May 8, 2024, R-C Letters to the Editor

A tractor works on Tuesday morning on Esmeralda Avenue near Sixth Street in Minden as part of a tree trimming operation.

A tractor works on Tuesday morning on Esmeralda Avenue near Sixth Street in Minden as part of a tree trimming operation.
Photo by Kurt Hildebrand.

Running to serve


It has been an honor and privilege to serve you these past three years as a county commissioner. During that time I’ve been honored by my fellow board members to serve as chairman in 2022 and again in 2023 and I also currently serve as the Vice-President of the Nevada Association of Counties, an honor bestowed on me by my fellow commissioners of the other 16 Nevada counties.

I campaigned on a theme of “Let’s be Safe, Sound, and Rural.” That has been and continues to be my focus. To that end, I’m proud to report that we have entered into new labor agreements with all of our sheriffs and employees that reward them for their excellent work without necessitating any increase in taxes. This accomplishment ensures that we will continue to have the outstanding law enforcement that keeps us safe and able to attract the best officers available.

Shortly we will break ground on Muller Parkway, the concept of which has been in the works for nearly three decades. As another road across the valley, it will relieve traffic on Hwy 395 through the core of town and provide for safer entry into our businesses.

I am especially pleased to note that we will also break ground soon on a much-needed new Justice Center. An additional plus that comes with the new center is that the relocation of the courts will provide our law enforcement team full utilization of the current JLEC building which means it will have access to sorely needed additional space.

All of this has been accomplished without raising taxes on your hard-earned dollars. I remain committed to the “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” which means no new taxes without your direct vote.

While we still have over 5500 homes zoned for development, during my term as a commissioner, we’ve had only 175 new ones come to the board for approval. Of that, the board approved 90 of which I voted for only those 10 which I felt met the criteria of keeping our county rural. Public safety and proper infrastructure must come first!

You will soon receive your mail ballots and in just over two weeks early voting will begin. We have much more work to accomplish and therefore I’m asking for your vote for re-election to remain a Douglas County Commissioner representing District 3.

Commissioner Mark Gardner

Topaz Ranch Estates

Recommending Tarkanian


From 2004-2005, I proudly served as president of Sierra Nevada Republican Women. Subsequently, I was elected northern director of the Nevada Federation of Republican Women. As a reminder, the Nevada Federation of Republican Women Bylaws, revised Oct 21, 2023, specifically states that “failure to support the GOP ticket, or supporting one Republican candidate to the exclusion of other Republican candidates in a primary election is cause for removal of a club from membership.” I took the aforementioned bylaws very seriously while I was an active participant in Republican organizations. Still, now I am hearing that endorsements from some of these organizations of one Republican candidate over another may occur in the upcoming election.

Although I may no longer hold office, but from my experience in Republican politics for two decades, I would like to recommend one candidate for re-election on the County Commission, Danny Tarkanian. I have admired Mr. Tarkanian’s work on the commission for the past three and a half years. His weekly newsletters provide excellent transparency into the dealings of our government. His Small Business Saturday and Adopt a Pet videos are enjoyable and helpful to the community. He hosts regular Town Halls and patiently listens to and answers questions from his constituents, but most importantly, he responds quickly and effectively to constituents’ concerns.

It’s imperative that we recognize the value of the services Mr. Tarkanian provides. Losing him would be a significant setback for our community and the Republican Party.

Donna Baushke


Tarkanian a communicator


Amid election season, it’s crucial to acknowledge the standout qualities of candidates vying for reelection. I want to spotlight Commissioner Danny Tarkanian, whose exceptional communication skills have distinguished him from other elected officials and greatly benefited our community.

Whether addressing a small gathering or engaging in public debates, Danny possesses a remarkable ability to convey complex ideas with clarity and empathy. He does this exceptionally well in his weekly newsletters, which provide significant input and understanding of county dealings to the residents of Douglas County. This skill isn’t just about rhetoric; it’s about fostering genuine understanding and connection with constituents, making them feel more connected to the political process.

Danny actively seeks diverse perspectives, listens attentively to constituents’ concerns, and responds thoughtfully and respectfully. In an era marked by polarization, Danny’s dedication to open, transparent communication is a testament to his commitment to ensuring every voice is heard and valued.

As we consider the qualities we desire in our elected officials, let’s pay attention to the importance of effective communication. Danny Tarkanian embodies this essential trait, and his reelection would ensure that our community continues to be well-represented and heard.

Tom Zogorski


Voting for Tarkanian


I am writing to encourage others to please support Daniel Tarkanian. In my many decades of living in Douglas County I have never encountered an elected official that is so responsive to his constituents’ concerns.

Whether the news is good or bad, this man cares and tells the truth. I wish he could be a template for elected officials everywhere. Our county is blessed to have such an amazing leader.

Let’s remember his tireless public service and vote Tarkanian

Staci Baker


Tarkanian getting my vote


Douglas County Commissioner Danny Tarkanian restored my faith in government. He is a model of how an elected official should behave.

