No, voters, the valley’s municipal elections are not yet over — despite the electorate’s best efforts to ignore them.
Turnout was predictably pathetic in April’s primary — about 10 percent — but most races were decided outright, including every Las Vegas City Council seat, as well as the mayoral campaigns in Henderson and North Las Vegas. Just two races will be decided in the June 4 general election.
In North Las Vegas, where early voting started Wednesday, two teachers emerged from a four-candidate field for the Ward 1 City Council seat being vacated by Robert Eliason. Isaac Barron, a Rancho High School graduate who now teaches there, faces Jared Hardy, a Legacy High School educator. Mr. Barron advocates streamlining regulations to help entrepreneurs “cut through the red tape,” supports economic development initiatives and vows to help heal rifts within the council, the rest of city government and its bargaining units. “I want to be the one who asks the tough questions,” he told the Review-Journal’s editorial board. Good. The city is a fiscal disaster in desperate need of new leadership. The Review-Journal endorses Isaac Barron in Ward 1.
In Henderson, where early voting starts Monday, one race is on the ballot: Municipal Court, Department 1, where incumbent Judge Mark Stevens is seeking re-election against longtime county prosecutor Sandy Allred DiGiacomo. In Clark County, judges seeking re-election do not draw viable opposition unless the legal community feels an incumbent is substandard. Three lawyers challenged Judge Stevens in April’s primary, with the incumbent and Ms. DiGiacomo advancing to the runoff. In the Review-Journal’s 2011 Judging the Judges survey, Judge Stevens was the second-lowest-rated Municipal Court jurist in the county, with 64 percent of attorneys recommending retention. Ms. DiGiacomo has locked up enough serious criminals to understand the importance of making sure lower-tier offenders don’t find their way into state court. The Review-Journal endorses Sandy Allred DiGiacomo for Henderson Municipal Court.
The Review-Journal offers one more endorsement: Every Clark County city council should vote to move off-year municipal elections to the statewide ballots in even-numbered years. More voters would be engaged in local politics, and the cities would no longer waste money on elections no one shows up for. Make this spring’s municipal election our last.