Who is Joaquin Roces for mayor of Reno?


Joaquin Roces is a first-time candidate against 10 others for the opportunity to be Reno’s next mayor.

The top two voters in the primary will face each other in the November general election.

Who is Joaquin Roces?

  • Age: 54
  • To party: Nevada Independent American Party
  • Family situation: Divorced, three adult sons
  • Day job: peer recovery support specialist for NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness)
  • Education: Graduated from TMCC with a major in International Business
  • How long have you lived in Reno: 43 years
  • Political experience: first-time candidate

Below is an edited transcript of a phone conversation with the RGJ.

What do you think is the #1 issue for your constituents where the Reno City Council has the power to make meaningful positive change?

When canvassing businesses in Midtown, the big issue I hear is homelessness. We need to start looking at homelessness not as a tourism problem, but as a humanity problem. And we can solve this problem with the same kind of thinking that was used to create it because the homeless in this city were not created by natural disaster or war. They are created by social policies because we continue to ignore health care and mental health. We ignore the provision of affordable, low-income housing, housing for seniors.

If you walk into the shelter and look at the people there, most of them are old people. Many of them need medical services. And the majority of them want to get out of there, but there is no affordable housing. There needs to be more strategic thinking.

The next thing I want to talk about is RED, the Reno Experience District. I like to call it the really expensive neighborhood. You’ll make this area even denser in population, and it sits between the two busiest fire stations: Firehouse 1 and Firehouse 3. Project RED was supposed to put a fire station in this area, but it was the one of the first things cleaned. of the project. Now they are building a storage facility on the land that was intended for this. The council is literally playing with fire and with the safety of Reno residents by not providing the proper fire departments and public safety measures necessary to keep people safe.

What would you spend that money on if the city received an unexpected $10 million?

I would like to expand the Reno Ambassador Program to encompass the Midtown area. If I understand correctly, downtown businesses pay assessment fees to have this service. Maybe the $10 million can be used to offset the cost for small businesses and independent contractors downtown. Homelessness is now being pushed south into the Midtown area, and this is impacting businesses as well as residences there.

If you had a magic wand and had to cut one program or activity from the city, what would it be?

I wish the city would stop ignoring the needs of our fire department.

In 1999, the Reno Fire Department responded to 14,810 incidents and in 2019 to 43,383. That’s an increase of 32,714. In 2021, they responded to 47,524 calls and extinguished 1,447 fires, a average of 4 fires per day for 2021. Over that same 20-year period, the fire department has only increased by four firefighters.

We are building taller apartment complexes and need to expand our capacity with the fire department to be able to respond to high tower fires. The least we can do is make sure they have the tools to do the job we ask them to do.

What is the city NOT currently doing regarding homelessness that you would like to see started?

When they opened (the Nevada Cares Campus Homeless Emergency Shelter) they promised full services. A year and a half has passed, and there have been no follow-up services. The county is only beginning to do so because they have tackled the problem. It’s not fair for the county to do this. We spent $17 million on this shelter and promised the community they would have full services – and it didn’t happen. Now the county needs to step in, and how much more public money needs to be spent to fix what the city failed to do in the first place?

At least a quarter of the homeless population, if not 50%, requires mental health services. These services are essential. We don’t have temporary intermediate crisis centers where people with mental illness can go to stabilize themselves. We treated homelessness as if it were a silo, just a simple problem where all we have to do is build a bigger shelter. That’s not the problem. This is not the solution. You have to pay the wages. We have to deal with affordable housing. We need to address the mental health aspect.

I was a Nevada Cares campus client in November. The rent went up in my old apartment and I had to move. I thought I could find a place but because of the prices I was taken aback so I ended up staying at the shelter until I found an apartment. I speak as someone who has been there and seen the mass of humanity in this facility.

What criteria will guide your decisions related to Reno’s growth?

Every new construction project from now on must be linked to renewable energy.

We are following the same path as California. I think the last 20 wildfires have been blamed on PG&E equipment failure, old archaic wires and transformers blowing up and sparking and starting wildfires. We already have a grid system that is stretched.

When we had smoke from the fires and record heat, Nevada Energy was talking about brownouts to try to reduce the load on the system. Why are we building all these other things like 7,000 new units that we’re going to put back on this same system?

It really bugs me that the majority of these homes are built to house Tesla employees, and they work for the largest alternative energy company in the country. Tesla already has working models where they use batteries to store energy and then use that energy to power communities. Why don’t we consider this when we have this wonderful resource in our backyard?

Do you think developer influence on the board should be increased, decreased, or stay the same?

Decreases. I won’t name names but there is only one board member who will recuse himself because a promoter contributed to his campaign. In fact, he will leave the rooms and wait for the next item on the agenda before coming back. He will record it “I recuse myself because the developer has contributed to my campaign and it is a conflict of interest.” He’s the only ethical person I know on the board. I don’t agree with all of his policies, but he’s someone I can work with.

Will you accept the final election count as officially determined by the Washoe County Registrar of Electors, after all close race recounts have been processed?

Of course. I believe in our system, in our democracy and in the rule of the people. We are a government by the people, for the people and of the people.

Do you think Joe Biden is the duly elected President of the United States?

100 per cent.

Mark Robison covers local government for the Reno Gazette-Journal, as well as Fact Checker and Ask the RGJ articles. Its position is supported by donations and grants. As such, all the journalism it publishes will be made available free of charge without concern for commercial return. If you want to see more articles like this, please consider sharing this article or donating to RGJ.com/donate.

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