The May 22, 2024, R-C Letters to the Editor

Elections aren't the only contests going on in Carson Valley. A few of the hundreds of participants cross the Genoa Lane bridge Saturday as part Peter Stetina’s Paydirt bicycle race that looped through the Pine Nuts and back across Carson Valley to Genoa before heading north to wrap up at Fuji Park.

Elections aren't the only contests going on in Carson Valley. A few of the hundreds of participants cross the Genoa Lane bridge Saturday as part Peter Stetina’s Paydirt bicycle race that looped through the Pine Nuts and back across Carson Valley to Genoa before heading north to wrap up at Fuji Park.

Why I’m running


I am James McKalip, running for County Commissioner, District 1. As your county commissioner, I will work unwaveringly to preserve our county’s rural character. I will diligently manage growth and protect our open spaces. To achieve this, we need enhanced tools for rural preservation. I will champion conservation easements and the implementation of more effective, prioritized Transfers of Development Rights. These measures will safeguard prime Carson Valley agricultural land, aligning with the Master Plan’s rural vision.

My extensive public service qualifies me: four years on the Gardnerville Ranchos Board, six years on the Board of Equalization, and three years as Douglas County Republican Central Committee Chairman. I understand our community’s needs, including connecting our water systems to ensure fire flow in emergencies, improved road maintenance, stormwater management, and aggressive opposition to Painted Rock Mine. In stark contrast, my opponent, who arrived here just over four years ago, demonstrates a profound lack of understanding. Painted Rock Mine continues full steam ahead, yet he appears to have done little.

I now address matters continually twisted by my opponent:

PACs: I am supported by two Political Action Committees, as well as Rep. Mark Amodei, Former Sen. James Settelmeyer and Assemblyman Ken Gray. My opponent twists this to be bad, but I’m pleased these respected people and those in the PACS see a real need for change. Why would those PACs raise money to back me from donors who have always been known to be reasonable and thoughtful in their positions? Because of my opponent’s actions: emails with dishonest twists and unethical requests, demands that county management solve self-interested constituent concerns immediately and without basis, and expenditures of taxpayer dollars to pander to self-interested parties.

I will study all issues in the Commissioners’ purview instead of spending taxpayer dollars to garner favor from a select few for problems that are the responsibility of individual property owners. I will carefully research and be prepared on every topic that comes before me and act in the best interests of county constituents as a whole. I will guard taxpayer dollars to ensure they are not spent on an exclusive few. I will honestly and promptly respond to every constituent’s concerns without spending unwarranted county resources.

VHRs: Banning VHRs north of Cave Rock was a self-serving effort, spear-headed by my opponent. The facts are public: my opponent received a $5,000 contribution from Larry Ruvo’s New York son-in-law, then did Ruvo’s bidding by keeping renters out of Glenbrook, all while assuring the public he doesn’t know anyone in Glenbrook. It’s laughable that he describes VHRs north of Cave Rock as “party houses”— they have never had any complaints. I would not have supported such an arbitrary and capricious ordinance.

My opponent supports a VHR ban that would cost our County Parks and Recreation approximately $1 million annually. Our parks could not withstand that reduction, yet my opponent would rather decimate our parks than harm his relationships with political supporters who get him through his continual campaigns.

James McKalip

Gardnerville Ranchos

Voting for Tarkanian


My wife Kim and I have been Douglas County residents since 1992 and property owners since 1985.  Over the years we have seen lots of candidates and commissioners come and go.  Most have been more concerned about using the position as a steppingstone or a way to get a consulting job with an influential constituent.  Few engaged the majority of citizens who live and work in the county.  Danny Tarkanian changed that.  He embraced the opportunity to communicate with the people of Douglas and opened the Commissioner Meetings to transparency we have never seen here.  We didn’t vote for Danny Tarkanian four years ago but we are voting for him now. He is exactly what Douglas County needs and the BOC rarely has had.  A person looking out for all the citizens and making sure with his email conversation that we know what is on the agenda, how the commissioners voted and most importantly how he voted and why.  Imagine that, someone who doesn’t just talk the talk but walks the walk. We need to re-elect Danny Tarkanian. He is the people’s commissioner.

