Las Vegas proceeded with a quiet municipal election this week, without any ballot measures to threaten the continued existence of the city’s redevelopment agency, after a Nevada Supreme Court ruling that gave city officials what they wanted despite ruling that they had acted in error.
The conflict grew out of a political tussle between Culinary Workers Union Local 226, which represents rank-and-file casino workers, and Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman over his plans to reshape the city’s downtown.
The union gathered enough signatures to place two measures on the ballot for the city’s election.
One was an initiative to require voter approval for any new redevelopment plans or projects, and also require voter approval for city “lease-purchase” agreements; the other was a referendum to repeal the city’s redevelopment plan.
Las Vegas officials said both measures were illegal and refused to place them on the ballot.
After the union failed in its efforts to gain a direct hearing with the state Supreme Court, that court heard the case last month on appeal, after a trial court ruled in favor of the city.
In its ruling last week, the Supreme Court determined that Las Vegas had erred by refusing to put the measures on the ballot, saying city officials had a ministerial duty to place the measure on the ballot since it was submitted with enough petition signatures to qualify.
But they upheld the trial court judge’s ruling that the two ballot measures were in fact illegal since one violated the state’s single-subject requirement and the other would have provided a misleading description to voters.
Therefore, “under the circumstances of this case and to serve judicial efficiency and economy,” the high court allowed the election to proceed without the ballot measures.