Feb. 14, 2024, Letters to the Editor

It has only been 10 days since more than a foot of snow blanketed Carson Valley. Photo special to The R-C by Terry Burnes

It has only been 10 days since more than a foot of snow blanketed Carson Valley. Photo special to The R-C by Terry Burnes

Gas bills outrageous


Well, I can’t imagine next months Southwest Gas bill.  I’m going to have to go to alternative heating or just more layers. I have lived in my home for over 40 years and my highest bills are December, January and February. These bills have never been over $220. That was enough stress on the budget. I’m sure I am not alone scrambling to pay these bills with outrageous increases..   

The bill for November-December was over $300.  The next bill for December-January was over $400. That’s a very big chunk of my income.  Of course, that is not my only service bill to pay each month.  It was colder and I used more units last year, but the price was reasonable. Of course my bill has doubled this winter.  When one service raises their rates, so goes everyone else.  

If you would just do it in small increments, we could all adjust our budgets little by little. With such large increases, it is hard to stay within the monthly income.  I can’t imagine what families with young ones are going through.  We all have expenses beyond the natural gas bill.  Just consider your customers a bit more when raising prices.

I work hard to minimize my expenses. I have found these actions in winter to be of help:  wear a sweater inside, close off doors to rooms, close down the vents a bit, close the drapes a bit too and keep moving to keep the blood flowing.  I have my thermostat set at 62 degrees from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.  Then it goes down to the minimum of about 45 overnight.  I consider myself to be conservative and still my bills for the last two months have been outrageous. The warmth of the heat doesn’t seem to be as good this winter, in my opinion.  I don’t know the formula, but the heat doesn’t seem to be as warm this winter.  I only have the furnace and hot water heater on natural gas.  Hoping with all these increases, that our service will improve at the same rate.

I know every company has to get their share of our income.  With all the services raising their prices at about the same time and such a high percentage, it makes it hard to adjust ones budget almost overnight, or at all.  Incomes never seem to keep up with expenditures.

Beverly Giannopulos


Great turnout for seed swap


The University of Nevada, Reno Master Gardener Program in Douglas County would like to take this opportunity to thank the Community members of Douglas County for supporting the third annual Seed Swap on Jan. 27. 

We had over 160 community members participate in sharing seeds, swapping ideas and planting new friendships. Thank you again for supporting our program. 

Jessica Gardner

UNR Extension Douglas County

Horticulture Outreach Coordinator

Voters would disagree


A group opposed to the school board majority has been taking public comment time to air their complaints at Douglas County school board meetings. 

Some of them are submitting letters with inaccurate allegations to the The Record-Courier. 

Bob Taormina’s Jan. 24 letter cited departing school board trustee Tony Magnotta’s comment that some on the board were being dismissive of comments from the greater Douglas community. 

That would be news to the thousands of Douglas County voters who handed a landslide election win to the Jansen-Dickerson-Burns school board trustees. 

Opponents have made claims that board attorney Joey Gilbert’s fees are excessive. 

A lot of his time has been dealing with filings for document requests, as he explained a story published in The Record-Courier. 

Adrienne Sawyer’s Jan. 24 letter claim that I had filed open meeting law complaints is false. 

During the last election, trustee incumbents and challengers debated in large, well attended public venues to make their case. The challengers went on to win election to the board. The result was very large voting majorities for the Jansen-Burns-Dickerson slate.  

Readers should note that in a recent school board meeting the board interviewed three applicants who had applied to fill the opening left by the departing trustee Magnotta. Not one of the those opposing the board applied for the position.

Lynn Muzzy


It just keeps getting worse


To school board President Burns and trustees Englekirk, Dickerson, and Jansen:

Every time I think it cannot get worse with the four of you, it does.

How does it feel to know you’ll be remembered as the architects of the destruction of the Douglas County School District? Your decision on Feb. 6 to offer the district’s top job to a man who lied on his application by failing to disclose his legal troubles sets a horrible example for the students of Douglas County. I don’t see how you can set the bar for honesty, high educational achievement and morals any lower, but you have fooled us before, so I can only wait.

