MY PLATFORMS

Read about my initiatives that will drive change for many issues.

As Commissioner, I am going to push two agendas heavily:

1) Clark County needs to adapt for a new future, and

2) Clark County needs to strengthen partnerships with locals and local nonprofits/community organizations.

These two will facilitate change with respect to many issues.

11

Adapting to a New World

COVID-19 changed our world. Tourism stopped, which not only decreased Clark County’s revenues because of lost hotel taxes, but also increased demand for social services because of rampant unemployment. As a result, Clark County is now facing an estimated $315M budget deficit for 2020, and money from the CARES Act cannot be used to replace lost revenues. Clark County basically has less money but needs to provide more. That’s tough, and we need a Commission that can adapt well to this new reality.

Our world isn’t going back. Tourism is obviously a huge industry for us. People come here for, conferences, large events, and fun. Conferences and events as far out as October (Las Vegas Renaissance Festival) are cancelled. That’s going to make opening up our economy slower and more difficult than for other counties. This means that lots of people will remain out of work even after the lockdown ends.

We need to accept the fact that certain businesses are dead. People go to nightclubs and dayclubs for the atmosphere, which is created by packing lots of people into a small area—the perfect conditions for spreading COVID-19. Testing and treatment are not sufficient for these businesses to reopen; we need a vaccine that won’t be here until 2021.

We must acknowledge that certain businesses can fix themselves. I don’t trust the casinos. They seem to want me to get lost, lose track of time, and drink copious amount of alcohol so that I make bad decisions. However, I do trust them to maximize their profits. They don’t need Clark County’s help in figuring out when to open. I trust the Unions to pressure the casinos into creating a safe work environment. I understand the draw to meddle in those affairs because that’s a crucial part of our economy, but those folks know what they are doing, and they know to ask for help when they need it. Clark County needs to focus creating new industries and new jobs because others aren’t going to do that.

Lastly, we cannot focus on what we do not know. When it comes to COVID-19, we don’t know very much. When it comes to reopening the economy, we know even less. It isn’t helpful to try thinking about the infinite possible scenarios. We must be very targeted in our thinking and problem solving by focusing on what we know.

I don’t know the exact solution to all of our problems, but I do know a few components of that solution. We have kids that need school. Whether we have a second wave or not, it makes sense to improve online education at the secondary level. Right now, the biggest hurdles are technological—kids don’t have computers or internet access. Let’s start by dumping some money into creating a free public wifi that covers the neighborhoods around middle schools and high schools that are 85% or higher in free and reduced plan lunch so that our kids can get online. This infrastructure building creates jobs, qualifies for CARES Act funding, and fills a known need. This is just one example of adapting and evolving. We have opportunities in telemedicine, public transportation, elections, restaurant industry and bunches of other places to create new jobs that will produce long term benefits.

You can count on me to triage as Commissioner. Nightclubs are dead. Clark County can’t save them. They’ll rise from the dead in 2021, and we’ll create fertile ground for them to thrive by bringing stability. Casinos are unhealthy, but they’ll recover on their own. I’m going to focus where I can make a difference, like for restaurants, retail stores, and leisure activities (escape rooms, paintball, etc.), and I’ll bring an unparalleled creativity to solving incredibly complicated problems.

22

Strengthening Partnerships within Vegas

Part of adapting is understanding what we have and what we need. Clark County’s greatest asset is its people. The residents of Clark County are talented, resilient, hard working, smart people who want to be part of a strong, healthy, vibrant economy. Our people will work to make this county better; let them.

