Wednesday, March 18, 2009 | 11:28 a.m.
Nine City Council candidates at a forum last night took the floor for five minutes each. Some used the time to refute accusations, some touted their qualifications and a couple ended with a blaring bullhorn.
A shrill police siren signalled the time expiration of the introductory speeches at the Chamber of Commerce's forum, which drew about 200 people to the College of Southern Nevada, 700 Wyoming St. It will appear later on BCTV, the city's public access station.
The forum was the second organized gathering of all nine candidates. It was a more relaxed answer to a Feb. 24 forum, during which the candidates stressed the election is a pivotal one and answered a moderator's questions before a crowd at the Boulder City Library.
At the chamber's event, after each of the candidates gave opening remarks, they dispersed to individual tables to answer voters' questions directly.
The primary election April 7 will pare the candidates to four who will appear on the June general election ballot.
Two of those running will take over the seats being vacated by Councilman Mike Pacini, whose cannot run again because of term limits, and Councilwoman Andrea Anderson, who is retiring.
The nine candidates are: Matt Di Teresa, an operating engineer; Chris Gatlin, who owns a local painting and trailer rental business; retired Boulder City Library Director Duncan McCoy; Anthony Pakula, who retired from Hoover Dam; Jim Reed, a retired Boulder City police officer; Joe Roche, a consultant; Planning Commissioner John Schleppegrell; former City Councilman Bill Smith; and Cam Walker, a project development director.
Jill Lagan, the chamber's CEO, drew Smith's name for the first introduction.
Smith said his daughter, upon viewing a tape of the last forum, told him to "lighten up."
Smith, who donated the college's building where the forum was held, said even those who disagree with him politically realize he's mostly concerned with the community's welfare.
Roche said he opposes the way the city has given Redevelopment Agency grants.
Reed said some call him a good-old-boy, but he's not, and promised if elected to look at what's best for Boulder City as a whole.
Walker said the city should band together to address the Hoover Dam Bypass bridge, which is set to open next year, sending at least 2,000 tractor trailers through town on U.S. 93 again.
He said the city should focus on financial stability and look to the future.
Pakula also stressed fiscal responsibility and noted he has so far spent $32.67 of his $100 campaign budget. He encouraged voters to exceed last municipal election's turnout.
McCoy said he's worked as a public servant his whole life and stressed experience with budgeting and management as qualifications for a City Council position.
Gatlin, who said he has lived in Boulder City for 46 years, also warned the Hoover Dam Bypass will be a danger to the town and encouraged citizens to vote.
Schleppegrell refuted accusations he was not in good standing with the Hawaii Island Board of Realtors and stressed previous city government experience qualifies him for City Council.
DiTeresa, who spoke last, said he's been involved in city politics since he moved here 16 years ago, opposing at the time a proposed landfill in the Eldorado Valley.
He mentioned again this year's election is a pivotal one for the city, and said every candidate is diverse. DiTeresa said he is "indeed a candidate for change."