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Confessions of a former small-city mayor

I moved to Boulder City with my family in 1981, 20 years after the city became incorporated. Boulder City had about 8,000 people at the time while Clark County had less than half a million people. Do 8,000 citizens constitute a small city? I don’t know.

As an economist for the Bureau of Reclamation, I noticed the friendliness of those that I made acquaintances with. The Bureau of Reclamation is the federal agency that built Boulder Dam, as part of the Boulder Canyon Project Act. I suppose that is where Boulder City gets its name?

The Bureau remains perched on the top of the hill, above the city, overlooking the rest of the community. Boulder City was a government town at the time of much of the construction of the urban area. The city was laid out like Washington, D.C. from the capitol building with the “spokes” of our wheel being Nevada Highway, California Street as well as Utah Street. Boulder City continues to avoid using additional state names for our streets since the original states used to label our streets were from the seven basin states of the Colorado River (Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Utah, California, Nevada and Arizona) weren’t they? What is Georgia Avenue? What do you believe? All I know is that I asked the city manager to change the name of “Alaska Street” to something else. He chose a new name for the farthest east street in the Del Prado subdivision.

In 1985 some of our businessmen were still licking their wounds from being opposed to the Growth Control referendum passed in 1979. Since Boulder City did not allow gaming due to its ownership by the U.S. government, it became a city opposed to gaming although we looked the other way to allow card games in our Senior Center and other fundraising quasi-gambling activities.

We were unique since we grew from a government city into the first home-rule chartered city in the state of Nevada. Other cities had been created by general legislation from the state Legislature. I knew that made us unique. Even the way we selected our mayor was unique. I was chosen by the city councils of 1991 and 1995 to be the mayor. We usually did not know who the mayor was going to be following a municipal election. I would have likely not run for City Council in a city allowing rapid growth and gaming. I always saw my job as a member of the City Council as representing Boulder City with honor.

When I first arrived in Boulder City I hiked and explored the area around Boulder City. I became familiar with the area beyond the large substations that continue to light the night sky in the valley. While I was on city council, two changes were made to Boulder City, the purchase of the El Dorado Valley as well as the post office being moved while keeping it downtown with a similar facade as city hall. I suppose that my desire to have Boulder City make the decisions concerning the El Dorado Valley was the reason that I felt it necessary to purchase. I knew from experience that Henderson, as well as Clark County, would never make the same decisions that Boulder City would concerning the valley.

Original Boulder City, comprising 31 square miles, had to be contiguous to the newly purchased 167 square miles. We barely met the qualification to annex the purchase with a tiny sliver of land connecting old with new Boulder City. Property owners should rejoice since the city currently receives $17 million from the energy enterprises in the valley. Imagine what would happen to your property taxes if those needed funds were levied against your property.

While nothing has significantly changed concerning Boulder City, Boulder City nevertheless has changed, hasn’t it? The friendliness of Boulder City, where our city officials were available in City Hall without a guard checking people in at the top of the stairs is certainly different. None of the doors had access locks on them and there were no metal detectors for City Council meetings. As I stated, nothing in Boulder City has changed significantly, or has it?

I’m currently working on a unique project describing consciousness as president of the Aquarian Theosophy Foundation. My interest was created to better understand the dynamics of effective communication and human interactions. Those interactions are the basis of any democracy, aren’t they? Boulder City currently has almost 16,000 people. The city remains a healthy democracy, doesn’t it? I am proud to have been given the chance to serve as mayor and council member of Boulder City, Nevada.

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