EDITORIAL: For Henderson, North Las Vegas constable

Southern Nevadans are sick of hearing about the constable’s office. The incompetence, arrogance and outright stupidity of Las Vegas Constable John Bonaventura have put him, his deputies and his office in the news far too often over the past four years.

Bonaventura, elected in 2010 by voters who weren’t paying attention to the down-ballot race, hired misfits (a few of whom had been arrested), squandered fee revenue and engaged in too much other nonsense to list here. He turned his office into a joke at public expense, and it wasn’t funny. Bonaventura has been sued and arrested. It got so bad that the Clark County Commission abolished his office last year, effective January 2015.

But constables do important work across the region, serving court papers and eviction notices and acting as peacekeepers in carrying out their duties. Voters must remember that constables are peace officers. If you put someone unqualified in charge of the constable’s office, that person has the power to squander public resources and trample your rights. Bonaventura’s clown show underscores the importance of electing capable individuals with excellent people skills to these positions. Las Vegas voters made a horrible mistake four years ago and have been paying for it ever since.

Fortunately, Henderson and North Las Vegas voters have excellent candidates on the ballot.

Republican Earl Mitchell has been Henderson’s constable since 1995, and he’s a 22-year veteran of the Henderson Police Department. He understands his role so well that he’s been re-elected many times over. Mr. Mitchell is being challenged by Democrat Terry Watson, who declined to meet with the Review-Journal editorial board and whose campaign, while practically nonexistent, somehow advanced from June’s primary to November’s general election. The Review-Journal endorses Earl Mitchell for Henderson constable.

In North Las Vegas, Republican Jonathan Martin is running against Democrat Robert Eliason to replace Constable Herb Brown, who is retiring. Mr. Martin has 25 years of experience with the North Las Vegas Police Department, including 20 years as a detective. Mr. Martin, who has seen all the good and bad in North Las Vegas over the years, says he’ll protect the rights of property owners while treating people with respect. “I’ll have an open-door policy. I’ll be more involved in the city,” he said. “I won’t hide behind my desk. I’ll be out doing the job. … North Las Vegas needs strong leaders right now. Wherever I can, I’ll jump in.” Mr. Eliason, a former North Las Vegas city councilman, has no law enforcement experience, which is critical for this position. He declined to meet with the Review-Journal editorial board to discuss his candidacy. The Review-Journal endorses Jonathan Martin for North Las Vegas constable.

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