Election: Vote yes on Question 4
October 29, 2002
It may not happen again for a long time.
Much criticism has been leveled at the Sustainable Growth Committee by the Commissioners themselves as well as by the decidedly hostile developers and real estate interests. It was astonishing to us to find the County siding with Nevada Northwest in the lawsuit to keep Question 4 off the ballot.
Fortunately, the Nevada Supreme Court restored the Initiative to the ballot.
The County was supposed to at least remain neutral in this campaign, so it gives us a clue as to whom they really represent.
County Commissioners (whose salaries are paid for by taxpayers) should not use their official positions to oppose or support any ballot measure. Nevada law requires no less. Commissioner Kite’s article in The Record-Courier entitled “Commissioners Corner” Oct. 19 is the latest example of what might be a violation of law since it constitutes his opinion expressed in his official capacity. Other commissioners have done the same thing.
Ironically, should this initiative pass, the County will have a legal duty to defend it in court, and the responsibility to implement it fairly. The Initiative’s only purpose is to establish or amend legislative policy to slow residential growth. For legal reasons, the sponsors of the Initiative purposely stayed away from administrative matters as to how the Initiative is to be implemented. So to answer Mr. Kite’s question: It’s your job and that of your fellow commissioners. If done right, affordable housing can be the subject of set asides, provisions can be made to protect the interest of the small builder or lot owner from that of the large developer, as well as some emergency set asides for those who lose their home through fire. With appropriate legal drafting, there should be no obstacle in converting the Initiative’s language into an implementing ordinance.
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Commissioner Kite’s complaint that County revenues will be diminished should also consider that, correspondingly, County expenditures will decrease, there being less projected population to service. If the County’s philosophy is that we need new growth to pay for yesterday’s growth, then we are indeed in sad shape, for the taxpayers ultimately pay the bill.
To say that the Master Plan is working to control growth operates to perpetuate an illusion. The fact is that the tools to control growth referred to in the Master Plan (except for the Transfer Development Rights program designed to increase open space at the expense of increased density) have never been implemented, much less created. The same thing can be said about the lack of a comprehensive water policy as it relates to future growth.
Be sure to vote on or before November 5 whatever your persuasion.