Las Vegas City Hall has become home to a potential scandal and short tempers.
Councilwoman Michele Fiore faces a federal investigation into her campaign finances, according to published reports. Add to that a council colleague has accused her of bullying and abusive behavior.
Fiore’s “past and ongoing actions are unwanted, unwelcome, and have become unbearable,” wrote Councilwoman Victoria Seaman in a cease-and-desist letter sent to Fiore.
Seaman says Fiore physically assaulted her early this year and has led a whispering campaign impugning her former friend.
"Local government can be a high-pressure environment," said former Clark County Commissioner Rory Reid told State of Nevada. "This is an extraordinary thing to have ... what used to be a cordial relationship deteriorate in public."
The controversy surrounding the council brought to mind the political scandals that have arisen in Southern Nevada in recent years, including sending Clark County commissioners and a Las Vegas councilman to prison.
"We should require ethics training for politicians, no matter what office they run for," said Chris Giunchigliani, a former Clark County commissioner and state legislator. "It should also be in our curriculum for students because ethics doesn't pertain just to politics."
She also said that technology has allowed candidates to reach voters with tactics such as social media and targeted mailings, widening the gulf between voters and elected officials.
"I think people have gotten lazy in campaigning," she said. "We don't bother to talk to our neighbors and constituents."
A small-city mayor from central Nevada said one key to bridging that gap is a better-informed public.
“I was thinking about the reasons I decided to get involved in local politics, and one of the big things, especially in the rurals, is how important is local politics is,” said Ely Mayor Nathan Robertson. “I think they (voters) really underestimate the effect that local government can have, for better or worse, on their lives.”
Sondra Cosgrove, professor, College of Southern Nevada; Steve Sebelius, political editor, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Rory Reid, former Clark County commissioner
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