City leaders’ reputations tarnished

Last week, in his “Talk of the Town” column, Mayor Rod Woodbury wrote about how thankful he is, how glorious Boulder City is, and how much he wants the community to share with him their favorite photos. On the city’s website this is actually a contest being promoted, though no mention is made of either rules or prizes.

In his prior column, in the Nov. 3 issue of the Boulder City Review, Woodbury wrote about “keeping decision-makers and citizens engaged with clear and accurate information,” and introduced “monthly cottage meetings” where he would meet, by invitation, with residents at either their homes or businesses for informal discussions.

I see what Woodbury is doing and I do not approve. My position is that the business of government is the business of the people, and that such business must be conducted with both integrity and transparency. Anything less is unacceptable.

When Woodbury first ran for City Council in 2011 he styled himself as “the trusted name” candidate. Now that the trusted name has been tarnished by an investigation by the Nevada Commission on Ethics, Woodbury is attempting to restore the shine with “soft soap,” kind words and flattery. I think that an honest admission, combined with a sincere commitment to prevent a reoccurrence, would have been a far better course of action than Woodbury’s repeated attempts to downplay the commission’s findings, and the current public relations campaign to reinvent and market the man who is mayor.

It is possible to start and operate a successful business based in Boulder City. I know; I did it for years. I not only served the residents of Boulder City, I employed some of them as well. The late Ralph Denton operated his Boulder City-based law firm for decades. Now his daughter, who is also an attorney, is carrying on the practice and tradition. Attorney Roger Harris is another local success story. Let us not forget attorneys Linda and Tracy Strickland, who had their law practice here and who paid their taxes and permitting fees to the benefit of the community. Woodbury does not fit into this group.

While Woodbury practices politics in Boulder City, and maintains a satellite law office here, his time and money have been invested in a law practice that is based primarily in Henderson. Perhaps someone can get a picture of the mayor’s buildings at 50 S. Stephanie St. in Henderson and ask that it be displayed with the other photos at City Hall. (The records of the Clark County Assessor show the property as belonging to a company, Southside 215 LLC. The records of the Nevada Secretary of State show Woodbury as holding the controlling interest in Southside 215 LLC.) The Stephanie address, incidentally, is the same one used by the political action groups that backed the city-sponsored ballot questions in the 2014, 2015 and 2016 elections.

In his column on Nov. 3, Mayor Woodbury wrote: “I’ve done my level best to lead by example.” In this, I fear, the mayor has succeeded. During the Oct. 11 City Council meeting, when the selection of Hyun Kim as the city’s new finance director was confirmed by a vote of the City Council, council members Cam Walker and Margaret (Peggy) Leavitt were absent.

Both Walker and Leavitt are related to Woodbury by marriage; Walker’s daughter is married to the mayor’s son and Leavitt’s son is married to the mayor’s sister. Both Walker and Leavitt also paid Kim for work which he performed on their campaigns for City Council, Walker in 2009 and Leavitt in 2011.

Kim, by the way, is married to April Harber, the daughter of Sylvia Harber. Sylvia Harber was paid for her work on the City Council campaigns of Leavitt, Edgar (Rich) Shuman, Walker and Woodbury. Unfortunately, none of this information was disclosed prior to Woodbury and council members McCoy and Shuman voting to confirm Kim’s appointment.

Now that the facts have been made public, Boulder City residents can ask their own questions and reach their own conclusions. All I can add is that when it repeatedly falls to members of the community to keep their elected and appointed officials honest, those officials have fallen below the level for redemption.

Dick Farmer has been a resident for more than 30 years. He owned and operated Nevada Medical Supply and served on the board of directors of the Boulder Dam Hotel Association, helped organize Art in the Park, and taught classes for the Junior Achievement program at King Elementary School.

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