A disturbing reversal

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By Optic Editorial Board

Last month the Las Vegas City Council made a difficult but necessary decision to overturn a Board of Adjustments-approved variance for Ashley Salazar. Ahome was placed too close to the property line and contrary to the site plan that had been filed by her father, former Board of Adjustments member Marvin Salazar.

We opined in this space shortly after last month’s council decision that “it sends the right message — that when it comes to city housing and property codes, rules are rules, and no one is above them.”

Last week, however, the City Council essentially undid this “right decision” by tabling a required resolution outlining the reasons for its previous action.

Both the Community Development director and the city attorney said the resolution is necessary, so the decision will hold up in court. But councilor Joey Herrera, refused to go along, explaining that he felt the resolution would be rubbing salt in the Salazars’ wounds. His nonsensical shift lent itself to the other two councilors, Tonita Gurule-Giron and David Romero, who had opposed the council decision last month, and now throws the whole issue into a procedural absurdity.

Is this what’s to come with our new City Council — good decisions overturned by bad ones after a councilor can’t hold tight to his earlier convictions? We hope not, but last week’s decision makes one wonder.

We said last month that we felt bad for the Salazars having to move the manufactured home to comply with the requirements — even though Ashley Salazar’s father, acting as her “contractor,” manipulated the system in misplacing the home in the first place. Now we’ll say we feel sorry for the neighbors, because they may end up having to live with a home that’s ridiculously close to the back alley, a placement that could potentially hamper a city firetruck from being able to get back there if needed.

Plus, we feel sorry for the general citizenry, who might have actually believed that city processes are applied fairly to all. Maybe they don’t. Maybe we should interpret city’s rules as applying to everyone except for certain select people who choose to break them.

“We’re going to look silly in the eyes of the public doing this,” Mayor Alfonso Ortiz aptly said. You’ll remember that he broke last month’s tie vote and denied the Salazars’ variance.

Silly, yes, but it’s more than that. It’s disturbing to see a council decision essentially upended because one councilor in particular can’t stick to his guns and respect the process.