The political appointment process in Henderson has been a very convenient and useful tool for Mayor Debra March to make sure her cabal (a secret political clique or faction) secured a seat on the Henderson City Council. The appointment process is a tool to build political power and name ID so that appointees can run as candidates with council experience. Unfortunately, the appointment process, although legal, has been used to benefit the few and has resulted in political patronage and political intimidation of potential candidates and challengers.
The Henderson cabal includes:
Debra March: Appointed as Councilwoman to serve in Ward II in July 2009, she was subsequently elected in 2011 and re-elected in 2015. She was elected Mayor of Henderson in April 2017 and assumed office June 20, 2017. She is a Democratic candidate for Nevada Lieutenant Governor.
John Marz: First of the cabal to be appointed in 2012 to the Henderson City Council. When he was initially appointed, Marz said he would not run for another term. Yet, he ran and won the elections of 2013 and 2017. He served as Mayor Pro-Tem from 2016 through June 2017.
Dan Shaw: Appointed in June 2017 to fill the open council seat representing residents in Ward II which includes Anthem, Inspirada, and West Henderson.
Dan Stewart: Appointed to the Henderson City Council in January 2017, representing Ward IV. Subsequently elected in 2019.
Since incumbency in Henderson is the iron wall to break through, appointments are golden tickets to build power and name ID. As a result, her appointed crew has enjoyed close relationships that have provided them political capital and business opportunities. They have approved many projects, like the Dollar Loan Center Arena, with little or no attention to the voice of the community and the many issues these projects have caused in surrounding Henderson neighborhoods.
Now, the Henderson cabal is rallying behind their latest candidate Stephen Rice, and are working very hard to make sure that, in Debra March’s absence during her bid for Lieutenant Governor, they will still have the votes and influence they need to keep their political fiefdom intact.
Rice has been endorsed by Mayor March, Marz, Stewart, and Shaw. Equally as important are the campaign contributions they each have given to Rice. Why are they endorsing Rice to be elected to John Marz’s seat? Because they are all business partners.
The appointment process has worked well for these politicians and their related, intertwined businesses. Entities such as District 2201 LLC, Horsemen’s Investment Company LLC, Sunset Springs LLC, Horizon Henderson LLC, Eastern Springs LLC, and St. Rose Village LLC are just some of the companies in which Stewart, Shaw, and Rice have been managing partners. All the LLC’s are currently either revoked or dissolved. Nevertheless, they did exist and their relationship to Rice represents an enormous conflict of interest for him as a Henderson City Councilman.
Additionally, they are backing Michele Romero and have gone to great lengths and deal making to ensure she had no significant opponent. In order to keep the cabal intact, you need five cooperating members. Their backing of Romero will further their secret dealings and maintain the voting pact they have had since March was elected Mayor of Henderson in 2017.
A formidable opponent, Melissa Woodbury, went so far as creating a logo, headshots, and opening a bank account for her race until influential community members threatened to run someone, if she ran, against her husband, Kenny Taylor who is the Henderson Constable and up for reelection. So, a deal was made: if Woodbury dropped out if the race and Romero wins, Romero will appoint Woodbury to her seat. Woodbury dropped out of the race.
The next political casualty is John Dalrymple, a vocal advocate against the Dollar Loan Center Arena and a founding member of the Henderson Coalition for Responsible Government. Dalrymple planned to run until his thriving business was threatened by the same supporters of the Henderson cabal. He would likely have given Romero a run for her money. He was a “distributor candidate” taking a strong stand against the arena.
Rice has been the beneficiary of insider calls and deal making in the race for Henderson City Council. He’s running as both a progressive and a conservative as reflected in his mailers. But in reality, Rice is running to keep the cozy relationship between him and his business partners. Serving the residents of Henderson is secondary, at best.
Henderson voters need to know about the deal making, money exchanges, and political corruption happening in Henderson. Only voters will be able to bring transparency to the council and honesty to the process. Until then, dirty politics will continue to benefit the few while the vast majority of constituents will suffer.