Aug. 2, 2023, R-C Letters to the Editor

School Board on a

counter-productive course


The school board is on a course counter-productive to the beliefs of most Douglas County residents.  Most residents would agree that boys should not play on girls’ sports teams and would object to mixed-gender school bathrooms. At first glance it may seem that the current school board’s efforts to approve a policy banning boys on girls’ teams and boys in girls’ bathrooms would support these values.

But the board is preparing to battle in the wrong forum.  The school board’s policy will not overturn state constitutional mandates passed in 2022 which make gender identity or expression a protected class in Nevada.  The school district exists solely at the discretion of the legislature.  This is a political issue that needs to be resolved at the state or federal level.

Choosing to resolve this issue by defending a policy in a lawsuit is a weak option.  Courts don’t set policy.  They resolve disputes.  Courts can provide a resolution in favor of the school board’s position only if there is a violation of federal law, such as the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause or Title IX.  But a girl in Douglas County has not yet been harmed by efforts to include a biological male on a girls’ team.  Thus there is no factual scenario for the court to consider when assessing the federal constitutionality of the state law.  The better the facts, the better the chance of success — and there are no facts here.

By attempting to resolve this issue through creating a policy that violates state law, and in fact the state constitution, without strong facts showing the federal unconstitutionality of the law, the board will be using money that otherwise would be available for our children’s education to take on a legal battle they can’t win.  

Lawsuits are extremely expensive.  To mitigate costs, alliances could be formed with like-minded organizations.  For example, Beckett Law often advocates religious freedom issues.  Similar organizations support girls who are harmed by violations of Title IX.

Dealing with the social upheaval surrounding transgender issues is a challenge.  Because three of the four members of the board who are pushing us down this path did not raise their children in our community, they do not understand the trust the community has in our teachers and administrators.  These professionals will maintain the values of the community in the schools while these challenging issues are resolved.  I would ask the Board to reconsider using taxpayer money set aside for the education of our children to fight a legal battle they cannot win by taking a position contrary to state law when no Douglas student has yet been aggrieved by the law.  Listen to the community.  Form relationships with organizations that have the facts, skills, and resources to win.

On another note, if your wrongful words hurt another, it is good to acknowledge the error.  It is even better to extend an apology to the person you hurt.

James Hales


Different side, same playbook


Does anyone see the irony in the Douglas County School Board’s behavior and goals? Ms. Jansen has even admitted to maligning one of her community’s commenter’s at a public meeting and the entire Board has ignored opposition to its current decisions and misuse of public funds to press their political agenda. Indeed, Ms. Jansen sounded very much like Hillary Clinton when she called a large segment of American voters “deplorables.”

Many people on the political right have warned that socialists are infiltrating our town councils, planning commissions, and school boards, bringing their Marxist malarky to our children and morphing our bucolic communities into high-rise gulags. Ms. Jansen and her fellow cronies on the Board have shown this citizen that the extreme right-wing is reading from and implementing the same playbook. 

Sue Cauhape


School fight could affect property values


The school board majority is entitled to have its concerns addressed and to select its own leadership, district administration and legal counsel. But how it goes about that affects the quality of education provided here, the reputation of the district and local property values. A quality school district is a precious asset. We should be careful not to undermine that.

I understand the emotions around some of the culture war issues that we can’t seem to get beyond. But we have thousands of students and hundreds of teachers and staff simply trying to get through the day’s learning, which mostly has nothing to do with that. Do we want a board focused on culture war issues that have little practical presence here or one focused on providing the resources that students and teachers need to succeed?

Along with the sort of ideological leadership that seems to have taken root here often comes an emphasis on loyalty. Professionals normally expected to provide expert guidance and services come to be evaluated not on the merits but on whether they flatter those they serve. “Office politics” is a pejorative that we apply to work environments that have veered off track to emphasize pleasing the boss instead of doing a good job. Heads sometimes roll.

It is the effect of that kind of leadership at the top on those below that concerns me. Employees notice what goes on above them and conclude that “if that can happen to them it can happen to me.”

We face a national teacher shortage. Might teachers and staff concerned about how things are proceeding here decide to move on to districts where the risk of getting caught up in an ideological culture war is much lower?

Your attitude might be “good riddance.” But don’t forget that link between school district quality and property values. Who will replace those that depart? A district with known governance problems won’t be the pick of employees who have choices, just those who don’t. And our children will suffer, along with our schools’ reputation and your property values.

