June 1, 2022, R-C Letters to the Editor

Supporting MacDonnell for clerk-treasurer


As a former Douglas County Clerk-Treasurer, I look for the following qualities in a candidate for the position.


Experienced - Knows the job

Independent and objective

Familiar with elections and won’t be a puppet for any Political party

Cares about the Citizens of Douglas County. 

Committed to the office and will be in their office when a citizen wants to meet. 

A great leader and a person the staff will look up to and follow. 

Heather MacDonnell has all of these qualities. I worked with Heather many times when we were both at Douglas County, so I am very familiar with her. She is very respected at the County and has the familiarity to work with all departments especially the Recorder’s and Assessor’s offices. She and her husband Jeff are involved in the County and truly care about the Carson Valley and its Citizens. 

Please vote for Heather to bring leadership and experience back to the office of Clerk-Treasurer.

Ted Thran 


The real threat: Jazz!


Those campaigning to take over the school board seem to have missed the real threat to our community’s children. But I’ve seen it in person and I’m sure they too will soon see the evil and put a stop to it.

On May 22 I made my way to Heritage Park in Gardnerville and there it was: Jazz. Right out in the open, performed by the very children these people are campaigning to protect. The appalling truth is that Douglas High School has a jazz band.

There they were, brazenly playing this music that we all know is fundamentally immoral, causing people in the audience to tap their feet, oblivious to the evil that was seducing them. 

How the current school board has allowed this to happen is beyond me. Where is the leadership? These children will grow into adults and Sunday showed us clearly where that will lead because there were adults there in other jazz bands intent on spreading this scourge further into the populace. Where did those adults learn jazz? In school most likely.

We need to root out the sources of this menace in our schools. Who are the administrators and teachers responsible for allowing jazz into the curriculum? Are there jazz recordings in the library? Who is providing the instruments of immorality that these children play? Do these children perform for other students, enticing them to explore the evils that come along with jazz, like knowledge of the wider world and thinking for themselves?

What’s next, pool? Right here in river city? Thank God we have school board candidates who are prepared to put a stop to this. Please use your vote to stop jazz, before all is lost.

Terry Burnes


Teachers not qualified for SEL


The “Race theory debate distracts from real issues” Guest Opinion of the esteemed Sharla Hales, actually emphasized to me just how much those “real issues” are themselves what “distract” and “negatively impact appropriate instruction.”

If SEL is “absolutely essential” for some students as bad off as expounded in the article, shouldn’t professional personnel already trained be available in a separate setting - not in conjunction with kids who “don’t need it?” Certainly, blanketing the whole class with SEL robs them all of adequate time and attention learning what is just as essential to their futures. 

No schoolteacher should have to talk “a kid rocking with anxiety out from under a table, solve emotional needs, depression, drug problems, mental issues, deal with bed bugs, or get kids ABLE to learn.” Hearts are in the right place (“moral imperative?”), but is it their job?

Did they go to college to learn how to educate the next generation...or to placate and pacify emotionally unstable children? The phrase ‘above my pay grade’ comes to mind. It’s regrettable they should be so fearful of a “debate” over it.

The three R’s are... “foundational principles necessary for responsible living, accountability, resilience, appropriate behavior, and problem-solving” ... to conversely use Ms. Hales’ own words. Most parents know these timeless basics should not be curtailed or even remotely compromised by SEL “strategies” designed to “manage the emotions and behavior” of their children.

School board trustees who recognize and “prioritize” this as the real issue - not forsaking the others - will “do far more good than harm” in the future course taken by our school district.

Joy Uhart 


And for our next trick


In the 2018 election both Jeanne Shizuru and Virginia Starrett campaigned strongly for John Engels. They gave money, paid for advertisements, wrote letters, and volunteered on his behalf. 

What has Engels done in his four years on the commission? Nothing except embarrass our county.

Like the magician who fools a crowd with a sleight of hand and then says, “For my next trick…,” Shizuru and Starrett fooled the voters of Douglas County in 2018, and are now back with the same performance, “And for our next trick…”

This year’s trick has the potential to be far more damaging to our students, parents and schools, than any single term by an embarrassing old county commissioner. 

