It was no surprise when Carolyn Goodman, founder of the private Meadows School, was elected mayor of Las Vegas Tuesday.
Historians say Ronald Reagan was such a popular president that, when voters couldn’t award him a third term, they awarded that term to his vice president, instead.
Clearly there was a similar element in play as Las Vegas voters chose the wife of the man who has arguably been the city’s most popular mayor and most visible booster, when former mob defense lawyer Oscar Goodman was term limited after 12 years.
But the mayor-elect shares more than Mr. Goodman’s name. She ran on a pledge to continue his legacy of downtown redevelopment and economic diversification. And in the end, the race swung on city finances.
Mayor Goodman and City Manager Betsy Fretwell spent the past three years cutting the city’s budget through department consolidations, elimination of positions, negotiating salary and benefit reductions — all tough necessities in these economic times, lest the tax and regulatory burden suffocate the remaining private sector.
Caroline Goodman has shown she knows what it takes to launch a successful private enterprise. And that ability to visualize how government actions can impact the decisions of a small business to locate, to invest and hire, may prove crucial to sustaining the fledgling economic recovery.
That theme persisted In Tuesday’s other major Las Vegas race, as Ward Three voters chose veteran state legislator Bob Coffin over city employee Adriana Martinez to replace term-limited City Councilman Gary Reese.
Mr. Coffin has been critical of local government budget growth and personnel costs over the years, as well as the city bureaucracy’s persistent anti-business climate.
Finally, a late flurry of radio ads, tarring his impressive challenger as a defense attorney who’d be soft on crime, failed to turn the tide for controversial Municipal Judge George Assad, whose ratings by attorneys who’d practiced in his court were abysmal. Underfunded Heidi Almase captured the bench in a 57-43 landslide.