Las Vegas Sun

April 21, 2014

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Hopeful’s address crosses bounds

Ward 5 Las Vegas City Council candidate Ricki Barlow has campaigned as an insider who has lived in the ward for most of his life.

Clark County Board of Elections records, however, show that the first time Barlow voted in Ward 5 was in this year's April 3 primary. Now, his June opponent is questioning whether he lived in Ward 5 long enough to become a candidate.

From 1990 until May 14, 2004, Barlow's residence was listed on election records as 3790 Timberlake Ave., in unincorporated Clark County.

In 2004 Barlow filed a change of residency with the elections board to 3920 Minneola Way in North Las Vegas. On Jan. 30 he changed to a Ward 5 address in Las Vegas, two days before he filed as a council candidate from the ward.

Barlow's campaign literature says he is a lifelong resident of Las Vegas who has lived in Ward 5 for more than 30 years. Although Ward 5 has not existed for that long, the claim refers to the area now included in the ward.

Barlow served as a liaison for former Ward 5 Councilman Lawrence Weekly, whose appointment to the Clark County Commission prompted Barlow and nine other candidates to seek the council seat.

A candidate must live in the ward in which he is running 30 days before filing for office, provided he also is registered to vote in that ward when he files.

Matt Griffin, deputy for elections with the Secretary of State's Office, said the fact that Barlow registered to vote in Ward 5 two days before his Feb. 1 candidacy filing does not necessarily disqualify him as a candidate.

The records confirm that Barlow was, as required, registered to vote in the ward before becoming a candidate. If he can prove he also lived in the ward for 30 days before Feb. 1, as Barlow says he can, he would be eligible , Griffin said.

Although Barlow acknowledged that the election board's voting data showing that he became a Ward 5 resident only months ago is accurate, he said he has always considered himself a resident of Ward 5 because of his commitment to that community.

He dismissed the residency questions as a smear tactic by his opponent, Stacie Truesdell, who finished second to Barlow in the primary and will face him in the June 5 general election.

"My community service to Las Vegas as a whole has been stellar," Barlow said. "I have always been a true grass - roots contributor in this community and I do not apologize for the great service and my leadership."

Gary Gray, Truesdell's campaign manager, said it's not Barlow's service that is in question, but his residency and character.

"It's clear he's lied to the voters of Ward 5 about his involvement, his interests and his residency," Gray said.

Gray pointed out that Barlow, while living in Clark County, also served as a city appointee on the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District Board of Trustees, even though city residency was a condition of that appointment.

"He lied to the City Council and to the mayor and misrepresented his residence for the purpose of getting an appointment," Gray said.

The irony, Gray said, is that some have tried to portray Truesdell as an outsider because she has lived in the ward for less than two years.

Truesdell bought a home in the ward when she returned to the valley from law school in New York, but voted in local elections even while living out of state, Gray said.

Gray said he has not decided whether to pursue a residency challenge.

Barlow, meanwhile, apparently does not have to worry about the state ethics board looking into the matter. A board spokesman said Friday that although making false residency assertions on campaign literature is questionable, it is not a violation of any ethics law.

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