June 26, 2024, R-C Letters to the Editor

It's haying season across Carson Valley as a hay baler gathers mowed grass into bales at Ranch One on Saturday in Genoa.

It's haying season across Carson Valley as a hay baler gathers mowed grass into bales at Ranch One on Saturday in Genoa.
Photo by Kurt Hildebrand.

Why I’m running


I am compelled to share with you my heartfelt reasons for running as a candidate for the position of East Fork Justice of the Peace in Douglas County. This decision stems from a deeply rooted commitment to service and a genuine desire to contribute meaningfully to the preservation of justice in our community.

Having dedicated 30 years of my life to serving our country and our community, I am driven by a profound sense of duty and responsibility. My journey began in the United States Army, where I had the honor of earning accolades such as the National Defense and Good Conduct Medals among others. Transitioning to law enforcement, I spent 25 years with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, working tirelessly to ensure the safety and security of our neighborhoods.

Throughout my law enforcement career, I have witnessed firsthand the challenges and complexities within our judicial system. My role as a supervisor in charge of the Court Services Division in Minden has provided me with invaluable insights into the inner workings of our courts and the importance of fair and efficient justice delivery.

As a detective for 10 years, I meticulously built cases, interviewed suspects and witnesses as well as analyzed evidence. My training as one of only 28 FBI Certified Bomb Technicians in the entire State of Nevada demonstrates my commitment to public safety and my ability to perform under pressure.

But beyond my professional experiences, it is my profound connection to Douglas County that fuels my candidacy. I have not only worked here, but also lived and raised my family here for over 25 years. This community is my home, and I am deeply invested in its future.

My academic pursuits, including a law degree and a master’s degree in management and leadership, have further equipped me with the knowledge and skills necessary to perform the duties of the Justice Court Judge on day one with knowledge, efficiency, and effectiveness. My law degree has provided me with the in depth legal knowledge necessary to understand the law and apply the law skillfully.

My vision for Douglas County is firmly grounded in principles of fairness, integrity, and accountability. I staunchly advocate for upholding the belief that justice is impartial and that all individuals merit equal treatment under the law. Moreover, I am dedicated to being tough on crime, while simultaneously prioritizing important initiatives such as bail reform and enhancing security for all, including the construction of the new Judicial Center.

In my humble opinion, the choice is clear. Do you want just another attorney for your next Justice Court Judge, or do you want a dedicated, dynamic protector of Douglas County with a proven track record of 25 years serving our community? Choose experience. Choose dedication. Choose a legacy of service to both country and community. Choose the only true advocate for justice in the race – Vote Jeff 4 Judge in November 2024! Visit jeffschem4judge.com for additional information about my candidacy. Thank you.

Jeff M. Schemenauer


Consider the quail


With all the political news and opinions capturing our attention lately, I would like to offer a little diversion.  We have quail in our yard, which are very interesting to watch, and offer a valuable lesson on life.  The male quail is often seen leading the female quail to a source of seeds dropped on the ground under our bird feeder, and he stands watch on the fence while the female eats the seeds.  Other times the male quail stands on the ground, looking around for predators, while the female quail eats.  In my opinion, if more men treated their ladies like the male quail, we would be much better off as a society.  Just an observation on my part.

Dave Thomas


Thanks Ms. Dwyer


Thank you Jeannie Dwyer for leading our district over the past several months and wearing multiple hats to fulfill many roles. We appreciate you Ms. Dwyer.

I welcome Mr. Alvarado as the incoming superintendent and hope he brings unity and positivity. I trust he will support teachers and staff, prioritizing our children. While I am optimistic about this new chapter, I must express my frustrations with the process by which it occurred. 

First, during the screening process, two trustees had score sheets that seemed to deliberately weigh interview scores lower for superintendent candidates Patrick Peters and Louise Simson. The weight for each candidate in each category should be the same. Only through the diligence of community members was this discovered. The school district was notified, and the scores had to be corrected and modified to ensure equal weights for all candidates. 

