Las Vegas Sun

November 27, 2014

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NLV mayor-elect is eager to help city overcome ‘image problem’

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North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee

Mayor-elect John Lee earned a big victory Tuesday night, but now the real battle begins — fixing North Las Vegas.

Lee afforded himself a moment of celebration as he watched the municipal primary results update live with about 70 other friends and family inside his home. When results from about 85 percent of the city’s precincts were counted showing him with more than 50 percent of the votes, he let the reality sink in. He won.

Lee finished with 53.6 percent of the votes to defeat incumbent Mayor Shari Buck, and bypass the general election.

Now he has 12 weeks to prepare to lead a city devastated by the recession, marred by housing foreclosures and only one year removed from declaring a state of financial emergency to close a $30 million budget gap. He promised he could revitalize the city; now he must prove it.

“North Las Vegas has suffered an image problem,” Lee said. “By a change of leadership that will solve some of the issues. Then as mayor it is my job to set the tone and direction of the community so other local governments can see the things we are doing and join us as we pull out of the malaise we’re in.”

Buck has until July 1 to finish out her term. Lee said he doesn’t want to interfere with her work until then. Instead, he said his first step is to monitor the city council meetings and assist the North Las Vegas lobbying effort in Carson City.

“It’s a transition period,” Lee said. “It just all depends on when we want to start that process.”

Once in office, Lee must untangle a knot of problems. He’ll have to deal with a series of potential lawsuits, prioritize which amenities it can afford to keep open in the summer and set the city’s direction in addition to a plethora of financial issues.

Lee said it is too early to determine which problem he’ll attempt to address first, but he knows the biggest issue he faces is fixing the city’s image.

He said he is looking into different economic development projects, including one with the Federal Aviation Administration, which will create jobs. He also hopes a new direction and an improved economy will win back people who left the city during the recession.

Even knowing the mountain of problems he faces, Lee is certain he can turn the city around in one term.

“If you give me four years from beginning to end, you will find a stronger, more vibrant community, a lot of potential will turn into reality,” Lee said. “It’s going to be like a phoenix — it will fly again high.”

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  1. John Lee is a trustworthy person who will lead as a friend to the residents of North Las Vegas. Gone will be the turmoil and rancor which characterized the Shari Buck era. Lee is exactly the leader that North Las Vegas needs to revitalize its vision and image and the residents can trust Lee to represent their interests. Trust, integrity and openess are the hallmarks that will characterize John Lee's tenure as Mayor.

  2. Give me a break! Changing a mayor is NOT going to by itself change the image of North Las Vegas. Even Hunter S. Thompson gave an unfavorable description of NLV in his famous book "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas". And that was over 40 years ago! The city has a reputation, and it has it for a reason.

    The housing crisis has only made things worse. With the proliferation of dirt-cheap houses, foreign investors are snatching houses up to rent out, and they don't care who lives in them so long as the checks come in each month. Which means none other than Section 8 tenants. North Las Vegas will become Southern Nevada's version of Hemet or Palmdale/Lancaster: an exurban ghetto where the poor live because it's the only place than can afford to, but can't make any real money because the jobs they need are unreachable by public transportation. Like a junkie looking for a quick fix, NLV LOVES the speculators buying up houses and providing quick tax revenue. But it will come at the cost of decaying decent neighborhoods instead of confining the poor to Northtown. But I digress...

    If NLV wants to clean up it's image, it needs to start this with code enforcement. Whatever it takes. Pass laws requiring permits to become a landlord for extended periods, code enforcement against neglectful homeowners and/or nuisance tenants to ultimately seize properties to get poor people out of good neighborhoods, whatever it takes.

    If the city wants to prosper, North Las Vegas needs decisive action to turn it around. Not just a different face with the same fistful of empty promises like every politician before.

  3. Folks like Mr. Rooney scare me.

    He wants government to seize private property so that poor people won't live in good neighborhoods.

    Changing the mayor is not going to fix anything since it is already back on the upswing things are turning around anyway. Letting the government start seizing private property to make some people happy is where it will all start turning down though.

  4. "A city devastated by the recession." Puleeeze! It's a city "devastated" by stupid voters and parasites who elected and reelected "tax & spend" Dumbocrats for years. The "chickens have come home to roost" because that's what happens when fiscal irresponsibility and greedy parasites combine to create the "Perfect Storm!" We see it in the pig sty known as Washington DC, as we speak when the same mindset is returned to office election after election: the Schumer's, Reid's, Pelosi's, etal. Then, just to put icing on the cake, a "Social Justice" freak, Osama Obama is given a second bite at the apple and, boy, will we suffer for it! We can no more blame the crooked politicans than the turtle could the scorpion because, "It's in their nature!"

  5. North Las Vegas is still suffering from the housing crash that began tanking in 2006 when the mortgage bubble burst.

    During the period 2001-2006, the compensation of CEO of Countrywide Mortgage Angelo Mozilo approached $407 million. He sold his stock in Countrywide by 2007 as the mortgage crisis hit. In 2010, Angelo Mozilo paid a record $22.5 million penalty to settle SEC charges that he and two other former Countrywide executives misled investors as the subprime mortgage crisis emerged.

    $407-$22.5 = $384.5 million was Mozilo's reward for insider trading, corruption and sinister business practices. He made John Dillinger look like a pick-pocket thief.

    Mozilo was the result of the business climate spawned by George W. Bush, who oversaw the greatest recession since Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover, the two republicans who brought the Great Depression to America, creating the economic catastrophe in Germany that brought Adolph Hitler to power in 1933.

    This Country is still recovering from the profit years of King George.