STEPHEN SYLVANIE / SPECIAL TO THE SUN
Published Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014 | 6:20 p.m.
Updated Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014 | 9:45 p.m.
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman struck a positive tone Thursday night as she reflected on the city’s successes in 2013 and looked forward to continued growth in 2014 during her annual State of the City address.
Goodman kept the mood lighthearted throughout her hourlong speech, cracking jokes, ribbing her fellow city council members and handing a bottle of Bombay Sapphire Gin to her husband, former Mayor Oscar Goodman.
“Any of you on my council that dare to look down at your cellphones to tweet, I am going to run anybody I know against you. So don’t do it,” she joked at the start of the event, which was broadcast on television and promoted heavily on Twitter.
Her speech still had plenty of serious moments, especially when she talked about the severe head injuries her son, Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Eric Goodman, suffered while he was out jogging in a Summerlin Park last month.
Although details surrounding the incident are unclear — Eric Goodman has lost memory of that day and no witnesses were around at the time of the accident — Carolyn Goodman said she’s glad to have her son out of the hospital and recovering.
Goodman used the incident to praise the city’s fire department, first responders and doctors at University Medical Center, where her son was treated. She also promoted a new system the city is investigating she described as the “Out Alone Band,” a bracelet encoded with identifying information residents could wear when they’re out jogging, running a quick errand or otherwise out of the house without their driver’s license.
Public safety was a major focus of the evening, with Goodman promising to continue the city’s effort to protect pedestrians, including improving lighting along sidewalks and installing more flashing crosswalk signals, after a rash of fatal vehicle-pedestrian collisions closed out 2013.
Goodman also urged Clark County commissioners to pass an increase in the sales tax to hire more police officers, hinting that progress on the issue could be made when commissioners meet later this month.
“We need more shoes on the ground, more officers on bikes, on horseback and in vehicles. We have to have more badges out there protecting us,” Goodman said. “The good news is just this week word is out behind the scenes that we’re getting closer to a positive resolve with our partners out in the county.”
The continued development of downtown Las Vegas was a consistent theme throughout the evening, as Goodman celebrated another new year that saw dozens of new businesses open downtown and the relocation of Zappos into the old city hall building. Goodman also hasn’t given up on her goal of bringing an arena to the downtown area, even as a deadline looms at the end of this month that could end the city’s partnership with a private developer on the project.
“Small businesses, technology and redevelopment efforts are making huge impacts in our city. In downtown over this last year redevelopment efforts created more than 2,200 construction jobs, more than 3,600 permanent jobs and brought more than $340 million in project value to the area,” she said. “Things are not back to where they were pre-recession, but surely these numbers show we are headed in the right way.”
With Las Vegas aiming for its first balanced budget in several years after the turmoil of the recession, Goodman painted an optimistic picture of a city primed to continue growing, from downtown to Summerlin to the northwest valley, in 2014.
“We are doing the right things and we are doing them very well,” she said. “We’re always looking to the future to do more and do everything even better than we’re doing it now. This has been our focus and a must for the city.”