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Boggs case goes out with a whimper

In the end, the case — and, in all likelihood, the Nevada political career — of former beauty queen, former Las Vegas City Councilwoman and former Clark County Commissioner Lynette Boggs (formerly Lynette Boggs McDonald) wrapped up with the proverbial whimper.

On Tuesday, Ms. Boggs entered an Alford plea to one count of filing a false statement of residency the last time she ran for County Commission — a gross misdemeanor.

The plea means she didn’t admit wrongdoing, but acknowledged prosecutors could prove their case against her.

They sure could. Private detectives hired by local unions who disliked Ms. Boggs for her lower-tax, smaller-government stance caught her on videotape at a home outside her district — one other than that listed on her filing papers — hauling out the trash in the early morning in her bathrobe.

The role of those unions is one of the disturbing aspects of the case. The surveillance was not illegal, but it was certainly selective. Other local politicians have — at the very least — created ambiguity about whether their main place of residence is really in the district they serve.

Many of those politicians are too union friendly to draw attention from these same watchers. But some day, others, following this example, may show them that what cooks the goose can also stew the gander.

Or would prosecutors apply a different standard, scorning similar evidence against pols of a different stripe from videographers not associated with their pals in the Police Protective Association, arguing instead that such amateur videotapes have “no evidentiary value”?

The courts treat the Alford plea as a guilty plea. District Judge Donald Mosley ordered Boggs to pay a $2,000 fine; end of story.

Ms. Boggs is now living with her parents in Texas, where she’s considering going to law school.

Lynette Boggs, despite obvious talents and a promising start, appears to have taken up a lifestyle she could ill afford, leaving her open to the blandishments of the kinds of folks who are always willing to offer a contract, a job, or a sweetheart land deal to an office-holder who may later be able to return the favor.

Ms. Boggs may be lucky that her balancing act was cut short before she could get in even deeper.

On the other hand, those who complain she “got off easy” may lack a proper sense of perspective. Her offense was real enough, but nothing that approached the level of the blatant bribe-taking and influence peddling of some of her former associates, who are now doing — perfectly appropriate — time in the Graybar Hotel.

Here’s hoping she does indeed rebuild her life on a more righteous foundation, that future redistricting efforts pay no heed to where any incumbent lives, that no Las Vegas politician ever again tries to represent a district where he or she doesn’t really live … And cigarettes grow on trees, and the hens lay soft-boiled eggs, in the Big Rock Candy Mountains.

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