We’ve had our fun. Time to get real.

Terry Burnes


It just keeps getting worse


Every week news of the school board just seems to get worse. To learn that School Board President Susan Jansen admitted to calling a speaker during the meeting “a piece of shi-t,” is outrageous and unacceptable. Trustees are elected and expected to maintain the highest standards of moral and ethical standards. Especially those who campaign on protecting and saving the children.

My other area of concern is Douglas’s critically short of bus drivers. As I recall this shortage has been going on for at least a year. I personally considered signing up but then the reality of a 74-year-old man with a bad back crawling around in the mud chaining up a bus in winter registered. Being a bus driver is tough duty with low pay. So now we’re back to the school board and the significant increase in legal service fees. No point in covering their recent selection of attorneys as they certainly don’t care what I think. As a taxpayer I expect my money to be spent wisely. The large legal fee increase could have gone to raise the driver’s salaries. Why not transparency to solicit competitive bids. Maybe we could have hired a quality firm for less money. How does the board plan to pay for the legal fee increases? What programs will be cut? Let’s have transparency and full disclosure which is really just “ethics 101.”

Michael King,


Gilbert not qualified to advise school board


Joey Gilbert is a high profile republican in the state of Nevada. He has a lot of experience, with DUI’s, immigration, frivolous lawsuits and rioting at the capitol on Jan. 6. 

These are just some of the skill sets that Joey Gilbert will bring to the district. How this qualifies him for the job, I don’t know education law is a highly specialized area of law and Joey Gilbert has no experience with it.

Joey Gilbert ran for governor against Joe Lombardo and lost. He then sued Lombardo for election fraud or something to that effect and lost again. The judge said Joey Gilbert had no evidence and ordered him to pay Lombardo’s legal fees, which are north of $100,000. I’m glad the school district isn’t on the hook for that.

Washoe County school district recently rejected Joey Gilbert’s bid to fill an open seat. There were two requirements, submit a cover letter and a resume. Joey Gilbert did not submit a resume. Now he’s suing the school district regarding gender identity.

I believe, Joey Gilbert is the legal counsel of choice because he shares the same political affiliation as some school board members. He will be your de facto political operative.

A lot of our government depends on faith and trust, trust that our elected officials will adhere to their professional codes, like the school board’s code of conduct, which states, in part: you will refuse to surrender your responsibilities to partisan political groups.

I believe, some of the folks serving on this school board didn’t just surrender to a partisan political group, they are a partisan political group that has infiltrated the Douglas County School Board to advance their political agenda.

If this school board knowingly violates their professional code of conduct and pursues a political agenda, then, that is, by definition, unethical and corrupt and a breach of public trust.

I object to the hiring of Joey Gilbert, based on the reasons I’ve just mentioned.

It’s not the school board’s job to impose their right wing ideology, or any ideology for that matter, on the children, parents and employees of this school district.

Please, take your politics out of the school district and stay in your own lane, your “nonpartisan” lane.

Alice Meyer


Look at how we got here?


There appears to be a great deal of confusion as to what is being taught in our schools. In one previous letter to you, the writer was adamant that our schools should not be teaching the new acronyms of the day such as CRT, DEI, SEL, etc. Labeling all these teachings under one category; that as being indoctrinations devised by the left. 

If one were to take a closer look at these teachings the correct titles are empathy, educated and enlightened. While all classes should reflect these values their basis is mostly addressed in history and civics. Our country was built not by brick by perfect brick but by numerous missteps and undertakings. It took the strengths of numerous imperfect individuals and groups of all colors and political leanings to make it the world-wide leader that it is. 

As Americans, we gather together to make our lives better with our varying skills. We get to choose which religion to follow. We get to choose which politician we hope will represent our voices. In order to do this we need to be exposed to the history and voices of all of our people, not just the ones who think and look like you. 

It is not fair to our children to expose them to only one viewpoint. If they choose to move out into the bigger world do we not want our kids to have some idea as to what they will encounter? Do we not want them to be able to appreciate the dimensions of the world? Do we not want them to be able to make good decisions using critical thinking skills? If we fail to send learned children into the world, then we are failing our country.

