If you were asked to recall some of the most profound "what-were-they-thinking" political mistakes, you might think of President George Bush breaking his "read my lips" no-new-taxes pledge, George W. standing triumphantly in front of a "Mission Accomplished" banner, or ... take your pick of Bill Clinton's missteps.
But if you were thinking locally, you might recite last Thursday's supervisor meeting, where they approved a ballot question giving voters a chance to have a say on whether the city should give $10 million in sales tax to the V&T Railway in exchange for a cut of ticket sales.
Trouble is, at the same meeting they decided to not let voters have a say on a property tax initiative to provide more funding for the fire and sheriff's departments.
You don't have to hire a public relations firm to understand constituents won't take kindly to the symbolism of those decisions from the same meeting. In fact, it may plague supervisors into November's election.
But it's important to remember that symbolism is the only direct link. The V&T tax is modest by comparison and sunsets in a dozen years ... The mayor now has several months to convince voters it makes financial sense for the city.
We only wish there were an equivalent debate happening about the public safety proposal, which we believe supervisors should have put to voters. But they opted not to, for reasons we believe are questionable. Was the request too ambitious? Would it have soured voters on future, scaled-back public safety initiatives? Either way, those reasons don't seem sufficiently strong ... let voters have their say.
We encourage those who've been studying the public safety issue to come back to the supervisors quickly with another request, one that separates fire and sheriff's department issues and one that may be more palatable during these difficult economic times.
And that done, we ask supervisors to put the revised question to voters.
•This editorial represents the view of the Nevada Appeal Editorial Board.