Last week Boulder City got an unusual Christmas present. With the addition of our new council members, we now have a City Council comprised of individuals entirely different than those in office just a year and a half ago. We’re known for historic preservation. But that’s historic turnover. It’s never happened here before.
So, in the spirit of the holidays, I thought I’d help the new council out with a teaser of what’s on our community’s Christmas wish list. The complete list stretches from here to the North Pole. But here are a few stocking stuffers for starters.
Storage for Santa’s sleigh. Did you know that Santa’s workshop has a satellite office in one of Boulder City’s airport hangars? That’s undoubtedly a Federal Aviation Administration violation, but I won’t blow my holiday whistle on Santa if you won’t.
Well, you’re not going to believe it, but one of the elves recently whispered that a few of Santa’s reindeer are still upset that the city skyjacked the refueling station and continues to confiscate all the hangars. Rudolph actually likes the one-stop shopping that the city’s sole ownership affords, but Dasher and Comet still prefer the good old days when each reindeer could shop among diverse ownership and spend their layovers in the hangar of their choice. It’s a real Vixen of a problem that probably isn’t going away soon. In fact, the whole aviary community has strong opinions, including the swans a-swimming, the geese a-laying, the calling birds, the French hens, the turtle doves, and even the pear-treed partridge. So put on your aerial combat gear and hope that Santa’s sleigh doesn’t get caught in the airport hangar crossfire.
Santa’s suit. Speaking of dog fights, the new council is inheriting some contentious legal battles from the old one. Prominent among those are the complaints filed against the city and former Mayor Kiernan McManus by various employees based on harassment, retaliation, bullying, hostile work environment and discrimination, including the lawsuit filed by Al Noyola and Steve Morris. Santa’s suit is red, but that lawsuit is red hot. In that one fight alone, the city has spent over $350,000 on its private attorneys. And probably even more than that has been spent on the two other firms hired by the city’s insurance pool to help defend that case.
The tide keeps turning, with initial findings in favor of the city but more recent ones, including ethics investigations, favoring Morris and Noyola. The question is, when is enough enough? The best Christmas gifts keep on giving year-round, but the city’s coffers can’t. In rare instances it’s important to fight on principle to the bitter end, but usually everyone loses when that happens.
Settlement is almost always a better option for both sides. Regardless, the new council needs to make this a matter of careful consideration.
We need some rain, dear. At least that’s what Mrs. Claus always says to me when our drought-tolerant plants start dying every summer. Everyone knows that water use and conservation will always be critical issues in our desert climate. So, I won’t beat that dead reindeer too much. But the new council needs to get serious about a plan for backup energy if Lake Mead eventually hits dead-pool level and for reusing our million daily gallons of wastewater that just flow into the desert to evaporate.
Former Mayor McManus shouted down the plan to pipe our wastewater back into Lake Mead in exchange for reuse credits. And the most recent plan to use it for golf course irrigation has yet to get off the ground any higher than the star on my Christmas tree. Southern Nevada Water Authority has offered to pay for either one. Let’s hope the new council makes this a priority before it’s time for me to get my Ho Ho Hose out and start watering again this spring.
Keeping our Christmas lights burning bright. I hope nobody ever tries to tell me that exterior holiday lights are polluting our environment. They sure bring joy to my life and to the faces of most people I see. A bigger issue for the new City Council is making sure our utility fund is still healthy enough to keep the interior lights on in our homes and businesses. We haven’t heard too much about that lately, so I’m beginning to wonder.
We’re probably OK for now, but what about three to five years down the road? Hopefully the new council will have the foresight to plan ahead so that we’re never back in dire straits again like we once were.
See, we’re hardly asking for anything this Christmas. We’ll save the rest until we see if the new council is naughty or nice.
Merry Christmas to all of the council members, both new and old. And thank you for your service. Happy holidays everyone.
The opinions expressed above belong solely to the author and do not represent the views of the Boulder City Review. They have been edited solely for grammar, spelling and style, and have not been checked for accuracy of the viewpoints.
Rod Woodbury has resided in Boulder City for more than 40 years and is a partner in the law firm Jolley Urga Woodbury &Holthus. He served on the City Council from 2011- 2019, including four years as mayor.