Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2009 | 2 a.m.
Scott Anderson, a Realtor from Ward 6, the sprawling northern end of Las Vegas, has never held elective office or even run for office. He’s never held any appointive governmental posts, either.
Anderson, 39, so far is the only person to signify his intention to run against first-term Councilman Steve Ross, who’s running hard for reelection this year.
The field could grow. The filing period for city candidates starts today and ends Feb. 6.
And yet, given the current political and economic climate — and that Anderson has been speaking with the powerful Culinary Union about a possible endorsement — it may not be wise to count him out yet, especially if he’s Ross’ only opponent.
Ross supports two of Mayor Oscar Goodman’s major redevelopment ideas — a new city hall that is part of a multi-building and multi-block development, and a museum dedicated to Las Vegas mobsters and the law enforcers who battled them.
Both projects have come under fire. GOP senators, opposed to the so-called mob museum receiving federal funding, have attacked it as pork.
And opponents, including the Culinary, have started lining up against the new city hall project, which the city argues would bring in $4.1 billion in private investment and more than 13,400 jobs, not counting construction jobs.
Opponents argue now is the wrong time to build such a project, and that money that has been going to the Las Vegas Redevelopment Agency would be better used to fund police, schools and the city’s fire department.
Anderson, a Las Vegas native and UNLV graduate who has lived in Ward 6 for the past five years, said he’s skeptical of both projects.
“I can’t for the life of me figure out why they’re building it,” he said of the proposed city hall. “I think it’s an extravagance. I don’t see the need for it.”
Anderson said he’s heard that sentiment echoed by many of his Centennial Hills neighbors, whom he’s begun to canvass.
Ross quickly comes to the defense of both projects. He said there are lots of misconceptions, including that money for a new city hall could easily be diverted to education. Redevelopment money has a specific purpose, he said, and when he explains that to constituents, they are convinced the project is a good idea.
Ross said he’d be happy to meet with Anderson to explain the facts to him.
“As a constituent of mine, he should be informed,” said Ross, an electrician who heads the local building and construction trades council.
Ross said he’s confident about his reelection prospects, no matter who comes out to oppose him. He noted that he fought his way through a crowd of 11 candidates in his 2005 campaign for the open Ward 6 seat.
At the last City Council meeting, Goodman appointed council members to several key posts to serve as representatives of the city.
Councilman Gary Reese was appointed to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Steve Wolfson to the Metro Fiscal Affairs Committee and Lois Tarkanian to the Las Vegas Audit Oversight Committee.
Ross will serve with the Regional Flood Control District and the Regional Transportation Commission; Ricki Barlow with the Las Vegas Housing Authority and the Nevada League of Cities; and interim Councilman David Steinman with the Clean Water Coalition and Southern Nevada Health District.