The City Council seats up for grabs in cash-strapped North Las Vegas ride on one question: Who can be trusted to make sure the city stays on the upswing?
Just a year ago the state was threatening to take over the state’s fourth most populous city because of its massive debt. The city managed to cut deals with its unions and hang on to its charter, and the future began to look brighter. But as Mayor John Lee is quick to remind everyone whenever he’s pitching an audience on the dream he envisions for his town — the city is far from saved. Work remains to be done. The challenge is immense.
Two spots are open on the team of the five-member council that will help the city pave its path over the next four years to either victory or defeat during this crucial time: Ward 2 and Ward 4.
Ward 2 Incumbent Pamela Goynes-Brown, 52, is counting on her constituents to bank on the progress she and the council have made so far. Her first term involved some of the city’s toughest years and she’s finishing it up in some of its most hopeful years, she points out. The Clark County School District assistant principal said she and the other council members work well together and she wants a chance to finish the job she started.
Goynes-Brown is fighting off three challengers. The rival most well-versed in North Las Vegas politics is Laura Perkins, 50. She serves on the North Las Vegas Planning Commission and ran unsuccessfully for City Council in 1999. Perkins said she would be a full-time councilwoman and would work to make sure Ward 2 received more attention.
Political newcomer Richard “Dick” Moyer, 68, is running largely on metaphors. He said he entered the political arena to make sure his town of 17 years doesn’t fall into “the abyss.” By the abyss, he means financial ruin. He’s fond of saying that North Las Vegas is a rough gem that needs to be properly cut and polished.
He says he is the person to do that cutting and polishing because of his experience as a retired Army sergeant who clocked 30 years in the transportation industry.
Retired Army Staff Sgt. Richard Carreon, 34, also a political first-timer, has the shortest history in North Las Vegas: six months according to his candidate paperwork. But he said he has been busy knocking on doors and getting to know residents, many of whom he said care deeply about North Las Vegas but don’t feel that they’ve been listened to in a long time. Carreon said when he looks at the city he sees a team without a coach. Carreon said he’s running to increase communication and be the leader the city needs.
The battle for the open Ward 4 seat is between chiropractor Matthew Anderson, 55, and Richard Cherchio, 68, who previously held the seat but lost it by a single vote to Councilman Wade Wager in 2011, who opted not to run for re-election.
Cherchio is pushing that he’d be a full-time councilman, saying that’s the only way to do the job.
Anderson, who told constituents at a meet and greet Monday night they should vote for him because he is “relatively incorruptible,” brushed off that idea. Anderson said that in business there’s a phrase, “if you want something done give the job to a busy person” and that’s him. Anderson said North Las Vegas needs to attract business and his expertise as a businessman makes him ideal for that job.
The election is nonpartisan and those elected will be paid $41,826 a year. Council members to represent the interests of the residents who live within their ward, so the mayor is the only at-large elected on the City Council.
The two candidates in each ward up for election who garner the most votes in the April 7 primary will face off in the June 2 general election. Those who get 50 percent or more of the votes in the primary will win outright.
Early voting for the North Las Vegas municipal election primary starts Wednesday at North Las Vegas City Hall and ends April 3.
Contact Bethany Barnes at email@example.com or 702-477-3861. Find her on Twitter: @betsbarnes.