A total of six candidates are vying for voter approval as they seek a pair of openings on the local city council in the Nov. 8 general election. The Journal has presented profiles of five of those individuals and this week finishes the field with an interview with Karl Kassner.
Next week, the newspaper will focus on the school board election, in which incumbent Mary Wadsworth will face challenger Sam Ramirez in the Area 2 race.
A “military brat,” Karl Kassner has made his home in Corcoran for 21 years, but worked in the community before making Corcoran his home. First, Kassner was employed by an ambulance company as a paramedic. Others may remember him as a staffer in the local hospital’s emergency room.
Kassner did some growing up in Hanford, graduating from Hanford High School. His military roots led him to join the United Sates Air Force, where he served as a fire fighter. After his service, he attended paramedic school.
Completing a full circle, Kassner once again became a fire fighter. Currently, he serves as a fire captain for the Visalia Fire Department. His position as an emergency preparedness coordinator has placed him in a unique position: Kassner often works with public boards, including the Visalia city council, on issues ranging from general plan updates to financial reports.
He got a taste of public service himself as a member of the local hospital board. Kassner served for three years before leaving the board over what he considered a conflict in beliefs.
“I felt the situation at the hospital was becoming more unethical and I did not want to jeopardize my own ethics,: he said. :I did not want that dilemma.”
He thinks the council needs leadership and decided to make a run for one of the two available seats.
“I want to help improve the standard of living in Corcoran. I understand the city has financial problems and I want to make sure the proper decisions are being made for the benefit of local residents,” noted Kassner.
He wants to make sure local businesses are supported, since the city depends on sales tax as a main revenue source. The value of local properties must be a chief concern, since property taxes also comprise another income stream for the city.
“We need to be concerned that property values are trending down. That means less income for the city. We need to promote code enforcement and continue to improve properties,” he said.
He’s a proponent of Measure K, which would provide another $345,000 a year for public safety through a countywide quarter-cent sales tax. He’s also concerned about the increase in proposed water rates and how they will impact senior citizens on fixed incomes and residents of Corcoran’s poor neighborhoods.
Kassner and his wife Monica live in Perry Heights. He has three sons and two grandchildren.