Sunday, May 18, 2014 | 2:01 a.m.
All my life I have been part of a 20-year plan. As far back as I can remember, the early 1950s for example, my father and his friends like Wilbur Clark, Jerry Mack and Parry Thomas would talk about the future of Las Vegas. And they did it in 20-year increments. They were relatively young men at the time; I was just young.
In the 1960s and 1970s some of the names changed. Irwin Molasky, Howard Hughes and Kirk Kerkorian joined the group of forward thinkers and planners, adding their own dreams to the next 20 years of Las Vegas’ incredible story.
They were joined over the next few decades by people like Claudine Williams, Kitty Rodman, Steve Wynn and Larry Ruvo and others whose ideas, dreams and hopes for their community added to those early ones to forge a city in the desert that became the envy of the world.
I was here throughout that entire time, growing older, wiser and more excited about what Las Vegas was becoming. The outside world saw a one-dimensional Las Vegas — spectacular, to be sure. But what Las Vegans saw was a city that could grow up around a first-class university, a top-notch performing arts center where music and theater would challenge the dreams and imaginations of future generations, and a philanthropic core that would power those changes.
Some things don’t change. I was at a UNLV Foundation meeting last week where yet another 20-year plan was discussed that would bring to fruition those dreams conceived so many decades ago. And it was the newest crop of leaders, including John O’Reilly, Don Snyder and so many others, who looked forward to seeing it all come together over the next two decades.
We even heard from two most impressive graduate students who, literally, want to cure cancer and are working toward that goal at UNV. What they implored the rest of us to do was to make sure that UNLV, Las Vegas and Southern Nevada has its own medical school so that when the time comes, there are jobs and opportunities here for scholars, doctors, researchers and their families.
That’s when I did some quick and temporarily depressing math. This next 20-year plan, for UNLV to become a tier-one, very highly ranked institution and to have a thriving medical school of its own could, quite literally, kill me!
There has to be a way to make this happen sooner.
And there is.
We don’t need dreams anymore. We know what the future has to be like. What we need are doers, people who will execute the plans. I am confident that Snyder and his team at UNLV, including the folks at Brookings Mountain West, can make this happen.
What we need is leadership from the top. That would be Gov. Brian Sandoval.
Since our good governor need only to be standing to win re-election, now is a good time for him to lead and go boldly where so many politicians have feared to go.
He says he supports UNLV as a top-tier institution. He says he supports UNLV’s medical school. And he says he is all for making sure Southern Nevada gets the money it deserves (its own money, by the way) to grow its own future.
I believe him.
He can get this current 20-year plan done in five years if he takes the lead. At most, he can do it in 10. Come on, Gov. Sandoval, do it for all of us who may not be able to wait for another 20-year plan.
And do it, especially, for those young students who shouldn’t have to wait one more day!
Brian Greenspun is publisher and editor of the Las Vegas Sun.