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Thumbs - Our high country lowdown on the news - March 16, 2012

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By Optic Editorial Board

THUMBS DOWN! TERRIBLE COMMUNICATION. Vince Howell was sworn in Friday as Las Vegas’ new council member, but it took more than a few people by surprise — including, it turns out, the council member he replaced. Councilor Diane Moore said she wasn’t notified of the ceremony until about 45 minutes before it took place. She wasn’t able to attend.

The confusion began when City Attorney David Romero said the winner of the Ward 2 race wouldn’t take office until after the runoff election for mayor and Ward 3 council. But he and City Clerk Casandra Fresquez differed on the matter and, after researching state law, decided that Howell should take his oath of office before March 12 — so he took it on Friday.

City Manager Timothy Dodge took the blame and apologized to Moore and others who were left in the dark.

The city will get past this soon enough, but for Howell it’s an unfortunately way to start his term in office.

THUMBS UP! GREAT SERVICE. Diane Moore served with honesty and integrity for six years on the Las Vegas City Council — and probably could have tripled that if she had decided to keep running. Moreover, she might have been mayor had she sought the position, but that wasn’t her ambition.

Moore’s popularity, in our view, was the result of her visibility and her humility. She attended one community function after another, sometimes as the only councilor to show up, and yet she didn’t seek the spotlight. And she listened to what the public had to say. With her, one had the impression that the rights and the needs of the citizenry came first.

She was a class act. Here’s hoping for more councilors of her quality.

THUMBS DOWN! BOOZE ON THE ROADWAYS. State records from the Traffic Safety Bureau indicate that 146 people were killed in highway crashes involving alcohol in 2011. That’s up from 128 in 2010, but down from 152 in 2009.

Alcohol-involved traffic deaths accounted for 41 percent of the 355 people killed in highway crashes last year, the bureau’s records show.

State police plan to crack down on drunken driving through this weekend with more patrols and sobriety checkpoints. Here’s hoping it pays off.

THUMBS UP! TREMENDOUS PLAY. The Mora Rangerettes fell three points short of a great comeback in the Class 2A semifinals, and the Robertson Cardinals were within a point of making it to the 3A state championship game. Then there’s the Wagon Mound Trojans, who not only made it to the finals but won as well — beating Hondo 63-52 to be crowned the Class B state champions.

To the Trojans and all the regional teams that played so admirably in the state high school tournaments — congratulations on a great season.

• • •

AND WE QUOTE

“We are on track to get our reconciliations done, and all audits will be complete before June.”
— Las Vegas City Schools board member Ernesto Salazar, a past critic of how the district was handling its finances who now says he’s pleased with what he’s seeing.