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As It Is: A collective yawn

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By David Giuliani

What is the public’s reaction so far to the March 2 municipal election?

Likely a big yawn.

Unlike previous elections, this one has generated little interest. That’s probably because there is only one name on the ballot for the races for mayor and municipal judge. Sure, the mayoral race has attracted two write-in candidates, but a successful write-in candidate is as common as a die-hard Republican on Montezuma Street.

The two west-side City Council seats are up for election — Macario Gonzalez, Tonita Gurule-Giron, Roland Medrano and Bruce McAllister are competing in Ward 1 and Mike Roybal, David Romero and Joseph P. Baca Jr. in Ward 4.

So far, these races have been relatively quiet. I haven’t caught on to any whispering campaigns designed to bring down opponents, and no candidates have called me to accuse others of knocking down their campaign signs.

The last two municipal elections were marked by drama. In 2006, Matt Martinez, a mayoral candidate, got upset with his opponent, Mayor Henry Sanchez, who was accusing Martinez of using his connections in government to help his businesses. So Martinez’s father had his attorney draft a threatening letter telling Sanchez to put a cork in it or he would suffer the consequences. That letter was cleverly delivered just before a scheduled debate, unnerving the usually calm mayor.

What about 2008? Shortly before the election, Sanchez, a popular guy in town, got hit with a critical state audit, which reported that the city had overcharged its natural gas customers for years. That’s never good news just before voters are headed to the polls. Needless to say, Sanchez’s opponents had a field day. The winner was Tony Marquez, a quirky city councilman known for his populist rhetoric.

Over the last two years, Marquez created much drama, including firings of top city officials and shifting of political alliances on the council.

Maybe Las Vegas was due for a quiet election.

• • •

During election season, I keep track of campaign signs. Only so many words can fit on a sign and still be readable. So it’s interesting to examine which words are included and which words aren’t.

That’s why it’s interesting that most local candidates make a point to fit the ballot position numbers on their signs.

Why?

Do people really to go the polls with the intention of voting for John Doe but fail to do so because they forget his ballot position number and can’t find his name?

Of course not. So here’s my free, unsolicited advice to candidates: Put a catchy slogan on your signs; ballot position numbers are unnecessary.

David Giuliani is managing editor of the Las Vegas Optic. He may be reached at 425-6796 or dgiuliani@lasvegasoptic.com.