This evening (January 12, 2017) at 5:00pm, I had the amazing opportunity to watch our Mayor, Carolyn Goodman, do her thing at her State of the City address at City Hall. I feel very fortunate to have been invited as my friend’s “plus one” for this event, because I really do admire the Goodmans. As it happens, Former Mayor Oscar Goodman is a friend of a man that I work with and have known for 15 years. So when he got the personal invitation in the mail to attend and he asked me to accompany him, my resounding “YES” was a no-brainer!
Our evening began by finding seats off to the side where the general public would sit, since the middle section was reserved for elected officials, friends and family of the Mayor, the press, etc. However, as luck would have it, four seats in the middle of the fourth row in the reserved section were vacant due to no-shows, so my friend and I were moved to the special seating. It was wonderful, as we were both dressed in our business finery… myself in a sweater dress with a cowl neck, and him in a suit and tie (which in my 15 years of knowing him I have NEVER seen him wear!), and we were seated right in front of some of the city’s finest judges. I had taken a selfie of myself and my friend because they were doing a live Twitter feed thing, using the hashtag #StateOfVegas, which they immediately showed on the big screens. My friend, who is 74 years old, got a major kick out of that! I love it when I can show him a fun time because he is a retired Navy Veteran, and rarely gets dressed up to leave the house for anything other than a family function. I go as his personal assistant so that not only is he not alone, but I am also there in case of an emergency due to his ongoing health issues.
I will add here that I was taking notes on my phone while trying to hang onto the Mayor’s every word, so I didn’t necessarily catch all of the numbers being tossed out, and I may have a couple of inaccuracies in my blog. So I will try by best to recapture everything I can. If I missed anything, I do apologize, and you can always go to the Facebook page for the City of Las Vegas to see the Mayor’s Address for yourself. However, I thought it was very wonderful to have SOMETHING to blog about that is full of promise and hope! If you have anything you want to add, please do so in my comment section!
As we were waiting for the Mayor, who was running a few minutes late after they introduced all of the Councilmen and had them seated, we were entertained by a video of her being driven around by Elvis in a pink Cadillac convertible as they were driving by all of the fun sights our city has to offer. Once she was in the building and walking down the isle toward the podium, we all stood and applauded as she looked a little flustered and cracked a joke about how Elvis is a great singer but a bad driver! We had a good laugh at that. She then had a little fun with Councilman Bob Coffin about the over/under (a little betting term for you non-Vegans) as to how long her address would last. I honestly can’t remember what his witty retort was, but again, the room was filled with laughter. She then moved on to her 6th State of the City Address as Mayor of Las Vegas.
She began by assuring us that we will move forward after the 20th of the month with the new Presidential Administration, and not take a step back. We were filled in on the accomplishments of our city during the last year, which included Las Vegas being recognized as being one of the only large cities using renewable energy 3 weeks ago. Financially, the city did well for the Fiscal Year of 2016, and many new businesses have sprouted up around the city… large AND small. Including the first Resort Hotel opening here in just over a decade: The Lucky Dragon. In all seriousness, I didn’t realize it had been that long since we had a new major Hotel open up, since Las Vegas is such a fast paced city already. How time flies! We had a safer time overall with the presence of more police on the streets (although admittedly, I have to question that one, but that’s just me). For New Year’s Eve, we had 340,000 plus visitors on the Strip with no major incidents. Also, we now apparently have a new “Pickle Ball Court” at the Plaza (WHAT is Pickle Ball??)
We have been recognized as having some of the most unique museums according to travel sites, such as the Mob Museum (which, if you haven’t been there, I HIGHLY recommend it!), Leid’s Discovery Museum for Children in Symphony Park, the Natural History Museum, Neon Boneyard (which is really impressive at night, and well worth the extra few dollars), and one that I think she forgot to mention… the Atomic Museum. We also have a very cool thing here now called Container Park on Fremont Street, which features a gigantic praying mantis sculpture out front that throws fire at night! Very impressive, indeed!
On to 2017, which is set to be a pretty amazing and cutting edge year for us. The Premium Outlet Mall on Grand Central, which is the largest outdoor mall with record numbers of visitors, is looking to expand and build a new garage. Binion’s is looking to reopen it’s tower, and we have the first Autonomous Shuttle in the Downtown area (which was just announced this last Tuesday)… from what I’ve heard, it’s actually an unmanned shuttle!
All 5 Clark County Mayors are looking to work together to make Southern Nevada even better (and safer) by way of widening roads, more bike lanes, working on pedestrian safety, etc. for the whole of Clark County. I really wish them the best on this endeavor, because pedestrian safety has really become a major issue lately with people crossing the streets with no crosswalk (or 100 feet away from a crosswalk). Sadly, we have had too many pedestrian fatalities due to this.
Mayor Goodman went on to thank each of the Councilmen & Women and their liasons of the 6 Wards for their hard work and dedication…. Maybe one of these days, I’ll ask Stavros Anthony what the heck a Pickle Ball Court is! To be honest, I keep envisioning people throwing pickles at each other with a lingering smell of vinegar in the air! She followed up by thanking our Judges for their vigilant work in the courtroom.
The Mayor spoke of how she sees growth, prosperity, ongoing change, and improvements for Summerlin, the World Market Center, Symphony Park, and opening “the Modern” bridge from the Railroad TO Symphony Park, widening the sidewalks, and better connectivity. There are plans for upgrades to the Canopy for the Fremont Street Experience, and in 2017, more growth means more jobs.
Mayor Goodman touched on five major points:
1: Safety is a priority, which includes meeting with Homeland Security and getting security funding for safety and preparedness.
2: Broader and better healthcare for Southern Nevada by hiring better doctors through training, and making Medicaid better regarding their reimbursement rates, as they are too low at the moments.
3: Fix the homeless problem, especially for Veterans. It’s time to do more for the mentally ill. As it stands, after 48 hours of treatment and medications in a facility, whether it be a hospital or jail, patients are tossed back on the streets with no additional help for the medications and treatment they need.
4: Education… we currently rank #50 in the Nation! We are the lowest on the Nationwide list as far as our educational system is concerned (this is including test scores, drop out rates, etc). Out of Nevada’s funding, the least amount is given toward academics. There is not enough funding set aside per child to educate a single child, let alone a city full of children. We do not have enough to pay for and train teachers. We need more in the way of music, arts, etc. So where is our money for education going?
5: Stadiums! Soccer, Hockey, MBL, NFL… those are major money makers. Not only will they bring more jobs, but also more income through tourism. While it’s wonderful that the T-Mobile Arena was built, we still need actual sports stadiums. 40,000 parking spaces already exist, with room for more to be added. Not to mention there are no FAA restrictions at the Cashman site.
Through continued commitment to our city of Las Vegas, we can accomplish so much more and make 2017 a very special year for our city!
In closing, I will add something wonderful that I think I forgot to mention… and that is that Las Vegas is being recognized next week as the Singular Large City Recipient for Beating Childhood Obesity! Now That is something special and something to be proud of! I’m so happy that education and the health of our youth has finally become a priority in Vegas!