City Hall plaza to be named after ex-Mayor Oscar Goodman

Five years to the day after Oscar Goodman presided over his last full Las Vegas City Council meeting, the current council decided to name the plaza in front of City Hall for the popular former mayor who pushed for the new building.

Goodman didn’t serve as mayor at the city government’s fairly new home, which was dedicated in 2012, but he pushed for the Main Street building during his 12-year tenure.

Councilman Bob Coffin, who sponsored the naming ordinance, called Goodman “larger than life” at Wednesday’s council meeting.

“He led the way to recovery when others were absolutely selling the city short,” Coffin said.

Goodman was the mayor of Las Vegas from 1999 to 2011, and left office due to term limits.

Former U.S. Sen. Richard Bryan,D-Nev., wrote a letter in November to City Manager Betsy Fretwell recommending the plaza be named after Goodman. The letter referenced the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, the Smith Center for the Performing Arts and the Mob Museum as some of the downtown developments that came to fruition under Goodman’s leadership.

The council voted 5-1 to name the plaza for Goodman. Councilman Bob Beers cast the lone no vote, on the principle that he doesn’t vote for naming things for living, elected people, he said.

Current Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman, who has been married to Oscar Goodman for 54 years, abstained from voting.

“When he wants to get something accomplished on behalf of the city of Las Vegas, he goes all out to get it done,” Councilman Ricki Barlow said of Goodman.

Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian recalled when she said Goodman “emasculated” her ward and gave part of it to Ward 3, which was then represented on the council by Gary Reese.

“And he said ‘it’s because he hasn’t had much happening in his ward and he needs a lot of that ring-a-ding-ding stuff.’ But that’s how it was with Oscar,” Tarkanian said. “And you know, you couldn’t be very upset at him for very long for that.”

Tarkanian jokingly wondered whether Goodman would treat the council members to dinner at his downtown restaurant after they voted to name the plaza after him. Carolyn Goodman said she’d be sure to ask him when she got home Wednesday night, unless he sent her a text message first saying that he had been watching the live broadcast of the meeting.

“I know he will be honored and really appreciates this because he really loves Las Vegas,” Carolyn Goodman said.

Contact Jamie Munks at jmunks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0340. Find @JamieMunksRJ on Twitter.

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