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Mayor says he won't run again

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By David Giuliani

Las Vegas Mayor Alfonso Ortiz says he won’t run for a second term.

Ortiz, the San Miguel County treasurer and a former city councilman, won a two-year term in March. But he said he never intended to serve more than two years.

“I want to get the city moving in a positive direction,”  he said.

Ortiz, 70, said he was hoping that someone younger and more dynamic would run for mayor in 2012.

Last year, when Ortiz confirmed that he was considering running for the city’s top job, he said he would first search for someone younger who had the credentials for the position. He said he urged others, including County Manager Les Montoya, to run for mayor, but they declined.

“I was willing to pull out (of the race for Montoya) and let him run. He didn’t want to run,” the mayor said.

Since he’s become mayor, Ortiz has taken what many see as politically difficult positions. He recently broke a tie in favor of raising the city’s sales tax by a quarter for every $100 in purchases — a change that will take effect in January.

He has said repeatedly that all of the city’s utilities need rate hikes. And he recently endorsed the city administration’s proposal to raise trash rates from $14 to $20 a month, a 42 percent increase.

Indeed, during the discussion over the garbage increase, two city staffers told the City Council that the solid waste department had needed a big rate hike for years, but previous mayors’ desire for re-election had always trumped the increases.

Ortiz said he is putting 100 percent effort into his role as mayor and that he looks forward to every day. He said he hopes to make a lot of headway in his two years, especially with the water issue.

Ortiz’s predecessor, Tony Marquez, appeared poised to run for re-election, but after two tumultuous years, he decided against another run. He said he wanted to focus more on his family, fitness and faith.

Before that, Mayor Henry Sanchez served for six years. In late 2007, he announced that he wouldn’t run again in 2008, but he quickly changed his mind. Marquez trounced him in that election.