Opinions aren’t fact
What better place to express your opinion to local residents then the opinion page of The Record-Courier. The opinion writers vary from frequent to seldom. Most are aligned with a particular political ideology.
So now about opinions. Opinions are not facts, except perhaps in the mind of the opinion holder. They are simply opinions. Since they are free, everyone seems to have one. Contradicting opinions in politics are the norm, and seldom if ever, sway anyone away from their opinions.
The danger lies in the few that convince the masses their opinions are facts. History is riddled with the propagandists that have convinced people their opinion is fact. Hitler, Lenin and Mao Zedong come to mind.
So have your opinion. Get it printed. Share your opinion with like-minded people, just remember that the rest of us could care less about your opinion. Finally, try not to confuse opinion with fact, even in your mind.
Jansen a righteous woman
When I first arrived in Douglas County, I was awed by its beauty but blown away by the people I met. Without fail, no matter where I went, they were friendly, kind, and courteous.
I attended the July 19, 2023, school board meeting. The meeting was lengthy, approximately six hours long with only one short break. About 50 people were in attendance. Most of the audience spoke against the Board’s proposal to hire a new attorney. Parliamentary procedures state that the public only respond directly to the agenda item. Instead, what I frequently heard was personal attacks addressed directly at the board members, vitriol, anger, hostility, and ignorance of the subject at hand.
This meeting did not have to be public. It could have been held in closed session and the proposal to hire a new law firm could have been done privately. Instead, the Board decided to open the meeting to the public.
Many of the people that spoke inferred that they represented “the community.” My interpretation of community is all the voting public of Douglas County who voted for or against the three new board members. I believe they were elected to defend our schools from the Woke agenda currently sweeping across our nation. They want to keep it from the so called “social justice” infecting what our teachers impart to their students in all grades. The newly elected three, also wanted to protect female students from laws that are being passed in many states to allow males, (who think they are female) to compete with them, win their awards and scholarships, and use their locker rooms.
The School Board found they could not work smoothly with the legal counsel, Maupin, Cox and LeGoy. The Trustees voted 4-2 to fire their legal counsel. They hired a new firm led by Joey Gilbert. In our current litigious society the Board must trust the information they receive from those that represent them legally.
Douglas County School Board President Susan Jansen did speak out of turn but it was an aside to a fellow board member that was picked up on a hot mic and then enhanced to make it seem she was talking loudly. This does not excuse the profanity, but she did not speak straight out to the person making the public comment. She lost the professional composure shown throughout the six-hour session where she was personally insulted and even admonished angrily by a speaker for momentarily taking her eyes off the person speaking. She publicly admitted she was wrong and apologized for her hot mic comments. Which of us can say that we have never said words publicly that we wish we could retract. We are human and make mistakes. Our Country even elected a President that, on an open mic, (that was heard around the world) used the “F… bomb” when he was Vice President speaking to President Obama.
Susan Jansen, is committed to the students of our county as she was to the students she taught for 30 years. Forgive her error and as a community, let us move on. She is a righteous woman.
Bring back positivity
After 35 years of living in the Carson Valley and raising our three sons here, the Douglas County School District has always been one of positivity and collaboration among parents, volunteers, staff, teachers, administrators and school board members, until recently. Having worked as a substitute teacher for two years prior to having my children, I recognized early on how fortunate my children would be to attend school in Douglas County School District. My husband and I sent each of our kids off to school with a positive attitude along with a sense of personal accountability. Teachers were to be respected. If concerns arose, we communicated directly with the teacher. It was a partnership.
One of the greatest lessons I learned as a young parent during those early years was that I would need to trust the school staff and teachers’ expertise in numerous areas of my kids’ education. I credit this realization to the late, great Phyllis Robison (Kindergarten teacher at Gardnerville Elementary School). She informed me of an extended day kindergarten opportunity the year we enrolled our middle son in school. I had preconceived ideas about the program and immediately said, “Thanks, but no thanks.” Undeterred and with a twinkle in her eye, Mrs. Robison enthusiastically encouraged me to reconsider by educating me on the merits of the opportunity for our son. We took the leap, and as Mrs. Robison had predicted, he flourished and thrived in that program.
Thankfully, our boys have graduated from college, are good people with successful careers and happy lives. As a new grandma, I now look to the next generation and their. Today’s young parents have the choice as to whether they will foster positivity, enthusiasm and curiosity about the world or saddle their children with scrutiny and paranoia. My expectation is that parents can and should resist “researching” hot political topics on the internet. They must resist the temptation to be glued to their favorite television news network obsessing on “what’s happening around this country” or become fixated on the notion that “it’s coming.” These fear tactics have no place in the world of parenting or education. Children mirror the behavior of their parents and if they frequently see parents appalled, outraged, obsessed and fixated, those kids will, in turn, likely feel entitled to exhibit those negative behaviors at school. Instead, let’s encourage parents to spend their time parenting. Let’s cultivate a show of support for our local education system by reading to our children, spending time outdoors with them and letting them learn and develop through play. Volunteering in the classroom, becoming involved in extracurricular activities or coaching a team are tangible ways to see what’s really “going on” in the lives of our youth.
