Boulder City voters narrow general election field for mayor, council seats

Two current members of the Boulder City Council will battle to replace longtime Mayor Bob Ferraro, who is retiring after 31 years on the council.

During Tuesday’s primary, Councilmen Roger Tobler, 41, and Mike Pacini, 39, easily advanced to the June 5 general election over challengers Roger Harris, an attorney, and Gary Kallam, a homeless former poker player.

Tobler received just over 48 percent of the vote, nearly enough to win Ferraro’s seat outright. Pacini got 35 percent.

The general election matchup makes perfect sense to long-time Boulder City resident Lavar Short. As he left the polls Tuesday, Short, 68, said he voted for Tobler but thinks Pacini has "done a good job, too."

Leaving the Boulder City Recreation Center, Rosie Jamison said she voted for Pacini because she likes the work he has done on the council, but her husband voted for Tobler for much the same reason.

"I guess that’s why we live in America," she said.

If Tobler wins on June 5, Pacini will get to serve out the last two years of his City Council term. If Pacini wins, Tobler will be off the council when his term expires immediately after the general election.

In Boulder City’s other primary contest, this one for two seats on the City Council, a field of 10 candidates was narrowed to four, as three lawyers and a hairdresser advanced.

Attorney Linda Strickland, an outspoken critic of Boulder City officials, led the pack with 27 percent of the vote. Incumbent Councilwoman Karla Burton, whose showing might have been hurt by her drunken driving arrest in February, finished second with 19 percent.

Attorney and frequent critic of City Hall Travis Chandler was third with 14 percent. Hair salon owner Kathey Ditzler was fourth with 12 percent.

Eileen North, a 10-year resident of Boulder City, said she didn’t know that much about all of the City Council candidates so she decided to cast her ballot for Burton and Strickland.

"I’m going to be a feminist here. I voted for two of the women," she said.

As Rosie Jamison left the polls at the Boulder City Recreation Center on Tuesday afternoon, she said she voted for Ditzler because the candidate worked as a waitress before she went to cosmetology school. "It brings her down to being a common person like me."

Boulder City Clerk Pamella Malmstrom said Tuesday’s turnout of about 43 percent was unusually low for the community, though it was much higher than the percentages posted in Henderson, Las Vegas and North Las Vegas.

"Usually I have about 50 percent turnout here in Boulder City," Malmstrom said.

Short, who has lived in the community for 17 years, thinks he knows why the numbers were down a bit.

"It’s been a pretty low-key election. There hasn’t been the mudslinging that anyone would have to respond to," he explained. "But it’s still disappointing to me that more people don’t come out, because we are a small community and everything hits us harder."

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