This time around, Starrett and Shizuru are again trying to pull the wool over the county’s collective eyes by endorsing, donating to, and campaigning for a slate of school board candidates that will do nothing but bring partisan politics to the school board and schools themselves. These school board candidates will remove needed resources from vulnerable students, ban books from the library, and implement censorship in the classroom. This year’s John Engels clones are David Burns, Catherine Dickerson, and Susan Jansen. 

Like Engels, these three candidates are nothing more than extremists who, instead of harming the county, will harm schools and harm students. These three candidates are quite literally a threat to the well-being of our children. 

Burns, Dickerson, and Jansen claim that they “support teachers.” But have you heard a single teacher support them? I haven’t. They have zero teacher support because their ideas are pure partisan extremism that have no place in our schools. Neither Burns, Dickerson, nor Jansen have had kids in Douglas County schools. They’re outside agitators and bad actors wanting to force their extreme views on other people’s children. 

It’s time to stand up and tell them that their brand of censorship, book burning, and partisan politics is not welcome on the nonpartisan school board. 

In truth, I feel kind of bad for Burns, Jansen, and Dickerson. They don’t know what they got into. As recent California transplants, they have not seen the wake of destruction that Starrett and Shizuru leave in their path. 

These candidates don’t know what they’re talking about. David Burns was recently asked where he has seen CRT in classrooms. His response was, “I don’t know. You’ll have to ask Virginia.” 

It’s become clear that Burns, Dickerson, and Jansen are basically proxy candidates for Starrett. She tells them what to think, say, and do. They obediently parrot anything she says. 

The group of sane candidates that are widely supported by teachers, administrators, and parents are called the Pro-School Candidates. I have an idea for a name for the Burns-Dickerson-Jansen slate of candidates. Because they just repeat, ad nauseum, everything Starrett says, they should be forevermore known as: Starrett’s Parrots.

Markus Zinke


School Board vote should be merit based


Articles about our upcoming school board election include discussions of critical race theory and social-emotional Learning. While there is consensus that CRT has no place in Douglas County schools, there are opinions for and against SEL.

Candidates questioning or opposing SEL have been labeled unsupportive of teachers, and candidates supporting SEL described as pro-school. It became apparent to me during the town halls and school board meetings at which CRT was discussed that the “unsupportive of teachers” moniker was inaccurate. It has become a mischaracterization used as a diversion from the issues.   

There are concerns with SEL’s methodology and true effectiveness. There are worries about SEL data collection interfering with privacy, as well as interference, or potential interference, with parental authority. These concerns have been raised by candidate David Burns, whose wife is a retired public-school teacher. 

I am pleased with reports that CRT is not taught in our classrooms, but this raises the question of why there is no policy specifically stating that it will not be included in the curriculum. Our school board did not adopt this policy when it was proposed late last year. The concern that SEL has the potential to be used as a vehicle for CRT should not just be dismissed. It deserves guarding against. Those raising these concerns should not be mischaracterized as unsupportive of teachers. David Burns’ candidacy should be considered on its merits.

Mary Porter


Backing Rice for commissioner


After careful consideration, Tahoe Chamber is endorsing Wes Rice for re-election, representing Douglas County Commission District 4.

Shaped by decades of experience in law enforcement, Wes is a steady hand in the often-tumultuous world of County decision-making and politics. He is not afraid to speak up and support what he believes is in the best interest of the County, its residents and businesses, and works to hire and retain good County employees. 

He cites his support of the Tahoe South Events Center as one of his major accomplishments. At the time of the vote, Wes knew the center would be the catalyst for revitalizing Stateline, a destination with declining valuation. This project has now triggered significant investment by casino ownership in facility and amenity upgrades. When the events center opens next year, it will generate $700,000 to $1.2 million in new consolidated tax revenues for Douglas County. Tahoe Chamber agrees the Tahoe South Events Center will promote entertainment, sports, conventions, and cultural events for the County and region, now and into the future.

