Las Vegas Sun

July 18, 2019

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Nevada Wonk

Politics:

Mayoral candidates use debate to try to break from pack

Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani presented herself as the mayoral candidate with a proven record of results.

Las Vegas City Councilman Steve Ross stressed job creation.

Clark County Commissioner Larry Brown blasted public employee entitlements, while former school administrator Carolyn Goodman emphasized her ability to listen and build consensus.

A debate Thursday night at Santa Fe Station gave the leading candidates for Las Vegas mayor a chance to try to distinguish themselves from the pack and provided several dark horse candidates an opportunity to outline their platforms.

Ten mayoral hopefuls answered a series of questions about the economy, environment and budget during a forum hosted by half a dozen neighborhood and community groups. More than 100 people attended.

Several new ideas surfaced during the event. For example:

• Brown recommended creating a pedestrian-friendly ring around the Las Vegas Valley to add green space to the urban landscape and encourage environmentalism.

• Businessman Victor Chaltiel suggested the city pursue a soccer team to attract domestic and international tourists.

• Guinchigliani proposed limiting the number of casinos allowed in neighborhoods.

• Businessman George Harris suggested elected officials abstain from contract negotiations to better serve taxpayers and eliminate conflicts of interest. He proposed “professionals” negotiate them instead.

• Real estate agent Marlene Rogoff proposed the city offer small business loans based on entrepreneurs’ concepts, not credit scores.

• Emergency medical technician Tim Gamble recommended business license holders be required to do community service.

• Ed Uehling proposed doing away with public unions but keeping private-sector unions.

Some questions — namely those that asked for specifics — left a few candidates stumped.

When asked to identify three things he has done to help the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, Ross hesitated.

“I can’t think of three times I’ve been given the opportunity to do something for the LGBT community,” he said. “I apologize.”

Goodman had a hard time answering a question that asked her to list three things she has done in the past 12 years to help the Latino community.

Goodman talked about creating a mandatory Spanish language program at the private Meadows School she founded, but that program was put into place in the 1980s. She also mentioned campaigning at Cardenas market, which caters to the Hispanic community, then added: “I am totally 100 percent with anybody who is Latino.”

Retired teacher Larry Jeppeson brought the most humor to the event.

When the topic of county firefighter sick leave abuses came up, he put on a toy firefighter helmet with fake money hanging from its sides.

He also called out several of the longtime politicians running for mayor after they criticized government bureaucracy.

“It’s not the government. It’s the people in government,” Jeppeson said. “The government is Larry Brown. It’s Chris and Mr. Ross. The government is our esteemed Mayor Oscar Goodman.”

Goodman was sitting in the audience. Never one to shy away from the spotlight, he used the opportunity to stand and take a bow.

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