The Las Vegas dilemma

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By The Staff

So what is it about Las Vegas past, present and future that troubles some folks so? Is it that many folks have tried to bring growth, opportunity and jobs that run against the grain of the zero-growth thinkers? Las Vegas has long appeared as the big rock in the economic stream that waters reluctantly flow around opting instead for Espaola, Taos, Santa Fe or Albuquerque.

Yes we have the Economic Development Corporation as well as many individuals who refuse to subscribe to zero growth. In their own way, they desire to try to bring about improvement of the Las Vegas potential to retain good minds and good ideas coming out of our local colleges and universities. Young graduates who “can hardly wait to get away from Las Vegas” are too many in number. Positive changes and economic enticements are needed to slow and even curtail the brain drain. Las Vegas needs to be a business magnet.

And what is it that discourages business from even attempting to plant their economic seed in our community? Is it the reputation of past decisionmakers who have conveyed thumbs down, go away, leave us alone messages? Is it the thinking that “we did not think of it so it cannot be a good idea?” Perhaps a contributing factor to zero-growth thinking is that the “outsiders” are viewed as wanting to change things and just don’t get it. They don’t see the cultural loss component and why we do not want to become a “fake.” Did it ever occur to folks that they might just have good ideas that benefit the community? Consideration needs to be given to managing growth, courting businesses that bring good, quality and better paying jobs to the community.

City management is making a commendable effort by nesting the decisionmaking abilities and responsibilities in the hands of fewer folks. A city council of four is infinitely better than the previous eight. Still, things are seen as moving too slowly. Our mayor has an ambitious and positive vision of one city united. He wants to do the right things for the right reasons. He is to be commended for that. He needs help and is attempting to surround himself with experienced and knowledgeable people. That is only part of the solution. A second component is creative management and leadership across the board.

The Mayans sacrificed their own. We perhaps feed on our own in a similar fashion. Zero growth successes are hard to find driving through places like Mora and other communities that struggle for jobs and opportunity. It troubles this writer that certain areas in New Mexico are reduced to fifth generation entitlement mentality looking constantly toward government to be the solution to their individual struggle.

I believe that we as a community need to rally behind folks such as Tony Marquez and our Economic Development Corporation to unlock the second door of a double door business that is seldom unlocked during the hours of business.

The mayor enjoys, at best, 50 percent support from the governing body. The rocks in the stream which divert economic waters around Las Vegas come in many forms, not just closed doors but closed minds. The Las Vegas of the future needs to be the focus, not how we can thwart the efforts of the Tony Marquezes of our community.

Tony Marquez is attempting to be inclusive of as many folks in the community as practical to help Las Vegas get to where it needs to go. That comes at a price. I believe it was Margaret Thatcher that once said that decisionmaking by consensus comes at the expense of embracing mediocre management.

Las Vegas has a long way to go and a short time to get there. We need to remember that it is more an issue of the journey, not only the destination. We need to get behind Las Vegas. It has long been said around our community that we in Las Vegas don’t get mad, we get even. This writer feels it is time to let go of that thinking, basta ya, we need to be a part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Rey Herrera