Las Vegas Sun

August 1, 2014

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Sun editorial:

Endorsements for county commission primaries

John Bonaventura was elected as Las Vegas constable in 2010, and since then, the office has been entangled in a series of controversies, including claims of sexual harassment and a turf war with other constable offices.

Bonaventura hasn’t helped himself, fanning controversy with inflammatory statements and battling the Clark County Commission itself. Commissioners had enough, and last year they unanimously approved a plan to close the office at the end of Bonaventura’s term in January.

The commission did the right thing, closing the office to limit any further county liability at the hands of the constable. But the action didn’t sit well with Bonaventura, who, in addition to suing, vowed to take commissioners’ jobs in return.

Now, he’s running against Commissioner Mary Beth Scow in the Democratic primary. His ex-wife, Susan Bonaventura, is running against Commissioner Susan Brager. Lou Toomin, Bonaventura’s aide, is running against Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani.

It’s pathetic that Bonaventura would take his grudge out in the election this way, but the scary thing is that in a low-turnout primary, the challenges could be successful. That would be unfortunate and undercut the cause of good government.

Brager is also being challenged by two others in the primary, notably former state Sen. Mike Schneider, whom we have endorsed in previous races.

Giunchigliani, Brager and Scow all have done a good job, and we don’t believe in retaliation for a single vote.

Taken as a whole, including their records and their work ethic, the incumbents have shown to be strong advocates for their constituents.

We don’t agree with any of them 100 percent of the time, but we need people in office who aren’t afraid to work, to disagree or to speak their minds. And that’s what Clark County has in these three.

And remember, these are important jobs — not the type that should go to people with no relevant experience and whose platform is a grudge.

The county commission plays a crucial role in Southern Nevada, with far-reaching responsibilities that affect every resident and the millions of visitors who come to Las Vegas every year. Members of the commission also serve on boards overseeing tourism, regional planning, water and transportation.

The county commission isn’t a place for the weak of heart or the half-hearted. A seat on the commission is a high-profile perch, and it requires someone who can traverse the difficult political terrain and help keep the county, the state’s economic engine, thriving.

Now is not the time to make a change for change’s sake. There’s no reason to run competent, qualified people from office.

In fact, we see every reason to support those who give so much to public service.

We don’t typically endorse in primary elections, but in this case, the choices are clear.

The Sun endorses Susan Brager, Chris Giunchigliani and Mary Beth Scow for Clark County Commission.

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