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Badlands controversy fuels debate in Las Vegas Ward 2 race

Ward 2 challengers aim to make it a battle for Las Vegas City Councilman Bob Beers to claim another four-year term.

Real estate agent Christina Roush, retired Air Force Col. Steve Seroka and Summerlin resident Laura Feher are all vying for the Ward 2 job.

Much of the campaign rhetoric has revolved around the controversial plan to put residences on the Badlands golf course. A political action committee formed last month has launched a mailing campaign targeting Seroka and Roush’s stances on the Badlands issue.

BEERS

Beers, a former state legislator, first won election to the City Council in 2012, drawing nearly 37 percent of the vote in a nine-candidate special election field for the Ward 2.

Beers then easily locked in his first full term four years ago, drawing 76 percent of votes in the primary.

“It’s been my full-time job all four years and I’d love to do it all again,” Beers said.

Roush and Seroka hope Beers doesn’t have another easy win this time, but he’s determined to “continue bringing a common-sense perspective to decisions the City Council makes with an emphasis on fiscal responsibility,” he said.

Beers pointed to the brokering that went into annexation agreements between Las Vegas and Clark County, which had been at odds, as an example of his negotiating ability.

He also staunchly opposed using public funds to go toward a $200 million downtown soccer stadium. Money that would have gone toward the project instead will go toward building more than a dozen parks in the city, including the new Mayfair Place Park in Ward 3, for which the city broke ground in March, Beers said.

ROUSH

In her real estate role, Roush has presented items before local governments. But she thinks she would bring new ideas and change to the other side of the podium in Las Vegas City Council chambers.

“I’m a fresh voice with a lot of energy and I want to serve,” Roush said. “We’re so close to being a world-class city, but we have some things we need to work on.”

Public safety, economic development and augmenting the Clark County School District’s offerings with city programs are among Roush’s priorities.

She said the city can make a difference with after-school-program offerings.

Improving education and public safety can also boost economic development, because companies consider those factors before locating here, she said.

“Whether we like it or not, that’s how we get evaluated,” Roush said.

She also wants to more active neighborhood watch programs, more emphasis on community policing and working with Metro and Clark County on getting more cadets through training programs, she said.

Roush would focus on economic development around urban renewal and core development, including in the city-owned Symphony Park. She said an “energized urban core” will encourage more businesses to come to the city’s downtown.

SEROKA

A development issue prompted Seroka, who lives near the Badlands golf course, to challenge Beers, who he says has mishandled the issue.

“How the elected incumbent was handling that caught my attention,” Seroka said.

Seroka says residents have lost their voice at City Hall. Seroka said he wants to “lead a new era of accountability and transparency,” and end “big-money influence” at City Hall.

Seroka, referred specifically to negotiations to renew the city’s franchise agreement with Republic Services rather than put trash and recycling services up for bid. Seroka said all contracts should be put through competitive bidding.

The city’s existing contract with Republic is “being encouraged to be extended years before it expires,” Seroka said.

“In my view, that’s an ethical violation of being a good steward of public money,” Seroka said. “When it involves public money, it is in the public interest to get the best value, price and service.”

Seroka, former chief of staff at Nellis Air Force Base, had a 30-year career with the Air Force.

FEHER

Laura Feher offered a brief summary of her background and priorities for the city, but declined a phone interview for this story. Feher wrote that she’s lived in Summerlin for nearly two decades and she’s worked in state government in Nevada and Florida.

“My priorities are safe neighborhoods, clean streets and a family friendly environment for all citizens of Las Vegas,” Feher wrote. “I am running because I like choices and I believe most other people do, too.”

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

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