Friday, March 11, 2011
My Take on "The People's Debate"
The bumper car ride came to Santa Fe Station last night, and I'm still a little shaken from it. Last night was "The People's Debate". And while some great questions were offered, not all the answers matched that caliber.
- Gadfly extraordinaire Larry Jeppesen talked on and on about his mini electric car and how horrible (he thinks) local government is. At one point, he wore a plastic firefighter hat with fake money attached to it. Need I say more?
- George Harris took this forum as an opportunity to just plain bash government. He demanded that "government get out of the way" of private investment, even though this may be the time when Las Vegas needs investment in public infrastructure the most.
- Ed Uehling also jumped on the "I Hate Guv'mint!!!" bandwagon, and kept obsessing over foreign tourists. Seriously, he's stuck in a time warp.
Hint: Our problem has been overdependence on casinos. And grandstanding on "big guv'mint" is just stupid.
- Marlene Rogoff was the only "minor candidate" with actual, serious answers on development, environmental preservation, and job creation. It's a shame a couple of the "major candidates" get more attention with their blathering nonsense.
- Victor Chaltiel basically proved that he has no clue how to do the job he's running for, as he contradicted himself on public employee contracts, refused to answer questions he didn't want, and sometimes threw out totally nonsensical statements that I would have expected from the more unhinged gadflies. I guess Sheldon Adelson didn't give him the crib notes beforehand?
- And then there was Steve Ross. Where do I start? He contradicted himself on development, kept throwing out talk of "JOBS!!!" without much of any specifics, couldn't think of a single thing he's done to advance LGBTQ equality in Las Vegas, then bolted early. And this is "Working Man Steve Ross"? Give me a break.
- Carolyn Goodman had her good moments. She made a good point on "bigger not always better" when it comes to local government consolidation, and she had the best answer of the night on why Vegas isn't better at job creation. However on green collar jobs and local zoning, she punted with canned lines on "staying out of the private sector's way". Hey, isn't local government there for a reason? So she wasn't perfect, but she was also far from bad.
- Chris Giunchigliani clearly did her homework before last night, and it showed well. She handled questions on ecotourism, neighborhood redevelopment and reinvestment, streamlining business fees, and green collar jobs incredibly well. She was one of the only people on the stage last night who had me on the edge of my seat.
- Larry Brown was the other one. When he explained the intricacies of privileged gaming licenses, I knew he knew what he's supposed to do in local government. He also handled a question on keeping master-planned communities as planned quite well. He also talked about public-private partnerships on green-collar jobs, and getting public works projects on line soon.
And the verdict? I already gave mine. What's yours?