weather icon Clear

City’s actions speak louder than words

City Attorney Dave Olsen’s response, as cited in the Boulder City Review, provides his views concerning the Nevada Supreme Court’s recent decision finding that the city had violated law when it sued several Boulder City citizens who had initiated petitions. He is quoted as saying that the “sad thing” about the case is that the courts did not consider the merits of the case. He also stated that “in our minds we were not suing them,” i.e., the petitioners.

In my view, the real sad aspects of these lawsuits are:

A. Suing its own citizens for signing petitions seeking to have a vote to determine city policy was not only unnecessary, it was illegal. Apparently a Supreme Court decision was necessary for the City Council to recognize that citizens have a constitutional right to petition and that there are legal avenues to contest the legality of a petition without suing citizens for initiating a petition.

It appears that the City Council chose to sue us personally to “send citizens a message,” i.e., initiate a petition that we don’t like and we will sue you personally using all the financial resources of the city. After all, I was sued separately for each petition I signed rather than combining them into one lawsuit, which would have saved both parties money.

The suits were not filed until after we had gathered the necessary voter signatures. It was clear to me, that they had every intention of suing me personally and repeatedly.

B. Before submitting these petitions, I requested that the city attorney review the petitions’ language for any potential problems. If he had agreed to this simple request, it might have precluded this long legal process. His response to me was that he worked for the city not the citizens and it would be a conflict of interest if he provided assistance.

A petition requesting a vote of the citizens concerning a proposed policy is not adversarial. It is not a case of city council verses citizens. It is simply the most effective way of determining the wishes of the voters and it allows more citizens to become involved in the political process.

Our council members have stated that they are elected to represent the wishes of the voters, yet when the opportunity presented itself to actually determine these wishes, the council decided to sue to prevent a vote. During public comment before the council, I requested that in the future, the City Council authorize (direct) the city attorney to provide assistance, if requested, by reviewing proposed citizen initiated petitions in draft to avoid future lawsuits of this nature. To my knowledge, the council has chosen not to take this proactive step.

C. The financial costs to the city have yet to be fully determined however, it appears that expenses to the city could be more than $300,000. It is almost inconceivable that any justification can be made for spending this amount of taxpayer money to prevent a vote of the people.

The city attorney chose not to represent the council in these suits, rather a Las Vegas law firm was hired. I believe that they knew exactly what they were doing, delay filing suits until the last moment, hiring a law firm and suing each individual separately for each petition This hardly meets the definition of “in our minds we were not suing them.”

D. The City Council should encourage citizen participation in formulating city policy on issues that affect us. They should welcome the opportunity to learn directly from the voters what action the city should take.

Clearly, their action in suing citizens to prevent a vote sends exactly the opposite message.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Smart development key to sustainable future

I commend my friend and colleague Mayor (Kiernan) McManus for his comments in the Boulder City Review on Sept. 1 regarding his focus on conservation to best serve the residents of Boulder City. Together, our cities have a long-standing commitment to conservation and sustainability.

Solutions to nation’s woes just take action

What if you had solutions to a multitude of problems? Would you share what you knew or would you hesitate because the facts were contrary to the status quo?

Terrorists killed more than people

Sept. 11 changed us. And not necessarily for the better.

Dont let city become ‘Pothole Paradise’

Two years ago at a public event, a friend got in my face and in an uncharacteristic, agitated voice said, “Fix my street!” Initially I thought he was joking. But after two attempts to change the subject, I realized he wasn’t laughing.

Court of public opinion too quick to judge

Most people know me for my former Throwback Thursday columns with the Boulder City Review and some people may know of me from my failed run for City Council. What people don’t know, however, is that I used to work for actor Johnny Depp through a contract I had running events at multiple properties on the Las Vegas Strip. I was Mr. Depp’s private dining planner for all of his Las Vegas trips, including events with his family.

Relax, it’s Labor Day

Monday is Labor Day, and it’s somewhat ironic that a day devoted to celebrating the American workforce is a day that most of us strive to do anything but work.

Options for conservation must be explored

Fall weather will be a welcome change in the next few weeks, it has been a hot summer. Some of the hottest temperatures on record for Southern Nevada. And most of those records have been over the past few years. We can look at the changes in water levels at Lake Mead and know that things are very different from any other time in our lifetimes.

Agostini, Eagles Closet help those in need

Since the new school year began at the beginning of the month, students and staff members at Boulder City High School have made a variety of changes to help ensure their health and welfare in the wake of COVID-19.

Water’s low cost makes it expendable

Water is essential to life. Humans and every living species can go without many things but not without water; yet many take water for granted. We water our lawns, fill our swimming pools, wash our cars, take long showers, hose down our driveways and rarely even think about the costs involved. Why? Because water is too convenient and, most importantly, inexpensive.

City long devoted to conservation, environmental issues

The water level at Lake Mead fell to 1,068 feet in July 2021. That is the lowest level since the lake was first filled following the Hoover Dam’s dedication in 1935. This month, the federal government has declared a water shortage on the Colorado River for the first time, triggering cutbacks in water allocations to surrounding states from the river.