Commissioner Rice adamantly represents and serves the entire County while being a champion for District 4 and the unique needs of the Tahoe Township. After significant public input, Wes helped craft a harder-hitting ordinance to cap and regulate vacation home rentals (VHRs). He backed this by a meaningful commitment to enforcement and established a Vacation Home Rental Advisory Board to ensure accountability and recommend necessary modifications over time. He represents the County on the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, Tahoe Douglas Visitors Authority, TRPA, Tahoe Transportation District, and the Douglas County Lake Tahoe Sewer Authority, contributing to his overall knowledge and decision-making. He understands and supports the important role Tahoe Township and Stateline resorts play in generating vital revenue that support services and programs throughout the County.

In the Valley, Wes supports smart growth which maintains the County’s unique rural character and provides for properly located new business and housing. To ensure properly managed growth, Commissioner Rice voted to fund the U.S. Geological Survey study of the Valley’s water aquifers. He also knows the importance of preparing for capital projects like an updated Judicial Law Enforcement Center.

We also carefully considered how a candidate would fit in the County Commission and believe Wes Rice is the best fit. He currently serves as the BOCC Vice Chair, and working with Chairman Gardner, has helped restore decorum to the meetings and work of the Commission. 

Despite endorsing Wes Rice, we want to commend and recognize the interest shown by candidate Natalie Yanish who has served for 12 years as a dedicated member of the Kingsbury General Improvement District. It is important we encourage new leaders to step forward in public service. We believe in the sincerity and commitment of Ms. Yanish and while we did not endorse her candidacy this year, she is a community leader worth watching.

In summary, in this election year, our Tahoe Chamber endorsement goes to Wes Rice for re-election to Douglas County Commission District 4.

Mike Glover 

Steve Teshara 

Tahoe Chamber

Supporting Ken Gray


Recently, I received a political hit piece against Ken Gray, candidate for Nevada State Assembly District 39. I am appalled at the untruth and misinterpretations that his opponent, Blayne Osborn, has leveled at Mr. Gray.

In the mailed piece, Mr. Osborn asserts that Mr. Gray raised taxes on the citizens of Lyon County during his current tenure as County Commissioner, thereby raising the cost of living for those residents. This is not only untrue but is a total distortion of the facts. In politi-speak, it is called negative spin. In Mr. Osborn’s case, as he has done nothing but serve his masters at the legislature, I’m not surprised he would twist the facts into a lie. Here is the truth. Commissioner Gray voted to raise real estate development fees on developers to ensure that new growth pays for new roads, public safety and other infrastructure necessary to support development in the County. Thereby assuring taxpayers would NOT have to foot the bill. Although the County may have referred to this as a “Privilege Tax” or some other reference, it was actually a Development “Impact Fee” (see NRS 278.050). This action was done in a successful attempt to NOT raise the cost of living for County residents, but to assure the citizen’s STANDARD of living was protected. The worst part of Mr. Osborn’s false narrative is that he knows that referring to development impact fees as a tax on the general public is a lie. Developers pay. I was witness to Mr. Osborn being confronted by this fact, and his response was that the lie “played well” with the audience. So, it appears he has been taught well by his masters in the State Legislature.

 Mr. Osborn also asserts in his hit piece, that Ken Gray is a career politician because he first started running for offices in 2012. Well, thank God for people like Ken Gray, who have a lifelong history of serving and giving back to not only his local community, but our great country, well before he ran for office in 2012. Mr. Osborn is not much older than the number of years Mr. Gray has served. He doesn’t know the meaning of service. Mr. Osborn asserts that Mr. Gray stated he would serve 4 terms in the legislature if elected and that makes him a “career politician”. Once again, the big spin. I’m sure his handlers are well pleased. The real fact is that Mr. Gray has clearly said he would not “term out” as career politicians do. 

 Lastly, Mr. Gray was attacked by Mr. Osborn’s assertion that he is letting down his current Lyon County constituents because he told them when elected that he would serve out his entire term, and now Mr. Gray is seeking a higher and more influential position in Nevada to serve his constituents even better. How’s that for spin? Last I knew, Mr. Gray is supported by an overwhelming majority of Lyon County voters. The voters are smarter than Mr. Osborn thinks they are. Again, thank God for Ken Gray.