 Peter and Kim Mileo


Tarkanian disingenuous


First off, I am a supporter of Nathan Tolbert for District 5 on the Douglas County Commission. He supports my values of honesty and transparency.

On May 8, I attended a candidate forum sponsored by Elevate Douglas County at the Genoa Town Hall. Nathan Tolbert was one of three candidates for the Board of County Commissioners who spoke. The forum was well-attended.

On May 11 in his election update blog, current County Commissioner Danny Tarkanian, while referring to Nathan Tolbert, stated “At the event, he supported more growth in the Valley and unlimited Vacation Home Rentals (VHRs) in Lake Tahoe AND the Carson Valley.” It’s a funny thing but I did not see Tarkanian at the Elevate Douglas County forum; so, where did he get his information about Mr. Tolbert’s positions on growth and VHRs?

Nathan called Mr. Tarkanian and asked him about his recent statement in Tarkanian’s blog. Mr. Tarkanian indicated that he had no intent to say anything against Nathan, and Tarkanian apologized for misstating Tolbert’s views on growth and VHRs. Nonetheless, the statement was made in a public document. I suppose it’s better to ask forgiveness after the fact just like the sleazy politicians in DC do.

Mr. Tarkanian’s statement is another blatant example of his lies and misstatements of fact. In the past, it’s documented by his own written material that Tarkanian lied to his fellow commissioners when lobbying on behalf of special interests to have VHRs prohibited north of Cave Rock. Danny, if you want to lie about yourself, that’s your decision. But how about staying in your lane and out of the other campaigns.

Tarkanian moved here from Las Vegas about 4 years ago after many failed attempts to run for political office. Maybe his lies and misstatements are how they do things in Las Vegas, but such antics should not be allowed to permeate politics here in Douglas County.

I’m proud to support Nathan Tolbert. Nathan is a graduate of Douglas High School, and he and his wife Christi are proud parents of three wonderful boys. Nathan knows the values of our residents and cares deeply about the future of Douglas County.

Larry Walsh


Voting for Tanner


I am a senior in Douglas County. I would like to point out the character and service of the man running for County Commissioner Michael Tanner. As a constituent of his for the last year and a half, I have observed his allegiance to the community.

Mike works every day to help his community. Whether he is a volunteer firefighter, GID Trustee, or running for County Commissioner. I have watched Mike work extremely hard to turn around our General Improvement District at Topaz Ranch Estates. His commitment to working with all the people to solve problems and move forward in a positive manner is unparalleled. His 25 plus years of experience in state local government have given him the tools to be an excellent County Commissioner.

Mike always responds back to anyone who calls, emails, or texts him, and actively invites anyone to do so. He has lived in this area for over 25 years and has a strong commitment to the beauty and preservation of this county.

If you would like to have a County Commissioner that cares about seniors, our children, water, the health of the county, and that will be truthful, elect Michael Tanner Douglas County Commissioner.

Dorothy Bennett

Topaz Ranch Estates

Backing Tanner for commission


I am writing to express my enthusiastic support for Michael Tanner in the upcoming County Commissioner election. Having closely followed his career and the policies he advocates for, I am confident that he is the best choice to represent our community.

Michael J. Tanner’s 20-year track record of leadership speaks for itself. He is exactly what our community needs. He is the candidate that will fight for what’s right.In conclusion, I urge you to join me in supporting Michael J Tanner on June 11th. He has the vision, integrity, transparency and commitment to lead our community toward a brighter future. Please make your vote count and vote for Michael Tanner for Douglas County Commissioner District 3. 

Thank you for considering my perspective.

