To believe their opponents, Angelo Carvalho is a carpetbagger who isn't committed to his North Las Vegas neighborhood, while Anita Wood is an anti-growth hothead.
If you listen to the candidates themselves, Carvalho knows better how to draw businesses to the financially struggling city, while Wood will more passionately defend constituents' quality of life.
What is for certain: each wants to be the next North Las Vegas City Council member representing Ward 3. The nonpartisan seat is being vacated by Stephanie Smith, who couldn't run again because of term limits.
Carvalho and Wood led a field of six in April's primary election to proceed to the June 2 general election, with Wood out-tallying Carvalho by 28 votes. Since then, their campaigns have taken a more pointed turn.
Carvalho, a 41-year-old small-business owner, Army reservist and chairman of the city's Planning Commission, criticized Wood for being too quick to vote against projects during her own tenure on the commission, which was from 1999 to 2003.
"She's anti-growth, while I'm pro-growth and pro-business," he said.
Carvalho said he supports just about any legal business coming to North Las Vegas, including casinos, pubs, day-care centers and payday loan businesses.
"Anything that creates jobs and tax revenue, I'm for that," he said.
Carvalho also said he will be a more level-headed council member, as Wood "has been known to fly off the handle," even verbally "slamming" him at a recent neighborhood meeting.
"She has a short fuse," he said.
Wood, a 45-year-old stay-at-home mom, said she remembers doing no such thing and isn't a hothead. But she doesn't apologize for being passionate about issues affecting Ward 3.
Carvalho, on the other hand, isn't committed to his neighborhood, she said.
"He's just coming in to run," she said of Carvalho, who moved to Ward 3 in August but is a 13-year resident of the city. "I've lived in Ward 3 for 15 years."
As for being anti-growth, Wood said that simply isn't true. But she acknowledged she gained a bit of a reputation for being so during her time on the Planning Commission.
"I'm a stickler for quality growth in the right location," she said.
Wood always has been concerned about "incompatible zoning," she said, including some three-story apartments built not long ago overlooking a single-story subdivision. Concern about such "quality of life" issues led her to run for the City Council seat. She never hesitated to vote against such projects while on the commission, she said.
Wood said she believes in reaching out to residents to gauge what they want before approving projects.
Carvalho said he used to live in Ward 3, but the city redrew ward maps in 2005, effectively zoning him out of the ward. He planned to move to the new Ward 3 several years ago but was deployed to Iraq for 18 months.
Carvalho said he's dedicated to helping the city through tough financial times caused by the recession. As a business owner, he'll be more successful in attracting new businesses to the city, thereby bolstering the economy and creating jobs, he said.
Wood countered: "He hasn't even brought his own business to North Las Vegas."
Carvalho's car-customizing business is in Las Vegas, near McCarran International Airport. He said that to survive, the business must be centrally located near car dealerships. North Las Vegas has none.
Carvalho, who ran unsuccessfully for the Assembly in 2006, has served 21 years in the military and completed two tours of duty in Iraq. He decided to run the council, he said, because he believes he can make the city's future brighter for his two sons, ages 12 and 8, primary by attracting new businesses to the area.
Wood ran unsuccessfully for City Council in 2001. She has served on the board of Neighborhood Housing Services of Southern Nevada, the city's Citizens Advisory Committee and Utility Advisory Board.
Per their most recent campaign contributions and expenses reports, Wood had raised about $22,750 toward her campaign this year, while Carvalho had raised $46,850.
Contact reporter Lynnette Curtis at lcurtis @reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0285.