Saturday, May 30, 2009 | 2 a.m.
- Tight mayoral race now a battle in Henderson (5-29-2009)
- Mayoral candidates similar, even compliment each other (5-22-2009)
- Mayoral candidates try to differentiate themselves (5-13-2009)
- Hafen, Kirk advance to eight-week battle (4-7-2009)
- Henderson mayoral candidates talk budget cuts at forum (3-19-2009)
Each day Jack Spence pulls his 60-year-old body onto his motorized scooter to take a spin through downtown Henderson.
Spence suffers from kidney failure and the effect of three back surgeries, and doctors recently told him he may need a pacemaker.
His spirits are buoyed by the neighborhood pooches. He and his dachshund, Penny, share Milk-Bones with Murphy the Dalmatian, Scooby Doo the big mutt and Betsy the black Labrador.
Now Spence is finding himself in the local political spotlight.
Henderson mayoral candidate Steve Kirk featured the former electrician on a mailer as an example of someone he helped with a small problem — and someone his opponent, Councilman Andy Hafen, ignored.
Spence said Kirk helped him get a curb cut at Pacific Avenue and Tungsten Street so he could get his wheelchair onto the sidewalk with ease. (Spence says Hafen did not return numerous phone calls. Hafen, who’s returned his own share of constituent calls during his 22 years on the City Council, says he never got a call from Spence.)
Kirk said he asked the public works department to do the curb work. It cost less than $1,000.
Spence, wheeling himself down the street, says he doesn’t mind the attention.
And, as a matter of fact, now he’s got some more favors to ask.
He would like a crosswalk painted at Van Wagenen Street and Victory Road, where he crosses the street daily.
Fixing some potholes would make it easier on his scooter tires. And tell animal control to crack down on leash law violators so he can stop carrying an aluminum tire checker to ward off unfriendly loose dogs.
But Murphy, Scooby Doo and Betsy, they’re OK.
• • •
A last-minute hit piece targeting Hafen as a career politician features several quotes from Hafen that have been taken out of context.
For instance, the flier uses a quote from a 2007 Review-Journal story: “Hafen said he wishes he could go back in time and say, ‘You know what? This is how it’s going to be.’ ”
In fact, Hafen was referring to his regret that the City Council had removed an affordable-housing component for what would become Inspirada.
The mailer — with a blurry photograph of Hafen — came from Henderson Residents for Responsive Government, a political action committee formed last month by Robert Sulliman Jr., a former U.S. Secret Service agent and longtime donor to the Republican party. (Hafen is a Democrat, Kirk a Republican. The municipal races are nonpartisan. However, both political parties have been involved in campaigning.)
Sulliman was appointed by Gov. Jim Gibbons last year to the Nevada Judicial Discipline Commission.
• • •
The final financial reports for the municipal races have been filed with the secretary of state.
Here’s the spending from Jan. 1 to May 21:
In the Henderson mayoral race: Kirk $450,875; Hafen $312,841.
In the Henderson City Council Ward 3 race: Kathleen Boutin $229,289; Cathy Rosenfield $10,510.
In the North Las Vegas mayoral race: Shari Buck $440,580; William Robinson $374,157.
In the North Las Vegas City Council Ward 3 race: Anita Wood $47,545. Her opponent, Angelo Carvalho, did not file. Carvalho said Friday he has spent about $100,000.
He could be fined up to $5,000 for not filing the report. He said he had a family emergency and could not file the paperwork on time.
In the Boulder City Council race: Cam Ward $28,255; Bill Smith $1,286.
In total the candidates — not including those who lost in the primaries — have spent more than $2 million running for the municipal seats..