Many locals are already doing some of Clark County’s work. For example, Churches, Veterans groups, LGBTQ+ organizations, and many others help the homeless. When nonprofits step up, they oftentimes do work very efficiently—they are quite adept at pinching a penny. The problem is that they don’t have many pennies to pinch, which limits the amount of good that they can do. That’s a shame because the charities oftentimes do the work in a tailored and sympathetic way. The Veterans can empathize with those who experienced trauma while in service and have a difficult time transitioning back into civilian life. The LGBTQ+ folks know first-hand what it feels like to disowned by parents and siblings, then cast out on your own as an adolescent. The Churches can see through to the deepest needs when someone craves a better life, but is losing faith and feeling lost. This deep understanding allows them to identify the root causes of homelessness and connect the homeless person with the appropriate resources. Homelessness is just one example where locals pitch in, but stories abound in education and job training, healthcare, environmental cleanup, etc. Considering that local organizations do Clark County’s work efficiently, doesn’t it make sense to support these organizations?

These partnerships aren’t always about money. When a Church opens up in an area that has lots of crime, the police get extra eyes in the neighborhood. Teach the pastor/congregation how to be a good witness, how to report, how to help the police. They’ll do it. In exchange for the help, the police can change their patrol patterns to avoid the Church area when Church is in session and roll through there more frequently when the Church is abandoned.

Where money is necessary, Clark County can help organizations raise money without actually giving them money. Clark County can create a fee differential for business/event licenses. Business license applicants who partner with local nonprofits are rewarded with discount fees. This way, when someone organizes a professional conference for lawyers, the event organizer gets a discount on the licensing fees by partnering with Nevada Legal Services or Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada. Clark County can also offer trainings on how to successfully raise money from tourists for our organizations that land these partnerships. This plan not only doesn’t cost the government any money, it brings more money in to Clark County from outside of our County. How does Clark County make up for the lost revenue from the discounted fees? Raise the prices on fees for those who do not partner with nonprofits.

Of course, it really helps to have money, and expanding the Outside Agency Grant would allow Clark County to financially support these organizations financially. Moreover, Clark County can specifically identify the types of help that it needs in advance, allowing applicants to consider how their projects fits Clark County’s current needs.

These two, adapting to a new world and strengthening partnerships, can solve a great deal of issues when considered broadly.

Answers to Questions about Specific Policies

The following questions were asked by an organization that was compiling profiles on all candidates.  I liked my responses to their questions and wanted people to find those responses here.  Enjoy!

With casinos closed and tourism down, I don’t expect Clark County’s population to experience net growth in 2020 or 2021. However, we need to engage in urban planning now to prepare for our next growth spurt. Manipulating zoning, incentivizing infill development, and promoting use of public transportation can work together to benefit Clark County with more efficient commutes, stronger sense of community, and cleaner living environments.

The decrease in tourism has resulted in lower revenues of Clark County and a likely higher demand for affordable housing. Unfortunately, this means Clark County cannot throw money at the problem if we don’t have money. The best option is shifting as much of the responsibility of supplying affordable housing onto developers through inclusive zoning. Developers will rightfully be upset by this burden shift, but Clark County can offer them shorter, more predictable response times when they need approvals and inspectors to appease them. The special treatment is justifiable because Clark County has an interest in quickly providing more affordable housing.

Clark County needs to expand the Outside Agency Grant to support the local nonprofits helping the homeless. Charities like Churches not only feel a calling to assist the homeless, but also do the work cost efficiently by using volunteers, donations, and their goodwill. For example, it might be difficult for Clark County to find a homeless transgender youth because s/he is couch surfing after being disowned by parents. Trans kids find other gender diverse kids and eventually connect to an LGBTQ+ group. That LGBTQ+ group has a few huge advantages over Clark County: 1) the client was connected to the group through a friend, so there is an extended trust for that group; 2) the group has a good reputation around the factors that led to the homelessness; and 3) that group has a membership that can understand the client’s needs and help the client connect to the appropriate services. These are true whether the group is an LGBTQ+ group, Veteran’s group, or any other social affinity organization. Effectively communicating Clark County’s needs can allow applicants to tailor their proposals to those needs so that Clark County can provide the homeless with better service while lowering their costs.

