Las Vegas voters really ought to show up for a change

By: - March 13, 2019 1:14 pm

Home page image from the No Means No Ruben campaign opposed to Kihuen’s city council bid. The texts are excerpts from those included in the House Ethics Committee investigation of Kihuen.

Home page image from the No Means No, Ruben group opposed to Kihuen’s city council bid. The texts are excerpts from those included in the House Ethics Committee investigation of Kihuen.

Disgraced former Congressman and Las Vegas City Council candidate Ruben Kihuen is having a big week.

Tuesday, Buzzfeed, which originally broke the story about the allegations of Kihuen’s sexual harassment of staffers, published a lengthy look at his bid to return to public office in the Las Vegas Ward 3 race. Kihuen resisted calls to resign from Congress, but opted not to seek reelection, and the House ethics committee issued a scathing report sanctioning Kihuen on his way out the door.

Then Wednesday morning, Kihuen and Clark County Commissioner Justin Jones had the following twitter exchange.

No one is linking to the website because it is vile.

But other people who have had more than enough of Kihuen piled on via social media. Assemblyman Howard Watts was particularly eloquent, in an 11-tweet thread that doubles as a comprehensive indictment of both the website and Kihuen’s wimpy, barely plausible reaction to it.

And in the Nevada Independent, which first reported text messages central to the women’s harassment claims against Kihuen, editor Jon Ralston Wednesday morning published a brief but brutal piece headlined “An ugly face” about the website Kihuen claims to know nothing about, making several points, including this one: “How does he know who the author is, as he implies in his tweet, because the site appears to be untraceable?”

Nothing in Kihuen’s career, from getting outflanked on his left by Michael Roberson(!) on mining taxes while in the Legislature, to merely parroting pre-approved party lines while in the U.S. House, suggests Kihuen has any sincere interest in policy. He’s a lightweight.

Everything about Kihuen’s career, from his preening at presidential candidate rallies in 2007 to his current candidacy, suggests Kihuen has a vastly overinflated and unwarranted sense of his own greatness. He’s a peacock.

In some ways, this city council race is the most interesting thing Kihuen’s ever done. In the course of running the race, however he has refused to discuss issues with the press (as if he has any insight on issues in the first place). He has “gaslighted” voters by mischaracterizing the allegations women made against him. And when a repugnant website blames, and in some cases names, his victims, instead of strongly condemning the site, he says “I don’t support it.”

In the last election in Ward 3 four years ago, Councilman Bob Coffin secured his victory in the primary by getting more than 50 percent of the vote.

He got 1,478 votes.

That’s what it takes to win an election to the city council in the Entertainment Capital of the World. Held at odd times of odd years, instead of in even-numbered years like a grown-up election, municipal elections are a farce.

One could, one suppose, blame voters for failing to take an interest in city elections, and conclude that if in fact Kihuen is able to exploit absurdly low turnout to secure four years of ribbon cutting and a public paycheck on the Las Vegas City Council, well, that’s what the people of Las Vegas get for not showing up.

Hopefully, they will show up, and nobody will have to say that.

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Hugh Jackson
Hugh Jackson

Hugh Jackson was editor of the Las Vegas Business Press, senior editor at the Las Vegas CityLife weekly newspaper, daily political commentator on the Las Vegas NBC affiliate, and author of the Las Vegas Gleaner political blog. Prior to moving to Las Vegas, he was a reporter and editor at the Casper (Wyoming) Star-Tribune.