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Pastor Wants Las Vegas Councilwoman To Quit Or Face Recall

FILE - Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore participates in a Republican debate for Nevada's 3rd Congressional District, Tuesday, April 26, 2016, in Henderson, Nev.
(AP Photo/John Locher)

FILE - Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore participates in a Republican debate for Nevada's 3rd Congressional District, Tuesday, April 26, 2016, in Henderson, Nev.

Last weekend, the Clark County Republican Party held its convention. The message was unity.

Then Michele Fiore spoke. In a statement condemning her comments, the party called what she said “racially charged” and ”irresponsible."

Fiore is a Las Vegas councilwoman and mayor pro tem. Her ward includes much of Las Vegas’ northwest side.

During a news conference at her house on Thursday, Fiore apologized to anyone who was offended by her comments and said her comments were being portrayed inaccurately.

“Sometimes I can get a little Brooklyn when unscripted but I never, ever want to portray or have anyone believe that there is a racist bone in my body," the city councilwoman said, "Actions always speak more than words, and in my almost 50 years of being here, my actions are very clear on equality. You can also base my love for everyone by the company I keep, the people I kiss, my family and friends. If a sentence or words that came from my mouth, truly offended anyone with respect, love and sincerity I apologize.”

The councilwoman declined to repeat or describe what she said.

On Thursday, Councilman Cedric Crear sent a letter to Mayor Carolyn Goodman calling Fiore’s comments “racist and inflammatory” and asking for Fiore to be demoted as mayor pro tem.

Fiore said it was sad that Crear asked for her demotion and called his letter “defamatory” and “false.” When a reporter asked for clarification about what in the councilman's letter was false, Fiore ended the news conference.

Crear told KNPR's State of Nevada on Friday that he did not think much of her apology.

“I didn’t feel it was much of an apology,” he said.

Crear said he hadn't heard anybody in his community say that it was a good apology.

“It was quite the opposite. I think it had quite the opposite effect of being apologetic within our community,” he said.

Crear did not hear Fiore's original comments at the convention but did read newspaper accounts of what she said. 

Several people have characterized what she said this way: If my white ass is qualified for a particular job, and your black ass is less qualified, then my white ass should get the job.

Crear called the comments "repugnant."

“It’s an inflammatory, derogatory statement. It just spits in the face of trying to find equality in our society and I don’t think there’s a place for that within city hall,” he said. 

The councilman pointed out there are several black people working in city hall and Fiore's comments don't "fit in the context of our society." He said it is unfortunate in this day and age that we're still having these conversations.

“I think it is unfortunate and we all have to be better than this and we have to move forward. Our society and our community is working to build an environment that provides equal justice and equality for all people, and especially black people. We’ve been dealing with this for centuries,” he said.

Mayor Goodman said she was taking Crear's letter seriously and considering all the information.

A group called Expel Michele has filed notice with the city that it intends to start a recall petition and a Las Vegas pastor is now asking Fiore to resign or face a recall effort.

Pastor Monekeo Allen told KNPR's State of Nevada she is working on a letter that will include signatures from others that will go to the mayor and Gov. Steve Sisolak requesting Fiore resign. 

“If she does not resign, it is my intention to file a notice of intent to recall,” Allen said.

Allen said Fiore is in a non-partisan seat on the city council but she has not acted that way

“She has proven to be anything but unbiased and that is what is required of a non-partisan seat,” she said.

Allen did not attend the convention and did not hear Fiore's speech. She did read that Fiore also made comments about the Black Lives Matter movement and used the phrase 'all lives matter.'

“This Black Lives Matter movement is due to the injustice in police brutality that blacks suffer at the hands of racists and the police. Why does she have to say, ‘all lives matter?’ If all lives matter, we wouldn't have to constantly remind people that black lives matter. Therefore, her comments are insensitive to the issue,” she said.

(Editor's note: KNPR News asked Fiore to be part of the discussion but she declined)

Monekeo Allen, pastor

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Joe Schoenmann joined Nevada Public Radio in 2014. He works with a talented team of producers at State of Nevada who explore the casino industry, sports, politics, public health and everything in between.