You continue to demonstrate your utter contempt for the residents of Douglas County by ignoring their wishes and slogging ahead with your personal political agendas.

My only hope is that Mr. Ramirez is unable to obtain the necessary certification to qualify for the position.

This is shameful. You have failed in your duties and responsibilities as Douglas County School Board trustees and should resign immediately.

Sheila Gardner


Can you believe this?


Are there other citizens of Douglas County as embarrassed and angered as I am about the latest revelations that the Douglas County School Board voted to offer the position of School Superintendent to someone who according to news accounts: 

has a criminal background,  

lied on his application, 

who the San Joaquin Civil Grand Jury reported had mismanaged the school district’s finances, 

had admitted to misusing district funds for personal expenses,  

had sexual harassment complaints filed against him. 

had an official censure of his teaching credentials, and

was arrested for a DUI and subsequently placed on leave?

Seriously?  They offered him the job? 

Compounding my disbelief in this report is that School Board President David Burns dismissed the discrediting issue of the DUI claiming that “if they don’t hire Ramirez because of a DUI, then everyone with one in the district should be fired.” Wait? What kind of a trumped-up, ungrounded and noxious comment is that?

The most egregious failure and dereliction of duty broadcast by this decision is the message that honesty and character don’t matter.  School Superintendents should at the least requirement set an example of good character and integrity for the students they serve. 

On top of the moral failure these actions represent, is the added charge that these are our tax dollars being carelessly used in the ill- considered hiring of an official so critical to the moral and educational well-being of Douglas County students.  

Jill Derby 




Each meeting, I think we’ve seen how low the new Douglas County School Board is willing to go. Each meeting, I am gobsmacked when they prove me wrong, and the Special Meeting on Feb. 6, was again a new low. 

A fractured board has selected a new superintendent. In what should be an otherwise celebratory time, I find myself deflated and furious. The man selected did not accurately fill out his application. In fact, he lied. If this board had used a professional search firm to conduct its search and initial screening, Mr. Ramirez would have been discarded on the first cut.

He has an extensive negative record, most of which was not properly disclosed: a DUI with a Blood Alcohol level of .225 (almost 3x the legal limit of 0.08, a hit and run which resulted in a censure on his teaching credential, a grand jury probe covering the time that he was superintendent of a previous district, now involving the FBI, and multiple instances of a change in employment under dubious circumstances. 

Let’s start with the DUI. Everyone makes mistakes. That’s a given. However, a part of moving beyond a mistake like a DUI is to honestly acknowledge and accept the consequences which in this case means disclosing the DUI in his application. Mr. Ramirez did not do this. He is still on probation for the DUI and will be until June 7, 2026. 

During the meeting, Board members attempted to normalize and minimize Mr. Ramirez’ actions by noting that two DCSD employees are currently employed following DUIs. This is a pitiful attempt to obscure a critical point. Mr. Ramirez lied to them and to us. Mr. Ramirez has damaged his own integrity and credibility by lying. Additionally, this begs the question. What else has he lied about or hidden? Mr. Ramirez fails Leadership 101.

Two of the Board members voted for Mr. Ramirez without even justifying their decision. In Nevada’s public meeting laws, public deliberation requires Board members to conduct themselves openly and publicly. This lack of transparency strongly suggests that they came to the meeting with a pre-set decision. We have seen this before with this current Board. These decisions often result in 4-3 votes. Once again, this was the case, twice during this meeting: once when Trustee Wagstaff moved to remove Mr. Ramirez from consideration (which failed on a 3-4 vote) and once to hire Mr. Ramirez, also a 4-3 vote. These were the same four members casting the same four votes.

The only way we are going to right this ship is with better board members. There’s an election coming up. Consider carefully your choices. Don’t rely on a slate card from a political party which has party politics rather your children’s best interests at heart. Apply common sense. The folks here have that in great quantity. And if in doubt, reach out and ask for more information.

