Las Vegas Sun

November 24, 2014

Currently: 64° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Sun Editorial:

Seeing opportunity

Nevada has a chance to change — and improve — for the future

Another view?

View more of the Las Vegas Sun's opinion section:

Editorials - the Sun's viewpoint.

Columnists - local and syndicated writers.

Letters to the editor - readers' views.

Have your own opinion? Write a letter to the editor.

Southern Nevada business leaders gathered Thursday at Preview Las Vegas, the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce’s annual kickoff event, which asked the question “What’s next?”

Analyst Jeremy Aguero opened the session with a swift overview of the business climate and economic indicators in the Las Vegas Valley. His assessment: The numbers aren’t where anyone wants them to be, but they’re headed in the right direction. Aguero singled out several innovative businesses and education programs and highlighted a slew of numbers to support his conclusion: The unemployment rate is high but declining, housing prices are up, banks are lending and there is a significant amount of investment on the Strip and downtown.

“Opportunity,” Aguero said, “is everywhere.”

From Aguero to Zappos.com chief Tony Hsieh, who closed the session to a rousing ovation, opportunity was a key theme. Speakers talked about several ways to prime Southern Nevada for the future, including remaking the convention center to keep Las Vegas as the country’s top meeting destination, adding a world trade center to attract more international business, and improving transportation systems to better accommodate people and goods, locally and regionally.

But the event wasn’t just about laying out big-picture plans and visions. Chamber CEO Kristin McMillan said, “‘What’s next’ isn’t just a question; it’s a call to action.” She said the opportunities for Las Vegas depend on people moving out of their “silos” — such as their industries or cities.

“We’ve got to work together in partnership at every level of government on the issues that will make us a great global city,” she said to applause. “And we can’t just focus on the business community in isolation. All of the people in this town, whether employees or employers, who live here and raise their families here, who strive for a bright future here, need us to get this right.”

She listed several issues — education, transportation, health care, housing and water — that she said shouldn’t be viewed individually but seen “as part of one giant system that forms the basis for the future to our economic health.”

McMillan is on point, and it was good to hear such an emphasis. People are going to have to take a larger, more holistic perspective when addressing the state’s problems, particularly in this session of the Legislature.

In the political process, issues are often parsed, taken out of their contexts and viewed through ideological or political agendas. Consider the debate over education, which often gets reduced to reforms vs. money, or the reactionary view of some politicians to any tax proposal or the tired pitting of government against business. What’s lost in that kind of debate is any sense of what role — or benefit — services play in society.

That needs to change. One of the realities in the aftermath of the recession is that the good old days of seemingly unlimited growth aren’t coming back soon. Yes, there are good signs that things are improving, but to stoke the economy, Nevada has significant challenges that need to be addressed.

For Nevada to reshape itself into a competitive state with a vibrant economy, there needs to be a break from the past; elected and civic leaders will have to put their ideologies aside and focus on what’s best for the state.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 2 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. "What's best for the State," should be to strengthen what remains. Growth has to be more about strengthen what remains, rather than continuing to UNSUSTAINABLY build massive housing tracts and shopping centers that our current infrastructure cannot sustainably maintain.

    It is encouraging to hear, "She listed several issues -- education, transportation, health care, housing and water -- that she said shouldn't be viewed individually but seen "as part of one giant system that forms the basis for the future to our economic health." All are interconnected, as we are in this together for the long haul folks!

    Education is realizing measurable growth thanks to changing from the dysfunctional No Child Left Behind mandate/model, to the Nevada Growth Model. It has been a positive move and has made a positive difference. More needs to happen, especially in the lines of accountability with parents/caregivers and students. We will continue to see lop-sided results when only making educators accountable in this process, and not the others. We call upon our Nevada Lawmakers to legislate ENforcement teeth in the yearly signed, "PARENT/TEACHER/STUDENT INVOLVEMENT ACCORD" that is paid by the Taxpayers.

    In closing, there continues to be the opportunity to change. Clark County School District Superintendent Dwight D. Jones, in his State of the School District speech, made the analogy of running a marathon race as we actively run the race towards change. It is not an easy one, and we must always keep our sights on what we desire to see at the finish line.

    Blessings and Peace,
    Star

  2. Where is the STATE ??? They are invisible and have been.This cannot remain a one horse town with gambling being OUR ONLY INCOME.Small businesses are great but they support the "local economy". The jobs dried up and the people left..along with that they took the tax base.No taxes collected, no services.The state should be ashamed of the miserable job they are doing with education.4 out of 10 student DO NOT graduate in this state.Since we're on education....the report card is in on the state and it's a "F"......in my books.