A forum featuring Las Vegas City Council candidates Wednesday was tightly focused on issues near and dear to neighborhoods, including parks and sidewalks.
Four of the contenders for the open Ward 3 seat addressed more than 50 people in the Mesquite Club, offering support and solidarity but dropping only a few specifics.
The three leading candidates — Bob Coffin, Adriana Martinez and Steve Evans — agreed that Ward 3 lags behind the rest of the city in the state of its parks.
"We do need a lot more tender loving care on this side," said Martinez, former head of the state Democratic Party and an aide to Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian. "Can we help them all? No. But I do believe in fixing them one at a time."
Coffin, who served many years in the state Legislature, said it’s an "insult" that Huntridge Circle Park remains closed. It was shut down in 2006 after several incidents with homeless people, but he said it should be reopened.
"It’s the first thing I will do," Coffin said. "We obviously need to get more money for parks. It’s embarrassing that Ward 3 has fallen behind."
Evans, a Las Vegas planning commissioner, said there’s no reason for parks to be poorly or inadequately landscaped.
"We haven’t looked outside the box," he said, referring specifically to expressed concerns about Baker Park.
"Baker Park could partner with the Boy Scouts, The Mirage, one of these entities that’s constantly changing their landscaping," he said.
The fourth candidate, Carlo Poliak, said something few aspiring officeholders say — that he doesn’t like parks and would go to the mountains if he wanted time outside.
"I see nothing … beneficial about spending money on parks," he said. "They’re a waste of money."
Residents also are concerned about the lack of sidewalks along many streets in the ward, something Coffin and Evans said violates laws on disabled access.
Evans said that the city should develop grant proposals in house for federal sidewalk-building dollars, and that it’s something that shouldn’t wait: "At some point, society’s got to find an answer."
Coffin said the dollars are much closer to home.
"We’re in violation all over the place," he said, adding the reason is that "too much money" has been spent in other wards. "The city of Las Vegas has the ability to do it, if it is told to do it."
Martinez said she’s stumbled across ill-maintained sidewalks as she’s campaigned in the ward and said a fix is a priority.
"We need to ensure that we have sidewalks," she said. "I would definitely champion that."
The primary election will be April 5. In races where no candidate achieves a majority, the top two finishers will compete in the general election June 7.
Contact reporter Alan Choate at email@example.com or (702) 229-6435.