 Mr. Gray is everything he says he is and more. A public servant, not a politician. Vote for Ken Gray for District 39 Nevada State Assembly. You won’t be sorry. 

Stan Barnes


Why vote for Brown?


Thank You, Mr. Gardner, your response to my letter in your first paragraph makes my case. How do you know, you will see Sam Brown again after this election? The chance of him winning is a longshot. All I know is he loved Texas, and would never leave, until he lost his election. Sam’s feelings about Nevada are almost verbatim what he said about Texas when running?

Mr. Gardner’s thinking is the reason Nevada Republicans have a slim chance of winning any major political races. I know Nevada is a gambling state, but why do Republicans always enthusiastically support the longshots. Instead of candidates who have a record and greater odds of winning, against the Democratic political machine. Democrats have done a masterful job of taking over Nevada politics, with the help of Republicans, like Mr. Gardner. Democrats run TV and printed hit pieces, that look like they are coming from conservative groups, but come from Democratic political Pac’s, to damage or knockout Republicans with the best chance to win the primary to make it easier for Democrats to win the general election. Republicans fall for it every time. 

The Basque Fry at the Corley Ranch, molded by Adam Laxalt after events his Basque grandfather, former Nevada Senator held in Washington DC. For the record his grandfather Paul Laxalt was the Governor of Nevada and chairman of all, Ronald Regan’s winning campaigns for President. Goals of the Basque Fry, fundraising, while giving GOP officials and hopefuls a chance to mingle with voters and Nevada politicians. I bet politician Gardner attended, I will gladly introduce him to Laxalt this year.

Adam Laxalt was instrumental in getting the first CPAC West at the Grand Sierra in Reno, after losing his election for Governor. I attended I was worried conservatives were losing most of the important statewide elections. I joined Laxalt’s Morning in Nevada Pac at that meeting. I suggest that Mr. Gardner and Republicans join, they might learn something.  

Laxalt attended and spoke at Douglas County School Board meeting; I don’t remember seeing Sam. 

Sam Brown, is using Democratic talking points and lying about Laxalt’s record on the Second Amendment and “red flag” laws in Nevada. Laxalt fought against AB-291 that included red flag provisions. Laxalt while Attorney General sued liberals who tried to roll back gun rights, he expanded conceal and carry reciprocity laws to other states. Laxalt has always been a champion of the Second Amendment and has the support of gun owner groups. Sam Brown, may not know Laxalt’s record on the Second Amendment or other issues as he is new to Nevada, what is Mark Gardner’s excuse. Brown needs to tell us what he is going to do, not what he thinks Laxalt didn’t do. 

I agree with Mr. Gardner the Senate race is vitally important. If you like things the way they are in country and the state, then vote for the longshots. Laxalt is the only Republican candidate that has chance against Cortez Masto.

Laurie Hickey


Supporting Tarkanian


We’re supporting Danny Tarkanian because he is like a breath of fresh air against the backdrop of the political decay in this country. He is so enthusiastic about his beloved State of Nevada and his service on the Douglas County Board of County Commissioners. We believe he has all of the qualifications, attitude, dedication and perseverance to better represent the 2nd Congressional District than the incumbent. Sure he has barely lost other elections, but it must be recognized that he was a Republican running in predominantly Democratic areas in Las Vegas.

Amidst the primary election season we’re in, we asked ourselves what qualities we’re looking for in our representative. What would a candidate have to do for us to vote for him? Conservative Republicans like us would want one who’s fiscally responsible. One that’s Pro-Life. One that stands for our constitutional rights and proudly defends our treasured Second Amendment. One who will buck heads with leadership and stay true to the district where the member serves, and finally, to be a FIGHTER. We can’t sit idly by as the Left rips apart our Constitution, our freedoms, and our very lives. 

In looking at the race for the 2nd Congressional District, we have Mark Amodei who voted to fund Planned Parenthood, gun control measures and provisions, reckless spending, funding for everyone and everything, raise taxes, and called to divide the party by looking into impeaching President Trump. These actions warrant removal from office, and warrant a loss of our support in getting Amodei reelected.

