Meet (most of) the 18 candiates in the mayoral clown car
Thu, Feb 17, 2011 (midnight)
Oscar Goodman must be really sad he can’t run again this year. The race to replace him is going to be an absolute circus. Among the 18 people who filed papers by the deadline, there are strong contenders, a few also-rans and everything else you could imagine. It seems safe to assume some will get no votes but their own, but we’ll let you judge who those might be as you peruse this handy-dandy guide and start preparing for the April 5 primary.
Arnold “Duke” Breuer
Best known as: One of thousands warned in 2008 that they might have contracted hepatitis C from the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada. For the record, he was one of the lucky ones who didn’t. Plans for the city: 1. Promote Vegas as the “solar capital of the U.S.” 2. Address employment and education. Funding for education, he says, should come “from the bloated salaries of elected and appointed officials.” Quote we like: “If I was the minority speaker of the house, [homeless] conditions would make me weep.”
Best known as: A Clark County commissioner and former Las Vegas City Councilman. Also, a professional athlete who played several years on Las Vegas’ Triple-A baseball team, then known as the Las Vegas Stars. Plans for the city: Brown would continue his support of parks and open spaces, which has already resulted in nationally recognized recreational facilities like the Bettye Wilson Soccer Complex and Kellogg-Zaher Sports Complex. Quote we like: “Saving money and streamlining used to be a choice. Now it’s a mandate.”
Abdul H. Shabazz
Best known as: The only candidate for mayor who’s a self-described “professional dice hustler turned denture maker.” Plans for the city: Las Vegas’ biggest challenge, Shabazz says, “is realizing that the gaming model is not dead. We need to perfect upon what we already have.” So how does one become a “dice hustler”? “I was trained at an early age to professionally handle dice back in the Midwest. I made a living at it, no doubt about it, but you know … the illegal thing.”
Best known as: A successful local businessman who’s started several companies, and a staunch supporter of local causes and the arts. Plans for the city: Chaltiel wants to put his business know-how to use creating jobs. “I’ve done it in business, and I’ll do it for Las Vegas,” he says. Handicapping: He’s well-respected in Las Vegas and has the resources to mount a formidable campaign.
Best known as: A mayoral candidate we couldn’t reach. Repeated calls to her listed number came up empty. Plans for the city: Who knows? What more is there to say? Not much.
Katherine "Katie" Duncan
Best known as: The founder and president of the Ward 5 Chamber of Commerce. She ran unsuccessfully for the Ward 5 Council seat in 2007. Plans for the city: 1. Hold Las Vegas developers to a city statute that mandates 51 percent of all jobs go to Las Vegas residents. “Developers who take the tax dollars must be required to follow the law and put Las Vegas residents to work.” 2. Support economic diversity, i.e. solar, alternative fuels, and inner-city light rail transit. 3. Promote religious tourism. Why we like her: Duncan has been working hard to bring tourism to Ward 5—whose boundaries are Bonanza Road, Lake Mead Boulevard and A and H streets—and is a champion of historic preservation there.
Best known as: Founder of the Meadows School and the wife of outgoing Mayor Oscar Goodman. Plans for the city: While she has never held elective office, Goodman has years of experience at Meadows and is well-known for championing education in Nevada. In the bag? In many circles, Goodman is seen as the clear front-runner. Not only does she boast a 35-year history with Las Vegas, she also shares the last name of one of city’s most beloved figures. Then again, given the current economic state, nothing is guaranteed.
Best known as: A mayoral candidate in 2003. Falco is a former car salesman and real estate agent, and currently works as a crossing guard. Plans for the city: Holding a twice-yearly seminar called Bring Your Business to Las Vegas, inviting out-of-state businesses to see the benefits of relocating. Falco also wants to form a committee of citizens, educators, businesspeople and union representatives to meet quarterly on how to bring—and keep—businesses here. Not about the money: Falco claims he would donate the bulk of his salary to charities—including Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Muscular Dystrophy Association—as well as the Clark County School District and the city itself.
Best known as: A training officer and EMT at Caesars Entertainment Corp. Plans for the city: 1. Focus on neglected Las Vegas neighborhoods, some of which are “just as bad as Downtown was a decade ago.” 2. Pursue new businesses to relocate here, particularly high-tech. 3. Support the Maglev project that would stretch between Las Vegas and Disneyland. “There is no reason why Las Vegas should not be home to the first Maglev in the country.” Not your grandfather’s candidate: “North Las Vegas and Henderson have unveiled iPhone apps for city services. Las Vegas is still without this small thing. I am a younger person who was brought up with technology. I have an understanding of technology and know the benefits it can bring.”
