For more than two decades, I’ve been getting to know Boulder City folks. I baked, cooked and waited on them at local restaurants. I reported news to them. I served them as foundation director at Boulder City Hospital. I worked as Boulder City’s public information officer. I ran for City Council and continue to be involved in city issues and volunteer organizations.
It’s with experience and conviction that I can say Boulder City residents are no better or worse than millions of other people. What makes Boulder City different is that there are fewer of us to get to know here than in a city like Chicago. Before you chide me for not extolling Boulder City’s unique qualities, think about what you just read. I’m not making a value judgment.
Boulder City folks are quick to judge and speak before they think, just as those anywhere else. We, as others, want what we want. Someone else can do the problem-solving because we have responsibilities and our time is valuable. Someone else should be doing whatever needs fixing. “They” get paid to do whatever it is that needs solving and isn’t that what taxes are for? Having our cake and eating it too is not unique to Boulder City residents. While humans come in different shapes, sizes and colors, all of us want what we want, exactly the way we want it, and we want it now.
At this moment, the subject of utility rates is front and center, yet less than 200 folks showed up for a public meeting nearly a month ago. If we want lower rates, or want the billing process to change, or want reliable, inexpensive power, why weren’t more folks at the meeting? After the meeting, Councilman Warren Harhay asked folks to submit questions. How many did he receive? He confirmed with me that he received 20 cards at the meeting, one card was mailed to him and no emails were received. Where is the involvement?
Over the past few weeks, I’ve posted the following on Facebook: “Boulder City has been called, and is considered by many, to be an historic city. In 1983, an inventory was done listing historic structures in the city. Some of these structures no longer stand or have been significantly changed. Would you sign a petition stating you agree that all buildings listed in the inventory shall not be demolished by the owner except if these structures would endanger the health/safety of the owner or the community? Please type yes or no.”
I attempted, with some difficulty, to count all the one-word responses. My best “guesstimate” of one-word votes is approximately 110. For whatever reason, people couldn’t give a yes or no answer. While nearly twice as many people did say “yes” to this question, the discussion went sideways with various opinions and questions. If I follow my logic, this is how many people respond.
So while many in Boulder City believe we are unique, special and historic, they are unable to say whether they are in favor of protecting historic structures. And while many grouse about utility rates, only a small fraction of the population took time to attend a meeting on the topic or submit questions or solutions.
It is a fact that Boulder City voters come out in greater numbers than their neighbors. In the 2017 municipal general election, 42.46 percent of Boulder City registered voters cast a ballot, compared to 8.22 percent in Henderson, 7.63 percent in Las Vegas and 10.26 percent in North Las Vegas.
Boulder City is unique in this respect. So, if we can outperform so many other voters, why can’t we motivate people to action on issues? Are we unique, special and historic or not?
Maybe we need to examine why we live here in a straightforward, simple, bottom-line way. Maybe we should stop scrutinizing an issue to the point where we paralyze ourselves into doing nothing except talking. If we say we are unique, special and historic, let’s focus on why we say that and do something about making and keeping our town that way.
Discussion is good, but without action, we are merely like everyone else. You decide.
Rose Ann Miele is a journalist and was public information officer for Boulder City for nine years. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 702-339-9082.