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Nearly 25K sign petition opposing renaming McCarran after Harry Reid

An online petition opposing renaming McCarran International Airport for former Sen. Harry Reid has collected more than 24,000 signatures as of Friday.

The petition on change.org’s website proposes the airport be renamed Las Vegas International Airport and not Harry Reid International Airport, as approved unanimously by the Clark County Commission last month.

The petition’s creator, Rocco Sant, wrote the public should be involved in the renaming process and that politics should be taken out of whatever name is chosen.

“I believe it’s the people of Nevada who should decide the name of one of the busiest airports in the world,” Sant said in the petition’s description, which is directed at the Nevada State Senate and Clark County Commission Chairwoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick.

Sant, who could not be reached for comment, suggests if they garner enough signatures by March 16 that the Reid name could be reconsidered.

“The FAA and Board of Commissioners certify this decision on March 16th,” Sant wrote. “Time is running out! We must be heard.”

The claim is not factual, as the Federal Aviation Administration doesn’t approve the name change; it just needs the Clark County Department of Aviation’s director to send the name change request along with minutes from the commission meeting when the vote occurred.

Once that request is received, the FAA will update its records and ensure the name change process occurs smoothly with any grants or other processes that are active that might have McCarran’s name listed.

McCarran is in the process of figuring out what the cost of renaming will be, which early estimates peg at between $5 million and $7 million, according to Chris Jones, McCarran spokesman.

As far as the county commission, its vote last month was all that was needed. The March 16 date referred to by Sant is the date of the commission meeting that the minutes from the Feb. 16 meeting will be approved, which is a standard procedure at each commission meeting.

It would take only one commissioner to request the item be brought up again for the renaming to be revisited by the commission, according to Clark County spokesman Erik Pappa.

But County Commissioner Tick Segerblom, who championed the renaming, said the process is still moving forward as planned.

“To my knowledge it’s full speed ahead,” Segerblom said. “Until the FAA process is complete, I guess it could be revisited.”

Segerblom, who requested the renaming be reviewed and ultimately approved, addressed those who think the public should vote on the matter, likening it to several other key items that officials have voted on in the past.

“That’s why you elect people to represent you, it’s not a democracy where everything you do is voted on,” Segerblom said. “I campaigned on this name change when I ran for county commission, I proposed it in the Legislature publicly. It’s not like it came out of the blue. … The fact is when we voted a billion-and-a-half (dollars) for Tesla no one said we need a public vote. When we voted for $750 million for the (Allegiant) stadium, nobody said we need a public vote.

“Politicians make decisions all the time that are huge and that’s what elections are all about.”

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.