Among the many people on this fall’s ballot who have no business running for office are a handful of candidates who already hold office. We elect people with the hope that they’ll do a good job. If they don’t deliver, we can fire them — because they almost always seek re-election. Absent term limits, incumbents — especially bad ones — dig in like ticks.
Clark County can do better in several offices on the ballot. Here are the five incumbents most deserving of a pink slip.
1. Doug Smith, District Court judge, Department 8. If you fire only one incumbent in the 2014 elections, make sure it’s Judge Smith. In last year’s Review-Journal Judicial Performance Evaluation, less than half of the attorneys who participated in the survey said Judge Smith should be retained. In the past four-plus years, the Nevada Supreme Court has reversed nearly two dozen of his rulings. And in an interview with the Review-Journal editorial board, he defended one of his worst rulings (a difficult distinction given the number of them) by arguing, “That’s why we have appellate courts. Sometimes you have to make equitable decisions, decisions based on equity, not what the law says.” You read that correctly. Judge Smith admitted to ignoring the letter of the law. Vote for his well-qualified challenger, Christine Guerci-Nyhus, instead.
2. Cheryl Moss, Family Court judge, Department I. Judge Moss has shown no improvement in almost 14 years on the bench. In last year’s Review-Journal evaluation, just 44 percent of responding attorneys said she should be retained. Vote for her challenger, Travis Shetler, instead.
3. Kenneth Pollock, Family Court judge, Department J. Judge Pollock, who has campaigned for re-election while on medical leave from the bench, is positively putrid. Only 40 percent of attorneys say he should be retained. Vote for his challenger, Rena Hughes, instead.
4. Sandra Pomrenze, Family Court judge, Department P. Judge Pomrenze, like Judge Moss and Judge Pollock, is underwater in the Review-Journal’s judicial evaluations. Just 47 percent of attorneys said she should be retained, and 55 percent said she was less than adequate in being courteous. Vote for her challenger, Nathan Gibbs, instead.
5. Paul Aizley, Democrat, Assembly District 41. Mr. Aizley, as chairman of the Legislative Committee on Public Lands, two months ago quashed the work of the Nevada Land Management Task Force, which was created through bipartisan legislation last year to push for the release of federal land to state control. Getting Nevada’s vast federal lands under local control, and eventual private ownership, is vital to growing and diversifying Nevada’s economy. Vote for his challenger, Republican Vicki Dooling, instead.