Sunday, April 5, 2009 | 2 a.m.
Though a half-dozen candidates signed up, the Ward 4 Las Vegas City Council race has looked for months like a two-man contest between Stavros Anthony and Glenn Trowbridge.
Recently filed campaign contribution reports confirm how far ahead of the rest of the pack Anthony, a Metro Police captain and a member of the state higher education system’s Board of Regents, and Trowbridge, chairman of the Las Vegas Planning Commission, appear to be.
But Trowbridge may have gained the upper hand recently with statements of support — though not, technically at least, formal endorsements — from Mayor Oscar Goodman and former Ward 4 Councilman Larry Brown.
In two fliers mailed to Ward 4 residents over the past few days, Trowbridge offers the following quotes, which appear to have been procured specifically for the race.
“I’ve worked with Glenn Trowbridge and I know him to be a man of great integrity,” Goodman wrote. “He has the experience and knowledge we need on the Las Vegas City Council. He will make a great representative for the people of Ward IV.”
Brown also is complimentary, saying he knows Trowbridge to be an “honest, ethical and straight shooting public official.”
At his news conference Thursday, Goodman did not mention the fliers but said he might make a formal endorsement in the race despite his usual policy of not endorsing candidates in open-seat council contests.
Though the mayor’s flier statement contains language that appears to be an endorsement, neither Goodman nor Trowbridge is calling it that.
“It’s just a very favorable comment,” Trowbridge said.
It’s possible that Goodman and Brown are holding off on formal endorsements until the field is narrowed to two, which could come after Tuesday’s city primary.
According to Anthony, Brown and Goodman “didn’t come out and actually endorse. They seem to be friends with Glenn.”
According to recent filings with the city, Anthony has raised about $135,000 so far, including a $71,635 transferal of funding from Anthony’s regent campaign war chest to his council campaign. During that period, from Jan. 1 through March 26, Trowbridge raised roughly $81,000.
By contrast, none of the four other Ward 4 candidates has raised more than $5,800.
One reason Goodman could be supporting Trowbridge: plans for a new city hall. The controversial project is of huge importance to Goodman, and by extension to the council, each member of which supports it.
In a recent Sun questionnaire, Anthony expressed direct opposition to the project. But Trowbridge left wiggle room. He said he would not support the project if it meant raising taxes on city residents — which city officials have said won’t happen.
If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote in the primary, the top two vote-getters will square off in the June 2 general election.
As the city prepares for a public relations fight over the new city hall project, one of its allies, Cleveland-based Forest City Enterprises, is planning to reach out to the region’s minority groups in an effort to sell it.
Forest City has retained the Periwinkle Group, a local marketing and communications company that specializes in campaigns that reach black and Hispanic audiences.
Periwinkle is headed by Jo Cato, who also serves on the North Las Vegas Planning Commission. According to Cato, Forest City signed up Periwinkle late last year.
Cato said she set up a community meeting in February to talk about Forest City and its role as the lead developer of the project, which is slated to cost between $150 million and $267 million.
Forest City has also retained the local agency b&p, formerly known as Brown & Partners. Cato said she will have a better idea how her group may proceed in the coming weeks.
The looming PR battle with the Culinary Union — which has sponsored two ballot measures, one of which could quash the city hall project — could be avoided if the Nevada Supreme Court sides with the city in its efforts to keep those measures off the ballot. Oral arguments in the case are set for Monday.