Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman decided not to attend a meeting Wednesday with President Donald Trump, but it wasn’t to make a political statement.
In Washington to attend the annual U.S. Conference of Mayors annual winter meeting, she said that she had planned to go to the White House with a group of about 40 mayors. She begged off after the group grew to almost 200. Press reports put the number meeting with Trump at around 100.
“You get nothing done,” the mayor said of meeting the president in a larger group setting.
She also said the time of the White House meeting changed and conflicted with a mayors conference meeting on a long-sought plan to store the nation’s toxic nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, about 90 miles outside of Las Vegas.
Goodman, a staunch opponent of the proposal, said that it has become a tradition for her, now in her seventh year as mayor, to attend the meeting to make the case against Yucca. It is a commitment carried over from her husband, Oscar Goodman, who served as mayor of Las Vegas for the 12 years before his wife.
“I do it every year,” she said, “My husband brought it every year for the 12 years preceding me.”
During her term, Goodman has helped win backing from other mayors against transporting nuclear waste around the country.
“Except for a couple of years from Connecticut and Texas, we have had the support of resolutions not to transport nuclear waste,” she said.
Her concern includes moving the waste over the nation’s crumbling roads, bridges and tunnels, which she believes would be an accident waiting to happen. She cited a 2017 report from the American Society of Civil Engineers, which gave the nation’s infrastructure a D+.
“The transportation of nuclear waste to anywhere in the country, at this time, will go on for generations and put everyone at risk,” Goodman said.
Asked if there were any circumstance under which she could accept the Yucca Mountain plans, she said, “I am opposed to ‘what ifs,’ they mean nothing,” reiterating her position that the current condition of the nation’s infrastructure precludes safe transportation of nuclear waste.
Goodman also said she wasn’t concerned by the Trump administration including $120 million in its fiscal 2018 budget blueprint, noting that the project’s timeline and economic impact dwarf that amount. “It’s a drop in the bucket. That’s about paperwork. This has multibillion, if not trillion, dollar effect on the lives of generations out,” she said.
They mayor declined to assess Trump’s presidency so far, and stressed that she is an independent.
However, she did have praise for Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, who both visited Las Vegas and met with survivors and first responders shortly after the October 1 shooting at the Route 91 Harvest festival when a lone shooter killed 58 people and injured 851.
“All I can tell you about President Trump is his sensitivity to 1 October, and Vice President Pence…coming out to talk to people in the hospitals and those who lost loved ones and everybody involved, the heart and the soul is so good and so spot on,” Goodman said.
Goodman also said she supported congressional action to help the so-called DREAMers, young people were brought to the country illegally as children. But she noted that she sees both sides of the issue.
“There are huge concerns and support from me to take care of these DACA children. This is absolutely ridiculous that we haven’t done that,” she said. “Of course I am very…supportive of the fact that we don’t want drug addicts and felons coming into our country.”
The DREAMers were protected from deportation under an Obama-era program, which was ended by President Donald Trump. Their status is in question after the March 5 expiration date of the program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).