Gretchen Rubin put it simply but eloquently regarding parenting: “The days are long, but the years are short.” It is our job as a community to make these short years that our children have in school the most positive, productive and safe as possible. Let’s hold our school board members accountable for modeling all of the values we want our children to develop because they are our future.
Responding to July 19 letters
I’m responding to the three letters to the editor (RC July 19) attacking Douglas County School trustees Dickerson, Burns, and Board President Jansen. Each of them ran for school board because they were alarmed by the prior board’s lack of concern about inappropriate sexual content, among other curricula being taught to our children. The Dickerson, Burns, and Jansen campaigns included listening to parents, speaking at and listening to the public in local events, becoming more informed in current educational issues throughout our own county, state and nation, going door to door to ask voters what they thought, what issues needed to be addressed, and what steps they should take.
Jansen, Dickerson, and Burns won their elections by significant margins because they promised to address critical issues within the Douglas County school system, including age inappropriate library books and curricula improper for school kids, that this board has achieved, even with much difficulty from the globalists in our own county fighting them tooth & nail. As to the decision to retain the Gilbert law firm as their council, trust between client and attorney is a significant factor. The board members gave the incumbent firm a fair trial period, but ultimately decided to dismiss them and go with the Gilbert firm.
LTTE contributor Lance Crowley smears board members as marijuana users when he “wonders where the new school board members might have been getting their supply”. Yes, Gilbert’s firm has worked with the marijuana industry. So have others, so what? If the Gilbert firm owned liquor stores, bars or restaurants, that serve alcohol, would they be using this in their smear campaign? Mr. Crowley’s letter suggesting Board trustees are cannabis users is inexcusable, almost- if not slanderous, should never have been accepted by the Record-Courier editor.
William Robison’s letter claims that Jansen, Dickerson, and Burns are “politically politicized and focused on their Republican Central Committee” which makes no sense. The school board positions are non-partisan which allows voters of all political persuasions to vote for a School Board candidate in the primary.
Alice Meyer writes: “.…some school board members may be under the false impression that they hold a political office.” Yes, political because candidates are elected. The public voter registration list shows that Crowley, Robison, and Meyer are all Democrats, and appear to be bringing their worldly view to this conflict about educating our children, so who is being political? It is the school board trustees who must deal with legal counsel they can trust to bring lawful advice in all matters, or possibly the not ignorant naysayers in the peanut gallery?
No property right to VHR
A few weeks ago, former County Commission Larry Walsh, wrote a Letter to the Editor, blasting the recently filed initiative to ban Vacation Home Rentals (VHR)s in residential neighborhoods in the Tahoe Basin. His entire argument was about the potential loss of tax revenue generated from VHRs.
The debate on VHRs is separated into three groups. One group, as articulated by Mr. Walsh, places a premium on business profits and tax dollars over the peaceful, quiet enjoyment of one’s home. Realtors, Property Managers, casino owners, and VHR permit holders are in this group.
They defend VHRs under the false premise that permit holders have a property right to a VHR. Chairman Gardner repeatedly makes this claim. However, it is simply not true. The VHR Ordinance specifically states, “Obtaining a VHR permit is not a right”. Permits are limited in number and locations and a fee is charged to acquire them. There is no right to have one.
In addition, the Ordinance states VHRs shall, “resemble the existing residential uses made by resident owners and lessees”. Wild bachelor parties, weekly weekend weddings, and a torrent of drunk tourists in gated communities with private beaches, docks and golf courses do not resemble existing residential uses in those neighborhoods, unless they are located next to casinos or ski resorts. Nevertheless, three members on the Commission ignore this part of the Ordinance and put profits over homeowners.
The second group are people who place a premium on the peaceful, quiet enjoyment of one’s home over profit and tax dollars. People who have lived next to a VHR are in this group. I strongly and proudly stand with them. As your Commissioner, I will always protect the precious rights of a homeowner in a residential neighborhood over profits and taxes.
The third group are people who have never lived next to a VHR and don’t know the dreadful consequences it causes. Residents in the Carson Valley belong to this group and make up 70 percent of the registered voters. This group will determine if the initiative passes.
There is a reason VHRs are banned in the Carson Valley. No one wants to live next to one. If VHRs were legal in the Valley, the initiative would pass easily. Remember Mr. Walsh’s argument and the premise of the first group. If tax dollars and profits are more important than the peaceful, quiet enjoyment of one’s home in the Tahoe Basin, why isn’t it more important in the Carson Valley? Do more tourists visit the private gated community in Glenbrook or the historic sites in Genoa, Wally’s Hot Springs, or the off-road racing east of Johnson Lane? Be careful what you wish for!
Dave Nelson is leading the initiative effort. If you would like to sign the initiative or help collect signatures, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.