West LV unseats two out of three

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By Tom McDonald and Don Pace
Las Vegas Optic

Four years ago, they rode in to office on a wave of dissatisfaction with how the West Las Vegas School District had been handling it finances. This year, two of them were driven out by another wave of apparent dissatisfaction.

But the dissatisfaction wasn’t taken out on all three incumbents, as Gary Gold was swept back in for a second term with 59 percent of the vote over challengers Ambrose Castellano, a former school board member who garnered 31 percent, and local activist Lorenzo Flores, who got 10 percent.

The other two school board races were won by Marvin Martinez, who received 67 percent of the vote over incumbent Caroline Lopez’s 33 percent; and Henry Abeyta, who beat Kenny Lujan 55 percent to 45 percent.

Martinez and Abeyta will join Christine Ludi, David Romero and Gold on the board.

Over the past couple of years, Gold was frequently at odds with Lopez, Lujan and Romero on issues facing the district, including the 3-2 decision to fire Jim Abreu as superintendent last summer. During this year’s campaign, Gold and Martinez appeared to be allies in their effort to win election.

Gold, 42, who retired late last year as Las Vegas police chief, could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.

On his victory, Martinez, 49, who has 36 years experience as a local businessman, said,

“There’s a big learning curve for me, because I’ve never done this before. But we’ve got some good board members, and I think we can work together to do some very good things for our district.

“At the end of the day it’s about the kids. We need to make absolutely sure we make the right decisions for our students,” he said.

Martinez is a son of local business owners Matias and Connie Martinez.

West Las Vegas Schools

Candidate            Votes    %

Position 1

Henry J. Abeyta          610    55%
Kenny Lujan (i)           498    45%

Position 2
Gary Gold (i)              651    59%    
Ambrose Castellano    351    31%
Lorenzo Flores            108    10%
Position 3
Marvin Martinez          741    67%
Caroline Lopez (i)       371    33%

(i) — denotes incumbent