With the general election on June 7, Ward 4 City Council candidates Sam Bateman and Mike Mayberry continue to get their voices out on Henderson’s issues, seek new endorsements and fight with each other every step of the way.
Bateman, who serves as a Clark County prosecutor and is a member of the Henderson Planning Commission, distributed a new mailer May 17 that questions Mayberry’s disability. Mayberry, a former Henderson police chief, retired due to a heart condition.
“I think it is a reasonable question,” Bateman said. “Nothing I put on the mailer is inaccurate. I used his words.”
Bateman’s first mailer, which came out before the April primary election, accused Mayberry of scamming the public employees retirement system by collecting an annual pension of $130,000 on top of $30,000 in disability.
“This mailer is along the same lines of the first one,” Bateman said.
On the front of the new mailer is a collection of photos of Mayberry playing guitar, fishing and participating in other activities with the words, “Does Mike Mayberry look like a person on disability?” On the back, the mailer states that Mayberry receives $40,000 a year in disability payments.
“Some of those photos are before I retired,” Mayberry said.
The mailer scrutinizes Mayberry’s health by pulling quotes directly from a 2009 National Public Radio interview in which Mayberry, who was running for mayor of Henderson, was asked if he was still disabled. His reply was, “Does it look to you like I’m disabled?”
“I am 100 percent disabled from being a police officer but not disabled from life,” Mayberry told View. “If I were in a wheelchair, nobody would say anything. If I were blind, nobody would say anything. But since it is my heart, people can question it because they can’t see it.”
Mayberry said there is a heart and lung bill, which allows officers to collect compensation “if their heart goes bad.”
“It’s unbelievable that a chief district attorney who represents the police department is unaware of the heart and lung bill,” Mayberry said. “I find that incredulous. The truth is he has to know about it and know that everything he is saying is untrue.”
The 2009 NPR interview quoted on the mailer also questions Mayberry about giving up his disability pay, in which Mayberry replies, “I’ll give it up the day (I’m elected).”
At the bottom of the mailer, Bateman puts Mayberry’s cellphone number, encouraging readers to call Mayberry and tell him to “give back $100,000,” an amount Bateman estimated has been collected the past few years.
“I think people should call,” Bateman said. “He hasn’t explained the issue, and it’s worth explaining.”
But Mayberry said the mailer “cherry picks” quotes from the interview.
“They are my words,” Mayberry said. “But they are placed in an order to make people believe something that is not true.”
Additionally, Mayberry said that if he is elected, he would give up the compensation he collects from his heart condition.
“I never wanted to come across as a double dipper,” Mayberry said. “I will give up the compensation if elected.”
Mayberry said he doesn’t think that legally he would have to give it up considering “his heart isn’t different.”
“If I were in a wheelchair, would you ask me to give it up?” Mayberry asked. “But I will.”
The mailers have been a determining factor in some of the endorsements the candidates have received.
Recently, three of the other Ward 4 candidates, Ron Hubel, John Brislin and Bobby Rastifard, announced they are supporting Mayberry.
Hubel, a former councilman who has known Mayberry for years, and Brislin said Bateman crossed the line when he sent out the first mailer.
“He stepped over the line of morality and decency,” Hubel said. “It was done just for political gain.”
Hubel also said he doesn’t think Bateman can serve two masters by being a prosecutor for the county and a councilman for Henderson.
“It’s not wise to elect a man that would have a conflict of interest come up,” Hubel said.
Bateman is confused on what the conflict is.
“How would prosecuting criminals conflict with decisions about zoning variances?” Bateman asked.
Bateman said others who have served as City Council members have worked for the county, including Mayor Andy Hafen, who worked for the Metropolitan Police Department until 2002.
“They will be putting out a mailer against me that talks about the ‘conflict,’ ” Bateman said. “But everything they are putting in it is not factual.”
Mayberry confirmed that a mailer was slated to go out May 20.
Brislin believes it will be too much for Bateman to work as an attorney and serve as a council member.
“The city deserves more,” Brislin said. “Mayberry has the time to be there for the community.”
Former Ward 4 candidate Joseph Simmons has not endorsed a candidate.
“I want to remain publicly neutral,” Simmons said. “I spoke with both candidates, but neither of them spoke to the main platform (on which my campaign was based), which is solving issues in the housing market.”
Although Bateman hasn’t rallied support from former opponents, he has received support from current Ward 4 Councilman Steve Kirk, who cannot run again due to term limits.
Kirk has worked with Bateman since 2007, when Bateman was appointed to the planning commission.
“I am totally behind Sam,” Kirk said. “He has a proven track record. He is a young, vibrant leader, and that is what the community needs. We don’t need someone who is defending whether they are healthy enough to do the job.”
Mayberry said he is in good health.
“There are a lot of things I can’t do (healthwise), but City Council is not one of them,” Mayberry said.
Additionally, Kirk has always taken the stance that a council member should have an outside job.
“I happen to believe (being a council member) should be a part-time job,” Kirk said. “I think the best combo you could have is someone who is employed. Someone who stays busy. Someone that has more going on besides going to City Hall and staff meetings.”
Mayberry also has received support from Hafen, who hosted a fundraiser Jan. 25.
“I think this is one race where we don’t have a bad candidate,” Hafen said. “I don’t think the community could go wrong.”
Hafen said he decided to support Mayberry considering Mayberry supported him in the 2009 mayor’s race after losing in the primary elections.
“Plus, I have known him all these years,” Hafen said.
Councilwoman Kathleen Boutin, who contributed to Mayberry’s campaign at the beginning of the year, has decided to embrace a neutral stance for the remainder of the campaign.
“I think we should have listened to (former) Mayor Jim Gibson’s advice,” Boutin said. “It is better (for council members) to stay out of the races. I can see how divisive it can be.”
Councilwomen Debra March and Gerri Schroder have taken the same stance.
“Any candidate will be great to work with,” Schroder said, “so we will let the voters decide.”
Contact Henderson and Anthem View reporter Michael Lyle at firstname.lastname@example.org or 387-5201.