Because Clark County will have reduced revenues due to the stopped tourism, I don’t see funding for many programs or causes going up. With respect to mental health, the problem is that demand for mental health services exceeds supply. Our solution needs to either increase supply, which will be difficult without somehow creating or attracting more mental health professionals, or decrease demand. To decrease demand, Clark County can offer (or support an organization through the Outside Agency Grant that can offer) preventative mental health programming, like classes on anxiety, depression, mental/emotional abuse, and other common issues to help educate people about mental health as a prophylactic. Understanding mental health and coping mechanisms and local resources will allow Clark County residents to prepare for tough times and get through tough times without as much professional support. Such a program could be both inexpensive and highly impactful.

Clark County, indeed the whole world, is at a unique point in history. Right now, no one can ignore the benefits of conservation because the 6+ week lockdown has created cleaner air, quieter neighborhoods, and thriving local flora and fauna. We MUST capitalize on this deeper awareness to create cultural change in Clark County by getting new people to try using public transportation. If they experience a reliable, efficient system; if they convert time spent in a traffic jam into time spent catching up on texts/emails; if they feel like their efforts are making a difference, they’ll change. As we get more people to use the system, we should expand it according to riders’ demands. People will support an expansion that makes their life better by purchasing tickets.

There is a correct order of operations. First get people to use public transportation while we can exploit the heightened awareness, then improve the system based on rider demand and with rider financial support. Let’s not do it the other way around.

Local governments should have very limited ability to regulate firearms. Clark County cannot ban guns, for example, when gun owners from other counties pass through Clark County on their way to Front Sight, Arizona, Utah, etc. However, it is okay for Clark County to restrict gun purchases in Clark County, though.

Beyond common sense gun laws, like requiring someone to pass a background check in order to purchase a gun and prolonging the time period between purchasing a gun and receiving a gun so as to create a cooling off period, I’m not convinced that gun laws would reduce gun violence.

Yes. As a teacher for Clark County School District, I was a public sector employee who was directly affected by changes to Teacher’s Health Trust, not getting raises, etc. Luckily, I never had to deal with Corona virus, which creates an invisible hazard in all work environments. Our public sector employees need PPE/safe working environments and wages that reflect their contribution to society.

The HUNDRED Plan lays out a detailed transformation of the Historic Westside. This plan is on the order of a Downtown Project and is really impressive. Over the last four years, we’ve steadily made progress to implementing the vision in the HUNDRED Plan, with the most recent major milestone for the Historic Westside being a $3.5M allocation by a Clark County-City of Las Vegas partnership to develop the Historic Westside Leaders Park. That funding should hopefully support this effort through the current economic downtown, and I’ll further support it by pushing progress and maintaining momentum.

Police brutality is wrong. All people in power should be held to a higher standard than civilians, and I think cops who abuse their power should be punished more severely than civilians to show the public that no one is above the law.

I’ve been vocal about the need for systemic, cultural change with law enforcement in Clark County since I declared my candidacy. I was quoted in the Law Vegas Review Journal on May 14, 2020 (before George Floyd) as saying, “Cops have, at best, an image problem right now. There’s a lot of people who will find fault with police, for good reason.” See the article at this link if you subscribe to the LVRJ or this link if you do not.

My plan for police reform involves strategically eliminating 25% of the cops, rebuilding the culture, then adding back new cops into a system built around respect and integrity. COVID-19 stopped tourism, and stopped tourism led to revenue losses affecting More Cops, a program that provides about $150M to police departments in Clark County, adding almost 1,000 extra officers. Without intervention, Clark County will lose about 25% of the police positions across five police departments. I simply won’t intervene, letting the financial struggles play out their effect. When the money comes back, I’ll reward the police departments that have successfully instituted changes in recruitment practices, training programs, implementation support, and maintenance procedures that ensure all cops hold themselves and their fellow cops to higher standards. That way, the new cops come into an unbroken system, and they will know the exact timing and punishments for nonconformity to our expectations.

This rebuilt system is good for the people AND the police. Good officers suffer from a bad image because their fellow cops literally get away with murder. This we-have-each-others’-back my-friend-right-or-wrong culture understandably creates a sense that the badge and uniform are a license to bend/break rules.  The new culture will allow the public to view cops favorably, something most cops should appreciate.