Most of Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman’s recent State of the City speech tilled familiar ground. She praised members of the City Council, highlighted progress being made with downtown redevelopment and mixed in a little schtick to lighten what otherwise was a paint-by-numbers presentation.
What set this year’s speech apart from the previous two was the mayor’s substantial referral to the recent serious head injuries son and Municipal Judge Eric Goodman suffered in December while running near his home. A shadow of mystery shrouds the incident, which at first was inaccurately reported in the press. Even after light began to be shed on Goodman’s severe head injuries, it remains unclear whether he suffered blows from an assault or was hurt in a fall because of a medical issue or a fainting spell.
Information from Metro increasingly points to the injuries coming as result of some sort of medical condition and not an assault, but even former Mayor Goodman seemed confused about the cause.
The Goodman family offered some cooperation with the press but also asked that their son’s privacy be respected. No surprise there. Judge Goodman, by all accounts, is lucky to be alive and benefited greatly from swift and professional treatment by Las Vegas Fire &Rescue paramedics as well as the expert physicians and nurses in the trauma unit at University Medical Center.
It hardly shocked the audience during her State of the City when Mayor Goodman effusively thanked those professionals in the field and on the front lines at the hospital. What must have surprised at least some people was the extent to which she spoke not only about her son’s injuries and those professionals, but she went to the extent of offering up a plan to improve identification of persons who leave their homes without the usual wallet and driver’s license.
“While the experience for our family was beyond comprehension, it gave Oscar and me the closest look at how our community, from a public safety and health care perspective, functions,” Mayor Goodman said “The first responders that carried Eric, and the medical professionals that treated him, were world class. While he is fortunately on the road to full recovery, one of the critical lessons of which we became painfully aware, is how these pieces of city safety and health care integrate. And if they are less than the highest quality, it makes each of us and our loved ones totally vulnerable to irreversible, even terminal outcomes. And, as with our son, we were totally vulnerable. As you know, as mayor I am extremely proud of our fire and rescue department now led by our wonderful Chief Willie McDowell. …”
And on she went.
Using her son’s injuries as an entry point to present such an initiative seems logical and even laudable, but by going to such a great extent to discuss the incident in a public forum, the mayor has essentially forfeited the right to also ask for privacy on this issue.
If there was ever a Las Vegas family that has a challenge balancing its public and private lives, it’s the Goodmans
Former Mayor Oscar is essentially a Las Vegas mascot come to life. He even has a downtown restaurant named after him. At this rate, the city’s new logo will include a profile of his schnoz.
Current Mayor Carolyn uses her husband and predecessor as a second banana in an act that is one part vaudeville and one part Nick and Nora Charles. Her elaborate use of her son’s injury to applaud first responders and present a safety initiative makes sense.
But now that she has gone so public, it’s incumbent upon the mayor, recovering Judge Goodman, and Metro investigators to tell the public the rest of the story when it becomes available.
John L. Smith’s column appears Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (702) 383-0295.