The Not-So-Quiet Primary

The primary is in the past, but obviously its results are very much with us.  While both sides have generally found something to celebrate, some nonpartisan votes that really matter deserve a few words:

Laughlin takes a stand

The residents of Laughlin decided not to incorporate. This is more interesting than you might think.

The vote was 962-729 against incorporation, but turnout was heavy—nearly two-thirds of the electorate. Why did they say no? The population there tends a bit more toward the libertarian than some in, say, the Las Vegas Valley. Clark County tends to their needs (Commissioner Steve Sisolak, who represents the area, was pleased with the vote—no mayor and City Council to fight with there for
attention and power).

But perhaps the fate of North Las Vegas concerned Laughlin voters just a bit—ironic, given that Don Laughlin, the town’s founding father, moved there from North Las Vegas. After all, North Las Vegas is just about bankrupt, thanks to the perfect storm of an economic downturn and dubious leadership and decisions. Nor would Laughlin be all that unusual in preferring to stay under the county’s wing or thumb: the Strip is in Clark County because its operators didn’t want to pay municipal taxes or be annexed into the city of Las Vegas,
and Laughlin certainly relies on gaming and tourism much as Las Vegas does.

Regents heat up

A couple of interesting races for the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents are developing.

In northwestern Nevada, incumbent Ron Knecht goes into the general election against Michon Mackedon, a former professor at Western Nevada College, longtime activist in the fight against bringing nuclear waste to Nevada, and author of a book on atomic testing.

Mackedon did well in Fallon—her home area—and Knecht benefits from his libertarian leanings in rural Nevada. But Knecht managed to annoy Jim Rogers to no end when the TV magnate was chancellor, so it will be interesting to see whether Rogers finds a way to involve himself in this campaign. Also, it might be fun to point out that Knecht has no use for government but has been an economist with the
state Public Utilities Commission.

Meanwhile, in Southern Nevada, Regent Andrea Anderson ran second in her primary to Lonnie “Doc” Hammargren, as he identified himself on the ballot.  Since Hammargren is well known for collecting everything ever created and in previous elections noted his physical
resemblance to Theodore Roosevelt, this time he may be trying to be Doc Adams of Gunsmoke. But this could be interesting.  Hammargren served two previous terms on the board before declining to run for re-election and winning a race for lieutenant governor. He’s a local character, and in races where voters don’t know or care about the issues—and this isn’t to say either is right or wrong about the issues—they tend to vote for the name. That certainly helped Hammargren in the primary.