Four people are vying to succeed term-limited Las Vegas Councilman Stavros Anthony in Ward 4, with candidates whose experiences range from political to public safety.
Former Assemblywoman Francis Allen-Palenske, former Ward 2 Councilman Bob Beers, community leader Brenda Flank and retired Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Capt. Robert Plummer are running in the June primary to represent the northwestern area of the city.
Allen-Palenske has emerged as the fundraising leader as she reported securing more than $75,000 in contributions during the first quarter of the year. Plummer said his campaign raised nearly $43,000 during the same period, while Beers reported close to $38,000 and Flank drew in almost $4,000, campaign finance records show.
Public safety rises to top
Allen-Palenske, 44, said that public safety is the top pressing concern of voters. She said that she plans to request to fill a seat on Metro’s Fiscal Affairs Committee, where she wants to advocate for more police funding and patrols.
“We’ve all been through a tough two years,” she said. “Nobody deserves to feel unsafe in their home.”
In the upcoming fiscal year budget, Metro recently asked for $157.9 million from the city, which shares the department’s funding obligations with Clark County.
Allen-Palenske, who has been open about the years-old domestic violence case that once stalled her political ambitions, said that she wants to offer a fair and balanced avenue for dialogue on improving public education, although she understood that the city has no control over the Clark County School District.
“We need to address things as an effective body,” she said. “Not with any infighting, with honor.”
Plummer, 54, touts a nearly three-decade career with Metro and said that his experience provided him with a unique insight into the challenges the department faces addressing crime.
“I know what it takes to solve problems,” he said.
But Plummer also emphasized that he was not “a one-trick pony,” saying that his ability to build relationships, including with the business community, was a strength. When the Bolden Little League lost $20,000 worth of equipment to a fire last year, Plummer said he used those relationships to help replace the equipment for the league he co-created a few years ago in the Historic Westside.
“At the end of the day, it’s all about compassion for people,” he said.
Costly litigation, declining police recruitment
After representing a nearby ward on the council for five years, Beers, 62, has also built ties in the city, and he said that the issues have not changed much since he was in office from 2012 to 2017.
“I think I did the job very well and believe I can continue to do the job very well,” he said.
Beers lost reelection to former Councilman Steve Seroka in a race centered on the legal dispute over the defunct Badlands Golf Club course. And Beers said it is his top priority to resolve the expensive litigation with as little taxpayer cost as possible.
As a candidate, Beers said he remains focused on fiscal responsibility. While in office, he warned that the city’s intervention in a developer’s efforts to build housing on the old golf course would be costly and, so far, he has been proven right.
Public health and safety is also a concern for Flank, 65, who said she also wants to drive more funding toward agencies supporting veterans and clear onerous hurdles for small businesses.
Flank, the executive director of the Alliance for Education and Liberty, a local nonprofit focused on teaching constitutional studies, said that public safety has been unable to keep up with the city’s fast-paced growth. And with police recruitment figures on the decline, she pointed to the rise in public scrutiny in recent years following high-profile cases of police brutality.
As a city lawmaker, Flank said she would want to assist a public relations campaign to support officers, including through public service announcements, that she said could boost recruitment numbers and the department’s image.
“Let’s show the value and the importance of our police department, what they actually do,” she said. “Because it’s been tarnished.”
Additionally, Flank said she arrived to the council race without a political agenda and unbeholden to anyone other than the voters: “I come to this race with no baggage.”
The primary election is June 14. Early voting runs May 28 through June 10.