The voices of dissent that the school board is failing to hear are the families and citizens of our county who have lost their belief in you. They are telling you that we want our children well educated and fully supported. That the issues you feel need to be undermined have already been addressed by the competent teachers and administrators that actually do the work. 

The school board is supposed to be nonpartisan, but it appears that the majority are politically motivated and spouting the rhetoric of politics. It also appears that they could benefit from returning to their history and civic classes so they can truly understand what the meaning of leftist and Marxist means and how labels such as these have been used to suppress and kill a great many people. The late 1930s Europe would be a good place to relearn those lessons. 

Carol Caman


Survey says Highway 50 lane reduction concerning


Although the Nevada Department of Transportation has assured Douglas County Commissioners that a lane reduction demonstration in Zephyr Cove is off the table this year, NDOT’s Tahoe East Corridor Management Plan has gained renewed focus.  While safety along Highway 50 is a key concern, it is not clear that a reduction in lanes is a solution that will not drive other unintended consequences given the volume of traffic.  

In order to test the pulse of the residents and others who use that stretch frequently (as opposed to special interests that do not), we put together a survey and used a grassroots approach for solicitation of responses.  We received 422 responses, with 78.7 percent expressing a high degree of concern that lane reduction would not cause other safety problems, 6.2 percent had a moderate level of concern while 15.1 percent believe that the lane reduction would be a benefit.  This survey is unique, as previous surveys have reached out to tourists and special interests who are not on Highway 50 as frequently as residents, contractors, employees in the area.  In the survey, 89.3 percent of the respondents are Nevada residents and 74 percent drive Highway 50 daily (with an additional 19 percent who are on the road weekly).  As we go forward, we hope that our elected officials, TRPA and NDOT will engage the residents more directly in the solutions for Hightway 50.

Janine Nyre

Zephyr Cove

By the numbers


The results of the redrawn political districts by the Democratic Party after gaining total control in 2020 (The fovernor, senate and assembly, with aid of the rules established under Covid 19, mail in ballots, ballot harvesting, etc.) became obvious in the 2022 elections.  Voter turnout was 54.7 percent (1,023,617 out of 1,871,788 registered voters) despite having a 39,000 vote Republican edge, Democrats secured two-thirds of assembly seats (a supermajority) and are one seat short of supermajority in the senate with republicans projected to lose two more seats in the future.

 The Nevada State Assembly after the 2022 elections is broken down as follows, for Democrats 28 seats, Republicans 14 seats. The breakdown in voting patterns was Democrats District 6 plus 81 percent, District 11, plus 71 percent, and the rest of the 26 districts where won by Democrats by much smaller margins.   For Republicans Dist. 38, 36, 32, 31, and 19 where uncontested by the Democrat party.  Districts 39, 33, and 26 are over 70 percent Republican, and the rest are relatively close.    

In state senate races Democrats won seven seats by the following margins, District 2 by 70 percent, District 8 by 50.7 percent, District 9 by 53.5 percent, District 10 by 55.5 percent, District 12 by 52.5 percent, District 13 by 61 percent, District 21 by 55.8 percent. The Republicans conversely won four seats, District 17 was uncontested, District 14 was uncontested, District 20 was won by  61.7 percent,  District 16 by 60.4 percent.      

In Federal congressional elections the total votes cast in Nevada was 509,183 Republican and    476,175 Democrat.  This resulted in the Democrats winning districts 1, 3 &4 and the Republicans District 2.

Undeliverable promises by the Biden administration nationwide like student loan forgiveness made just prior to the elections potentially affecting the votes of over 44 million students or ex -students and the promise of slavery reparations to African Americans had a major influence in minimizing the projected Republican Red-Wave in the 2022 election.  

In the 2022 Nevada Federal Senate Race Approximately $160 million in state and outside state contributions helped elect Senator Cortez Masto defeat Adam Laxalt to the tune of $320 a vote.  The left leaning media and social platforms were also influential in the outcome as they were all but in the tank for the Democrat party.    

The new 2023 Nevada legislature emboldened by their increased control proceeded to help the party win future elections by passing AB525 that allocates $25 million and SB341 that adds another $10 million of taxpayer funds to the Culinary Union to increase future election turn-out. Therefore a re-look must be taken to correct the bias created by the gerrymandering of both State and Federal voting districts.  

There needs to be fair and equal voting representation for all Nevada Citizens.   

(Sources: KUNR, State of Nevada)       

Mark Tarvainen



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