Dean A. Paris


McKalip most qualified


For Douglas County, we require a commissioner who embodies steadfast focus and long term dedication to addressing our unique challenges and James McKalip, former chair of DCRCC  Douglas County Republican Central Committee and Ranchos GID. is uniquely qualified to represent District 1 as our next commissioner.  His opponent, the current commissioner Danny Tarkanian has exhibited frequent shifts in political ambition in running for various offices without demonstrating sustained commitment.  Over the years this has included State  Senate Seats to multiple Congressional bids without maintaining a focus on any particular area of governance [in the 2022 elections a close member of his family publicly endorsed several Democrats  in close state races possibly influencing the outcome]  and also just 2 years into his County Commitment tried to unseat our Congressman Mark Amodei [lifelong resident of Carson City] who is effectively representing us in Washington currently Chairman of Homeland Security Appropriations SubCommittee and a conservative supporter of President Trump and Trump agenda not as his current opponent Simon Sez in his Flier [If you  support President Trump You can’t vote for Mark Amodei][Don’t believe it] .  I would also like to endorse Mark Gardner in our District 3 and Janet Freixas District 5. 

Mark Tarvainen  


Backing Tarkanian


We are writing to encourage all of our neighbors in East Valley to vote for Danny Tarkanian for County Commissioner.

In June 2023, we bought our current home in East Valley.  We couldn’t believe how lucky we were to find a property next to an open space conservation easement and backing up to BLM land.  We immediately fell in love with the quiet, and with the geese flying to the agricultural pond.

Soon after moving in we discovered the County had plans to destroy the open space protected by the conservation easement.  We reached out to Danny Tarkanian, and a few days later he was sitting at our dining table with our neighbors and us. He took time to understand our concerns, and followed up a few days later on all of our questions.  When the matter that would have destroyed the conservation easement came before the BOCC, he argued to protect the open space.

We are grateful that Commissioner Tarkanian took the time to meet with us, understand our concerns, and fought to protect open space.  He took the time to understand East Valley and has earned our support.

Gretchen and Philip Gaughran

East Valley

Tarkanian’s troubled history


Danny Tarkanian’s electoral history, characterized by multiple unsuccessful campaigns (see Wikipedia), may reflect a broader disconnect between his policy positions and the priorities of the electorate. Over the years, Tarkanian has run for numerous offices, from local commissions to national seats, often without success. This pattern may suggest that his political and policy priorities do not align with those of his constituents. Just two years into his first term as a County Commissioner, rather than focusing his efforts on his county commitment, he ran an unsuccessful campaign against Congressman Mark Amodei. As Douglas County considers its future leadership, it is essential to choose a representative whose vision and values are in sync with the community’s needs. A commissioner’s role is to serve and respond to the community’s needs and a track record of electoral rejection might indicate that a candidate is out of step with the electorate’s expectations and requirements.  

Dale Pelz

Gardnerville Ranchos

Backing Tarkanian


I wish to express my 100 percent support for the re-election of Danny Tarkanian for three reasons.

1.  Danny is the most transparent elected official I have seen.  His bi-weekly newsletters keep us informed on all Douglas County matters and inform us of what is going on behind the scenes politically.  The current three commissioner majority don’t want us to know what is going on.  They do not like it one bit that Danny keeps the public very informed about the ins and outs of Douglas County governance.  Danny is a breath of fresh air in this regard and he has made Douglas County a better place to live.

2.  Danny is 100 percent accessible to any resident of Douglas County.  When we residents at the Lake started our campaign to keep Highway 50 four lanes, Danny was the only one of the current commissioners who answered us.  He quickly got up to speed on the issue and came with us to the NDOT Board of Directors and directly appealed to former Gov. Sisolak not to fund the lane reduction.  The former Gov. conceded to Danny and this gave us the time to work with Governor Lombardo to stop the lane reduction.

3.  Danny watches every penny the County spends as if it were his own.  I have sat through several meetings where Danny argued that the County did not need to spend tens of thousands on yet another consultant.  He is the ultimate watchdog over wasteful government spending.

