President’s Message – October 2022

October 2022 – Protect Yourself at All Times 

Las Vegas is the Fight Capital of the world. Boxing’s earliest days in Las Vegas were in the 1950’s with a bout between heavyweights Archie Moore and Nino Valdes held in front of 6,000 fans sitting on wooden chairs at Cashman Field. Fast forward to present day, the UFC is consistently breaking attendance records at T-Mobile Arena and attracting media buys from around the world.

Being born and raised in Las Vegas, I was a fight fan. At the beginning of every fight, you hear the referee give the fighters the same instructions.

“Let’s have a clean fight. Obey my instructions and protect yourself at all times.”

Floyd Mayweather is perhaps the most famous fighter connected to Las Vegas. September 17, 2011, he challenged Victor Ortiz for the WBS Welterweight title at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

The fight started in the usual way. The national anthem was sung by Jasmine Villegas. Ortiz made his way into the ring. Mayweather was escorted to the ring with rapper 50 Cent by his side. The referee gave those famous instructions. The bell rang. The fight would end in the most peculiar way.

Here is the entry from Wikipedia about the fight.

Mayweather controlled the fight from round one to three. But in the fourth round, Ortiz hit Mayweather in the face with an apparently intentional headbutt. Referee Joe Cortez immediately called timeout and penalized Ortiz a point for the foul.

Ortiz, acknowledging his wrongdoing, hugged and kissed Mayweather in the corner. Cortez motioned the fighters back together to resume the fight. The fighters touched gloves. Then, with the referee looking away from Mayweather, and as the fighters separated from the hug, Mayweather caught Ortiz with a left hook. Ortiz was stunned by the punch and, still not raising his hands to defend himself, was hit again with a flush right to the face.

Ortiz dropped to the canvas and was unable to beat the count.

Ringside commentators were trying to make sense of what we all saw. “Ortiz was apologizing, and Mayweather was punching,” one said. “It was legal,” the other replied.

When Mayweather was accused with sucker punching Ortiz, he replied simply, “in the ring, you have to protect yourself at all times.”

Isn’t that interesting?!

NAIOP Southern Nevada is “in the ring” of commercial real estate development. Like any industry we have to protect ourselves at all times. NAIOP Southern Nevada does this through our volunteer government affairs committee chaired by Steve Neiger and with the help of our chosen lobbyists Argentum Partners guided by Jon Leleu and Kerrie Kramer.

For the rest of this article I am going to pass the pen to Jon Leleu to talk about what we’re focused on protecting ourselves from and how we go about protecting our industry.

By Jon Leleu

Although we may trust in our numbers, in our deals, and in our relationships, the development industry must always triple-check, make inquiries, and fully understand when decisions are made that affect our projects.

2022 was a non-legislative year and yet we found ourselves protecting from several issues.

  • Proposal and near adoption of a moratorium on evaporative cooling;
  • Adoption of the international energy conservation code, and creation of a code committee;
  • Adoption of the IFC by City of Las Vegas and Henderson, though the rest of the municipalities in the region have differing fire codes;
  • Legislative modifications to the tax code and enabling municipalities to implement policies such as linkage fees.

While Ortiz may be upset at Floyd’s tactics, the result of Ortiz finding himself on the canvas, could have, and should have, been expected.

So, too goes the world of NAIOP’s Government Affairs committee. While the professionals who attend these meetings and participate in the process have many relationships and a good understanding of the system or process, circumstances can change, throwing what we all knew as true, to be turned upside down.

As I “entered the ring” of politics a couple decades ago my mentor told me; always tell the truth, always do the right thing, and always, always, always be the smartest person in the room. That last part – being the smartest – is the same as “protect yourself at all times.”

Having the foresight to pick up the phone and ask questions, to think of different creative angles and have conversations with those individuals, helps prevent an unseen hook and an unfortunate fall to the canvas.

We’re going into a legislative year in 2023. Issues that we have successfully protected against will remerge in the same or even different forms.

Our “ring” grew dramatically this year and our bandwidth as a volunteer association has been stretched. We’d love to have more participation in the Government Affairs committee. Even if it means just picking up the phone to make a needed call.

Please consider joining. Those interested can email Chair Steve Neiger to be added to the meetings schedule.

Jonathan Leleu, Lobbyist/Attorney


Hayim Mizrachi, CCIM
MDL Group
NAIOP Southern Nevada President