It seems that campaigns never end anymore either at the local or national level. But elections do occur and the citizens have an opportunity to select the people they believe will best represent their interests. Boulder City held a municipal election in June that brought changes to four of the five positions on the City Council. Some members were chosen by clear majorities and one position came down to a name being selected in a drawing.
The outcome is likely to result in a change of direction from previous City Councils. It is certainly my intent to work toward changes that will more directly benefit the residents of Boulder City.
There were significant differences in how the campaigns were financed for the people running for office. In the election for Mayor I personally contributed more than a fourth of the money for my campaign. The campaign of the former incumbent Mayor outspent my campaign 5 to 1. The other newly elected Council members also had smaller contribution amounts than the incumbent members of Council.
But even with the election having been concluded and the votes tallied a narrative is being created that seeks to question the decisions of the citizens. A narrative being a story line that takes or creates snippets of information to discredit decisions being made by the newly elected members of City Council. Narratives are often not based on facts but are more the stringing together of unrelated and sometimes false bits of information to present a picture that is nothing more than a mirage.
An example of a false narrative is one that the editor of this newspaper has helped along regarding an effort to smear the name of a grass roots group called the Boulder City Community Alliance. The beginning of this misleading story line was early in the campaign this year. A former (and failed) candidate for City Council submitted a form to the Nevada Secretary of State accusing this informal group of being a political action committee (PAC).
This newspaper ran a story “reporting” the submission of the form as a complaint. But the submission of the form never resulted in a complaint because the person submitting the form never provided any proof or documentation of any actions by the group or the individuals named.
This newspaper could have reported that by engaging in some basic journalism and contacting the Secretary’s office. The narrative, however, was not about facts but to create a smear against citizens exercising their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.
The false narrative is being grown to include baseless allegations of Council members being influenced by the group or circumventing open meeting laws. But consider the source of the false information. Special interests are those that seek advantage for narrowly defined interests. When a loosely formed group of citizens advocates for broad interests such as maintaining our conservative growth in Boulder City it is not a special interest.
It should be noted as well that all three candidates for mayor this year attended a forum organized by the Community Alliance. The organizers of the Alliance later offered residents the opportunity to indicate their preference for each candidate. The organizers invited the community at large to attend the forum and indicate a preference as there is no membership in the group.
The editor of this newspaper attempted to misinterpret a letter from an organizer of the group refuting the characterization of the Alliance effort as a special interest. The letter was clearly intended to reveal the absurdity of such allegations. But by pulling words out of context it is possible to fuel the false narrative.
Unfortunately I believe the campaign and the false narratives will continue well beyond the election. That is where elections and campaigns are at this point in time.
On the bright side I would encourage the residents of Boulder City to listen a little less to what is being said and pay more attention to what I believe will be done in the coming months. There is a very bright side in Boulder City and actions will always speak louder than words.
Kiernan McManus is mayor of Boulder City. He is a native of Boulder City first elected to City Council in 2017.