Many Henderson mayoral contestants convened Monday to discuss the issues, including housing a long-term community development plan and public safety. But Gerald “Jerry” Sakura wasn’t interested.
“I’m 77,” Sakura said, “so I don’t want to be your mayor.”
But Rick Workman, Debra March, Eddie Hamilton and Crystal Hendrickson came to hash out the issues. Candidates Angelo R. Gomez and Anthony S. Csuzi did not show up. About 70 people attended, but many left throughout the course of the three-hour event, which Henderson Chamber of Commerce Chairman Tim Brooks and Alan Stock of KXNT-AM (840), the area CBS Radio affiliate, moderated.
The long-term community development plan, Henderson Strong, seemed to spark some of the liveliest debate.
Candidates Crystal Hendrickson and Eddie Hamilton argued the plan would strip Henderson of its suburban feel by building large housing developments. Hendrickson said the plan would bring poor people to the city.
Rick Workman said he was hung up only on the potential safety hazards of placing a large number of people in an area.
“If we pack too many folks in an area in the city of Henderson, it causes problems,” he said. “And we already are deep in the hole for operational safety for our community funding.”
Debra March said her opponents have mischaracterized the plan, which has yet to be implemented and is still open for public input.
“The fact is that this plan reflects the voice of Henderson residents,” March said.
All of the candidates who attended said they opposed raising property taxes to pay for infrastructure and services in the city.
Workman said the city’s operational funds are stretched thin, but he wouldn’t support using a property tax increase to bridge any gaps.
“We can’t make up for the lost time off the backs of our residents,” Workman said.
The candidates also said they wanted to increase the number of police officers in the city. Hendrickson said she wanted to trim administrative fat to boost the number of patrols on the streets.
Workman said sales tax will cover the necessary addition of 23 new officers. March said she supported hiring 25 new officers under the so-called More Cops tax.
Early voting for the April 4 primary closes Friday. If a single candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, that person will be declared the winner. Otherwise, the two candidates with the most votes in next Tuesday’s election will advance to the June 13 general election.