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April 18, 2015

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Nevada Wonk

Mayoral candidates take campaign to NAACP event

Mayoral debate

KSNV coverage of Las Vegas mayoral debate, April 16, 2011.

Carolyn Goodman used every opportunity available in the first general election mayoral debate to criticize opponent Chris Guinchiglini for being a career politician, and a failed one at that.

Giunchigliani, a Clark County commissioner and former state Assemblywoman, defended her record and relied on her knowledge of government to substantively answer questions.

Saturday's debate, hosted by the Las Vegas chapter of the NAACP, set the stage for what's to come preceding the June 7 election.

Goodman presented herself as an outsider who will learn on the job and follow her husband Mayor Oscar Goodman's lead, while Giunchigliani argued she has the experience and knowledge to get things done.

"We are a package deal," Goodman said of her husband.

"I'm proud of my record," Giunchigliani said.

Both candidates filled the Pearson Community Center with supporters, but Giunchigliani appeared to have the upper hand with the largely minority crowd.

Several audience members asked Goodman pointed questions about her husband's treatment of Las Vegas' minority communities. Many said they felt left out of redevelopment and economic diversification projects.

"Where was your political interest when your husband was allowing black and brown communities to fall apart?" a woman asked Goodman.

Goodman acknowledged problems in the city's lower-income, minority wards but rattled off a list of public safety, school and health care projects completed during her husband's tenure.

"With all the improvements, we're on a road and a climb up," she said.

Goodman received the harshest criticism for wearing a Kente cloth scarf featuring African colors. It was widely seen as pandering to the black crowd.

One audience member called her on it.

"Did you wear African garb to pander to us?" the woman asked.

"That is so insulting," Goodman replied. "This was a gift to me. I wore this to honor you with a gift I was honored with."

Goodman also invoked the name of City Councilman Ricki Barlow four times, describing him as a friend and ally. Barlow is black, which raised more accusations of pandering, but he also represents the neighborhoods Goodman talked about.

Throughout the debate, Goodman stressed her commitment to Las Vegas' west side, saying she understands the "pulse beat" of what residents need.

She also mentioned working in the community. When she first arrived to Vegas several decades ago, Goodman worked for two years in a West Las Vegas branch of the U.S. Department of Labor trying to get blacks good jobs in the segregated city.

Goodman showed a better knowledge of issues than she has in the past but continued to answer questions in generalities. She admitted several times that she couldn't offer specific proposals because she's not in government and needs to learn how the city works.

Giunchigliani offered much more concrete ideas. She repeated her calls for school mentorship programs, revolving loans for small business entrepreneurs and a streamlined business permit process.

She seemed to grow annoyed with Goodman's digs.

"She appears to be trying to take something from Victor's campaign," Giunchigliani said after the debate.

Defeated primary challenger Victor Chaltiel came down hard on Giunchigliani for being a career politician.

Giunchigliani, who has widespread support in the minority community, acknowledged that Goodman was better prepared for this debate but maintained that she has no real understanding of the issues facing Las Vegas.

Both women remained cordial to one another, and each kept her composure under fire.

Goodman at one point invoked her husband's sense of humor in answering a question about open meeting laws.

When asked how they would make city government more transparent, Giunchigliani proposed moving council meetings to evenings so the working public could attend.

Goodman suggested that politicians who hold secret meetings be "flayed open" or have their fingers cut off. Her husband once recommended that graffiti artists be punished by having their thumbs severed.

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  1. Carolyn went aggressive this time. When called out about having no knowledge of the issues, her spin in reply is that she isn't a "politician." Isn't a politician someone who runs for public office?

    The lowest blow was also the most well hidden. Carolyn Goodman said she could handle helping groups work together, because of her experience as a MOTHER. Earlier, she had stabbed at Chris G for not having children. Many women were offended.

  2. You would think that the mayor of all people could take his wife to work BEFORE she runs for office to show her the ropes of how government works!

    I never saw Carolyn at the Las Vegas Citizens Leadership academy for interested residents to learn how the city works. I was in it. I found a way with 2 children with autism, a baby, and pregnant to make it down to city hall for classes every week because I value my city. Carolyn retired socialite never bothered. Oscar graduated a class a year from the program - Carolyn could not make it?

    I took a look at the tax forms for Meadows School

    If all schools in our valley had this kind of money to operate and enrich our colleagues we would not be cutting programs left and right. Instead of helping ALL Las Vegas Carolyn stuck to her small circle.

    Carolyn's experience helping the chosen few does not compare to Chris G who has been fighting the tough fight for the 99 percent of us.

    Why isn't the smart Goodman running for office - you know Ross? He impressed us all with his advocacy on behalf of Erik Scott who was gunned down in front of Costco. He is faster on his feet than mother Goodman and would have struck that young handsome mayor trend in the west. Ross is not on the play card because he would have wanted to do the job for himself.

    Don't forget - Oscar endorsed Chris for the job she holds today.

    Oscar just needs to keep control even if it means sticking Evita in office.

  3. #oscarswife just insulted the Black community again and again with her pandering. To make matters worst, when asked why a jobs fair was changed at the last minute away from a Black neighborhood (along with 800 jobs!) she went down a list of projects as if to say, "be happy with what you got."

    She also put her hand in a womans face who tried to ask her a question after the debate as if she was silencing one of her subjects.

    Her constant jabs about career politicians makes me ask what she calls her husband, well, after she calls him a Mob lawyer who got killers, pimps and drug pushers freed from justice. I think he's the ultimate career politician if that means , "just likes the title."

  4. Chris G. and the CCFD. Think about it.

  5. In addition to us seeing first hand why we should not vote for Carolyn Goodman, she also exposed the short comings of Ricky Barlow. Ricky would do us all good by staying away from this campaign, for this is just the start of more to come.

    Carolyn Goodman should not be running, she is not qualfied. This point is made time and time again. Not because we say so, it is, because Carolyn Goodman proves time time again she is not qualfied from the words coming out of her mouth. She is the best qualfied person to tell us she is not qualified to be mayor of Las Vegas, she has done an excellent job thus far in getting this message out to the voters.

    We do not need another failed leader in the mayors office. This is an insult to the resident of Las Vegas, an insult to Nevadans in general, that a person will no experience, no track record of community activity, can state they have experience because your the wife of a person that is (was) the mayor of a city! Chris G is hands down, clearly the best and only qualified candidate standing!

    A wife and a Mother...comments by Carolyn Goodman. And she want to build a community and continue her husband non-productivity. What a low blow, what an insult to the Las Vegas residents!

  6. If someone wears a green tie on St Patrick's Day, is that pandering?

    Was the scarf made in Africa or China...take it to the Pawn Shop to have it authenticated.

  7. Wearing a green tie on St. Patrick's day is not the same as wearing a Kente cloth scarf to an NAACP meeting. The NAACP doesn't go around and declare that everyone is African on mayoral debate day the way the Irish do for St. Patrick's day. Wearing that scarf was indeed pandering at the lowest level, and can plainly be seen in her response when challenged about it: "I wore this to honor you." That speaks volumes to me about the separation between Carolyn Goodman and anyone not in her class or station.