Saturday, October 21, 2017

THE BUSINESS OF RUNNING LAS VEGAS

On June 7, the people of Las Vegas will elect the city’s first new mayor since 1999. Vying in a runoff to replace departing Mayor Oscar Goodman are his wife, Carolyn, and County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani. Las Vegas Black Image was at the Four Seasons Hotel for a recent mayoral debate hosted by the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce. With African-Americans experiencing Nevada’s highest unemployment rate at 21 percent, it is essential that voters in the community be well-informed about the candidates’ positions on matters relating to the economy and jobs. The following are edited excerpts from the debate moderated by Jon Ralston, a political analyst.

Ralston: How do you plan to create new business, industry and jobs in Las Vegas?  And — this is the tough one — what would you do differently than your predecessor?

Goodman: I have been speaking to the people in the film and television industry, and we are a perfect site for it. There is land for it, and right now in the assembly there are bills being put forth to give tax incentives to make this move forward. I had breakfast yesterday here at the Four Seasons Hotel with people in the film and television industry who are absolutely blown away with this idea and want to move on it. I promise you, the day that I am elected, I will be calling these people to come to Las Vegas and take advantage of everything we offer. We are an hour away from Los Angeles.

Carolyn Goodman

Carolyn Goodman

Giunchigliani: I had planned when I first got into this race that we had to rethink government in Nevada, Clark County and the city of Las Vegas. That means we have to promote true leadership, role modeling and how we are going to do business differently. Number one, my proposal for new business start-ups in Nevada is to have one application and one fee. Number two, use technology that should be available to fill out business applications from home or at a free- standing kiosk at local government buildings. These are things we can do to help people get to work. Number three, I propose a revolving loan fund from the redevelopment dollars to be able to assist businesses to start-up and get running. Business loans are not being offered by banks at this time and it is very difficult. Number four, we should talk to people … that are already in business in Las Vegas. We have the tendency to always talk about bringing businesses from the outside. What about helping businesses right here in Las Vegas?  What about sitting down with you and asking, “Would you attend our forum?”
I absolutely promote what we have started in our downtown, but it was not master-planned, and that is what I would do differently down there. We need field development to put people back to work. We need infrastructure jobs — and new sidewalks in downtown, for example, are needed and have not been done yet. These are just some of my proposals.

chris Giunchigliani

Chris Giunchigliani

Goodman: This has been talked about in all our debates, understanding that everybody is on the bandwagon to streamline all of the processes for new businesses. And if I am elected the mayor, I would absolutely advocate for streamlining and making it more efficient for businesses. But we must keep in mind that we need businesses to keep coming into the city to pay off the bonds that are there. There is always another side. It is always about finances. You can’t take blood from a stone.

Ralston: Nevada is a right-to-work state. All of these project labor agreements (PLA) are being voiced. Where do you stand on this?

Giunchigliani: I support project labor agreements and it can make sure that we have local businesses, architects, and engineers working on construction projects. We don’t need someone from out of state when we have resources in Nevada. PLAs allow this kind of opportunity when looking at local hiring and a diverse population. It is time that we do more of a promotion similar to what they do at the MGM Grand.

Mayor Debate

Russell A. Joyner, from left, Verlia Hoggard, Lavonne Lewis and Ida Gaines attended the mayoral debate at the Four Seasons Hotel.

They have a supplier diversity construction program that looks at minority- and women-owned businesses, and it is time that businesses look at the private sector to get some ideas for doing business a little differently, so we are rewarding people. We need PLAs for the stabilization of quality of trades and the protection from any kind of strikes. This saves the taxpayers money, and makes sure that the project moves along and does the work within a set time.

Goodman: The reason I am for a construction project review instead of PLAs is because I think it is very healthy. It is about competition, private industry, and certainly anybody who has a company who delivers less than quality work would not get a recommendation. I think a project-by-project review would be appropriate. Generally, I am not for PLAs.

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