Plowing the driveway down in Topaz Ranch Estates. John Flaherty photo
Changes at the commission
Now that the Democrats have taken over the country and Biden is reversing all the good work that President Trump accomplished, the residents of Douglas County may have the same concerns about our new county commission.
I have been a frequent attendee at the commissioner meetings during the past two years either in-person or via Zoom. Just like the new president is attempting to temper the vile national narrative and conversation that permeated our country over the past four years, Commissioner John Engels is putting the kibosh on free speech at the BOCC meetings. Engels’ new dictate is no personal attacks during public comment at BOCC but rather limit any type of criticism or personal attack to these hallowed opinion pages of the R-C.
For two years, County Commissioners Penzel, Rice and Walsh have been the butt of personal attacks by the likes of Engels, Starretts, Muzzys and Slade. Engels even accused Commissioner Walsh and Rice for being in the pockets of the casinos and the developers, two of the industries that contribute so much to the economy of Douglas County. Now, it seems that Engels, the new Commission Chairman, doesn’t have the stomach for criticism of himself. Of course, Engels won’t get any criticism from his handlers Muzzys and Starretts as together they scheme to attempt to reverse all the good work the previous commission accomplished.
Engels says he wants to place a moratorium on residential building (a growth management ordinance exists) because we have no water (not true) and the traffic is heavy on U.S. Highway 395. At what cost? It appears that Engels and his small team of newcomers to the Carson Valley meet privately to see how they can destroy our economic vitality and quality of life. They don’t want to build Muller Parkway which according to the most recent traffic study will help alleviate traffic on U.S. 395. In fact, the county has a contractual obligation to build Muller Parkway by 2025, although Commissioner Gardner and new Vice Chairman Nowosad have not been able to wrap their heads around that fact.
It’s clear to see that the three amigos who now have the majority on the BOCC will attempt to stifle not only our economy but our very quality of life. But they may have a difficult time. If anyone has watched the circus at the first three BOCC meetings, this amateur majority can’t even run a meeting. Engels is constantly reminded by the DA on proper protocol, and Gardner fumbles at every spoken word out of his mouth. Nowosad just sleeps. The latest gaffe is that Engels pulled eight items from the most recent board agenda since Nowosad had minor surgery and was absent. Perhaps Engels just wanted to be sure he had a majority vote for his personal agenda items.
This new leadership on the BOCC is an embarrassment to the residents of Douglas County. Just watch for yourself and tune in on Zoom to the next BOCC meeting.
Lost in the pursuit
I had no intention of responding to Virginia Starrett’s letter of Jan 28 and yet I am called to.
I say this to you, Virginia Starrett, in the gentlest of voice... your assumptions of me are not correct. Your assumptions about Democrats are not correct. I ask you to consider that. I ask you to consider the possibility that I and Democrats are not your enemy. I expect that is a stretch, nonetheless I ask it of you.
I do not think conservative political positions are inherently dangerous to our country. Misinformation and lies are. I have a problem with conservative media that constantly pushes the idea that Democrats are the enemy, that Democrats aren't patriotic. I have a problem with conservative media training so many Republicans to use the word liberal as an invective. I have a problem with conservative media leading people to believe our democracy is at risk of communism because of Democrats.
On Jan. 6 I watched an elderly lady screaming at reporters, so afraid for her country, so afraid of Democrats because she believed they wanted to turn our country into a communist nation. This, I thought, was the direct result of conservative media making enemies out of people who disagreed with them by using misinformation and lies.
I looked at her, so afraid for our country, and thought, these are my people. Lost, in the pursuit of what's right.
So I wrote what I wrote in hope of finding a way to heal what has been broken in our country. Distrust of each other needs to be healed. It starts with realizing beliefs and truth are not the same. It starts with each of us making an effort to question what is being said on our various media platforms and then discovering what is true. It starts with each of us, because nothing changes until we do.
Facts do support concern
I was at the meeting when Commissioner Engels berated Danna Meyer.
I too have been slammed by him in the Nextdoor app. After his election, but before his swearing in, he asked "Why did you move to Douglas County if you are not a Republican?” Realtors take note; something new you should add to your required statement of information to home buyers.
