Top headlines from the Board of County Commissioners meeting
Commissioners appoint new Washoe County Public Defender

Media Release
For Immediate Release

Contact: Amy Ventetuolo

Reno, Nev. July 10, 2018. The following report highlights several important agenda items from the Washoe County Board of Commissioners meeting:

NPD1. Commissioners approve appointment of new Washoe County Public Defender. The Washoe County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the appointment of John Arrascada as the new Washoe County Public Defender. Upon the retirement announcement of current Public Defender, Jeremy Bosler, a recruitment process, screening and selection for his replacement began. Per Nevada Revised Statue, the Public Defender must be filled by appointment by the Board of County Commissioners. Mr. Arrascada has been appointed as Public Defender effective August 20, 2018.

“I am very pleased and very happy to make my recommendation of Mr. Arrascada,” says County Manager, John Slaughter. “Mr. Arrascada certainly stood out, is well respected in the community and also has spent time in our Public Defender’s Office. He has practiced extensively at all levels and comes to us very qualified.”

Mr. Arrascada graduated from Bishop Manogue Catholic High School, Boston College and the Georgetown University Law Center. He began his career as a law clerk to the Honorable Peter I. Breen of the Second Judicial District for Nevada. He was also a law clerk for the Honorable Procter R. Hug Jr., of the United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit. He served for four years as a Deputy Public Defender and has been in private practice with the law firm of Arrascada and Aramini Ltd., for the past twenty years.

“I am excited to return to my roots at the Public Defender’s Office and continue the Office’s mission of protecting and defending the rights of indigent people in Washoe County by providing them access to justice through ethical and professional legal representation,” says Arrascada. “In the last 35 years, there have been three Public Defenders, each of them have personally impacted me. I look forward to working with the Board, with the staff, but most of all I look forward to working with our community.”

“I know there were a number of qualified candidates,” says Commission Chair Berkbigler. “We are clearly getting someone who will do fabulous work for us.” 

(Photo from left to right, Commissioners Hartung and Herman, Mr. Arrascada, Chair Berkbigler, outgoing Public Defender Mr. Bosler and Vice-Chair Jung.)

2. Request to initiate code change to limit target shooting. The Board of County Commissioners approved a request from the Community Services Department to begin drafting an ordinance to the Washoe County Code that would limit target shooting within Washoe County when conditions present a threat for a wildland fire.

“Should we proceed, we can enact and limit discharge of firearms in congested areas, this would allow us to take that a step further,” says Assistant County Manager, Dave Solaro. “If we move forward this would limit the discharge of firearms per weather conditions for a certain point in time.”

The ordinance would create a process for the County Manager, in consultation with the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District Fire Chief, to identify areas in Washoe County that are off limits to target shooting when circumstances allow for increased fire danger, such as the hot, dry and windy conditions the region is currently experiencing. Target shooting is a significant contributor to starting wildfires. In fact, target shooting is the suspected cause of two brushfires this past weekend. 

“This is a problem we are dealing with, this high-fire danger season,” says Chair Berkbigler. “I’d like to see us have some ability to better control this particular problem.”

This ordinance would not impact target shooting in approved target ranges. The ordinance will come before the Commission at a future date.

3. Commissioners heard an update from the Reno Housing Authority. Brent Boyton, Community Outreach Coordinator for the Reno Housing Authority, presented Commissioners with an update on the housing crisis and the many options they provide to northern Nevadans. The presentation included the organization’s history, households they serve, community partnerships, overview of programs and success stories.

“Some of my favorite housing in my district is from the Reno Housing Authority,” says Vice-Chair Jung. “They are lovely, clean properties and you are on top of all that you do.”

4. Commissioners approve RTC’s 2019 Program of Projects. Commissioners approved an agreement between Washoe County, City of Reno, City of Sparks and the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) for a variety of street and highway projects, known as RTC’s 2019 Program of Projects.

The 2019 Program of Projects identifies the proposed use of the fuel tax and outlines specific projects and proposed funding for various activities such as design and construction engineering. Projects included in the 2019 program have been identified by a committee of planning and public works representatives from Reno, Sparks and Washoe County.

The specific agreement approved by the Board today, will authorize work activities outlined in the 2019 Program of Projects.

5. Commissioners approve Appointments to Advisory Boards and Committees. Commissioners approved the following appointments and extensions:


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Call 311 to find resources, ask questions, and utilize Washoe County services. Learn More »