Monday, June 6, 2011 | 5:25 p.m.
Soon-to-be-former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman is a voracious reader who finishes a book a week.
Even so, there is one tome he won’t touch. It was prepared and presented to him months ago by Audrie Dodge, liaison for City Councilman Steve Wolfson.
The tutorial is thick with hundreds of pages encased in a hard binder. Its working title: “How to Use a Computer.”
He’ll be saving that for later.
“I am the only person in City Hall who does not have a computer,” Goodman said, somewhat boastfully, after speaking at Monday’s Nevada Republican Men’s Club luncheon at Cili Restaurant at Bali Hai Golf Course. “Carolyn is computer literate. She believes in social media. Me, I am a dinosaur in everything I do.”
The Carolyn in this instance is Carolyn Goodman, who, according to polling, is leading Chris Giunchigliani in the race to supplant Oscar Goodman as the mayor of Las Vegas. Whichever candidate wins Tuesday’s election, it is clear that she will possess a far more advanced appreciation for such social media platforms as Twitter and Facebook than does the current mayor.
That’s because the current mayor is allergic, or phobic, or disdainful, of Twitter and Facebook. The famed “mob attorney” and popular mayor of Las Vegas doesn’t use e-mail, or even a computer. He does carry a cell phone, but there have been three different PCs set atop his desk at City Hall.
Today, there is no computer whatsoever, in Goodman’s strewn-with-memorabilia office.
The outgoing mayor also never types.
“I write out all of my notes longhand,” he said. “I never dictate. That’s just the nature of the beast.”
City Hall officials stress that Goodman’s reluctance to embrace the tools of social media is not an office-wide condition. There are official City of Las Vegas Twitter and Facebook pages (@CityofLasVegas is the Twitter page name, with a modest 1,195 followers).
The city communications staff also manages the Twitter accounts of the City of Las Vegas emergency alerts (@CLVAlerts), F Street reopening project (@FStreetlasvegas), Historic Westside School (@hwschoollv) and City Councilman Steve Wolfson (@CmWolfson). On Facebook, Wolfson is joined by Stavros Anthony as members of the City Council who are active on that platform.
But you won’t find Oscar Goodman anywhere in social media, though three impostor accounts have been attempted using his name (city officials have snuffed out each one). The next mayor’s accounts will likely be added to both the city’s Twitter and Facebook responsibilities.
“Whoever the next mayor is will have to be open and accessible and follow Mayor Goodman’s example,” said Jace Radke, spokesman for the city of Las Vegas and one of those staffers chiefly responsible for communicating on behalf of the mayor to the public and media. “Mayor Goodman has not been really big on (social media). He’s more a face-to-face person, and it’s going to be hard for the new mayor to keep up with the amount of personal appearances he’s made during his terms in office.”
Giunchigliani is without question accessible. Two days after she announced her run, her official Twitter (@Giunchigliani, with 1,164 followers) and Facebook pages were in full operation.
“Chris was the first one to put her personal phone number and cell phone number and address on her campaign material,” said Gary Gray, Giunchigliani’s campaign manager. “This is simply an extension of that … This is the direction of the future. If you want to get information from elected officials, you are going to have to be on social media.”
Neither Giunchigliani nor Carolyn Goodman manage their own official Twitter or Facebook pages full time. Their hands are full, usually literally, while campaigning. But some of the correspondences can read as if it is a direct conversation between the candidate and Twitter follower.
For instance, after a tweet on Goodman’s page happily announcing the Goodmans’ 49th wedding anniversary (celebrated today at El Cortez), one Holly Madison sent a tweet reading, “Congratulations on your anniversary!”
“Thanks, Holly,” was the response posted on the page of the woman favored to be the city’s next mayor.
If nothing else, Carolyn Goodman shares her husband’s appreciation for celebrity affiliation.
Goodman’s official Twitter page (@GoodmanforMayor) is followed by 2,049 people since the account was opened just after Goodman announced her candidacy.
“From the campaign, how we are running the Twitter account is how she would want to run it as mayor,” said Goodman’s campaign manager, Bradley Mayer. “We are really engaged, we follow people who are active on Twitter, we retweet often and act as a hub for what’s going on around town. This is all going to be quite important, no matter who the next mayor is, to disseminate information.”
Mayer jokes about Oscar Goodman asking about Twitter and questioning, “What’s going on with all this Tweetering?” When Carolyn Goodman started her campaign in February, her primary hand-held communications device was an old flip phone.
“Now she’s jamming away on an iPhone,” Mayer said. “I warned her that it would change her life, and it has.”
But the current mayor is still iffy on his involvement in new technologies as he prepares to leave office.
“I have Audrie’s book, which I will be able to study, when I’m no longer mayor, and I can always practice on Carolyn’s computer,” Oscar Goodman said. “We’ll talk about it, we’ll talk about it.”
Then he paused and said, “But I, myself, have to do my own thing. I go to Costco instead.”
That’s where dinosaurs tread, still, to engage in social media.