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Residents collect signatures in bid to oust Ward 6 city councilman

Months after an unsuccessful run for the mayor’s job, city of Las Vegas Ward 6 Councilman Steve Ross could lose his current position if a local group gets its way.

On May 19, the Committee to Recall Steve Ross filed state paperwork with the intent to oust the councilman from office.

Since then, the group has been going door-to-door, gathering signatures of support from at least 25 percent of voters who participated in Ross’ most recent Las Vegas City Council election. Ross defeated Jennifer Taylor in 2009 by 54 percent to 45 percent.

Group members say they have about half of the state-required 1,083 signatures needed for a recall election to be conducted.

The foundation of the group’s qualms, they say, is a half decade of empty promises, ethics flaps and mismanagement of one of the fastest-growing parts of the city.

Ross disputes their claims and suggests that a recall would waste time and energy.

Among those leading the “Toss Ross” charge is Tyson Wrensch, one of the group members who filed the recall paperwork.

Wrensch was a Ward 6 constituent until construction on the Clark County Shooting Range, 11357 N. Decatur Blvd., launched behind his property in 2007.

“The way things were zoned, I thought I never had to worry about what would happen in my neighborhood,” he said. “I attended an HOA meeting, and that was my first experience with Ross. He said they posted public meeting notices (about the park), but we never saw them. He said, ‘I don’t know what to tell ya, you just fell through the cracks.’ ”

Wrensch said Ross also failed to disclose that another public meeting about the park was planned two days after their HOA meeting.

In 2009, Wrensch and others trumpeted that Ross unethically participated in pursuing a labor deal for the new city hall from his post as secretary-treasurer of the Southern Nevada Building and Construction Trades Council.

Fellow supporters — and ultimately the Nevada Ethics Commission — said Ross should have abstained and disclosed his relationship with the trades council.

Wrensch said it was that ethics issue and subsequent other accusations for which Ross wasn’t convicted — “incompatible development” and campaign contribution wrongdoings — that made Wrensch seek real estate elsewhere.

“This has been a huge lesson for me, because I’ve never been involved in politics,” he said. “Because of the things Steve Ross is involved in, I sold my house and moved downtown.”

Fellow group member Marc Newman said he hears more anti-Ross sentiment while petitioning door to door. He cited examples accusing Ross playing a role in nonprofit projects that derailed, residents who were disgruntled by erroneous taxing and anger over a tavern seated close to a library, a community center and YMCA .

“It’s very amazing where in certain geological pockets, he’s really resented,” Newman said. “If this were all active voters (being able to participate), you’d be seeing 20,000 signatures easy.”

Newman lives in Ward 6 and said he hears a lot of talk from Ross but little beneficial follow-through.

“I believe he didn’t live up to his promises from taking over for (former councilman) Michael Mack,” Newman said. “The residents of the ward deserve better.”

Ross blasted back at the group’s allegations and efforts, claiming that a recall would be a misuse of time and money.

“It’s unfortunate that these people want to waste $70,000 of taxpayer dollars to have a recall election,” he said. “Interestingly enough, they are running out of steam. I’m hearing stories of them getting run out of neighborhoods.”

Ross said many of the Toss Ross supporters are among a small group who have bucked his leadership many times. He said there have been complaints about the recall committee filed with the secretary of state and investigations into their expenses and measures.

Ross said he hasn’t met with or spoken to the Committee to Recall Steve Ross and has no plans to do so.

“When you’re doing good things, there are always people out there that want to stop you,” he said.

For more information about the recall campaign, visit tossross.com. To speak with Ross , call 229-6154 or email
councilman-sross@lasvegasnevada.gov.

Contact Centennial and Paradise View reporter Maggie Lillis at mlillis@viewnews.com or 477-3839.

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