Monday, March 28, 2011 | 1:50 a.m.
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.
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?
I think Boulder City is in better shape than many communities because of the assets we have and because we’re a slow-growth community that’s been careful. There are two big ways, though, we could fix the situation: finding new revenues and reducing costs. Other than the solar leases, clean energy and technology are still areas where we should expand.
We should also look for redundancies in our budget. I would like to look at the structure of City Hall and see if there are ways to make it more efficient and responsive. We have to look at those issues individually. I wouldn’t want to see radical reductions.
How would you encourage economic growth and stability in Boulder City?
We need to build on our core values. We’re the town that built Hoover Dam. We’re a shining light that reflects what working people can do. I think we can expand tourism to the city by connecting us more with Hoover Dam and Lake Mead. So that anyone who thinks of those places, they think of Boulder City, too. I think if we tie solar companies to the community, through the school for instance, then our own kids can learn those skills and why they’re important.
We really need to hone who we are. Boulder City is also becoming known as an outdoor mecca. We should be building that up, and it fits well with our image.
According to city records, the city has spent more than $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?
That should be the absolute last resort. I think you should only sue if the citizens have actually done damage or harmed the city. There must be other options. I would like to see an advisory committee that would tell petitioners if the questions are legally insufficient. I don’t think it’s appropriate to personalize it.
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’s car registration, could be used as examples. How would you encourage civil discourse in City Hall?
I don’t know that I would characterize it as incivility. I think there is an old guard that’s reluctant to let go and sees a transition of power as threatening. I don’t see why you would initiate a recall otherwise. I still think that the proper remedy would have been the next election.
In my family, we had vigorous debates, but that didn’t mean we didn’t have respect for each other. I think a lot of it is a misunderstanding of people’s intentions. I believe everyone on or running for council cares about Boulder City, and we need to recognize that.
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?
Over the last year, I have been talking to people in the state government about the Boulder City Bypass. I think there’s been a misunderstanding that this is only a Boulder City issue that Boulder City is responsible for. And if that’s the case, then what we want isn’t necessarily going to happen.
I also know there is a lot of political toxicity around earmarks, which could help pay for construction. And even if the project was fast-tracked, it would take years to complete. So, what are we going to do in the interim? We have to make sure the rest of the state understands that this doesn’t just affect Boulder City. We all need to work together to raise the profile of this issue.
Widening U.S. 93 should help. We need to think about new access roads by building a community consensus about what needs to be done. Maybe consider bypasses over key intersections, so drivers aren’t endangered.
Finally, why are you the right candidate for City Council?
I have a bachelor’s degree in economics, which helps me to understand the city’s budget and finances. I’ve also tried to be involved in the community since I moved here in 1994 — helping the Eagle Scouts, Rainbow Girls, AAUW.
I see the next City Council as having a great responsibility because they will determine what the long-term future of Boulder City will be. We need to make it a great place for our children and grandchildren to live. I think we have a great opportunity to do that.