Nevada's 'none of the above' does have a purpose

"I never vote for anyone. I always vote against."

W.C. Fields

Until recently, I didn't realize we lived in such a forward-thinking state. It took this revolting disregard for election law in Florida to vividly show how much smarter we are in Nevada than are the citizens and lawmakers of Florida and other states. Following are two good examples.

In a previous column, I alluded to one of our virtues wherein I praised our Nevada forefathers for having sense enough to require the election of our judges as opposed to their being political hacks, appointed by the governor as they are in Florida and some other states.

If our Nevada Supreme Court ever embarrasses us like the Florida Supreme Court, by improvising its own law, we have recourse at election time. Every public official should answer to the voters.

The second virtue may have been an accident. And I don't remember how or when it became law. And I'm not sure exactly why it became law, but whoever is responsible for our having"None of the above" on our ballots deserves to take a bow.

Until this Florida fiasco, I used to think that "None of the above" had no value other than as a protest vote, sort of like saying, "We don't like any of you people, so take a hike." But even if the vote total for "None of the above" is higher than any of the candidates' vote totals, I still think the candidate with the next highest vote tally stands elected. It seems to me this happened once.

But, if Florida had had "None of the above" on its ballots, there could be no argument as to what the voters' intentions were. No dimples or chads to mess with. No rationalizing that if voters failed to vote for president, but voted for all the other offices, they really intended to vote for president and screwed up.

Therefore, a vote should now be assigned based upon the party preference shown by their votes for the other offices? Ridiculous! Lots of people don't vote for president and nobody should ever be allowed to add or subtract anything from cast ballots. "None of the above" is the answer! This eliminates the guesswork. Kudos for Nevada!

To change the subject, the Carson City Airport Authority is having an important meeting tonight in the Sierra Room of the Community Center, located at 851 E. William St. (Highway 50) beginning at 6 p.m. The airport is on the threshold of taking a significant step into the 21st century, and we on the authority board welcome your presence.

I know you're asking yourself, "Why should I care about the airport? I don't use it and probably never will. I don't even know what, if anything, the airport contributes to our city." Well, you as a taxpaying citizen own the airport and it represents probably the largest single piece of real estate owned by our fair city, and valuable it is. There are good reasons for that value, reasons of which you citizens should be aware.

Our airport is the catalyst for our main industrial park. Without our airport and the services it offers, the industrial park would never have been born. I know. I was here when it happened. And the industrial park, while only half developed, already rivals the tourist-gaming industry here in Carson City for employment, both in number of people and in aggregate payroll.

So what, you ask? Every community needs an economic base. We cannot exist as a bedroom community. You folks who've retired here from California must understand that. Our airport is a vital part of that economic base and it's a fact of our life. But some aspects of airport operation can affect your environment, which is why we who operate the airport are interested in your thoughts about our future development and controls.

Over the past 12 years, your airport has done a remarkable job of operating at no monetary cost to you citizens. Our major improvements have been over 90 percent funded by the FAA, and operational funds have been generated internally. Now we need approval of our long range master plan in order to be qualified for continuing FAA development and maintenance funds.

The only alternative to meeting these FAA requirements for a viable master plan will be to tap you citizens for tax dollars for future development and maintenance of our airport infrastructure. I know you don't want that. Nor do we.

So why don't you good citizens eat a late dinner tonight but first come and join us for our meeting. You can leave early as soon as this master plan business is discussed, which is first on the agenda. See you there?

Bob Thomas is a Carson City businessman, local curmudgeon and former member of the Carson City School Board and Nevada State Assembly.

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