In the final week preceding Tuesday's Las Vegas City Council Ward 2 special election, front-runner and former state Sen. Bob Beers, the most experienced and qualified candidate, has faced a blizzard of scurrilous hit pieces mailed on behalf of one of his opponents, real estate developer Ric Truesdell.
Those who resort to such snow jobs hope voters will throw up their hands, assuming, "This guy must have done something wrong. They couldn't get away with just plain lying."
Pretty close, actually.
Mr. Truesdell's son-in-law and campaign manager, Steve Redlinger, asserts what Mr. Beers did wrong when he served in the 2007 Legislature was to refuse to introduce a bill that might benefit a former employer.
You read it right. Mr. Beers is accused not of introducing a bill that might have helped a former employer, but of refusing to do so -- an ethical standard so high we wish more of our lawmakers adhered to it. Mr. Beers did nothing improper, and he has filed suit against Mr. Truesdell to clear his name, as he successfully did when the allegations last came up in 2008.
The attack mailers drum up other misleading old charges, including that Mr. Beers "favors guns in the schools."
Every high school kid packing heat? In fact, Mr. Beers wanted to set up a special week-long permitting procedure so select school employees could be certified to legally carry concealed weapons with a principal's permission, to deter terrorist or "multiple shooter" attacks. Mr. Redlinger admits that.
Most pathetic, though, is the response of candidate Truesdell himself, when called at home about these dredged-up charges. "I'm not gonna get into the details," the candidate avers, quickly hanging up after referring all questions to Mr. Redlinger. In his endorsement interview with the Review-Journal, Mr. Truesdell couldn't correctly recall the details of his own charges against Mr. Beers.
The hit pieces "show two things," says Mark Peplowski, a political science professor at the College of Southern Nevada. "First, they are desperate. Second, I think it is incredibly crass to rehash something that has already been litigated and put to bed. ... I think Truesdell could have slit his throat politically by doing this."
Meantime, all this distracts from discussion of the real fiscal issues facing Las Vegas -- the ones Certified Public Accountant Bob Beers is so uniquely qualified to address. Are there no real issues in this race? Not for Mr. Truesdell, apparently.