Please join me in resoundingly re-electing Danny Tarkanian.

Brett Tibbitts


Supporting Tarkanian


I did not vote for Commissioner Tarkanian last election, instead I voted for his opponent, incumbent David Nelson, whom I respect greatly. I have met with Mr. Tarkanian, have watched many commissioner meetings, and am an avid reader of his newsletter. I have come to admire and appreciate Danny as one of our most effective and knowledgeable commissioners. He attends BOCC meetings prepared and knowledgeable with the issues on the agenda. Asks the most pertinent questions. As opposed to just saying he supports keeping the Valley rural, Danny’s actions have always supported this goal. Out of our five commissioners, Danny is the most transparent, letting citizens know how he voted and why through his newsletter or response to phone or emails. In my 20 years here I have never experienced any commissioner go out of his way to let us know where he stands like commissioner Tarkanian. He was criticized for issuing his newsletter by other board members. Now the county issues their own version of a recap of the meetings, but silent on how individual members voted on issues. Our county government is better and more transparent as a result of commissioner Tarkanian’s service and I am supporting him for another deserved term as county commissioner. 

I also support Mark Gardner. Mark was by far the best board chairman in recent memory. Unlike our current board chairman, Mark was knowledgeable of the meeting rules and procedures and always kept things running smoothly. Also, well informed on the issues and clear as to where he stands. I support Mark Gardner for another term as Douglas County Commissioner.

James Durso


Fear mongering


Some have commented that the recently elected members of the school board did get elected and therefore represent the majority of the community. Others have pointed out that it was hardly a majority of the eligible voters. Regardless, we are where we are. But I would argue that those members were elected because they appealed to the fear tactics put forward by the conservative media many people in the area subscribe to. Those conservative airways are flooded with stories about how horrible diversity, equity and inclusion are; how CRT is being pushed even at the kindergarten and preschool levels; how our daughters risk assault from transgender and LGBTQ students; basically how “liberal” social policies are tearing our society apart. Besides the fact that trying to be more a more inclusive society doesn’t hurt anyone and greatly benefits society as a whole, these stories suggest they’re trying to take XXXX away from the “regular people”. They suggest that things were better before these policies. Well, better for who? For the majority population, for white people, for privileged people? We’re supposed to be a country where everyone, everyone is treated equal. We’ve been striving to meet that goal for almost 250 years.

The media convinces its audience that their way of life is being taken from them, with made up or exaggerated stories that happen where? Do you even know? I don’t believe that it’s here. We’ve already spent school district funding on a study about CRT, that found no CRT theories being pushed in our school, and their response? They didn’t believe it. When the excellent school superintendent implemented State policies for providing unisex bathrooms, he had to go. The excellent law firm we had wouldn’t take the state to court based on the policy, so they had to go. And these board member’s interference in the day to day activities at the schools have driven other excellent employees away – they did not want to see their work environment politicized.

The point I’m trying to make is that these school board members ran on made up or exaggerated issues and are trying to make some kind of name for themselves by fighting the invisible boogyman, rather than insuring our excellent schools system remains excellent. I fear that, over time, this direction will drive away good teachers, administrators and staff. School systems everywhere are short-handed and welcome great employees. So try to get out of your conservative “news” bubble to find out what’s really going on in THIS community. Let’s hope that in this next election, we can elect school board members who are actually interested in students, teachers and staff, and implementing improvements to our schools that will benefit everyone. 

Deb Huelsman


Religion in public schools?


I would like to begin by responding to Sally Bowman’s Letter in the May 1 issue. 

Sally’s claim that the board’s duress is due to the majority being Christians is unacceptable. Religion has no place in our public school system. The board members are pushing their agenda, not focusing on the students.

Students must be allowed to develop their thoughts and opinions, not be influenced by narrow-minded leaders.

