Editor’s note — Both The Fallon Post and Lahontan Valley News are writing recaps from Candidates’ Night on Tuesday. The LVN is reporting on the school board, while The Fallon Post is reporting on the city council and sheriff.
Candidates for the Fallon City Council Ward 3 seat faced each other on Tuesday answering questions about why they would make a good councilman for the next four years. Paul Harmon and Geoff Knell attended Candidates Night at the Fallon Convention Center, which was sponsored by the Churchill County Republican Central Committee, Lahontan Valley Broadcasting, The Fallon Post, and the Lahontan Valley News.
The same four sponsors also presented Candidates Night in May before the primary election. Editor Rachel Dahl of The Fallon Post and editor emeritus Steve Ranson from the Lahontan Valley News asked each candidate five questions. They also explained their candidacy and what inspired them to run for City Council, which is a four-year term.
Paul Harmon introduced himself as a native Nevadan, married to Tami, a retired schoolteacher, with two grown children who graduated from Churchill County High School. He has worked at the Nevada Department of Transportation for 26 years, 18 of those in a leadership position. He has been involved in youth sports, and many service organizations. “I want to continue to serve the residents of this town,” he said. "I’m willing to listen to the citizens and make decisions based on fact.” He wants to focus on roads and streets, youth and adult programs, and make sure existing facilities are safe and friendly where families can enjoy what the city has to offer.
Geoff Knell said he is running for city council because he believes in the First Amendment and the Declaration of Independence. “We are endowed by our creator to pursue life, happiness, and property,” he said. Knell is a 20-year Navy retiree and a combat veteran who said he worked in supply and logistics so he can perform the tasks of government and listen to the constituents. “I have a problem with the city because they don’t want to listen at all,” he said. “It took me 21 years to get a stop sign on my street. We’re in trouble. “We don’t want the state to rule us, but the political philosophies and ideologies of the state government are restraining us and our freedoms. It’s We the People. I hope you vote for me, and I’ll fight for you.”
Knell said he encourages entrepreneurship, but taxes are too high. “I will work with the county to work together to bring ease to you,” he said. He then discussed Agenda 21 and Agenda 30 saying they are in play, explaining them as the United Nations’ global new world order. “The Commissioners are following it and they need to stop, they are out of control, they’re giving money away like crazy. We need to bring fiscal responsibility to the city and the county. We are in a fiscal demise.” Knell said he knows the county manager and Greg Koenig and they are giving away too much money. “We need more law enforcement. I’m out there on the streets and it’s getting crazy. Entrepreneurship is great, it’s capitalism. But the problem with capitalism is its greed and corruption. So, we have to work with the entrepreneurs and make sure they have a good frame of mind and honor the law and respect the taxes.” He said we need to go to Carson City to the legislature and be lobbyists to bring down the cost of taxes so people can increase their wealth and have employment.
Harmon said we are different from most communities with one city and one county. “We need to cooperate with the county to be able to support economic development to continue to thrive in this city.” He said by supporting local businesses and encouraging people to shop locally we will raise sales tax which benefits the city and the county, and he will continue to work with the county to bring more businesses into town.
Enterprise Accounts, Electricity, and Renewable Energy
Harmon said the city already has a focus on renewable energy as part of its portfolio. “The City of Fallon is the first city I’ve lived in that has its own power grid and power company,” he said. “The mayor and city do an outstanding job of operating that system to benefit the citizens of Fallon. We need to continue to look at where we’re going to purchase power and get into long-term lease agreements to be able to sustain that power for the community.”
Knell said that he introduced to the city council systems for renewable energy. “In 2011, you couldn’t net meter anymore, they developed a bill to make you pay with your solar power, they manipulated it, it’s incredible,” he said. “I introduced an idea to develop a power plant and use linear energy within ourselves instead of relying on another company, and I got rejected.” He said we need to plan and make it quick because things are happening, globalism. “How are we going to live when the stuff hits the fan.”
Relationship with Navy
Knell led the response saying he was transferred here in 1998 and was involved in the PRIDE bus system that provided rides to Reno, and Ely, interacting as the Navy Liaison representing the Navy with permission of the Command Master Chief. He said the Navy is important because it provides jobs and knowing we have the support of the Department of Defense.
Harmon said the Naval Air Station is a huge part of our community and the people the Navy brings help us support our businesses. The interaction with the Navy is very good and we need to continue that. “If the DOD were to close the base there would be a tremendous loss to the community, the base is a tremendous economic boost to our community.”
Value of Western Nevada College
Harmon said the college is important and provides access to higher education in the community. “It is a great asset to our town. To have that opportunity in our community is vital and whatever the city can do to support WNC we need to do that.”
Knell said he attended WNC and got experience for his degree after he got out of the Navy. “Carson City dominates and finances are the problem. Talking to the staff at Carson City where the college is run, we need to have a discussion about finances and ideas.”
Knell said that housing is interesting, and he’s studied it. “We get grants, recently we had another grant come in, it’s an annual grant and we found out the money is coming in from the federal government, money they don’t have and want to offer this money for roads and sidewalks which is a good thing but look at the poverty situation we have right now.” He said there are a lot of job openings, and we need more people here,“I told the mayor I want to be like Los Angeles and San Francisco where we’re spread so thin we can’t handle it.” Knell also referenced the Chinese Communist Party saying the Chinese are investing in a multi-family complex being built in Fallon.
Harmon said within the city limits there is not a lot of space left to build houses. “We are getting built out. There are a lot of houses going in, but there’s not a lot of space in the city to build new houses and there is a need for affordable housing.” He said with the costs of housing increasing so much, we need to look at how people who are working can afford to have a house and not live in poverty.
Knell responded saying, “We don’t have a housing shortage, it’s all about getting people in but we can’t support it because crime will increase.”
Knell quoted scripture, reading from the book of Proverbs, “When the righteous rule, the people rejoice.” He said he wanted to run against Kelly Frost because she did not knock on his door and wouldn’t talk to him, but the district was gerrymandered. He said he will hold town hall meetings to hear what the public has to say.
Harmon wants to serve the people of Fallon and represent the city as a distinguished person who is approachable and will listen. “I have no agenda going into the city, it’s now my turn to serve the community.”
Early voting begins this Saturday, October 22, and runs through November 4. Election Day is November 8, with voting from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The County Clerk is available to answer questions at 775-423-6028.