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October 21, 2014

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Las Vegas Ward 6 recall race already under way, despite technicality

County election officials still need to verify signatures turned in by Steve Ross challenger Byron Goynes

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Steve Ross

It was still unclear late this afternoon whether Las Vegas Ward 6 City Councilman Steve Ross will officially have a challenger on the ballot for his Jan. 31 recall election.

Although city Planning Commissioner Byron Goynes filed paperwork and collected 1,758 signatures, Clark County election officials had not yet verified them as of 5 p.m. Thursday, according to City Clerk Beverly Bridges.

“It looks like it might be sometime tomorrow. Normally they try to do it immediately but there were a lot of signatures,” Bridges said.

However, Goynes wasn't letting that technicality stop him — he's already acting like a candidate.

The 51-year-old Las Vegas planning commissioner has been going door to door with his campaign and was to appear Thursday night on Jon Ralston's "Face to Face" program on KSNV Channel 3.

Meanwhile, the subject of the recall election, Steve Ross, has been doing his own campaigning.

Ross sent out an email today that he has the support of former Mayor Oscar Goodman and his wife, current Mayor Carolyn Goodman, and others.

Ross said he has received the endorsement of the Las Vegas Police Protective Association, the Las Vegas Fire Fighters Association and the National Rifle Association.

Contacted this afternoon, Goynes said he's endorsed by several homeowners associations and part of his platform is to "Fix 6."

"We're going to do that by being responsive, we're going to bring businesses back to the area, we're going to create jobs, we're going to do zoning and planning that makes sense ... We're going to end the traffic nightmares that occur out in Ward 6 and we're going to focus on families, youth and our seniors," he said.

Goynes said this will be his second shot at the city council. He finished in third place in the Ward 6 race in 2005.

"This is more of a condensed-down race," he said. "It's a little bit more fast-paced. But the good thing about this race is I am in it at the urging of the residents of Ward 6."

Although Ross is calling Goynes "car dealer Joe Scala's candidate," Goynes said a number of homeowners associations in Ward 6 contacted him and he met with their leadership to get into the race.

"They wanted to have a viable candidate in this race," he said. "And they know I've lived in the area for 27 years."

Goynes said they also knew he had been involved in the community through his work with the Boy Scouts and as a longtime girls soccer coach and as a licensed substitute teacher.

"I am all about family and community and that's what the neighbors say they want this go-around," he said

He works as a community employment liaison for Workforce Connections, which is the Southern Nevada Workforce Investment Board. He said that agency, which receives funds from the U.S. Department of Labor, provides work training programs for workers and incentives for businesses to put the unemployed back to work.

Goynes has a long history of civic involvement. He has been a member of the planning commission for 16 years. His father, Theron Goynes, is a past mayor pro tem of North Las Vegas. And his sister, Pamela Goynes-Brown is a current NLV councilwoman and vice mayor.

Goynes and his wife, Lydia, have an 18-year-old daughter, Joi, and a son, Joshua, 9.

Voters in Ward 6 (see map) may register in person through 9 p.m. Saturday in the city clerk’s office, which is on the first floor of Las Vegas City Hall, 400 Stewart Ave.

The city clerk’s office is open for in-person voter registration and for extended hours from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, and from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday. Early voting in the Jan. 31 race will be Jan. 26 and Jan. 27.

An earlier effort to force a recall election against Ross failed in August for lack of sufficient signatures, but the same group was able to force the recall last month.

The Committee to Recall Steve Ross submitted 1,189 signatures on Dec. 19 to the Nevada secretary of state's office. The recall needed 1,084 signatures to qualify.

The "Toss Ross" recall has been pushed by Joe Scala, a car dealer who was denied a waiver to continue operating a dealership in Centennial Hills, which is in Ross’ ward.

Scala and his workers blame Ross for the closure. Ross says he tried to work with Scala to keep the business open and its workers employed but Scala refused to cooperate.

A Centennial Hills ordinance requires car dealerships to have a franchise agreement with an auto manufacturer, like Ford or Toyota. When the financial crisis hit in 2007 and 2008, many big auto manufacturers backed out of franchise deals, including one with Courtesy.

Ross and the City Council passed a measure to temporarily lift the requirement, but the stopgap expired in December 2010 and the Courtesy dealership closed.

Ross claims Scala "refused to comply with honest attempts to keep the doors open and ... requested an inappropriate 'sweetheart' deal not available to any other dealer."

Ross said he refused to compromise his integrity or be intimidated, so he held his ground against Scala.

Ross won a second four-year term to represent Ward 6 in 2009 with 54.8 percent of the vote against his challenger, attorney Jennifer Taylor.

Ross ran for mayor earlier this year, but after finishing in fifth place in the primary, he endorsed Carolyn Goodman, who won the seat.

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