Democratic Party presidential candidate Tom Steyer’s commercials have been filling television airwaves and social media feeds around Nevada ahead of the February first-in-the-West caucus.
He’s pouring millions into his own campaign and opened a Las Vegas headquarters Sunday afternoon before a sizable crowd.
State of Nevada contributor John L. Smith was at the opening.
“From the sound of the applause, it was very lively. A real kind of genuine energy. Not just ginned up. It was an interesting turnout from that standpoint,” Smith said.
He said the event included a large variety of voters, including undecided voters who came out to hear what Steyer had to say. The people who were notably absent were big-name Democrats. Smith believes that speaks to Steyer's outsider status.
Smith said Steyer followed some of the same progressive talking points as other candidates who are further ahead in the polls.
“When you look at Steyer’s track record, not his business track record, but if you look at what he’s been focused on in the last decade or so in California, you’ve got a guy whose been focused on swinging at some of the people that you would think he would be entertaining,” Smith said.
And Smith doesn't think that Steyer is in the race to make some kind of a point.
“I doubt that anyone would spend this much time and money to be in it to prove some kind of a philosophical point. He has to have a bigger dream of leading,” he said.
CITY OF LAS VEGAS HOMELESS ORDINANCE
“If there are beds available, the person sleeping on the street is asked: ‘Will you go to a bed? We’ve got a bed available. We’ll help you with transport. We’ll take you there.’ And if they refuse, then that’s when it ratchets up," Smith said.
The ratcheting up includes a possible citation or even going to the detention center.
“What does a citation mean to a person who’s homeless and penniless? Is that cruel on its face to bury someone with a few hundred or even up to a few thousand dollars in fine, which can only complicate a life that is pretty complicated if you’re sleeping on the sidewalk," Smith said.
Smith said that the city has worked to craft the ordinance in such a way that it will pass constitutional muster, but in reality, the ordinance is a tough one to enforce.
Smith notes that homeless people have lots of complications from mental health issues to substance abuse to partners, pets and children at their side.
He said the city can't ask one question and either the person is picked up or left out.
Smith said a lot more - on a federal level - needs to be done to address this issue.
“It’s a national crisis. It should be treated like a national crisis,” he said.
He would like to see homelessness become a national priority with a high-powered person in Washington, D.C. tasked with addressing it. Smith said on some level though homelessness has been dismissed as something that a certain number of people are just going to experience.
John L. Smith, contributor
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