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Special election called for Las Vegas seat in Ward 2

Two former state lawmakers stepped forward Wednesday as candidates to replace former Las Vegas City Councilman Steve Seroka, whose successor will be chosen by voters in a June 11 special election.

The City Council on Wednesday unanimously voted to hold the special election to fill the vacancy in Ward 2 — Seroka resigned March 4 for still unknown reasons — and roll it into the general election to save money.

City leaders had 30 days after Seroka’s resignation to either call a special election or make an appointment.

The candidate filing period begins Monday and ends March 28.

Former Assemblywoman Victoria Seaman said she will run for the seat. She has been campaigning since early December, paralleling a Laborers union-backed recall effort against Seroka.

In an email sent to supporters Wednesday, Seaman said she had “visited many Ward 2 residents going door to door, I now look forward to the campaign.”

She will join another ex-Nevada lawmaker in the race: Former Assemblywoman Valerie Weber announced Wednesday that she had decided to run after consulting with friends, family and the business community.

“The opportunity to serve my neighbors again along with the people of Las Vegas would be a heartfelt privilege,” Weber said in a statement.

Early voting is scheduled May 25 through June 7. The winner will be sworn in July 3.

Seats for mayor and in wards 1, 3 and 5 are up for grabs in the primary election April 2. The top two vote-getters will face off in the general election unless the winner secures 50 percent of the vote plus one.

Marijuana lounges still up in air

A plan to allow cannabis consumption lounges in Las Vegas received support of police after city officials agreed to ban alcohol from the establishments.

But it was evident Wednesday that holdouts of the proposal remain, including gaming officials who expressed worry that city leaders were rushing to be early adopters of the so-called social use venues.

“I’m primarily concerned with impacting visitation to this city and to downtown,” said Patrick Hughes, the CEO of Fremont Street Experience, who addressed the council on behalf of gaming licensees.

Gaming and resort professionals continue to ask for protections as they worry that nearby lounges may lead to violations of the Controlled Substances Act because marijuana is federally illegal.

They and others urged the council to concede to state lawmakers, who are hearing legislation on marijuana lounges, instead of trying to set the tone themselves.

The draft bill has been revised twice in the past year since it was introduced by Councilman Bob Coffin, who rejected suggestions that it had been pushed forward too quickly. One of the latest changes barred permits on any parcel where nonrestricted gaming is conducted or within any gaming enterprise district.

“That was our attempt to try to keep it away from casinos,” said Darcy Adelbai-Hurd, the city’s business license section manager.

The council will hear a plan again on April 17 amid a fast-approaching May 1 deadline to act before the bill dies.

Contact Shea Johnson at sjohnson@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0272. Follow @Shea_LVRJ on Twitter.

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