Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2008 | 2 a.m.
- Assemblywoman Valerie Weber has a hard time finding friends (3-26-2008)
- A councilman with a lot of friends (1-25-2008)
Beyond the Sun
The end of Larry Brown’s long stint as a Las Vegas councilman is months away.
It could come at the end of the year, if Brown defeats Assemblywoman Valerie Weber in their race for the Clark County Commission. If he loses in November, it will come by June because term limits prevent him from running again for City Council.
His will be large shoes to fill. Brown has proved to be a popular and respected council presence.
At least a half-dozen candidates are expected to try to take Brown’s place at City Hall representing the roughly 97,000 residents of Ward 4, which includes the master-planned community of Sun City, the Desert Shores neighborhood and a small a part of Summerlin.
The seat is being targeted by local Hispanic political activists, but they have yet to find a candidate.
Though they are both Republicans, two very different candidates with distinct philosophies have emerged.
Glenn Trowbridge, a member of the Las Vegas Planning Commission for the past 3 1/2 years, said he would tackle neighborhood issues — traffic and preservation of property values, for example. Metro Police Capt. Stavros Anthony, a member of the state university system’s Board of Regents, said he would stress citywide issues such as crime reduction.
Both men have begun their campaigns, including hiring seasoned political consultants.
Trowbridge, 64, is executive director of the Labor Management Cooperation Committee, a nonprofit group funded by the Nevada Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. In his work with the committee, Trowbridge addresses issues of mutual concern to contractors and workers in the electrical construction field.
Before moving to the labor-management committee, he was Clark County’s personnel director for seven years, and was the county’s parks and recreation director for 17 years. He took advantage of the county’s buy-out program when he retired from the parks post in 2001.
Trowbridge said he likely would try to serve in the same style as Brown — to be accessible to his constituents, and to be “more folksy than fancy.”
Taking care of his constituents would be key — making sure traffic through Sun City is kept to appropriate speeds, for example, or trying to make sure “undesirable” businesses such as massage parlors are kept out of his ward so that property values, and quality of life generally, can be maintained, he said.
More generally, he said, he knows the art of compromise, which is part of being an effective councilman.
But Trowbridge said he also knows — as someone who worked as a county department chief under the likes of disgraced former Commissioners Erin Kenny, Dario Herrera and Mary Kincaid-Chauncey — that standing on principle is important.
“Government needs to be kept honest and clean,” Trowbridge said.
Anthony, 51, who has been with Metro for 28 years, said that’s important to him as well. Anthony oversees Metro’s financial crimes unit, but he also has directed its traffic, personnel, internal affairs and vice/narcotics sections.
Anthony has a doctorate in sociology from UNLV. If elected to the council, he said, he would retire from Metro Police and step down from the Board of Regents.
“I want to work full time on the council and devote all my energies to it,” Anthony said.
Though Anthony said he would do all he could to represent Ward 4, his main issues — crime, education and transportation — would have a citywide focus, he said. As might be expected from a veteran police officer, he said preventing crime would be his top priority.
“It’s government’s responsibility to make sure its people are safe,” Anthony said. “I guarantee that that’s the issue most people care about before everything else.”
He said he would also look for ways to keep streets clean and public structures graffiti-free, and provide support for neighborhood watch groups.
Anthony took some heat last year when he proposed a plan that would have given school presidents discretion to approve paid leave for faculty and administrative staff members who wanted to complete peace officer training. The proposed plan, which attracted national attention because it could have resulted in college professors’ packing firearms, was shot down by the regents in an 8-5 vote.
Anthony said he had no regrets about the proposal. After all, he said, it spurred “a great discussion” about safety on college campuses.
More recently, Anthony endured a flap over using his police badge to secure an upgrade on an airline flight, a violation of Metro policy. He was not punished or reprimanded for the incident, but was counseled by a Metro superior.
“It was a mistake, and it won’t happen again,” Anthony said.
Although several others may end up in the nonpartisan race, political observers said Anthony and Trowbridge likely will be the two main contenders. Both have already hired high-profile political consultants — Sig Rogich and Robert Uithoven for Anthony, and Dan Hart and Chad Wilkins for Trowbridge.
According to veteran Hispanic political activist Fernando Romero, the time is right for a Hispanic politician to hold a City Council seat. So he and other members of the group Hispanics in Politics recently have been looking for a Ward 4 candidate.
“Las Vegas is a city that was discovered by a Mexican, and yet, in the history of the city, we’ve never had a Hispanic council member,” said Romero, who currently is a Hispanic outreach coordinator in Nevada for John McCain’s presidential campaign.
According to city statistics, Ward 4 has the lowest percentage of Hispanics — 7.7 percent — among the six wards. The city as a whole is 23.6 percent Hispanic.
The primary for the Ward 4 council seat is in April of next year; the general election is June 2.