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Thursday, December 30, 2010
Katie Duncan for mayor ?
The campaigning never ends in Nevada. A little more than a month after Harry Reid triumphantly won re-election, all the yard signs and billboards have come down, only to be replaced by by those running in the Spring 2011 municipal elections. Katherine "Katie" Duncan held a press conference today to announce her candidacy for mayor, and its to her benefit that no press showed up.
The Aruba Hotel on Las Vegas Boulevard is just south of Charleston and sandwiched between Downtown Las Vegas' ubiquitous wedding chapels and cheap motels. Pictures inside the lobby remind you of the boom period of Old Vegas, when the mob ruled, money and liquor flowed freely, girls were fast and loose and Negroes had to find somewhere other than the strip to spend the night.
The building itself was colder than the 30 degree weather and unforgivably brisk wind outside. The press conference was held in the hotel's nightclub that was so dark that yes, I'll admit it, I ran into a support beam. I don't think this is the impression Duncan would want to leave our political press corps with: less than a dozen supporters in a dark room, huddling together for body warmth.
Duncan is not the only candidate in the race. Commissioner Larry Brown and Councilman Steve Ross also want to replace our garish and termed out mayor, Oscar Goodman. Unfortunately for Ross, some voters think of him as just another "union hack". He's claimed his union ties and city hall job don't pose a conflict of interest, but even bleeding-heart union-loving Liberals like me think his situation is shady.
Larry Brown has problems of his own. As commissioner he recently voted "NO" to approve changes to the Coroner's Inquest process. Changes that would give victim's families more rights and access during the inquest process and create the position of an ombudsperson. He voted no, even after telling Hispanic's In Politics meeting attendees he'd vote yes. I don't think a vote to protect police officers from the families of the victims they've killed will go over too well with Latino and Black voters.
Duncan would be the first first African American elected mayor of Las Vegas. Her name is synonymous with Ward 5 which covers most of the predominately Black and Latino historical West Las Vegas. She didn't mention her race, in her speech she stuck to palatable topics like homelessness, Veterans, neighborhood revitalization and "green projects" to create jobs.
Interestingly, she claims she wants to "continue the vision" of Mayor Goodman. The same mayor she's bumped heads with for wanting to build a wall through F and D Streets, essentially closing the the West Side off (Berlin style) from the rest of Las Vegas. And who could forget Mayor Goodman attacking President Obama going so far as to tell him he's not welcome in Las Vegas. While the "vision" may be about the revitalization of Downtown Las Vegas, part of the F and D Street project was part of Mayor Goodman's revitalization. But, Duncan's cloudy message and unspectacular press conference isn't the least of her worries: she's tapped Aloha Consulting to help her with her race.
Aloha Consulting is headed by Johnny Jackson, the blond haired, blue eyed former boxer who claims to be a native Hawaiian and representative of their government. Jackson says Duncan would be the 77th Aloha Consulting candidate to win. That is impressive for someone who says they've been in Las Vegas for only four years. However, his website only lists 23 candidates under "Nevada clients" and his list of "our candidates for the 2010 election" is different from the list of "Aloha Consulting candidates who won their races in 2010".
Jackson's biggest transgression: he is a birther.
In an email I've obtained Jackson claims President Obama wasn't born in Hawaii and his birth certificate is forged. Jackson's Positions on Issues PAC unsuccessfully tried to retire Senator Harry Reid. Members notoriously showed up to several Reid events in 2010 with his Aloha Consulting crew dressed in Sharron Angle t-shirts.
This is who Duncan thinks can help her win the Mayorship in an overwhelmingly Democratic city?
ETA: Thanks to Ms Duncan's correction below regarding Jan Jones. The mistake has been fixed. In response to Mr Jackson, it's not libel when you're repeating what someone says.
And I want to make it clear, I have nothing against Ms Duncan. I have admired her since I moved to Las Vegas in 2007 and I was excited to see she's be running for mayor. I was disappointed in her choice of campaign consultant and by how poorly put together her press conference was. She deserves better.