Oscar Goodman made his farewell address to a gathering of business leaders Friday, but it was a silent member of Goodman’s contingent who seemed to grab much of the audience’s attention.
Carolyn Goodman, a candidate to succeed her term-limited husband as Las Vegas mayor, was quickly surrounded by well wishers.
Nearly 500 people attended the eighth annual meeting of the Joint Chamber of Commerce, sponsored by the Latin, Urban and Asian chambers of commerce at Paris Las Vegas.
Carolyn Goodman, who faces Country Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani in the June 7 general election, received about as much of an introduction as her husband, though she wasn’t among the speakers.
In his speech, the outgoing mayor recounted his dozen years in office. Downtown redevelopment, especially his “Jewel of the Desert ” Symphony Park, was the focal point.
Goodman recalled how the old Union Pacific rail yard site became the key to revitalizing the city’s core in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
“I realized we did have the piece of land, and it was the old brownfield site,” he told the audience. “I drove by it every day on my way to the law office.”
After a land swap with Lehman Brothers, the next step was talking up the site, Goodman said, and he noted that his past life helped move things along.
“If a physician was mayor and talked about this ‘Jewel and the Desert,’ nobody would have listened,” Goodman said. “But the (newspapers) had a headline, ‘Mob Lawyer Talks about Jewel in the Desert.'”
The mayor noted redevelopment achievements on or near the 61-acre parcel, including the World Market Center furniture mart.
He focused on better times, not mentioning the furniture mart’s more-recent financial woes.
“The first project was the World Market Center. They wanted to be the international furniture hub,” Goodman said. “They wanted to build a combined eight buildings of showrooms. Three of the buildings went up.”
The Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, the Smith Center for the Performing Arts, and the Las Vegas Premium Outlets mall projects soon committed to build. Later, the Cleveland Clinic agreed to partner with the Lou Ruvo center and its Keep Memory Alive research center and clinic.
The world-class medical treatment facilities will also be boon for tourism, Goodman said in his trademark off-the-wall style.
“Here, they can take their family, stay at a hotel, see a show, and find out they are well,” he joked.
Only one thing was left unchecked on the mayor’s to-do list: landing a major league sports team.
Goodman isn’t giving up, however.
“I can promise you that will happen, in the next four years,” he said.
Contact reporter Valerie Miller at vmiller
@lvbusinesspress.com or 702-387-5286.