Thumbs DOWN for ... HOMICIDES AND VIOLENCE. Three homicides in a single year — 10 in less than years — is a lot for a town the size of Las Vegas. In fact, it’s murder rate akin to Detroit’s, a big city with tremendous problems. So what’s causing it here?
We could speculate as to the causes — and there are many, we surmise — but let’s hope the anti-crime task force that Mayor Tony Marquez is putting together will provide the kind of insights that will help us address this continuing tragedy in 2010.
Thumbs DOWN for ... BAD EXAMPLES. It began at a football camp in 2008, where some upperclassman at Robertson High School sexually assaulted a few younger teammates on the team, then it mushroomed this year into allegations of sexual misbehavior by educators. The worst allegation to come out of 2009 was the one against teacher and coach Jay Quintana, alleged to have had sex with a teenage student over the course of several years. He’s now facing criminal charges that could put him behind bars for a long, long time.
It’s been a rough year for RHS, and these incidents will continue to haunt the school into the coming year. Let’s just hope nothing new surfaces.
Thumbs DOWN for ... WELLS RUNNING DRY. While progress was made for a more cooperative approach to the area’s water needs, one rural subdivision, Ojitos Frios, suffered even more than usual this year. Residents contend that the city’s pumping from its Taylor Wells are causing their private wells to dry up.
Las Vegas City Manager Timothy Dodge has made overtures that the city would like to help these residents. We hope he’ll figure out a way to do just that soon.
Thumbs UP for ... PLAZA PROGRESS. Wid Slick’s Plaza Hotel expanded in 2009 with a multi-million dollar renovation of the old Ilfeld building next door. It’s the latest improvement to a vibrant Old Town Plaza area, and a real shot in the arm for Las Vegas’ local retail economy. Here’s hoping the new ballroom will be packed every weekend.
Thumbs DOWN for ... DISUNITY. Meanwhile, the Las Vegas-San Miguel Chamber of Commerce still struggles. The latest episode was the firing of Vince Howell, the marketing coordinator who had the audacity to actually try to drum up business for everyone.
Oh well, Vegas is what Vegas does.
Thumbs UP for ... STILL THE SAME. And speaking of Vegas, it’s still the lively, gritty, feisty, generous, tight-knit town it’s been for years now. For that, let us be thankful.
Las Vegas is still a great place to live. Sure, we’ve got our problems, but we’re also rich in heritage, tradition and people. So happy New Year, everyone; let’s make 2010 into a great year for our beloved city.
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AND WE QUOTE
“This will affect me and my kids for the rest of my life. ... I can deal with it, but my kids witnessed it.”
— Germaine Lovato, the fiancée of Benito Lemos, who was shot and killed at 12th Street and National Avenue by Richard Baca, after Lemos reportedly got out of his car and confronted Baca about cutting him off while the two were driving through another area of town.