It’s the question dominating Nevada politics: Will elected officials ultimately side with developers and an NFL team owner to put $750 million in taxpayer dollars into a stadium?
A committee looking at that met this week and next week will vote. If it’s yes, Governor Brian Sandoval is expected to convene a special session of lawmakers.
Today we’re talking about that, gun control, voting rights and more with our panel of political observers.
On the stadium plans:
Cosgrove: The rank and file voter needs to be engaged. There’s lots of good information that is out there and there’s lots of people who are following this.
It is the responsibility of the voters to get up to speed and then to let their elected leaders know how they feel. It is the reasonability of the elected leaders to be fiscally responsible and do their due diligence but also to listen to their constituencies.
Do women have a different feeling about the football stadium?
Cosgrove: I think on this issue, especially in Las Vegas, women are like men they’re kind of all over the chart, whether they support a sports team, whether they like the Raiders, whether they like some other team. I don’t think there’s a difference when you break down by gender.
What have Hispanics said about the stadium?
Romero: Most of us feel the same way. When we have an educational system that is ranked the lowest of the low. To think about putting tax payer dollars into a football stadium is just not really beneficial to anybody. It’s not going to ease the matter we have in our school system.
I’m a Dallas Cowboy fan, have been all my life. However, if they were the ones wanting to come to Las Vegas I would say no.
Are Hispanic voters paying enough attention that they would vote against a lawmaker who voted for it?
Romero: I can say that we’re paying attention this election cycle to many things that are going on. I cannot put my hand on the fire and say we’re absolutely there on this issue. But I would say many of us would be sure that the word got out to as many of the Hispanic constituencies as possible.
Hispanics in Politics recently held a meeting about one of the ballot questions. If approved, it would require gun sales and transfers to go through a licensed dealer. What’s your feeling on that?
Romero: Frankly, both sides gave a really credible stance on 'yes' and a credible stance on 'no.' I’ve never owned a gun and I’ve haven’t fire one in maybe 25 years.
At this particular moment, I would say that more likely it’s a 'yes' on the issue. But I don’t know if I could say that it is a concrete 'yes.' But I would say that it leans toward that.
Which way are women voters leaning on the issue?
Congrove: So the National League of Women’s Voters has a position on background checks and we support them. But the League of Women’s Voters tells its members, while we have an official position you vote your conscience.
Some of members think that maybe the personal sale part of it has gone too far. Some of them would oppose it because they would rather see it go through a legislative process than it be at ballot. Then I have other members who support it as is, considering what happened in the legislature when it was vetoed, who think this might be the only way that it can get through.
When it comes to recreational marijuana is there a consensus among the League of Women Voters?
Cosgrove: Where we have weighed in on this is not necessarily in the legalization of recreation marijuana but where it touches on mental health, where it touches on over incarceration. There’s so many other things that touch on that topic that we have advocated for making sure that we are not arresting somebody who has a mental illness, who can’t get into our system and is self-medicating with pot.
We do not want people incarcerated for years and years and years for a low-level offense of dealing pot. So, while we haven’t taken a position specifically on that we feel that if we’re not going to address the other issues appropriately that this might be a stop gap measure to make sure that we’re not putting people in jail who have mental illness and we’re not over incarcerating people.
In Nevada this week, members of the Paiute tribes filed suit against Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske. They allege their 50,000 voting age members have to drive 65 miles or more to vote, a violation of U.S. and State Constitutions. What do you know about that?
Cosgrove: I work with the local band of Paiutes and the Moapa Band of Paiutes making sure that if they need voter registration. If they need car pools to go to a polling place that we’re providing that. The first place I heard about the lawsuit up north, it popped up on Twitter, but I do recognize the groups that are helping the Paiute bands that are up in the north.
The solution they’re being offered is to do mail-in ballots. And I don’t think that’s going to hold water in court, because when you look at any type of voting irregularities that have happened it’s not in-person voter impersonation that’s the problem. Often times, it’s the insecurity of those mail in ballots.
They need to be given the opportunity to vote in person at one of the voting machines.
Sondra Cosgrove, president, League of Women Voters of Las Vegas Valley; Fernando Romero, president, Hispanics in Politics;