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Clark County Commission candidates field questions from voters

Development and growth took center stage in the Windmill Library auditorium Monday night as Clark County Commission candidates fielded questions from voters they hope will elect them to represent the southwest Las Vegas Valley.

Democrat Justin Jones pledged to devote his first 100 days in office to blocking a company’s proposal to build thousands of homes on Blue Diamond Hill near Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

“We can’t keep going down this path where just because yesterday we approved a nonconforming zone change or some other type of waiver of condition that that means today we must go down the same path,” he said.

Republican Tisha Black said she would use the same time “getting into the details” of the Blue Diamond Hill project, but she would not take a hard-line stance against the development because it might prompt a lawsuit against the county.

“The point of being a county commissioner is to balance the rights and interests of people,” she said. “It’s not to draw broad lines in the sand and potentially create liabilities for the county for lawsuits it doesn’t need.”

Well more than 100 people filled the auditorium to hear moderator John Getter ask the candidates more than a dozen questions, flipping a green poker chip with each candidate’s name written on opposite sides to determine who would answer first.

Early in the event, Black said she would not allow developers to deviate from the county’s master plan except under “exceptional” circumstances.

Jones responded by saying he had the proven track record of fighting for the community as a former state senator. He said that voters should question Black’s campaign donations from developers.

“I would ask you to take a look at history and consider the source when it comes to a commitment to abiding by the master plan,” he said.

Black fired back in her next turn at the mic.

“You have said that I’m in the developers’ pocket, and you have said that I’m handpicked, and I take severe umbrage with that because I’ve owned my own law firm for 18 years … I am not about to do what I don’t think is in the very best interest for this community for any person, for any developer or any other reason whatsoever,” she said.

The candidates offered different ideas to address the Las Vegas Valley’s water usage.

Jones said there was only so much water the county could save through conservation efforts and it should urge the state to “rework” the Colorado River Compact. Black said the community needs to “rethink how we develop and what we develop” to prepare for the future.

After 90 minutes of questions, Getter ended the event by thanking the candidates for their time.

“You’ve made it clear it won’t be an easy decision,” he said.

Contact Michael Scott Davidson at sdavidson@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3861. Follow @davidsonlvrj on Twitter.

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