The trustees are more focused on their political agenda than on educating the kids of DC. Why are the trustees afraid of having a student voice on the board? This individual would not have voting rights but would be a voice for students. 

I’ve watched Trustee Gilkerson be chastised for raising questions about invoices issued by Joey Gilbert Law. She finds inaccuracies that need to be fixed. Why did none of the other trustees know of those inaccuracies? It appears she is the only one who has reviewed the payables line by line. Joey Gilbert defends his exorbitant charges that the board just stamps approved without review. Every taxpayer in DC should find this disturbing.

Trustee Wagstaff is regularly chastised by Burns for speaking out of turn and told she’s not allowed to ask questions. Jansen displays her racism in everything she says. Dickerson only speaks when she’s being disrespectful to someone whose opinion she disagrees. The rest of the time she’s looking at her phone or shaking her head no. Burns can’t even run a meeting the way OML dictates, and he’s the board chair. 

The most offensive action I’ve ever seen in a professional capacity was when Englekirk, the deciding vote against Ms. Dwyer’s appointment as superintendent, cited baseless accusations to justify his vote. In doing so, he revealed his personal political views rather than legitimate concerns about the quality of education. His claims of receiving complaints about issues like a student feeling bad for being white or a transgender student using the appropriate bathroom, and pilgrims poisoning Indians are ludicrous. 

As a parent, more than once I have had to speak with a teacher or principal about a concern and it never occurred to me to take my concerns to the school board. I went to the teacher. If s/he didn’t address it, then I went to the principal. Only once did I have to go farther than that and I went to the superintendent. If the ridiculous statements Doug claimed happened, he failed to follow proper procedure and send the concerns to the other board members and Ms. Dwyer as acting superintendent. Yet he got away with that and used it against her. One of her responsibilities as superintendent is to deal with such issues and she didn’t know about them. He blindsided her during a public meeting and used it against her to vote against her appointment. This act was disrespectful, and he should be ashamed.

Gwen Blanc


Difficult times on campus


While these are difficult times on many college campuses, it is also a time to acknowledge and reflect on the seminal tenant that protecting free speech and peaceful protest is an essential part of the DNA of our country.  In his brief remarks on May 2, I was grateful to President Biden for reminding us that a line is crossed when our right to free speech and assembly violates the rule of law.  On college campuses this occurs when student safety is compromised, property is destroyed, buildings are taken over by protesters, and classes are shut down.  Even though the protests to the Israeli-Hamas War have taken place at many campuses across the country, to date, this line has only been crossed at a few campuses, which have been amplified by the media, and the administrations at most college campuses have taken actions to maintain order, as is their responsibility.  

Just like at our nation’s capital on January 6, 2021, when peaceful protest crosses the line and become violent, order must prevail.   Those who encourage and perpetuate trespass and vandalism must be held accountable for their actions. The students who have violated the rule of law will face the consequences for their actions just as the January 6 protesters-turned- rioters must.  For former President Trump to suggest a blanket amnesty for those who vandalized our nation’s capital is both hypocritical and alarming as such an amnesty would only encourage future chaos, and it ignores the rule of law.

I have lived my entire life with the belief that Israel deserved special rights and privileges to compensate for centuries of violence and atrocities against the Jews. 

While I personally remain a supporter of Israel, the peaceful protests on college campuses have given me pause to question my thinking and to examine the plight of the Palestinians.  In this regard, a distinction must be made between supporting the Palestinian people, and condemning the atrocities of the cowardly Hamas terrorists, who hide behind and expose innocent people. 

We should embrace the former, and condemn the later, and these two entities should not be blended or confused.

In addition, no country should be given a free pass for the way it treats its citizens and neighbors, including Israel.  My evolving beliefs are an example of how peaceful protest and free speech can succeed in opening minds.   

For this, I am grateful to the values of this country that protect free speech and the right to peaceful protest. And I am proud of our colleges that encourage diversity in ideas while maintaining the rule of law to protect students, faculty, and property.

Michael Hambsch



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