As we document in the May 30 CityLife, a proposal from Las Vegas City Councilman Bob Beers to eliminate energy-efficiency building codes from refurbished or repurposed downtown buildings constructed before 2009 has made green advocates unhappy.
One of those advocated is Jennifer Turchin, a Las Vegas architect and president of the Nevada chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, a trade group. She penned the following letter last week to Mayor Carolyn Goodman and all the council members:
I wanted to bring a matter to your attention regarding a potential conflict of interest for the vote to take place on June 5 regarding Bill 2013-24, on the grounds of NRS 281A of which Councilman Bob Beers has a financial stake due to his employment position with George Harris. Councilman Beers tie to George Harris been highly documented in the press due to the nature of the bill and George Harris' own testimony regarding his likelyhood to do more development in Downtown only if this passes, I think there is a conflict. Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.
Councilman Beers, who is rarely mistaken for a shrinking violet in such matters, responded today with this gentle missive:
Hi Jennifer –
As several of your emails of last week contain some slander, I wanted to offer you gentle correction. This will serve to demark the point after which you had knowledge of your lies, should you repeat them.
First, I am not an employee of George Harris, and never have been. No press account that I have seen has suggested that I am, or was, except a series of emailed questions from Patrick Coolican with the Las Vegas Sun, whom I immediately corrected.
Second, I have no “financial stake” as you put it (the law calls it a fiduciary interest in a private capacity) with anyone this bill would impact.
Third, even if I did, this bill will not benefit any one private party (George Harris, in the case of your allegations) any more or less than it would benefit another private party, a requirement to reach a conflict of interest.
Finally, I would remind you that the last group who lied about my ethics ended up settling my lawsuit by writing me a letter confessing they lied, and writing a check to my favorite charity (Opportunity Village). The circumstances were different – they had foreknowledge that what they wrote was false. You did not, but now do in the event that you continue.
Keep your advocacy to the issues at hand – the 2009 Energy Code as implemented by the City – and we won’t have any problems.
Las Vegas City Council, Ward 2