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April 16, 2014

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Q&A with Boulder City Council candidate Linda Graham

2011 MUNICIPAL PRIMARY


Boulder City's municipal primary election is April 5. The Sun interviewed all eight candidates seeking office -- two are running for mayor against incumbent Roger Tobler, who is seeking reelection, and five are running to fill two city council seats -- and asked them what they would bring to City Hall. You can find their answers, condensed and edited for clarity, in the links below.

MAYOR

CITY COUNCIL

Linda Graham

Linda Graham

Boulder City, like most cities, has some financial issues to address: $96 million in debt and decimated traditional revenues among them. What are some of your own solutions to the city’s financial problems? Can you name some specific areas where the city should save money?

They are in debt. Everyone knows that. I have not looked at the budget yet. However, I am aware that the city manager will be retiring soon. That’s where we could save right away. We could reduce that salary so it’s more in line with some of our peers. The city attorney makes $185,000, and the citizens have already voted once to elect the next city attorney, so that’s an area to save money by reducing that salary as well. I do feel like the unions have made some concessions, and I appreciate that.

We may also need to get the department heads together to talk about where their departments could make some specific cuts. And in the future, if you want to borrow, we need to have a plan in place.

How would you encourage economic growth and stability in Boulder City?

This is no-growth town. I don’t think the citizens that live here want it to grow too much. I think they like it as a lazy, little town. I do think we have to attract some new businesses. I don’t know what kind of businesses. I am under the understanding that the Chamber of Commerce has a plan.

According to city records, the city has spent at least $130,000 in pursuing lawsuits against the petitioners of three ballot questions from November’s election, two of which were passed by the voters, as a means of challenging their legality. That course of action has upset a portion of the city’s populace, as demonstrated by the protest this week. What is your opinion on the decision to sue those petitioners?

I received an email from somebody saying that we’ve now spent $167,000. I think that’s way out of line. I feel like it wasn’t very fair, and it’s not a good use of financial resources. To me, these ballot questions are already the law if they’ve passed. And the city attorney should have gone over them before they went on the ballot. I think that’s part of his job.

Heated debate is part of politics, but it might be argued that Boulder City’s discussions are more hostile than most. The attempted recalls of council members Linda Strickland and Travis Chandler, or the controversy over City Manger Vicki Mayes’ car registration, could be used as examples. How would you encourage civil discourse in City Hall?

I think the time to discuss some of this stuff is not during an open meeting. I don’t think that’s necessary. I think there are times to have a closed session.

Do you believe more could be done to fix Boulder City’s traffic problem since the opening of the Hoover Dam bypass bridge in October? What solutions would you propose that haven’t already been pursued?

The citizens are upset about the traffic, so, of course, more needs to be done. If we were to extend Lake Mountain Drive, I think that would be a relief for a lot of the people in the Hemingway Valley. For those of us in the historical district, near Wyoming Street, which is where I live, I think we’re still experiencing a lot of the traffic. I go out and see it every morning, and it’s bad.

I still think Interstate 11 is a good idea, but people still don’t see it as something that needs to happen. The appropriations are probably going to come from the U.S. Congress, so we need to convince those people with the purse strings that we need it. We get a lot of visitors, including Arizona gamblers going to Las Vegas. We need to include Las Vegas in our block of influence to get this done. If we do, I think we have a good chance.

Finally, why are you the right candidate for City Council?

I’m hard-working. I’ll take the time to listen to anyone’s concerns and take them seriously.

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