Las Vegas City Schools Superintendent Rick Romero is unhappy with the city’s response in dealing with parking issues around Robertson High School.
Ro-mero, along with a number of veteran school board members, said at last week’s board meeting that the city is trying to duck responsibility.
“I received a call from Chief of Police Gary Gold. I appreciate Gary very much... I can tell in the conviction in his voice that he’s tired of being blamed for the parking issues around Robertson High School,” Romero said.
Romero said some complaints had been lodged with the city manager.
“The new city manager (Timothy Dodge) went to Gary and said this is an enforcement problem. I told the chief that I don’t think it is,” Romero said. “The city has to decide if it will remain open to parking on a public street, close it or stripe it.”
Romero said there are currently no signs prohibiting parking.
“We have adequate parking and can have all of our students park appropriately. However, as long as they don’t have any restrictions on those city streets, we cannot confine kids to the parking lot. Because in order for us to do that, we are going to have to issue permits that verify insurance, verify registration and verify that the people coming on to campus are licensed drivers,” Romero said.
Romero said if students don’t want to get permits to park in the lot adjoining the football field and gym, they can just pull up on Baca or another street close by without consequences. He said it blows the permit system completely out of the water.
The superintendent said he and Robertson Principal Eddie King would be meeting with Dodge the day after the school board meeting.
“My response to them is going to be, ‘Until you guys take a stance and do something to either shut these streets or stripe them appropriately, then there is nothing we can do.’ And Gary (Gold) is saying the same thing: There is nothing his officers can do,” Romero said.
Dodge said late last week that the meeting with Romero and King went well. He said the city would look at its ordinances to see what it could to do alleviate the parking problem. Dodge reflected a similar sentiment in a later interview.
Board President Phillip Vigil said that it wasn’t just Robertson with a parking problem. He said residential streets around every school in Las Vegas get backed up when kids are going and coming from school.
“I feel we’re getting picked on by people who live across the street from Robertson High School. They moved in knowing a school was in the neighborhood, and now they are the ones complaining. There are many other residential areas around schools in both districts, so if they’re going to stripe streets around schools in our district, they should stripe every school in both districts,” Vigil said.
Vice President Ramon “Swoops” Montaño said he was bothered, too, and wanted some answers from city officials.
“We’ve invited the city to how many meetings already? Yet we have to make accommodations for us to go over there to meet with them. It really bothers me because this is an elected board, and to go see them individually, only two of us can go, it’s ridiculous,” Montaño said. “The city has issues with streets and parking throughout this community.”
Montaño said he is tired of hearing Chief Gold being blamed.
Montaño said compromise is always a possible if people come to the table instead of pointing fingers at one another.
“It’s not right that a few taxpayers have an open door to a city councilor; it needs to be fair for all taxpayers,” Montaño said. “I think it’s the city’s job to come to us, so that they can implement safer streets for all our kids. And it’s wrong for Chief Gold to be the fall guy.”
Romero said he had heard from a city official that the city was already wanting to put signs up.
“So, my first response to that is, ‘Mr. Dodge, call me.’ It bothers me that we have a new city manager who has not taken even one iota of time to call and say, ‘Rick can we meet?’ But, it has been Gary that has had to run the interference on this.”
Board member Patrick Romero asked, “Mr. Romero, have you called Mr. Dodge yet?”
Romero said, “No. This all started the day we showed up to do presentations at Luna Community College. He (Dodge) didn’t know who I was and didn’t introduce me. So I went to the mayor after sitting in the audience listening to presentations for three hours, and asked if I was presenting.”
“But he (Dodge) jocularly introduced others, and you could see the ‘patron system’ in action that day. So, no, Dr. Romero, I’m not going to call him because this is a city problem, the city should contact us if there’s a concern there,” Romero said.
City Manager Dodge said Romero came in late to the city-organized meeting and didn’t sign in as a presenter. He said the meeting was to bring the community together.
“It’s inappropriate to make those comments about the patron system. We don’t hire based on political pressure over here,” the city manager said.
Superintendent Romero said later in the week that he had never met Dodge before the Luna meeting and that the matter wasn’t a “big deal.”
During the meeting, Superintendent Romero said the staff at the high school does a good job of policing the kids.
“So I don’t think I should initiate that conversation. How many times have we extended an invitation to the City Council for them to come to visit with us? And they don’t,” Rick Romero said.
Board member Romero answered, “Quite a few.”