For the last several years, the Optic has presented its New Year’s wishes for our community. Next year, our community will experience its share of progress and setbacks. We can’t predict them, but we have our hopes for 2010:
• Last year, we wished that Mayor Tony Marquez and the Las Vegas City Council would stabilize City Hall. The first three months of 2009 continued to be full of city drama, but then the mayor and council had the good sense to hire Timothy Dodge, formerly the manager of Santa Rosa. Dodge has worked hard to steady the ship. Now that he has succeeded in that mission, we hope the community can now focus on long-term challenges.
• Some of the drama at City Hall revolved around the city’s losing more than $1 million, which could have served as a down payment on a project to line Storrie Project canals in exchange for more city water storage at Storrie Lake. That loss was the result of the city’s confusion over what the money was intended for. This set us back an entire year in dealing with long-term water issues. The Storrie proposal was one of former Mayor Henry Sanchez’s key ways for dealing with the problem of low water supplies. Does the city still feel the Storrie proposal is worth the money? We don’t know because the current mayor and council haven’t provided effective direction. Our hope is that they get their act together and come up with a plan.
• To its credit, the city for the last year has reduced the use of lawyers in its legal disputes with other water users on the Gallinas River. This is thanks to both Mayor Marquez and his ally-turned-adversary, Andrew Feldman, who both have called for direct discussions with Gallinas stakeholders. After all, the hundreds of thousands of dollars the city has spent over the years on attorneys has really gotten us nowhere. Fattening lawyers’ wallets hasn’t brought us any more water. We hope the city continues to reduce its reliance on the legal profession.
• In March, the city holds its municipal election. The victor in the mayor’s race should keep the administrative team in place. Over the last couple of years, the current mayor has done away with much of the top layer of City Hall, as is the tradition for new mayors. With all the turnover in the last decade, the city can ill afford yet another huge change. The continuously revolving door means a loss in institutional memory.
• We hope our state legislators — state Sens. Pete Campos and Phil Griego and Reps. Richard Vigil and Thomas Garcia — reject politics as usual and become leaders in ethics reform. In so doing, we wish they would finally reject the out-of-town corporate donations that go to incumbents but not challengers. With this hope, we’re being aggressively optimistic.
• We wish that the victims of sexual crimes — especially those in our schools — come forward. Unfortunately, Robertson High School suffered another year of damaging sexual allegations. Some Las Vegas City Schools officials grumble about the bad publicity, but the truth needs to come out.