Another time, after my applying for, and being considered for, a Planning Commission vacancy, Engels blasted, "I would never let you on the Planning Commission – you're a socialist.” In the debates for commissioners in 2018, Engels proclaimed that he had been a "CFO at a global company based in San Jose" (I wrote this in a notebook along with other notes from that debate). A year later I asked what company - because I too worked for an international company based in Silicon Valley, he blew up (again, in Nextdoor), not answering the question. He has no digital footprint.
So, when I applied for a volunteer position my resume was posted in the paper, and online for both occasions. Why can I, a resident of this county, not know what the qualifications our commissioners – from a different political party – have. There is no reason county government should have anything to do with one’s party affiliation.
To that same point, Mr. Muzzy feels that someone saying the election really represented the interests of 3% of all county voters was in error. Well, around 47% of this county is not of the Republican Party and we do not get a say in commissioners. Unless the Record Courier prints a bit of background info, as a non-Republican I have no idea what the qualifications of our commissioners are. Nothing comes in the mail to me from the Republican Party about candidates. So Muzzy, according to the county clerk records, only 39.72% of Douglas County voters voted in the primary election that put Nowosad (52% of the 11,500 votes) and Tarkanian (50.7% out of 11,700 votes) as automatics for the general election. Engels won his post in 2018 with 4,400 votes.
Facts do support concern.
Quality of TV picture better
Wow – has anybody else noticed? Our television picture quality recently has had a great improvement. When we first came here, about 30 years ago, cable TV quality was not good; just being here made up for that but we never enjoyed the poor picture quality.
Sometime ago we splurged on a larger TV, but picture quality was still disappointing. Changed from cable to satellite service, but still poor.
Now, due to the COVID-19 infection problem, not going out as much and watching more TV, suddenly our TV pictures improved dramatically, yes, at last. As good as advertised!
At last we enjoy excellent picture quality! Makes staying at home far more pleasant. With no change in our satellite system or antenna set up.
You pay the bill
With the growth of vacation rentals, great pressure is placed on our Douglas County facilities.
It requires extra staff to administrate, license, regulate and enforce actions of rentals and your taxes pay the bill.
The renters have no regard for conservation of power, water or trash. As systems need to enlarge due to increased demand, you pay the bill.
Increased vehicles on our roads require more maintenance, you pay the bill.
The room tax that licensed (many are not) rentals pay goes largely to additional tourism advertising to bring even more tourists to the area, so you can pay the bill.
Tell the commissioners to STOP the rentals in residential neighborhoods. It doesn’t make economic sense for the county. The tourists will still come but return to the motels and hotels that pay commercial rates, to pay the bill.
Good advice for everyone
For the second time in a month, Ms. Danna Meyer of Gardnerville has contributed a letter to the editor complaining about perceived social offenses committed by Douglas County Commissioner John Engels.
Meyer started this one-sided abuse of then-newly-elected Engels two years ago, speaking from the public comment podium in chambers for “improperly” wearing a hat while serving as a commissioner. For the record, the hat displays insignias that honors his service as a captain in the U.S. Army artillery corps in battle. Meyer has been sounding off about now-Chairman Engels’ imaginary faults ever since in various venues.
I am not sure if everyone knows or cares that she is not a U.S. citizen but I for one do. I think it is rather highhanded for a non-U.S. citizen to call out our elected leaders. Myer might be happier moving back to her native Canada where she can vote for or against government officials.
She also must get with her coaches, so she knows what to say and do. She does have a few around here trust me I have seen her in action!
Engels has too much class to respond to her picayune complaints. But those of us who approve of his performance on the commission – the only thing that really matters – grow weary of her whining and kvetching. Here’s some advice for Meyer: Get a life.
The feral cat problem
It is no wonder there are so many feral cats in Douglas County. It is almost impossible to get one spayed or neutered in a humane way.
All the vets say catch the cat at night, no food or water after midnight and bring the animal in before 9 a.m. Hmmm. It would take food to trap it and then to leave it in a small live trap for eight hours would be cruel.
There should be a place to catch them during the day, take them in and have them put in a large cage over night. The only place I know of that will do it that way is on 88 but I can't afford the $500 they charge. I think we need a Dr. Jeff type of vet in our area.