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Incumbent Seaman faces 5 in Las Vegas Ward 2

In the lone Las Vegas city race featuring an incumbent, Councilwoman Victoria Seaman is seeking reelection in Ward 2, the Las Vegas district encompassing Summerlin.

Seaman, 63, a former assemblywoman, joined the nonpartisan council in 2019 after coming out on top in a special election following the resignation of then-Councilman Steve Seroka.

She faces five challengers in the June primary: Alan Bigelow, a Pahrump firefighter; Jeff Bradshaw, a real estate broker; Erika Smith, a retired dentist; Mike Tomko, a retired Las Vegas firefighter; and Ronald McWhorter, whose occupation could not be confirmed.

Crediting the effectiveness of her assembled council team, Seaman said that more than 2,100 constituent concerns have been resolved during her term. And if given four more years, she said that she wants to secure a children’s hospital in the district.

Seaman said that she has proven to be a representative for everyone: More than 120 small businesses have been featured on her social media as part of the Small Business Saturdays campaign; she launched Art in the Park to support local artists; she added a pool at Veterans Memorial Park; and she pushed for accountability from the city-contracted Animal Foundation after reports emerged that it was overcrowded and understaffed.

“I’ll go to the ends of the Earth to make sure that we get things done as long as I can do it,” she said.

But some of Seaman’s opponents have criticized her failure thus far to follow through with a key piece of her 2019 campaign: Resolving the protracted and costly court battle over the defunct Badlands Golf Club course.

Seaman insisted that “no one at City Hall has worked harder” to try to move beyond the yearslong legal dispute. Even so, the city is on the hook for a $34 million judgment from last September, excluding prejudgment interest and legal fees, and there is potential for more taxpayer liability from three other pending cases.

Seaman, who said that she has been unable to build majority support for a global settlement from fellow city lawmakers, recently signaled that she would no longer support using taxpayer dollars to fuel the city’s legal defense as she voted against authorizing $100,000 in new funding toward litigation.

Veterans, seniors, jobs

Bigelow, 59, said that he entered the race dissatisfied with Seaman’s time in office. As a “tested leader” who served 24 years in the Army, Bigelow said he will focus on caring for veterans and seniors.

He said he wants to increase city inspections and enforcement of senior facilities and to work with College of Southern Nevada and private groups to help create good-paying jobs, particularly for foster children after they age out of the system.

He said he would champion a new health care facility with specialty services and push to open up city zoning for charter, micro and pod schools, so that they may launch more quickly.

“When you step into leadership, you’re there,” Bigelow said, referring to accessibility. “When something happens like the Alpine (motel apartments) fire, I’m going to go down, I’m going to check it out, because that’s what a council person is supposed to do.”

Bradshaw, 54, a broker with Signature Real Estate Group, expressed dismay over what he believed to be the city’s lack of business friendliness: “Without business, we don’t have jobs.”

He said that the city needed to ease its process for businesses to acquire the proper licensing to help them to get off the ground.

A regular volunteer at the Las Vegas Rescue Mission prior to the pandemic, Bradshaw called upon the city to support shelters that already know how to address homelessness, versus trying to implement government-run programs that he said will waste money.

He also accused the city of not listening to those who needed assistance during the pandemic, saying officials should have considered withholding fines for at least some people who began illegally utilizing rooms as short-term rentals for extra revenue.

Taxpayers’ concerns

Smith, 45, said she too was concerned with escalating legal liability in the dispute over the defunct golf course as well as Seaman’s contentious relationship with Councilwoman Michele Fiore: “There’s just too much drama.”

Smith, who ran unsuccessfully for state Assembly two years ago, said that she wants to relieve burdens on businesses and seeks to bring integrity and compassion to the council, which she believed has been missing.

She said she wants to implement two business-oriented policies: Discounts for license renewals and fee waivers for 90 days for new businesses. Within her first 100 days in office, she vowed to call a town hall between the public and the Metropolitan Police Department in an effort to strengthen the community-police partnership in a district where she noted people sought out to live.

“I believe that Ward 2 is really the American Dream personified,” she said.

Tomko, 63, was briefly a candidate in the special election three years ago but dropped out for personal reasons. He said he wants to be responsive to “the little things that taxpayers care about.”

Those issues include potentially hiring more police to patrol near schools amid rises in school violence; gathering public input to improve traffic problems such as speeding; addressing older, forgotten neighborhoods; and increasing animal control patrols.

Tomko, who was also critical of infighting on the council, said that he believed the city could have fought harder with the state to assist mom-and-pop businesses during the pandemic and he worried about water usage as the city continues to expand at a fast clip.

“We’re building stuff all over the place, let’s do it responsibly,” he said. “That’s a long-term issue.”

McWhorter did not return messages seeking comment on his campaign, and he does not appear to have a campaign website.

Seaman maintains a massive cash advantage over the field: She reported raising more than $79,000 during the first quarter of the year and maintains $430,000 cash on hand. The next-closest competitor, Bigelow, raised just over $4,300, campaign finance records show.

The primary election is June 14. Early voting runs May 28 through June 10.

Contact Shea Johnson at sjohnson@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0272. Follow @Shea_LVRJ on Twitter.

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