About Dian VanderWell
My name is Dian Vanderwell, I’m running for Sparks City Council, and I want to tell you a story about when my daughter was four years old and playing in our yard. The foreclosed house next door had been taken over by squatters who used it as a drug den. There was a storm the night before. She found and accidentally pricked herself with a hypodermic needle that had washed into our yard from next door. When I saw the blood on my daughter’s leg, and needle, I just about died. First, I got scared, then worried, then I felt anger like I’ve never felt before or since. This is what got me interested In local government, in the first place.
Now, let me skip ahead in the story so you don’t worry: my daughter is fine. My heart may never recover, but we got her tested every couple weeks then every couple months then every six months for a LONG time. I won’t forget the smell of the industrial sanitizer at the labs or the little whimper she made every time they put the needle in for those blood draws, but thankfully she didn’t catch anything.
When this all happened (almost 20 years ago), I was extra angry because I had been fighting to get the vacant and trashed home cleaned up for a while. I had called the sheriff when the squatters moved in, I had kept calling until they finally got kicked out, and then I kept calling code enforcement to get the property owner, the bank, to clean the place up. But they didn’t, and then the storm, and then the needle.
Well, that’s what got me involved in local government. I went down to the county commission and I read them the riot act.
I realized that that alone wasn’t going to be enough, so I got involved, to try to prevent this from happening to anyone else. I served on the planning commission, and many other local advisory boards. Last year I was appointed to the Sparks City Council. I’m running for election to that office now because I want to serve our neighborhoods. I want to make sure that we have clean, safe, affordable places to raise our families, and places that small businesses can thrive. I care about and work on a great many things – there are many big and small issues that need tackling – but if there’s one thing I want you to know about me, it’s that I want to make sure our local government addresses the challenges we face from all angles, to prevent the conditions that cause these things and stop them from happening in any of our neighborhoods in the first place. I’m Dian Vanderwell, and I’m asking for your vote.