Race for Las Vegas recall election heats up

Even before his opponent filed against him, Las Vegas Councilman Steve Ross had cranked up his campaign to stay in office.

The deadline for candidates to file to oppose Ross in a Jan. 31 recall election for Ward 6 was Wednesday, and the only person to file signatures to qualify as a challenger was Byron Goynes, a city planning commissioner.

Goynes, a Democrat, filed the signatures late Wednesday afternoon with City Clerk Beverly Bridges, who said she will seek to verify them today .

Republican businesswoman Suzette LaGrange tried, with the help of the Clark County Republican Party, to gather the 1,084 signatures to qualify but said she fell "a couple hundred short" and pulled out Wednesday.

That leaves Goynes, who filed about 1,700 signatures, as the only candidate, if the signatures are verified. The man who gets the most votes wins the council seat.

"I'm going to walk and talk to as many residents as I can between now and early voting," Goynes said.

In the meantime, Ross, a Democrat who is seeking to preserve the remainder of his second term, is touting work on a city ordinance aimed at forcing banks to maintain distressed properties and support from Oscar and Carolyn Goodman, the former and current mayors.

Ross opposed Carolyn Goodman in the most recent mayoral race, but the two have made peace.

"We have given Steve Ross some of the toughest assignments on the City Council, and he has come through every time with both courage and leadership," a mailer touting the mayors' support said.

Jim Ferrence, a political consultant who has advised Oscar Goodman, said that the former mayor rarely offers exclusive endorsements but that his support is valuable.

Another mailer from Ross' campaign boasts about the recently approved city ordinance that requires banks to maintain residential and commercial properties once the properties are served with a notice of default.

Banks opposed the measure, saying they don't have the right to enter or maintain properties until the foreclosure process is completed. Similar ordinances in other jurisdictions have been challenged in court.

Ross' campaign also is expecting to unveil endorsements from the Las Vegas Police Protective Association and the Las Vegas Firefighters Association.

Goynes said he won't be cowed by high-profile endorsements for Ross or the power of incumbency.

"Well, I have the support of the residents. I have the support of the people who are going to push the buttons," Goynes said. "I think residents are a little tired of people who are bought into office."

The recall effort was instigated with support from car dealer Joe Scala, who sought Ross' support for a waiver that would have allowed him to sell high-end used vehicles from a dealership where land use rules require auto dealers to sell used cars and carry an affiliation with a manufacturer.

Only registered voters in Ward 6 are eligible to vote. Early voting takes place Jan. 26-27. Qualified residents can register at the city clerk's office on the first floor of City Hall until 9 p.m. Saturday.

Contact reporter Benjamin Spillman at bspillman@ reviewjournal.com or 702-229-6435.