With political season at high tide, Mayor Henry Sanchez and others on Wednesday honored the five departing City Council members, Macario Gonzalez, Eugene Romero, Michael Gallegos, Louie Trujillo and Tony Marquez.
The mayor gave albums to each departing member, with pictures of them in action through the years.
“You took a lot of abuse. People don’t understand all that you do,” Sanchez said. “Why you do it, who knows?”
He said that while many residents criticize city government, people who have left town for years are impressed with its appearances and services when they come back.
Councilman Morris Madrid complimented the five members who were leaving — all of whom but Gonzalez voted for his ouster as city manager in January 2005. In 2006, Ward 1 voters elected Madrid to the council, and he promised to get along with everybody for the best interests of the city.
“I have had good relationships with everyone here,” he said. “That was a two-way street. Everyone worked in good faith.”
About Romero, he said, “When I was city manager, we weren’t the best of friends; we were the best of associates. I consider you a good friend.”
He said Gallegos was his son’s coach, but he said the councilman treated his son well despite friction when Madrid was manager.
Gallegos conceded that he didn’t know what he was getting into when he joined the council.
“This isn’t a little game. People depend on the decisions you make,” he said.
Marquez said the council members have learned from each other. He also praised Sanchez, whom he is running against for mayor.
“Thank you for being a fair mayor, having a big heart and doing the right thing,” Marquez said.
Romero said he appreciated that the mayor has always shown him respect. He also addressed what he said some people say about him.
“They always used to say that Eugene Romero had a hidden agenda to see his businesses grow,” he said.
He said he wants to see his businesses do well and that by improving Las Vegas’ economy, all residents win.
Romero said he hoped that the new council works as well as the current one does.
Trujillo thanked his family for its support, with particular praise for his late brother, Tony, whom he said would “kick ass” for him. He said that once he left the council, he would spend meeting nights with family and friends.
City Attorney Matt Sandoval said no council member has ever asked him to do something illegal. He said other city attorneys have told him stories about such incidents.
“I don’t have any stories,” he said. “You should be proud of yourselves.”