Tarkanian listens to his constituents, responds promptly to any inquiries, sends out emails notifying residents regarding the issues in upcoming meetings, emails summaries with explanations as to why he voted as he did, promotes local small businesses and more. No other elected official in my long years of voting has been as accessible, transparent and responsive to those he serves. Danny Tarkanian will get my vote.

Kathryn Bricker

Zephyr Cove

Impressive performance


I applaud Douglas County School Board Trustee Susan Jansen for her masterful performance on the witness stand in court March 27. It was truly an Academy Award performance.

She was testifying in regard to open records violations from past School Board meetings. She needed to use some special equipment (a rather large, red, lighted magnifying glass) to help read court documents. In the last 15 months I’ve never seen Trustee Jansen use any such equipment to read anything at the School Board meetings. At the next board meeting up at Whittell High School from 4 p.m. until approximately 9:30 p.m., I watched her read multiple pages, jotting down notes for over 5 1/2 hours. Yes she switched glasses several times. So do I have to switch from regular glasses to reading glasses. She did just fine for over 5 1/2 hours without the aid of a giant lighted magnifying glass. These Board meetings can last from 4-12 p.m. In addition, members of the “Peanut Gallery” (a term used by Attorney Gilbert at a past School Board meeting) were really concerned about Trustee Jansen’s answers, or lack of to questions while on the witness stand under oath. Perjury was brought up at least once. I lost count of how many times she said “I don’t recall, I can’t remember.”

She stated that she doesn’t have a computer or know how to delete. Latter she admitted to having an Ipad and knows how to delete. She has two phones. One personal and a District School phone. For her health and that of the school board, she really should step down immediately.

The judge broke for lunch with still many questions for Trustee Jansen. The “Peanut Gallery” was looking forward to testimony from Trustees Burns, Dickerson and Englekirk and others who were called to testify. But the public will never know because a deal was reached over lunch. Yes it saved Douglas County more embarrassment from its trustees. But mostly it kept more money out of Gilbert’s pockets. The big loser is the district because they have to pay all the attorneys fees on both sides. The trustees and Gilbert get a slap on the wrist. All that money spent and the students, teachers, parents and community loose the most. But this had to happen to open the eyes of our community. We the citizens of Douglas County have the power of our vote in November to vote for a better board. Do it for the students.

Leslie Hokenson


Maybe there’s a reason


Recently there was a letter stating, again, that the dissatisfaction with the school board is because of “sore losers”

So, let’s review some of the facts, again:

We have a top-notch school system that became top-notch well before any activities of recent months.

We lost a highly respected, competent, superintendent who was a significant contributor to that status. The basis for this loss is still not clearly understood.

Our legal costs have risen to numbers which, for many of us, are beyond comprehension.

So, “a small, noisy batch of complainers?” I don’t think so.

Bob Taormina


There’s plenty of resources


In his April 24 Letter to the Editor, David Seat noted that at the April 9 School Board meeting, three members left the meeting to pursue legal advice for a vote. A recess was not called.

Ironically, the vote was to determine a settlement by the board on a prior writ of mandamus regarding Open Meeting Law violations. Once again, the violation on April 9th could have been avoided if President Burns called a recess. Burns, who has repeatedly insisted that he is unilaterally responsible for the flow of the meeting in his role as President, also declares he can’t possibly be accountable for any violations because he has had no training in the 16 months he has served on the board. Nevada’s Open Meeting Law manual is available online, and there are many public meetings that are held in our community that may serve as a reference. Legal counsel is paid for their time at these meetings to ensure these violations do not happen.

Several times during two minutes of discussion, Attorney Joey Gilbert told Trustees Wagstaff, Gilkerson, and Kangas that they should “take as much time as [they] want” to consider voting for the writ settlement. When they asked if they could discuss with their attorney, other than noting that he served as their attorney at the board level, Mr. Gilbert told the trustees they were “more than welcome to call her.” This does not instill confidence that the President or legal counsel is interested in correcting any behaviors that cost taxpayers money.

Most of us in the community would love nothing more than to focus on educational issues but frankly, this majority is incapable of conducting true dialogue. They arrived with their own egos and agendas in-pocket, bringing Joey Gilbert along for the ride at the taxpayers’ expense. Every meeting, trustees are berated by President Burns for questioning attorney charges, despite the fact several invoices have been corrected in the district’s favor due to these questions. Now, rather than accepting culpability for their actions, the majority is again placing the cost on taxpayers to pay for the settlement, and the three nonviolating trustees are being placed in a position to vote for it.

President Burns must resign, along with Trustee Jansen. Neither one has accomplished anything in each of their presumptuous terms as President except chaos and irresponsible spending. Their single accomplishment was to facilitate the removal of Keith Lewis and to re-write bylaws unnecessarily at cost to the district. While these three are around, we cannot seem to have a meeting without a violation or move forward with any educational improvements in the district.

They have already shown us by their choice of Superintendent what they believe we deserve. It is time to show them we know we deserve a better board.

M.E. Kawchack

Indian Hills


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