We really do Deserve a Better Board.

Cheryl Blomstrom

Jacks Valley

Why would you hire Ramirez?


It’s hard to imagine why you would hire John Ramirez Jr. if any of the information in this article is even remotely true.

I spent much of my career managing a public agency, which included involvement in many hiring decisions. Some people are good at getting a job, others at doing it, a few at both. Beware the first, look for the last two. Applicants generally try to tell you what you want to hear. It’s a potential employer’s job to then dig deeper to determine if what you’ve been told is true or if there is more to the story. Did you do that or did you stop with hearing what you wanted to hear?

In my experience the best indicator of future behavior is past performance. You have now been warned by the information that has come to light. If and when Mr Ramirez repeats this sort of behavior here in Douglas County that will not really be on him, it will be on you. Please stop and think about that for a moment, waking up some morning to news reports of any one of those types of incidents happening here and the effects of that on the district you govern. And on you.

If you find nothing else persuasive I urge you to carefully consider that Mr. Ramirez has already apparently deceived you by failing to report his DUI on his application. So will he really be “transparent” with you and others in the future.? Or are you knowingly entering into an employment arrangement where you will be deceived again?

In situations like this, which are all too common, I always find myself thinking, “It’s a big country, surely there is someone else who could do the job well, without the baggage.” I suggest you go find that person, before it’s too late.

Terry Burnes


VHR operator in it for the money


This is in response to Kevin Kjer’s letter. Mr. Kjer makes a substantial sum of money renting homes in residential neighborhoods to people who don’t care about the community, abuse their neighbors, and regularly trespass on neighbors’ land and HOA’s docks and beaches. 

Mr. Kjer is part of the wealthy and powerful who put money over the health, safety, and quiet enjoyment of a person’s home. He has joined other property managers, realtors, casino owners, and VHR homeowners who will say and do anything to keep their pot of gold. 

Contrary to Mr. Kjer’s assertions, there are many complaints about his renters. Numerous Glenbrook residents sent emails to the Board of county commissioners specifying the violations. One home Mr. Kjer rents sits on a cliff with no beach or dock access. His renters regularly trespass on neighbors’ land and illegally use their private docks and beaches. 

Mr. Kjer asserts that the people complaining about his renters are only part-time residents of Glenbrook, as if that precludes them from enjoying the peaceful and quiet enjoyment of their home. Nevertheless, every client of Mr. Kjer’s is an absent or part-time owner. They make a fortune when they don’t live there. 

I am against VHRs in residential neighborhoods that are not near tourists’ attractions. I made a commonsense proposal to allocate most of the VHRs next to the casino and ski resort corridor. The homeowners in these areas were aware of the transient activity when they bought their homes. Away from the ski resorts and casinos, and away from most public beaches, restaurants, and hotels, VHRs would be banned. In between, VHRs would be limited based upon the health, safety and fire considerations as analyzed by the VHR Director. 

Two years ago, I requested my proposal to be placed on the board’s agenda as provided for in the Board’s Norms and Procedures. In violation of the board’s procedures, Chairman Gardner and County Manager Cates refused to put it on the agenda until a pro VHR board member was replaced with an anti-VHR board member. If this action was not illegal, it certainly was unethical. 

Instead of quitting, or throwing a tantrum like Mr. Kjer, I looked at every opportunity to get my common-sense proposal on the agenda and for it to be successful. I shared this information with a concerned constituent in Glenbrook. 

A commissioner should stand up and fight against special interest groups trying to make a fortune at the expense of people who have no voice or power. I have, and always will, fight for these people. 

Last year, the first two parts of my proposal passed the Board and are part of the ordinance. The first part substantially increased the number of VHRs. The second eliminated 13. Mr. Kjer never complained about the proposal that increased VHRs but now claims nefarious conduct for the part that reduces them. His true motivation is money.

Danny Tarkanian

Gardnerville Ranchos


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