Las Vegas Sun

October 30, 2014

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City/County Q&A:

Asked tough questions by students, community leaders respond with indirect answers

The annual Mayors Prayer Breakfast was last week at Texas Station for 700 people, about half of them Las Vegas Valley high school students. The nearly 60-year-old event brings people of all faiths together and “encourages (the) community to use their diversity to find creative solutions to the various challenges facing Southern Nevada.”

What happens at such an event?

Great music, for one, from Pato Banton’s reggae band. Then there’s the Pledge of Allegiance recitation, singing of the National Anthem, a touching candlelighting ceremony, and prayers by attending politicians. They included mayors from Boulder City, Henderson and Las Vegas; mayor Pro Tem from North Las Vegas; and the chair of the Clark County Commission.

Dwight Jones, Clark County School District superintendent, gave the keynote speech. He focused on “legacy,” and how it’s not something people should think of as they age, but throughout their lives.

As the emcee let everyone know, however, he hoped students at the end of the breakfast would uphold tradition and ask “tough questions” of these political leaders. Presumably, tough questions received straightforward answers during previous Prayer Breakfasts, so this would be something to look forward to.

You mean the politicians actually took hard questions from the students?

They did, even if they didn’t always answer them directly.

What questions were asked?

One student noted Clark County schools are traditionally rated at or near the bottom of national rankings. So would anyone favor a state income tax as a way to increase education funding?

Who said “yes,” and who said “no”?

None of the above. After the emcee jokingly warned that reporters were attending, replies generally touched on how education funding and education in general need to be a higher priority in Nevada. Henderson Mayor Andy Hafen told of an upcoming meeting of municipal leaders to discuss potential changes to the state’s consolidated tax distribution.

Jones talked about the movie, “Moneyball,” and how, like the movie’s baseball-affiliated protagonists, the district is doing more and achieving success with less money.

Outside of Jones, who is hired by the school board, the others hold coveted political jobs, as mayors of North Las Vegas, Henderson and the like. Doesn’t it make sense that they don’t want to hurt their chances for re-election by advocating one way or the other on taxes, because while it is one of the state’s most pressing issues, it is touchy with voters?

We’ll leave that to the eye of the beholder. They did answer a question some might find difficult.

What was that?

One student asked if, for economic reasons, anyone advocated legalization of marijuana, which has just been done by Colorado and Washington. No one said they favored it, though.

Where do proceeds from the breakfast go?

They go to Camp Anytown Las Vegas, a program of the Interfaith Council of Southern Nevada, summarized in the breakfast program as a place for “empowering youth to build communities based on inclusivity, respect and understanding.”

***

A deal between UNLV and Clark County likely will move a step toward fruition Tuesday when commissioners consider a memorandum of understanding that would help with the university's plans to build an $800 million-plus mega-events center on campus.

What's the memo say?

Similar to information in a Sun story six weeks ago, it would allow for collaborations between UNLV and Clark County to continue, provided that the university obtains Board of Regents' approval and funding for the project. The agreement would last two years, or until a final agreement is ratified, whichever comes first.

What does UNLV need from Clark County?

The memo identifies 62.04 acres of vacant county land at Tropicana Avenue and Paradise Road for the relocation of several UNLV facilities that would be in the way of the mega-events center development. These include student recreation fields and facilities; practice areas for tennis, soccer, track and field, baseball, softball, indoor swimming/diving, football and other sports; an athletics office and training facility; marching band practice area; parking and more.

Where would the stadium go?

In the area of the current baseball and track facility on the northwest part of campus. The 60,000-seat, domed mega-events would be the first segment of the UNLV Now project that also includes thousands of state-of-the-art dormitories and an on-campus retail/entertainment district.

The university system's Board of Regents will review the plans at its Nov. 29-30 meeting.

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  1. Geez Tanker, I'm not sure truthserum caught the irony.