has been a lot to engage with. A lot of people, ideas, agenda items, and understanding the history and how the laws and policies within the city interact with each other. How the different departments work has been something that I focused a lot of my time on. And being able to meet with community members to understand their specific needs.

Palma: How long have you lived in Ward 3? And what does the area mean to you?

Martinez: I’ve lived in Ward 3 for almost a year, but I grew up in the ward. The ward represents a prideful community, a very strong, energetic community. I drive down, whether it’s Mill or Wells or Midtown area, and see everything that is happening: the new businesses that are opening up, the brewery district on Fourth Street. I think they’re gonna bring a lot of good energy and business to our area.

Palma: What are some of the needs in Ward 3 that you intend to focus on?

Martinez: I think that a lot of residents are concerned about their safety when transiting around our area in the ward. I hear about being able to feel safe, whether you’re walking somewhere. Whether you’re on a bike somewhere or you’re even driving. I know with the recent storm that just passed, there were some tree branches and limbs that fell, so working on clearing those and making sure that those things get removed in a timely manner.

Sometimes as community members, I know we get really busy, and so it’s difficult to not only spot an issue but report it and then keep following up to make sure that something happens. And so hopefully, I can do that for constituents, and if there is issues that they’re having that I’m here, and I want to have that conversation with them.

Palma: Ward 3 has a large Latino population. How do you plan to represent this community?

Martinez: Not only would I say I identify as part of the community, but I am attending as many events in the community as I can. I’m trying to see what the stance or the feelings are when it comes to either zoning or development or other issues that are happening within our community and understanding that there are residents, renters, business owners, homeowners in our area. Employees that come to Ward 3 to work. And so understanding the complex needs of everybody that comes and interacts in our ward.

Palma: Projects like the Reno Experience District have been questioned for attracting new demographics to Wells Avenue, and some neighbors also believe that outside developers are buying up properties and raising rents. What are your thoughts on this? And how are you planning to support small businesses?

Martinez: I’ll tackle the second part of your question first. I think that in order to help small businesses, we have to promote small businesses. We have to shop at small businesses. We have to make sure that they are getting the attention that they need to be able to thrive.

In terms of rent prices, I think that’s a very complex situation, and they may be affected by the community getting a lot bigger and people moving into the area. But I also think that there are inflation issues or economic issues that we can talk about, and the cost of living that’s always increasing. But I think it’s something very complex that we need to be able to look at every single thing that impacts those price increases.

Palma: What is the City of Reno doing to help our homeless population? And what is your vision?

Martinez: I think one of the neat programs that I learned about is the Clean and Safe program through the City of Reno and other partnerships that we have in our area. And so making sure that people that are potentially going to be homeless or are already homeless [are] finding the resources that they may need to get a warm bed at night, have somewhere safe to sleep, or that they get resources to get job ready.

Palma: Councilmember Martinez’s term ends in 2024. Thanks so much for talking with me.

Martinez: Thank you for the opportunity.

Councilmember Miguel Martinez can be reached at martinezmi@reno.gov, (775) 334-2012 or @MartinezWard3 on Twitter.

Maria joined KUNR Public Radio in December 2022 as a staff reporter. She is interested in stories about underserved communities, immigration, arts and culture, entertainment, education and health.
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