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Editor's Note - Good Samaritans and pigs

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By Tom McDonald

The Samaritan House is one of our better community organizations. It reflects one of the best characteristics of Las Vegas — our willingness to share with and help those who are down on their luck.

Board member Rosie Lopez recently filled me in on the four major programs that make up the Samaritan House’s mission. They are:

• Food distribution, which takes place on the second Wednesday of each month at the main office at 220 Bernalillo St.

• The thrift store at 720 Legion Drive, where all sorts of practical items are available at bargain-basement prices.

• The shelter, at 716 Grand Ave., which takes in stranded travelers and local people who are temporarily homeless.

• Community transitional housing, which helps families hit by hard times find and get into suitable housing.

In other words, a whole lot of people need Samaritan House in Las Vegas.

It’s just too important not to support.

The latest fundraiser for the Samaritan House is coming to a conclusion this Saturday. More than a dozen good sports have agreed to have their names placed on a ballot to “kiss a pig” at the People’s Faire. Votes are $1 each, with all the proceeds going to Samaritan House, and you can vote as many times at you’d like.

Candidates for the pig kissing include Las Vegas Mayor Alfonso Ortiz; City Manager Tim Dodge; city councilors Tonita Gurule-Giron, Vince Howell and Joey Herrera; KFUN/KLVF radio station owner J.P. Baca; chiropractor Em Krall; postmaster Alberta Ellis; Mike Melton of Southwest Capital Bank; Ray and Joyce Litherland of Community 1st Bank; Pat Leahan from the Peace & Justice Center; teacher and KFUN radio personality Martha Johnsen; Christian Laumbach of the Trujillo Agency; and yours truly.

Vote for your own personal favorite, but please vote via a donation to the Samaritan House, so it can continue its community mission.

Ballots are available at Lowe’s, Semilla Natural Foods, Tome on the Range, Community 1st Bank, Tito’s Gallery, and the Samaritan House’s thrift store or main office. Or, make your donation directly through one of the candidates.

• • •

Or, come by the Optic and vote for me. I’m from Arkansas, where pig kissing may be somewhat rare but “hog calling” is essentially a romantic activity.

Since I have been touting my candidacy for a while now, I thought I’d go all out this week and be a good politician, by making empty promises to you, the voters.

So here goes. If elected, I promise ...

• To kiss the pig and pretend I like it.

• To accept the honor of grand marshal at the first annual Las Vegas Pig Parade, to be held when the Arkansas Razorbacks win the national title in college football.

• To give an extra $20 to the charity of my choice, which in this case will have to be the Samaritan House instead of my usual favorite, the McDonald Family Fund.

• To publicly thank Lorenzo Flores for showing me how wrong I am on every West-East issue that surfaces. That will be his payoff for endorsing me as the official pig-kisser.

• • •

And speaking of endorsements,  I’ve got some others to announce.

All three city councilors on the pig-kissing ballot have personally assured me that they’re throwing their support to me. Vince Howell said he’d back me even though his wife Vicki is trying to get him elected anyway; Tonita Gurule-Giron gave me a hug and her support last time I saw her, even though I’ve been mean to her editorially; and Joey Herrera told me that even if he wins he’ll defer the kissing to me.

Martha Johnsen, the prim and almost-proper morning talk show host on KFUN, also promised me her support. I don’t think she’s considering my qualifications so much as she really doesn’t want to kiss the pig, and of course she too is on the ballot. I think she considers it beneath her. I would take offense with such an uppity disposition except that, well, I need her endorsement. (I hope I didn’t lose it by calling her prim and almost-proper.)

Pat Leahan, the rabble-rousing community activist with the Peace & Justice Center, stopped by the other day and I solicited her endorsement, but she wouldn’t give it to me. She claims that she must remain in the race for the sake of the pig. She says she prefers turkey bacon to pig bacon, which makes her far more attractive to the pig. I suppose she has a point — it would indeed be disturbing to have a relationship with someone you know to be eating your own species — but I think Pat’s giving too much credit to the intelligence of a pig. Read “Animal Farm” one too many times, if you ask me.

Just to be on the safe side, I asked Rosie Lopez if I could talk with the pig, but she said it was in an undisclosed location so no one can inappropriately influence it. I never thought I’d pen the following words, but the pig was unavailable for comment.

One more promise: If elected, I will eat a breath mint before kissing the pig, so I won’t have bacon breathe when the smooching begins.

Tom McDonald is editor and publisher of the Las Vegas Optic. He may be reached at 505-425-6796, ext. 237, or tmcdonald@lasvegasoptic.com.