John Bonaventura is the worst elected official in Nevada. In a state with no shortage of incompetent, duplicitous and self-serving politicians, Bonaventura lowered the bar — he so quickly became such an embarrassment as Las Vegas constable that Clark County commissioners voted to abolish his office. When his term mercifully expires in January, his entire operation will disappear. The Metropolitan Police Department will take on the constable’s duties of serving court papers and eviction notices.
The commission’s action, to say nothing of the constant negative media coverage generated by Bonaventura and his misfit posse, was an obvious cue: Get out of politics and stay out.
Not one to go quietly, Bonaventura is making another run at public office. And some of his cronies are joining him on the June ballot. Together, they’ve earned a nickname in political and legal circles: “The Revengers.” And there’s nothing amusing or super about them.
Bonaventura knows too well that in a low-turnout primary, his name recognition, as awful as it is, just might be enough to get him elected again. He won the constable’s race in 2010 despite a lack of qualifications, a lack of funding and a lack of broad support because his last name is nearly identical to that of his cousin, Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Joe Bonaventure, the son of a retired District Court judge of the same name. The constable’s office was a down-ticket race that few voters bothered to research. And so John Bonaventura, a one-term assemblyman in the 1990s, became a certified peace officer.
He then went about the process of hiring misfits (a few of whom had been arrested), squandering fee revenue and engaging in too much other nonsense to list here. Now Bonaventura has his eye on the office that is forcing him out of office: the County Commission. In March, he filed to challenge Commissioner Mary Beth Scow in the District G Democratic primary.
“They’re going to take our jobs,” Bonaventura said in an interview with the Review-Journal after the filing period closed. “We’re going to try to take their jobs and see how they like it.”
The “we’re” in Bonaventura’s statement includes his right-hand man, former Assemblyman Lou Toomin, who serves as spokesman for the constable’s office. Toomin, who was convicted of auto theft decades ago, is challenging Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani in the District E Democratic primary.
And the “we’re” includes Robert Pool, an attorney deputized by Bonaventura to cover office legal bills the county refused to pay after Bonaventura sued the constables of Henderson and Laughlin in a turf dispute caused by his foolishness. Pool subsequently was sanctioned in District Court for his handling of that case and ordered to pay $11,000 out of his own pocket, including the defendants’ legal costs. Those sanctions were handed down by District Judge Ron Israel. Guess who Pool is challenging on June’s ballot? Judge Israel, in Department 28.
Susan Bonaventura, the name of John Bonaventura’s ex-wife, is on the June ballot as well. She is challenging Commissioner Susan Brager in the District F Democratic primary. The phone number Susan Bonaventura listed on her candidate filing has been disconnected.
John Bonaventura might very well have other pals competing in other races. During the 2012 election cycle, six current or former constable employees ran for office, as did a handful of Bonaventura’s family, friends and business associates.
Early voting for the June 10 primary starts on May 24. It’s always important for voters to cast informed ballots, but it’s especially vital in this election. Considering the chaos Bonaventura caused as constable, imagine the embarrassment he and his allies could cause as members of the commission. Imagine the burden on the court system if Pool were elected judge. The public can’t allow them to advance to November’s ballot and get one step closer to election. The Bonaventuras, Toomin and Pool aren’t worthy of a single vote. Not one.