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Inside Vegas - Steve Miller

Steve Miller is a former Las Vegas City Councilman. In 1991, the readers of the Las Vegas Review Journal voted him the "Most Effective Public Official" in Southern Nevada. Visit his website at:

Vegas Mayor's Race Could Become Class Warfare
Union support could be decisive factor

INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
April 11, 2011

         Oscar and Carolyn Goodman                      Chris Giunchigliani and supporters

LAS VEGAS - The upcoming election of a new Mayor of Las Vegas is attracting international attention.

The outcome of the race may for the first time in our city's history be based on the United States citizenship qualifications of many newly registered voters, and which candidate has won the favor of the powerful local unions.

On primary election night, Carolyn Goodman (72) came in first place based on her name recognition, attractive appearance, and her husband's rock star popularity. During her campaign, she touted her background of "educator, school administrator, and non-politician."

However, now that a veteran public school teacher-turned-politician named Chris Giunchigliani (54) is Goodman's opponent in the general election, this could turn into a contest based on class warfare, and whether Goodman can convince voters that she's not "her husband's keeper."

Goodman's educator status may be challenged inasmuch as she was the administrator of the for-profit Meadows School that caters to the richest kids in town and charges a  minimum of $13,000 per year tuition, while Giunchigliani taught average kids in our public school system.

Carolyn has a foot up on Chris for not being a professional politician, and that's a desirable quality in a country that has become sick and tired of politician's shenanigans.

Giunchigliani served many years as a Nevada state assembly woman and Clark County Commissioner, and to long time voters, experience still counts.

Both women live in older neighborhoods within the core of the city and that's a good thing because downtown has just recently begun coming back to life, at least in the areas of East Fremont Street, and the Arts District near East Charleston and Main Street. Both areas are showing real promise with new bars, restaurants, and art galleries. Now it will be up to the new mayor to find ways of energizing the fading glory once known as Casino Center, an area that was all but abandoned by Oscar's predecessor Mayor Jan Jones and her mentor Steve Wynn.

Carolyn's alter ego Oscar has brought some new high tech, retail, and medical industry into other parts of downtown specifically the Union Pacific site in spite of his bad boy mob lawyer persona, drinking on the job, and the city's less than desirable "What happens here stays here" and "Sin City" image that probably has turned off many other prospective new business owners. But despite his accomplishments, Oscar's controversial push to build a new unneeded city hall in the middle of a recession without the voter's approval, and his former mob clientele may carry over to hurt his wife's chances on June 7.

                                Las Vegas SUN editorial cartoon by Mike Smith

                                            Las Vegas Tribune editorial cartoon

Goodman and former clients (top L to R) Tony Spilotro, Herb Blitzstein, drug trafficker Jimmy Chagra,
(bottom L to R) Joey Cusumano, impeached Federal Court Judge Harry Claiborne

TV coverage of both contender's victory parties showed the basis of their support in relation to our citizen's ethnicity and degree of wealth. The supporters surrounding Goodman were pictured as mostly affluent white and middle aged. The majority of supporters surrounding Giunchigliani were pictured as predominantly young minority persons.

A huge turnout of newly registered Nevada voters with Hispanic surnames during the 2010 Nevada election gave Senator Harry Reid a big advantage based on his purported support of the "Dream Act."

That said, it's possible Giunchigliani could overwhelm Goodman if the same voters vote in mass once again. However, as may be the case in Colorado, Nevadans are also becoming increasingly suspicious of the citizenship qualifications of many newly registered voters. But it's too late to purge the local voter registration rolls before the June 7 general election, and Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller and Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez-Masto have shown no appetite to do so, or to prosecute possible felony committing offenders who may be insensitive to, misinformed, or unaware of our state's voter registration law (NRS 293.800) pertaining to U.S. citizenship even though two warnings are printed in red ink on the voter registration form.

