Monday, April 11, 2011

#oscarswife? Or Something More?

It's tawdry. It's titillating. And yes, it can be scandalous at times.

Wait, you thought I was talking about "Gigolos"? (the new show about Vegas male "escorts) Oh, no! This is Las Vegas' mayoral election.

There's renewed buzz over Carolyn Goodman not really knowing what The Dream Act is... Or even what Teach for America does (link es en espanol)...

And of course, I'm still trying to figure out what exactly what happened when she couldn't recall what domestic partnerships are, couldn't form an opinion on marriage equality, and talked about gay and lesbian couples forming "50/50 contracts". So obviously, there's a perception that Goodman isn't really ready for the job. Is that true? Or are some Las Vegans overreacting?

Last month, Las Vegas Weekly profiled Carolyn Goodman. And in profiling her, they caught a glimpse of her vision of Las Vegas...

Carolyn has a definite vision for the city, including bringing in more retiree dollars. “There’s a huge retiree population in Buffalo and Chicago that could come here with no income tax, corporate tax, estate tax and enjoy this wonderful weather,” she says.
Carolyn admits the city would need “massive advertisement” from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, as well as the Nevada Development Authority, to accomplish her goal, “but that’s got to be sold to them, and I think I have a persuasive voice and somewhat of an intellect.”

In addition to “putting a lot of emphasis into medical care” and “making sure the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Brain Institute takes advantage of continual growth,” Goodman hopes to nurture the city’s cultural element, including “attracting more young professionals Downtown” and getting a supermarket built there to service their needs. With the cost of gasoline rising, Goodman has an idea for the Strip: “The hotels should say, ‘Come here and we’ll give you a tank of gas to get home.’”

And wondered if maybe hers actually is unique and separate from Oscar's.

Goodman notes that, technically, the mayor’s office requires little beyond holding city council meetings and declaring emergencies, but adds, “Look at all Oscar was able to accomplish.” She says she’ll aggressively pursue bringing new businesses to Nevada that will create new jobs and that she’s ready to be a voice for the city. Like Oscar … minus the showgirls and martini glasses. “Oscar can get away with things, like Don Rickles, that I can’t imagine getting away with,” she says. “I don’t need publicity, I don’t like publicity. In fact, this is very disturbing for me because it’s not me. Oscar loves the flamboyance, but I’m an under-the-radar type person.”

So why run? Carolyn says it’s a direct result of the Goodmans’ strong bond. “You cannot love someone if you don’t trust and respect them.” She believed in his vision when he first ran in 1999, and she wants that vision—particularly Downtown redevelopment—to continue. “What he accomplished is amazing to me. That’s the only reason I filed, to see [the city] continue in that direction.”

But Carolyn is careful to point out that she hasn’t supported her husband on everything. The two have had differences, like the F Street closure. “It wasn’t that it was so terrible a thing. It was the symbolism of what it meant,” Carolyn says, referring to the perceived disenfranchisement of a historically black community. And she had words for Oscar after his scathing response to President Obama’s two slights of Las Vegas: “I said, ‘No matter what, he is the President, and in my opinion, you respect him.’”

So Carolyn Goodman is her own person?

And does she have the knowledge and experience needed for the job she's seeking? I really did catch interesting moments last month when I saw her first-hand at "The People's Debate". However Laura Martin went to even more debates and campaign forums, and she tried to poke deeper into the mystique of #oscarswife.

I attended almost all of the mayoral debates during the primary, and I noticed whenever Chris Giunchigliani talked about legislation or ordinances she worked on, #OscarsWife would roll her eyes or pass a look to her staff as if to say[,] "Now here she goes with all those facts and shit[.]"

Why the hate from OscarsWife?

Every time Chris G talks about her experience, OscarsWife [is] forced to admit that she has none. Every time Chris G describes in detail a bill, proposed legislation or policy, OscarsWife is exposed as not just a political neophyte, but a Sarah Palineqsue character who has no knowledge of current events and no ability to articulate any of the little knowledge she does have.

There's certainly no question of Chris Giunchigliani's sharp intellect, or of her strong work ethic. She will certainly prove to be a formidable challenger. So is Carolyn Goodman up to the challenge that may be far greater than initial poll numbers suggest?

The first debate next week may prove to be quite pivotal. It may be Carolyn's chance to prove she's more than just #oscarswife. Can she rise to this occasion?

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