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September 1, 2014

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NLV mayoral hopeful playing tricks, police union says

North Las Vegas mayoral candidate William Robinson has drawn the ire of the union representing 475 city police officers.

The North Las Vegas Police Officers Association filed an ethics complaint with the state Elections Department, claiming Robinson tried to deceive voters regarding law enforcement support.

“We endorsed Shari Buck,” said Michael Yarter, vice president of the police association. “Now he’s trying to say he has law enforcement backing. This is an obvious attempt to trick people.”

Robinson is endorsed by the North Las Vegas Police Officers PAC, which formed in February. A political action committee can be established by one person to raise money for political races or causes.

The endorsement — complete with a badge that looks similar to the North Las Vegas badge — appears on at least two Robinson mailers.

The similarities are not a coincidence.

“I wanted it to look similar to the North Las Vegas badge,” said Scott Hafen, president of the committee and a 14-year police veteran. “The logo of the PAC doesn’t have any bearing on anything. You can get these logos anywhere.”

Hafen, a former association official, said officers complained they had little input in the endorsement. Yarter said the entire 15-member union board was involved in the process.

Hafen said Robinson, a city councilman for 26 years, has supported promotion within the department, rather than external searches for high-ranking officers, and that Robinson communicates well with officers.

Robinson’s campaign manager said he is not concerned about the complaint.

“It’s totally legit,” Jim Ferrence said. “We’re proud to have the endorsement of rank-and-file officers,” saying it was his understanding that some 50 officers in the department support Robinson.

The police endorsement brouhaha comes as KLAS-TV revealed this week that Robinson, 69, was the subject of FBI corruption investigations in the 1990s. No charges were filed.

Yarter said the investigation speaks to Robinson’s character.

Hafen disagreed.

“If the FBI did an investigation and nothing came of it, obviously there wasn’t enough there,” he said. “Those guys are good at what they do. If something was criminally wrong it would have been taken care of back then.”

Robinson denied any wrongdoing.

•••

Boulder City Mayor Roger Tobler asked the state ethics commission last month for an opinion on whether he can vote on issues related to one of his hardware store customers. The answer: It’s OK as long as he discloses the relationship before each vote.

The issue came up most recently when Boulder Inn and Suites appealed a Planning Commission denial of a special sign permit.

The inn spends about $600 per month at his hardware store, less than a half-percent of his total business, Tobler said.

The commission said the amount of business was not substantial enough to warrant abstaining.

•••

Henderson has approved design standards for a 700-acre parcel adjacent to the Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area.

The land is north of the conservation area and just south of the planned Inspirada community.

The city hopes the land is eventually used for a small community — to be called Desert Edge — that would include building with renewable materials and using solar, wind or geothermal energy. The Bureau of Land Management owns the parcel.

That area of Henderson has drawn recent attention from residents concerned about a mining site planned on 640 acres of BLM land.

The mine site would be less than a mile from the 700 acres discussed Wednesday.

The design standards aim to ensure development on the land blends with the desert by using natural landscaping and design.

“We don’t want block walls and people’s back yards backing up to such a precious resource,” said Stephanie Garcia-Vause, community development director.

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