Second, during the May 21 DCSB meeting, school board president David Burns commented on Mr. Alvarado “I think he’s Hispanic and I think 25 percent of our Hispanics here, I think, maybe he could develop a program or at least the kids would see him in a different light hopefully we get uh better grades…”. When someone highlights and intentionally identifies the ethnic background of a candidate, this reeks of unethical hiring practices. And what I find ironic about this process is that David Burns, Katherine Dickerson, Susan Jansen, and Doug Englekirk have been emphatic about eliminating all aspects of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in our schools. Yet Mr. Burns cited Mr. Alvarado’s possible ethnic background as a contributing reason for hire. This is not the merit based system that Doug Englekirk preaches should be in our schools. Perhaps they are proponents of DEI after all. 

Douglas County, please know that we, the people, hold these trustees accountable for their actions. They have repeatedly attempted to stifle our voices, refusing to listen to us when we hold them accountable. At the May meeting, Susan Jansen was observed blatantly violating DCSD Code of Conduct by wearing orange earplugs during public comment. She then brazenly left the meeting in the middle of public comment, still wearing the orange earplugs. These actions by an elected official of Douglas County are unethical, unprecedented, and inexcusable. 

DCSD Bylaw 070 Article 7 states “Trustees carry a public trust and should carry out their duties in a professional and courteous manner both as trustees and in their interaction with the public. Trustees should strive to present their views in a professional and respectful manner, avoiding personal attacks. Trustees should extend every courtesy to those who appear before the Board. Nonverbal communication must be respectful.” 

The constituents of Douglas County deserve to have their voices heard. As voters, we must hold them accountable for their actions. Our tax dollars are impacted by their decisions. The trustees have paid Joey Gilbert Law over $350,000 in legal fees. Our children are impacted by their decisions. The children deserve better. 

We Deserve a Better Board.

Mae Hiatt


Define fascist


Former president Donald Trump held a press conference after his conviction on 34 felony charges. In that press conference he attacked the trial judge, ranted about immigrants, said “We’re living in a fascist state”, the trial was “rigged,” and falsely claimed the Biden Administration engineered the prosecution.

The term “fascist” is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as “relating to a political philosophy, movement, or regime that prioritizes the nation, and often race, over individual rights. It typically features a centralized, autocratic government led by a dictatorial figure, with strict economic and social controls and the harsh suppression of opposition.”

Just as Trump has a pattern of claiming that an election he loses is “rigged”, while only those he wins are fair, his claim that the trial was “rigged” suggests a refusal to accept unfavorable outcomes. This echoes some fascist tendencies. He is also quick to label others as fascists, while showing some characteristics usually associated with fascist regimes (like promoting national and racial superiority or attacking and trying to undermine institutions and norms that oppose him). His statement, “We’re living in a fascist state.” Does this suggest an ironic projection? 

Throughout his speech, Trump painted a stark picture of the consequences of illegal immigration. He called for congressional action to address these issues, while using his influence with Republicans to make sure any immigration bills never see the light of day.

We have an important election coming up in November. The character and integrity of each candidate should be scrutinized, as the role they play could significantly impact the nation’s direction and adherence to democratic principles. This is a critical reminder of the importance of informed and thoughtful voting. 

Elizabeth Mancl


Allies are valuable


 I am not much of a historian but have listened to and watched the 80th anniversary D-Day celebrations broadcast from Europe. Leaders from the EU, the U.S. and most importantly, Ukraine, describe the significance of this day for democracy. The NATO alliance, which grew out of rebuilding efforts following WWII, continues as a key instrument supporting nations for whom democratic principles are the foundation of their government. 

Forty years ago on June 6, 1984, then President Ronald Reagan gave an important speech at the D-Day anniversary celebration in which he said, “One’s country is worth dying for and democracy is worth dying for, because it is the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man.” 

He has also referred to Americans who were part of that rebuilding effort as the “greatest generation” because of their contributions to making a great and powerful country.

