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Voting begins on Ranchos names

by Merrie Leininger

Voting for the name of the Ranchos starts today and continues Monday at the district office on Mitch Drive.

Registered voters will be able to cast their vote in the advisory elections for one of the top five suggesions: Gardnerville Ranchos (no change), Ranchos, Mountain View, Sierra View and Sierra Vista.

The board of trustees decided to allow only registered voters who live in the Ranchos to vote because that is the only way they can check the person is actually a resident of the area.

The trustees decided to let the community decide if they want a new name in December when post office officials announced a new station would be going into the Ranchos and the area could get its own zip code.

The real estate specialist in charge of finding land to build the new post office, Robert MacGill, said he is finalizing a deal to buy land from the Park Cattle Co. just west of the Tillman Center for the station.

The 1.9 acres was selected because of its location and reasonable cost, MacGill said. He refused to disclosed the price because negotiations are continuing.

“The Tillman Center is right in the middle of an established commercial center,”he said.

Construction on the 8,425- square-foot building will not begin for at least four months, MacGill said.

Whoever is awarded the construction of the building will also be the new owners of it, MacGill said, and the post office will lease the building from them.

MacGill said he understands the post office will get its own zip code, but that could not be confirmed by the Gardnerville Post Office or the Northern Nevada Postal Operations. The next 30 days are set up for public comment. Write to Vice President of Facilities, Robert MacGill, 8055 E. Tuffts Ave., Suite 400, Denver, Colo., 80237-2881.

n No name change. Ranchos resident Denise Greenberg is opposed to the name change and said the trustees have not given the Ranchos residents all the information.

“I think it has been misrepresented from the beginning. I think it has been stated to make people think they don’t have a choice,” Greenberg said. “If the majority want to change the name, that’s fine, but give everyone the opportunity to cast their vote. It shouldn’t be taken out of the people’s hands.”

Greenberg said she believes the Ranchos office should have sent a sample ballot to every Ranchos home in order to get the word out.

She said she believed restricting the voting to registered voters and allowing office staff to count the votes is illegal, but Brian Chally, chief civil deputy district attorney, said because it is not an official election, the Ranchos staff and trustees can conduct themselves as they choose.

“Basically, what they’re doing is a sounding of public opinion that is limited to a certain sector of the public, and the right to vote isn’t at stake in this kind of straw poll situation,” Chally said.

District Manager Bob Spellberg said he felt the matter had been given as much publicity as possible for the election.

“It started over three months ago and I think we publicized the heck out of it. It was in the newspapers and on the radio,” he said.

“When it started, Bruce asked the about 10 or 12 people at the meeting and almost all said they were in favor of it. I don’t think they would have done it if they hadn’t,” Spellberg said. “The only reason we’re doing it, was it was (Trustee) Dewey (Jay’s) original idea to drop the Gardnerville and the board voted it down. Then the next month when the post office people came around, Al Wagner brought it up again and they decided to let the people decide if they wanted a whole new name or just drop the Gardnerville.”

n Voting. Registered voters can vote at the district office from noon to 5 p.m. today and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday.