Preserving controlled growth priority for ordinance’s ‘father’


I would like to thank Mayor Rod Woodbury for his complimentary remarks about my husband, Ralph Denton, in last week’s editorial. He is right that the father of the growth ordinance would be dismayed. He would be dismayed indeed to know the ordinance is in jeopardy. Our lives, and our children’s lives, were certainly made complete when we chose Boulder City as our hometown in 1959.

He refers to Ralph’s oral history, a 2001 book titled “A Liberal Conscience,” which was published by the University of Nevada Oral History program and was made possible by two prominent Boulder City residents. Dr. Michael Ravitch and Bob Faiss paid for the production and publication of the book.

Both of these men, who were dear friends of mine and my husband’s, had moved to Boulder City because they loved living in a small town. I never discussed with Mayor Woodbury’s parents why they chose Boulder City as the place to raise their family, but I would be willing to bet that it was for the same reason we did.

In fact, it was the mayor’s father, Bruce Woodbury, who, as a Clark County commissioner, recommended the transfer of the land in Eldorado Valley to Boulder City in order to prevent its development. Bruce was descended from the same pioneer stock and raised with the same family values as Ralph, and Ralph held him in the highest esteem.

I would like to address and expand on a couple of points that the mayor makes in his opinion piece. Regarding the 1997 amendment to the city charter that required a vote of the people in order to sell one acre of land: This change came about when the City Council began issuing permits to developers who were building expensive homes far out of the financial reach of many, if not most, of the city’s residents. It was the greed of the developers that prompted the citizens to not only vote those council members out, but to also vote for the amendment. (By the way, at the time of this amendment, Ralph was 71 years old, not yet retired as an attorney and still very much engaged in the civic dialogue.)

Many families chose Boulder City because its schools were not crowded. We knew the teachers, who took an interest in each individual child. And as the mayor pointed out from Ralph’s oral history, we lost some good teachers because they couldn’t find affordable housing. That goes back to letting the permits go to million-dollar houses being built instead of concentrating on affordable ones.

Today’s lament that the school isn’t growing baffles me. If they want crowded schools, perhaps they should live in Henderson or Las Vegas, where there are dozens of overcrowded schools.

The mayor rightly pointed out that, if Ralph were alive today, he would be working hard to preserve our small-town lifestyle and ensure that our town is a safe place to raise children. I know he would be advocating for more affordable housing, though certainly not the stereotypical crime-ridden, cookie-cutter, small houses jammed into crowded spaces without yards for children to play.

I know he would be working hard to preserve the controlled-growth ordinance, for he was keenly aware that a town with high-rise buildings, industrial development and crowded schools is inevitably accompanied by more crime and the need for more police protection.

And while the mayor is second-guessing Ralph, let me too enter into that role, for after 63 years of marriage I became an expert at that! We must put our priorities in order. We must preserve our present lifestyle of safe, family-friendly living.

We must work with our Chamber of Commerce to assist our small businesses in creating ways to help them. We must make the bypass a plus for our town, making it easier for the traffic that is currently clogging our local main streets to get out of town in a hurry. Let’s concentrate on creative ways to lure the thousands of people in Las Vegas to come learn the history of their area and bring children to learn at the Boulder City Museum.

Let’s promote the train rides with the schools in Las Vegas, letting them know they can come play for the day in our historic town by beautiful Lake Mead. Let’s concentrate on cleaning up the sidewalks cluttered with old junk. Darlene Burke and her committee worked very hard to bring beautiful sculptures to our sidewalks, now to be obstructed by the junk that litters our stroll.

So once again, thank you, Mr. Mayor, for giving Ralph so much credit and giving me a chance to voice my thoughts. My hope for sweet, clean, green Boulder City is that we can continue to be crime-free, charming, uncrowded and friendly.