Today, our democracy seems less secure. However, we still have the ability to choose. We can decide between two presidential candidates, one of whom questions the value of NATO, has alienated European heads of state and admires the leader of Russia — a country trying to spread its dictatorial regime to Ukraine and knocking on the door of other European countries. 

Very few members of that “greatest generation” who actually fought in 1944 are alive today. Their interviews have been inspiring but also troubling as many express their concerns about the future of American democracy. Important to consider as we get ready for the next big election

Barbara Kuehner


Supreme Court making heads spin


Some of the decisions coming from the Supreme Court this June are making my head spin.  Over a week ago, the Supremes parsed words to override a commonsense ban on the sale of bump stocks.  Then last Friday, the Court used common sense and upheld a law that keeps firearms out of the hands of domestic abusers.  Go figure.

I was much relieved that the Justices used common sense to keep guns out of the hands of violent abusers, but very disappointed that they did not use that same common sense to uphold the ban on bump stocks.  Parsing words, the Justices found that even though a rifle fit with a bump stock behaves like a machine gun, it’s an accessory to a rifle and not in itself a machine gun. 

 It was the rifle and bump stock combo that the Las Vegas shooter used to kill 58 and injure over 500 people in 2017.  In response to this tragedy, then President Trump supported and signed the bump stock prohibition.  It must be noted that since the ban in 2018, no mass shootings have come near the number of people killed and injured in Las Vegas with rifle and bump stock.  

Common sense regulation with regard to guns can help to decrease gun violence. Keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers works; and banning machine guns and rifles fitted with bump stocks helps too.  Let’s not be afraid to use common sense to make laws and regulations that help decrease gun violence in this country. 

Greta Hambsch


Rule of Law


The Republican Party, at all levels, has been repeatedly, loudly and sometimes violently, expressing its antagonism to The Rule of Law. Nowadays, Republicans call The Rule of Law “lawfare,” as if it is an act of war for the people of America to try to enforce any law that Republicans find an inconvenient obstacle in their march towards unrestrained power. 

There are many examples of this before us now. The latest is the party’s wholesale rejection of a duly rendered verdict by a duly empaneled jury (jointly selected by both the defense and the prosecution), before a properly appointed judge. 

If the Republicans do not like that time-tested system, then what are they proposing to replace it with? The only alternative they have attempted to put forth so far is The Rule of the Mob.

They now think that, when you wish to believe an election was stolen, but you cannot gather enough evidence to convince any of the 60 courts you bring your accusations before, the appropriate response is to kill police officers, profane the Halls of Congress and attempt to hang the vice president from your own party.

Trump has had criminal and civil cases before at least eight different judges now: The Trump University Fraud case. The Trump Charity Fraud case. The Sexual Abuse and Defamation of E. Jean Carroll case. The Trump Organization’s Loan Fraud case. The Stormy Daniels Falsification of Business Records / Election Finance Violation case. The Federal Jan 6 Election Interference case. The Georgia Electoral Fraud case. And The Stolen Classified Documents case. (Whew!) The only one of these eight judges he has not accused of a criminally corrupt degree of bias is the one he appointed himself. Is our system of appointing judges in such disrepair now that seven out of eight judges are criminals? I find that very hard to credit. 

Still, that’s what Trump whines again and again for us to believe. But, if so, what plan has he outlined to put us back on track? He already had four years as president to address the issue. Did he put one hour’s worth of effort into fixing what must be, to hear him tell it, an absolutely critical breakdown of our judicial system? No! He was too busy firing his own handpicked Attorney General, and National Security Advisor and Chief of Staff and Communications Director and on and on.

It can be heart breaking to lose a hard fought election, let alone a criminal case. But once The Rule of Law has been followed to its proper termination, what other sane choice is there but to learn to accept the sometimes bitter conclusion? (Ask Al Gore about that!) Without The Rule of Law we will be lost in the wilderness of civil war, chaos and despotism. We might never find our way back.

Tim Goldsmith



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