(Continued from Part 1, also at Stonewall)
So where was I? Oh yes, we were talking about the SNWA Water Grab when we had to leave yesterday. Let's pick it up from there.
The final question was for each candidate to describe how he or she is different from the others and what his or her priorities will be when on the Commission. David Parks got to answer first, and he went into detail on his past local and state government experience, experience that ranges from handling the Las Vegas city budget to working on RTC transportation plans to serving in the Nevada Legislature. He then said his priority will be to make Clark County a model (in a good way!) government for America and improve the overall Southern Nevada quality of life.
Greg Esposito was next, and he described how he has a different set of skills. He came here in 1991 on a Greyhound bus, then went from kitchen handyamn to plumber and pipefitter to Clark County Commission candidate. He said his priorities will be economic recovery, doing what he can on the local level to address the foreclosure crisis, bringing new industries to Southern Nevada, address crime, and take on the UMC challenge.
Ron Newell then answered, admitting that he's a novice to politics and that he was inspired to run by a Shermie column in The R-J. (Huh?) He also said he has common sense that he'll be using when on the board.
He was followed by Mary Beth Scow, who said that she's the only candidate who has already served on a large government board. She talked about her six years of service on the Clark County School District Board of Trustees (and chairing it for three of those years). Scow then said she's already "dealth with thorny issues", "been getting her fingernails dirty", and has a "heart to help the community". Scow then said he priorities are creating new jobs, fixing Southern Nevada's economy, improving education, preventing blight, and keeping more families in their homes.
And then, what we were all waiting for... We were finally at closing statements! Greg Esposito started and kept it concise. Ron Newell, however, did not... Let's just say he went on for a little over the 30 second time limit. (The moderator had to stop him at about a minute.) Mary Beth Scow then delivered a bit of a surprise with her closing statement, using it to declare false the rumors that have been spreading about her being anti-union and "not a real Democrat". She declared she's been a life-long Democrat, has never had a problematic relationship with the unions, and is a proven "consensus builder". David Parks was last, and he again stressed his experience and that he's ready to do the job.
And after some club business and a few intros to some other local candidates, the meeting was adjourned.
So what do I think? To be fair, I personally won't endorse any candidate at this time (and Stonewall as a club will not make a primary endorsement) and I'll check my biases at the door to deliver as honest an assessment as possible.
To a certain extent, Jon Ralston is right that we didn't hear enough specifics on enough issues. There was plenty of talk of "studies" (especially on UMC and the home rule issue) and plenty of generalities thrown around. However, the debate was still far from the throwaway that Ralston seemed to marginalize it as. We were still treated to some interesting policy revelations.
David Parks and Mary Beth Scow did have their shining moments when they brought forward their past experience and demonstrated some real know-how on how county government works. And for the "newcomer", Greg Esposito was able to go toe-to-toe with Parks and Scow on offering up some innovative ideas (especially on sustainable development!) that may just work. And while Ron Newell did have some odd moments at times, he also added something worthwhile to the conversation.
So who won last Wednesday? Well, I'll let you read my notes and decide for yourself. :-)