A seven-minute video played during a Las Vegas City Council meeting earlier this month lauded Mayor Carolyn Goodman for her calls to reopen Nevada, providing a counter to stinging criticism she received after controversial appearances on national television.
Councilwoman Michele Fiore, the mayor pro tem, later proudly assumed credit for orchestrating the homage, which featured about three dozen people — including everyday constituents, small-business owners and political candidates — singing the mayor’s praises.
But records show that a city staffer was involved, at least in part, in editing individual cellphone-quality videos together to form the montage. A city spokesman maintained that it did not violate the city’s policies on using city resources for political purposes, however, because that policy pertains only to candidates and ballot measures.
“I think the spirit of what the video was about was to try to show support to the mayor following an interview she had with (CNN anchor) Anderson Cooper,” city spokesman David Riggleman said, adding that it did not raise any red flags for officials.
“I think on just what we saw, it didn’t seem like there was a lot of time put on that,” he added. “It’s not like it was a highly polished, professional video that had taken a lot of time to produce.”
Riggleman said he wasn’t aware beforehand of the video, and it even surprised Goodman, who expressed gratitude after it was shown near the beginning of the May 6 meeting.
When asked about it on the day of the meeting, city spokesman Jace Radke said he knew only that it had been provided by Fiore’s Ward 6 office.
But text messages show that at least two staffers, including one who worked on editing, were aware of the video at least the day before the meeting.
Digital content supervisor Jennifer Davies worked on the video and communicated with senior production technician Jeff Basso and Fiore leading up to the meeting, text messages and emails show.
‘It wasn’t political’
Councilwoman Victoria Seaman, who Fiore jokingly described on Facebook as a “co-conspirator,” said Friday that her and Fiore’s offices had been receiving a slew of messages from people who supported Goodman and her position on lifting the statewide shutdown.
“It wasn’t political. It was, ‘We understand where the mayor’s heart is,” Seaman said about the support.
So when Fiore decided to create the video montage, Seaman said that she would pass along any videos she received to Fiore. Seaman said she presumed that Fiore had submitted the videos to the city to be put onto the screen inside council chambers.
Two people who appeared in the video said they had not been solicited by either councilwoman, but one said he was aware of an effort to publicly show support for the mayor that had gained traction among people at rallies to reopen Nevada.
The two posted their videos on social media. They said they did not know that the videos would be shown during the council meeting, but they were not unhappy about it.
Supporters of Goodman and of immediate reopening of Nevada turned out in force during the meeting, moaning at positive mentions of Gov. Steve Sisolak and at suggestions for people to wear face masks. They held signs supportive of the mayor that Fiore said they were free to take home and place in their yards.
Radke said the signs were not produced or paid for by the city. Fiore could not be reached Friday to discuss whether she was also behind them or to talk about the video in general.
Most of the fawning video messaging thanked Goodman for her leadership during the pandemic as small businesses were dying. Others praised her for saying what some people were thinking and for taking a stand even if it was unpopular. One man said Goodman was on a “short list” of policymakers who were guided by data and not by fear.
But not everyone was moved.
“As much as you saw the people who were on that video, I think there’s thousands and thousands and thousands of other people that say, ‘Hey, we need to be more responsible in our approach towards this,’” Councilman Cedric Crear said after it played.