Best known as: A Clark County commissioner and former special-education teacher. Plans for the city: 1. “Get the government out of people’s way” and consolidate some city services. 2. Establish a nonprofit to assist the city’s public schools, “whether it’s reading a book or donating supplies, setting up job shadowing or internship programs.” 3. Establishing “pride zones” to beautify neighborhoods. Love that ad: Giunchigliani is one of the most respected politicians in Nevada at the moment, and her ad on how to pronounce her name (it’s “June-Kill-Lee-Ah-Nee”) is genius. “My mom loves it too,” she laughs.
Best known as: The founder of Nevada’s “Tequila Party.” Harris also owns Mundo restaurant and is the co-founder of locally based Alien Tequila. Plans for the city: 1. Harris, who created 93 jobs last year between his various enterprises, wants to bring in new business. “I would call on a bunch of friends to go to California, Arizona, Washington State and Texas and look for companies with 100-500 employees” and show them the benefits of relocating. 2. City deals! “Things like, ‘This Thursday, you’ll get 45 percent off that building permit.’” Noted and quoted: “There’s a lot of talk about Hispanics in Nevada illegally, but there’s also a lot of Canadian, Muslim, Asian and other nationalities here illegally. Why focus only on Hispanics?”
Larry M. Jeppesen
Best known as: A little bit of everything, from a teacher to a cowboy to an ore hauler in Nevada’s gold mines. He’s retired. Plans for the city: 1. Demand an audit of Las Vegas firefighter’s overtime and sick-leave bonuses. 2. Cancel the city-owned TV station and use that money to change the city’s “toxic image” to reflect “a safe, senior-friendly, retirement city.” Going for: The senior vote.
Best known as: Another mayoral candidate we couldn’t reach: She didn’t even list a phone number when she filed papers. Plans for the city: See Deborah Love. What more is there to say? Ditto.
Best known as: A real estate agent. Rogoff ran for the Ward 6 Council seat in 2005 and was also a member of the Tule Springs Preservation Committee. Plans for the city: According to her website: 1. More business. 2. Guarantee no cuts to fire or police. 3. No new taxes (read her lips). Oscar 2.0? Rogoff filed her paperwork with Chippendales dancers at her side, a nod to Oscar Goodman’s showgirl companions. Her website also lists vodka as her favorite drink. Hear that, Grey Goose?
Best known as: A Las Vegas city councilman and certified master electrician. Plans for the city: Ross has a strong pro-business mentality, and his priority would be job creation for the city’s 50,000 unemployed. Quote we like: From his website: “I’m not perfect, but I know that no 10-point plan, no government mandate and no stiff suit politician is going to get us out of the mess they helped create. It’s time to get back to basics.”
Best known as: The man who ran unsuccessfully for Clark County sheriff in 1994, and was accused of running a business without a license. The charges were dismissed. Plans for the city: Uehling wants to open up Las Vegas to the Asian market. According to Uehling, “Four million tourists from Asia will provide what 37 million American tourists currently do. Two billion Asians want to come here, but they can’t because they can’t get visas.” Full disclosure: Uehling seems to embrace the “carpetbagger” label that’s been bestowed on him. “I lived in Boulder City most of my life. I didn’t move [to Vegas] until two minutes before the filing deadline.”
Who he is: Former director of the Nebraska Mexican American Commission, Vasquez manages and operates the Limited English Proficiency (LEP) hotline. Plans for the city: Vasquez sees education as the highest priority and wants to create city-sponsored charter schools. Not a fan: Vasquez says Oscar Goodman’s efforts to improve and develop Downtown have been failures, adding that the Arts District under Goodman “will end up being another Neonopolis-like fiasco.”
Anthony “little guy” Wernicke
Best known as: The perpetual bridesmaid: Wernicke ran unsuccessfully for state Senate in 2008 and Clark County assessor in 2010. He’s a former breakdancer and bus driver. Plans for the city: Preserve services for seniors and children by “cutting the six-figure salaries many city management [employees] make.” He also wants more attention paid to Wards 1, 3 and 5. “There’s been nothing new in those wards but payday loan centers. All Goodman is worried about is that piece of desert Downtown.” Quote we like: “My friend’s family is eating hot dogs and Top Ramen because he was one of the [city] layoffs.”