Even from the grave, political juice still plays in Nevada.
Floyd Lamb State Park will get an addition but still keep the name of the late lawmaker convicted of taking a $20,000 bribe from an undercover FBI agent in 1983.
The facility will be renamed Floyd Lamb Park at Tule Springs, the Las Vegas City Council decided on Wednesday. Before being named for Lamb, the park was known as Tule Springs.
Lamb’s name is required to remain on the park until the Legislature says differently.
“He still has got clout,” Dan Robertson, a longtime resident near the park said of Lamb, who died in 2002.
Robertson said the new name, if a bit unwieldy, is an improvement.
Don White, who has been active in efforts to preserve the park and get its name changed, said it was a step in the right direction.
“It depends on how they make up the sign,” White said. “You could have ‘Floyd Lamb’ in really small print, and ‘Tule Springs’ in big print.”
White said that only in Las Vegas do we name schools, parks and other landmarks after those still alive and with years left to land in trouble.
“Why don’t we have Erin Kenny State Park?” he said of the former county commissioner awaiting sentencing for political corruption.
Councilman Steve Ross, whose ward includes the park, said adding Tule Springs to the name will honor the park’s history, not muscle out Lamb.
There have been many attempts to eliminate Lamb’s name over the years.
“We met somewhere in the middle, where maybe everyone is satisfied,” Ross said.
The state cited financial reasons for turning the 680 acre facility over to the city. The park includes places where people can fish, picnic and ride horses.
One of the state’s requirements for transferring the park to the city is that “Floyd Lamb” remain part of the name.
Tom McGowan, a frequent commentator at council meetings, suggested at Wednesday’s council meeting that the park’s name be changed to “Convicted Felon Floyd Lamb Municipal Park.”
It was the city of Las Vegas that in 1977 changed Tule Springs to honor Floyd Lamb.
Faced with financial trouble, the city handed the park over to the state. Lamb was instrumental in making that deal happen.
Each attempt to get Lamb’s name taken off the park has failed, as powerful legislators such as Sen. Majority Leader Bill Raggio, R-Reno, who served with Lamb, have fought it, pointing to the good Lamb did for the state.
Michael Green, a local historian and political commentator, hypothesized that one reason the park’s name hasn’t changed is because schools and other landmarks are still being named after the living, with plenty more years for revelations of nefarious deeds.
Politicians might be thinking, “there but for the grace of God go I. What if it happens to me?” Green said. “There might be a precedent set.”