First time voters can register on-line in Nevada with no proof of citizenship required. Their word is considered sacrosanct. Nevada voter registration applications and ballots are printed in English and Spanish for non-English speaking voters. No other languages are offered. Registrants are simply asked: "Are you a citizen of the United States?" or "Es ciudadano de los Estados Unidos?" and to click "Yes" or "Si" to be allowed to complete the online registration process. Identification is also not required to be shown at the polls. New voters are simply taken on their word that they are United States citizens, and this is beginning to cause great concern in hyper-growing states like Colorado, Arizona, California, and Nevada.

It was estimated that the Las Vegas Culinary Union bussed over 26,000 new voters to the polls on November 2, 2010.

Paso 2 de la inscripción en línea para votar - Confirme los requisitos de inscripción 

Confirme que cumple con todos los requisitos para inscribirse en línea para votar. ADVERTENCIA: La falsificación de su inscripción es un delito mayor de categoría E (NRS 293.800).

1) Usted estará viviendo en el condado donde se está inscribiendo en la fecha de la próxima elección.

2) Tiene una licencia de manejar o tarjeta de identificación válida emitida por el DMV de Nevada.

3) Es ciudadano de los Estados Unidos. (The question regarding U.S. citizenship)

4) No está inscrito para votar actualmente en ningún otro condado del estado de Nevada.

5) Tendrá por lo menos 18 años de edad en la fecha de la próxima elección.

                                                 ALERTA: La falsificación de su inscripción es 
                                                un delito mayor de categoría E (NRS 293.800).  

Nonetheless, based on Goodman's 37% compared to over 46% who voted for her closest three contenders (Giunchigliani received 17%, Larry Brown received 17%, Victor Chaltiel received 12%), Goodman did not receive a mandate as many pundits expected.

Also, there's a strong distaste for dynasty building in Las Vegas. If Carolyn is elected, the Goodman's could hold on to the mayoralty for up to 24 years based on 12 year term limits, and that's troubling to some.

Giunchigliani is a Culinary Union favorite and a die hard progressive who favors legalizing marijuana.

Carolyn Goodman is an unknown commodity with a husband who brags about his mob ties once saying "he would rather his daughter date a prominent mobster than an FBI agent," and that downtown motels should be turned into "beautiful brothels." Oscar Goodman captured the heart of long time Las Vegas residents with his schtick, but it may also have turned off high tech entrepreneurs looking to relocate their companies to our city.

Even without the support of long time Las Vegans, it's extremely possible that Giunchigliani could pull off a surprise victory if the union decides to again bus their members to the polls. Las Vegas municipal elections are famous for their low turn out, and the upcoming mayoral could easily be overwhelmed by new voters if my suspicion holds true.

Long time city voters are praying that Oscar and Carolyn Goodman will prove that opposites attract.  If Carolyn Goodman is successful in proving she's not a reincarnation of her husband -- and enough long time voters turn out -- our city may have a bright future. If not, Las Vegas may soon join San Francisco as another "Sanctuary City."

It's tough to chose between such controversial candidates. At this point in the race, the winner is too close to call.


Mayor Wants Brothels Downtown
while his wife promotes "self, family,
and community" in the burbs

Oscar and Carolyn Goodman clearly
prove that opposites attract

"The school seeks to instill in its students the concept that education carries with it an obligation to self, family, and community, encouraging each student to become a compassionate and productive member of society." - excerpt from the Philosophy of the Meadows School, Carolyn Goodman - Chairwoman, Board of Trustees

"It would turn old motels into beautiful brothels." -  Oscar Goodman - Mayor of Las Vegas on legalizing prostitution (Las Vegas SUN, 10/24/03)

"The crack head girls, they go 10. I start at 50 (dollars) and up." - Donna Mirin - streetwalker (KVBC TV News, 10/23/03)

(Oscar) Goodman supporter and prostitute Donna Mirin on East Fremont Street
(KVBC TV News - October 23, 2003)

INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
October 27, 2003


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