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Mayoral candidate’s goal: Make Las Vegas most ‘transparent’ US city

Las Vegas mayoral candidate Tera Anderson says she wants to help simplify local government to attract outside industries and give aspiring local businesses an opportunity to flourish.

As it stands, “you can’t engage the city and know from the onset, ‘What is it going to cost me? How long is it going to take? What kind of permits do I need? What kind of business license do I need?’,” Anderson told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “You have to just kind of jump in and then you end up in this cumbersome washing machine of decision making.”

She said she aspires for Las Vegas to become “the most accessible, navigable, transparent city in the country.”

Anderson is part of a sizable list of candidates vying to replace term-limited Mayor Carolyn Goodman. Anderson’s competition includes two current City Council members and a former U.S. congresswoman.

Las Vegas’ next mayor can emerge from the June primary election if one candidate earns more than 50 percent of the vote. Otherwise, the top two candidates will advance to a runoff to be held during the November general election.

Anderson said she wants the city to be attractive to businesses that want to relocate here.

“If you’re going to attract diverse economies, you have to understand what are the metrics by which business and industry evaluate where they want to be,” she said. “What’s the next 20, 25, 30 years look like — and we have to be able to answer those questions.”

Those answers include affordability, quality of life, natural resources and whether the city has a “pool of trainable workforce,” she said. “Our current City Council, I don’t think looks at business attraction through that lens,” she added.

Access to home ownership is “one of the most stabilizing economic forces,” Anderson said.

But increased homelessness goes hand in hand with a shortage of affordable housing in which lower-income earners make too much money to qualify for help but not enough to afford market-rate housing, she said.

To tackle homelessness, Anderson said, the city needs to make better use of the resources already out there, including government dollars and partnerships with nonprofits and private entities.

“So long as we continue to support panhandling,” she said, “we are interfering with ensuring that the people who need support reach and get connected with the service providers that are poised to help them.”

Anderson said she would rule under “sound responsible governance,” which includes wise investment and being responsible with taxpayer dollars.

She called the ongoing yearslong legal battle between the city and the would-be developer of the defunct Badlands golf course a “perfect example of government weaponizing taxpayer money to fight a private fight.”

Multiple cases filed by EHB Cos. have led to rulings against the city that could push its losses above $200 million if the court decisions are upheld in appeal.

Developer Yohan Lowie’s attorneys have alleged land taking by the city that stymied his land development plans.

“Clearly our existing council, who’s been engulfed with this for the last eight years, do not understand private property rights, do not understand land use and land development,” said Anderson, who said she would push the city to find a resolution before losses keep mounting.

Anderson is a second-generation Las Vegan and a businesswoman with experience in land and economic development.

She graduated from Durango High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and international relations from the University of Puget Sound and an executive master’s from the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University, where she’s pursuing a master’s degree in construction management.

Anderson has served as the city’s neighborhood association president and on the CASA Foundation. She has volunteered and advocated for children in foster care.

She said she’s “tired of politics in government.”

“I believe I will be somebody who people would be proud of to say ‘That’s our mayor,’” Anderson said.

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at rtorres@reviewjournal.com.

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