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Bitter fight continues in Las Vegas City Council race

Las Vegas City Councilman Bob Beers and challenger Steve Seroka are in a bitter battle to decide who will represent the city’s western ward.

Beers, a former state lawmaker, is aiming for a second full term on the council. Seroka, a retired Air Force colonel, is a first-time candidate for political office.

Beers garnered 43 percent of the vote in the April 4 primary — shy of the 50 percent threshold, forcing a June 13 runoff. Seroka and Christina Roush essentially split the opposition vote, with Seroka’s 28 percent slightly edging out Roush and earning a spot in the general election.

Early voting runs through June 9.

These answers have been edited for length:

Q&A with Bob Beers

Q: If elected, what is your first priority?

A: I think the way I’ve had the most impact has been in finances and budgeting and contracts the city enters into — reading them and understanding them and being able to communicate that. I expect it’s going to be more work along those lines.

Q: What direction should the city take on the proposal to develop the Badlands golf course?

A: The city has reached a development agreement with the developer, in broad strokes … . There’s a contingent of people who live on the golf course for whom any development is unacceptable. But there are also people who understand development is a legal right at this point. If you’re going to have development, this proposal is probably the best thing you can have.

Q: Should short-term residential rentals be allowed in Las Vegas, and what regulations should be put in place?

A: The city is entertaining an ordinance that adjusts the way we regulate short-term rentals. The problem is when you have a party house in a residential neighborhood: that’s what we really need to crack down on. Probably the most effective would be a very heavy fine for exceeding the capacity of a rental house. The city has also passed a series of ordinances on things like smelling bad and being too loud. Hopefully with these tools, we will be able to stop party houses and punish property owners who do that to their neighbors, without punishing the people who are not the bad guys.

Q: With the coming roll out of recreational marijuana sales, how should the city govern sales?

A: Carson City is putting those regulations in place for the city, so I don’t know that there will be a lot of city discussion in the creation of those rules and their execution. I expect we will follow the direction of the Legislature.

Q: The recent City Council vote on the waste-hauling franchise agreement with Republic Services was controversial. Should the city re-examine its rules and practices when it comes to putting high-dollar contracts out to bid?

A: Those rules are written for us by the Legislature, and I expect we will follow them. Conceptually, the controversy was created by one company seeking to maximize its economic benefit. If the valley truly does want to entertain a break from how we do things, it doesn’t make sense for a smaller portion of the valley to veer off in a new direction. It makes more sense for a group of governments to study the issue. The city’s contract will end at the same time as Clark County’s. That would give the local governments an opportunity to make a change, if it makes sense for residents.

Q&A with Steve Seroka

Q: If elected, what is your first priority?

A: To restore the voice of the people. I am really passionate about being there for the people and representing the greater good of the community, to stand against special interests and serve selflessly. If we replace the incumbent with me, we’ve already started that process.

Q: What direction should the city take on the proposal to develop the Badlands golf course?

A: The elected official’s role is to not take sides. I respect the rights of the developer to develop, at the same time I respect homeowners’ rights as well … . The developer’s plan, and Beers’ support of that plan, is not in the best interest of the community as a whole. If there is a proposal that benefits the community, first and foremost the members of the community who are most greatly affected, that would be the first step to coming to any agreement along those lines. I’m not against the developer, I’m for the greater good of the entire community.

Q: Should short-term residential rentals be allowed in the city of Las Vegas, and what regulations should be put in place?

A: As elected officials, our loyalty is to protect our communities. Short-term rentals have been very contentious. Some short-term rentals could be beneficial to the community. At the same time, I hear other voices saying short-term rentals aren’t beneficial to the community. Whatever policies we put in place, we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Any policies we put in place, we should be willing and able to enforce.

Q: With the coming roll out of recreational marijuana sales, how should the city govern sales?

A: We have heard the people’s voice on this issue. We need to legitimize the sales immediately, and put the black market out of business. And in doing so, we’ll protect our youth, because legitimate businesses will not sell to the under-aged.

Q: The recent City Council vote on the waste-hauling franchise agreement with Republic Services was controversial. Should the city re-examine its rules and practices when it comes to putting high-dollar contracts out to bid?

A: On large contracts such as Republic, every one must be open for bid. In my view, to not do so is unethical, it is grounds for losing one’s job. Open competition is the only way taxpayers can get the best value for their dollar. It’s the only way we can ensure we get the best services, and it’s the way we communicate we are a city dedicated to competition, bringing new ideas and being responsible for taxpayer dollars.

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

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