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?
We need to get our financial house in order. We have to prioritize our services and hold the line of taxes, rates and fees. Prioritizing helps us decide where the money should go.
And we’ve got to get out of debt. Solar lease revenues are important. In the last election, we received a mandate to sell the land around the golf course, and we have to make sure we do that when the economy comes back.
How would you encourage economic growth and stability in Boulder City?
We have to be planning for the future. You stimulate business by making Boulder City a business-friendly environment. We need to have incentives for bigger and smaller companies to come here. We also have to help them get invested in the community. If they feel some kind of ownership in the community, they’re going to want to give back. And we need to market better, which I think the Chamber of Commerce could help us do.
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 last week. What is your opinion on the decision to sue those petitioners?
Litigation always has to be a last resort. We have to invite a public dialogue, so if there are ballot questions in question, we need to discuss the city and the citizens’ concerns. Only if there is no agreement should we pursue litigation.
The citizens have spoken, and that’s important, too. I think the term limits question is a good idea, and that lawsuit could have been avoided. The $1 million debt limit, though, could have an effect on any attempts to refinance the city’s current debt. But the citizens have spoken, and I don’t like going over their heads.
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?
You have to have vigorous debate. That’s part of bringing together citizens of different walks of life. But it doesn’t mean you have to have personal attacks. It’s polarizing and forces people to pick sides. Or they choose not to participate, and that’s counterproductive. I think of myself as a consensus builder. I’ll be up front and center. I will try to be an example of civility.
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?
More needs to be done. NDOT is way behind the curve, and they’re only starting to pay attention. Widening U.S. 93 needs to be fast-tracked, and we have to make sure that stays a priority.
But that’s only a temporary solution. In the long term, we have to find funding for the bypass. We should be able to tap into federal funding if we make it a part of the Interstate 11 project. We also have to look hard at state senator Joe Hardy’s bill on public/private partnerships for toll roads. I think it would work. This shouldn’t be happening in 20 to 25 years.
As for the effect of a bypass on business, people want to come to Boulder City. They still will.
Finally, why are you the right candidate for City Council?
I love Boulder City and its people, who are its greatest asset. As an attorney, I have the experience and knowledge to deal with these situations. I want to be a consensus builder and an independent voice. We have to control growth, limit spending, eliminate debt and build a friendly business environment.