I'm happy to see that the commissioners are in their usual fine form relative to their shock, outrage and indignation expressed at the Oct. 4 commissioners' meeting with respect to the road work being performed in conjunction with the new Walmart (Oct. 7, R-C, Sheila Gardner). Yes siree bob, true Nevada-style justice is in the works, you bet, with one of the commissioners even requesting to know what the "liability" would be in the event he used immediate self-help. While I have every confidence this issue will be rapidly "resolved" by our "ever-diligent commissioners," I make the following queries and observations:
How long has the Walmart development been brewing? More than three years. I'm just guessing, mind you, but I suspect there were plans and specs prepared for the development, and I further suspect that said plans and specs had to be marked with a stamp of approval by, let's see, the county commissioners. So, before Thursday, where were the commissioners? Golfing at Edgewood? Or, possibly in another room on the telephone the whole time?
Perhaps more important, is the glaring hypocrisy once again exhibited by the commissioners. They are, this time, responding to righteous public protest. But where were these same commissioners and their sense of indignation when they, themselves, in the middle of this Great Recession; (a) raised utility taxes without a vote of the people, and (b) tried to increase the gas tax by five cents per gallon without a vote of the people, especially since that same issue had twice before been rejected at the ballot box? Where was their sense of injustice when these same commissioners, without a vote of the people, committed the county to selling $14 million dollars in bonds for the new senior/community center, when that same senior/community center had been rejected by public vote in 2006 (a time when the economy was in far better shape)?
Why, in the very same issue of the R-C, an article about the senior/community center (Oct. 7, R-C, "Groundbreaking"), points out that "because the tax the county plans to use ... already exists, commissioners were able to approve it without going to voters" (emphasis added).
These examples are consistent with the commissioners' behavior, for years now, in stonewalling the people's request for a public-participatory investigation into the reasons for the county's release of the developer's obligations regarding the defective Job's Peak Ranch water system, a release which has resulted in millions of dollars of expense to the county and its taxpayers, a drawn out and expensive lawsuit, and tremendous angst and anguish among the valley's residents. The commissioners are like ostriches who hide their heads in the sand. Misfeasance? Is that a word? Malfeasance? Are you talking to us? Outright fraud and corruption? Move along folks, nothing to see here.
Would that the commissioners should even (gasp) consider lowering, say, real estate taxes, which have in memorable history been at their statutory maximum. "But there I go again" forgetting that once a tax is imposed, it only goes up, in one form or another, irrespective of the financial plight of the payers of the tax.
We inhabitants of Douglas County must surely be able to rest easy in the knowledge that our ever vigilant commissioners are looking out for our (or is it their "special"?) interests.
Thomas C. Starrett is a Gardnerville resident.