We need a conservative that fulfills the qualifications needed of our community to serve our conservative district. So, who’s the alternative? Danny Tarkanian! He is known statewide, formerly endorsed by President Trump and Sen. Rand Paul, and most importantly, he’s a fighter. He is a Nevadan. He checks every box and will stay true to our communities’ values. He is the leader we need. He is the leader we deserve. We’re supporting Danny Tarkanian and urge you to do the same.

Tom and Kathryn Zogorski


Supporting Wheeler for Nevada senate


It is commendable, in our Republic, that the Nevada Republican Committee rules include a process to append the results of a candidate nominating committee with motions from the floor to endorse an additional candidate. It is a heinous act of egregious mendacity for a candidate to abuse the Republican democratic processes by sending misleading text messages to solicit votes.

Here is an excerpt of a text message I received: “Hi, this is Dr. Robin Titus, the only candidate endorsed by both the Senate Republican Caucus and the Nevada Republican Party in the Senate 17 race.” “I’m asking for your vote.” 

Here are the facts I have been able to obtain:

Titus was not recommended to the convention for endorsement - only Jim Wheeler was recommended for endorsement by the NVGOP Nominating Committee. A motion was made from the floor to reject the Nominating Committee recommendation and to endorse Robin as well. The convention is allowed to endorse more than one candidate in a race under the rules, as the process is not designed to pick the single best candidate in a race, but rather to indicate that the party believes the candidate has a serious campaign, sufficient fundraising, and a willingness and ability to support the party and the platform such that the party is OK with the candidate using the Republican label. The process is not designed to pick winners and losers, as that is the job of primary election voters, but to protect the brand by not giving approval to candidates who are not serious and/or not aligned with the platform.

The convention delegates chose not to accept the Nominating Committee’s recommendation, and voted to add Titus to the endorsing ballot by a vote of 127-91. She was ultimately endorsed by the convention with a vote of 130-99.

Jim Wheeler was already on the endorsing ballot because he had been recommended by the Nominating Committee for endorsement following their review process. The convention voted to endorse Jim by a vote of 170-49.

You may interpret those numbers in various ways, but the margins suggest Jim Wheeler and not Titus is considered by the delegation at large to be the more qualified candidate.

Jim Wheeler has represented us admirably in the Nevada Assembly. He has character and dignity and is worthy to represent us in the Nevada Senate.

DeVere Henderson

East Valley


No one is safer


It is time to admit no one is safer because of the right of bear arms. It’s not because we allow gun ownership that we aren’t safe. It’s because there is a lack of responsibility among too many people who do have access to guns. Too many individuals have no concept of anger management except to lash out with violence. And gun ownership infers the license to kill. There is no other use for guns as a weapon except to kill. Sure... some use guns for target practice but that practice is to prepare for accuracy in killing.

Outside of legitimate military service, killing another person should be an anathema. It’s not. It’s condoned with violent video games, movies and television shows. It’s glorified and empowered with advertisements. 

Conspiracy theories have now become mainstream with people advocating violence to get their way. Hatred is on the rise with too many people seeing their political opponents as “the enemy” ... not as someone with a different idea as to resolving problems within our country. How does that serve you and how does that serve our country? Solving problems with violence is not a solution. 

How close do you have to be to gun violence before you stop being defensive about gun ownership and resolve to be part of the solution to ending this problem? How close do you have to be to gun violence before you stop blaming gun owners as if guns, not people are the problem? 

We have a problem with gun violence in this country. It isn’t going to be resolved with simple solutions. It calls for complexity and imagination and above all it requires honest dialog free from blame and self-righteousness. Are you willing to be part of the solution to the problem of gun violence? Are you willing to change what needs to be changed to end these mass shooting of innocents? Please, please, please... gun owners and non gun owners... stop the dogma and start dialoging for a solution.

Joan Costa 


When will Independents get to vote?


Thank you for printing, for many, many weeks, the many letters and guest opinions regarding the candidates running in this primary election. They, along with the 2022 Primary Election Guide, will be very helpful in determining my selection of candidates. The only problem for me is that I am registered as an independent voter and will not be able to select any of the partisan candidates. When is the Nevada legislature going to reverse this archaic primary voting process? 

Carol Wentzel




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