Watching unions play football with City Hall project

Football season is long over, but the Culinary Union and local construction unions continue to wrestle for the pigskin that is the proposed Las Vegas City Hall project.

The Culinary Union says it’s terribly irresponsible in this economic climate to build a new $150 million City Hall in downtown Las Vegas, and its officials just might be right, but I haven’t heard a peep of protest about the $95 million City Hall project under way in North Las Vegas.

Obviously, that’s because the Culinary’s concern has nothing to do with fiscal responsibility, but everything to do with the union installing its presence at a hotel-casino project being proposed by Forest City development. While I think it’s smart to set an organizing plan early, making an enemy of Mayor Oscar Goodman and alienating the council cannot have been part of Culinary’s strategy.

The popular Goodman will survive the insult, but the politician who has now put his future at risk is Councilman Steve Ross, whose unabashed courting of his brothers in the Building Trades is almost certain to be seen as an ethical breach. If not officially, then at least by average voters and political mechanics who get paid to produce opposition mail pieces. He'll need plenty of those union members to move into his district to ensure he keeps his place at Oscar's Roundtable.