December 11, 2006
On Dec. 6, my husband and I attended the Gardnerville Ranchos General Improvement District Board meeting and are appalled at the attitude of the vice chairman, Al Wagner.
Our neighbor, Bill Barnum, also a member of the Ranchos board, had an old, sweet cocker spaniel that somehow got out of the garage while the family was away during the day. Someone shot and killed the dog and then dumped the dog’s body in the desert. This is a dog that had been a member of their family for many years and was loved by all of them. Bill put an ad in the paper advertising a reward for information and the conviction of the person who shot their beloved pet. In response to that advertisement, Mr. Wagner sent this e-mail to Mr. Barnum on Saturday, Nov. 18.
“Bill: I read your ad in the paper regarding your dog. It’s a shame. But, there are mandatory leash laws by the county. I am not saying the shooter was right, but neither were you. I would not want someone’s dog urinating or defecating on my lawn. Perhaps it occurred numerous times, since you let your dog run freely. Who knows. It may even be a close neighbor, you will never know. You’re lucky they didn’t shoot you. Live and learn. Al.”
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This e-mail is disturbing in so many ways. We are close neighbors-in fact next door neighbors-and the Barnums have never allowed their dog to run freely. The “close” neighbors who live by us would never think of shooting a dog roaming around free. There are very few dog owners whose dogs have not gotten out of their yard while they were gone or have gotten out through a gate that has been blown open by a storm.
To support the Barnums and to see what Mr. Wagner had to say, my husband and I went to the board meeting that night. We were hoping that maybe Mr. Wagner didn’t mean for the e-mail to sound as bad as it did and to hear an apology from Mr. Wagner. Instead, when the issue was brought up at the meeting, Mr. Wagner was belligerent and arrogant in his demeanor and his answers were harsh and brazen to the many residents in attendance. He condescendingly asked one resident, “Do you believe in free speech?” Mr. Wagner also, in an in-your-face attitude, stated that, “I will not apologize,” making it quite clear that he believes that he was in the right in every aspect of his e-mail and that he meant every word. His attitude is quite disturbing. It shows a total disregard for life. Shooting a stray dog is not only wrong and avoidable (you can call animal control to pick up the stray) but it is illegal. And, to infer that an owner should be shot because his or her dog urinates on someone’s lawn, is revolting.
We believe in free speech. We also believe everyone is accountable for the words they speak, or in this case, the words of Mr. Wagner e-mailed, especially when the person is an elected public servant. This verbal abuse was completely unwarranted and disgusting. People with attitudes and mind-sets like Mr. Wagner’s should not be allowed to stay in public office.
Al and Wendy Frogget
County staff’s proposed obligation of $24-plus million of taxpayer funds plus $7 million debt plus $4.4 million interest plus drainage and water service to subsidize a private development in north county is not much different than using eminent domain to confiscate private property for transfer to another private party for a perceived public benefit. That use of eminent domain was rejected by voters in the last election.
The only difference is that in this case the “taking” of assets for transfer to a private party is in the form of cash collected from taxpayers into the general fund for county services. County officials might think tax receipts are theirs to spend for any perceived public purpose. We taxpayers prefer to think such taxes belong to us, collected for use only for essential public good. There is nothing essential about a new commercial center in north county. And if that land falls into the category of “blighted” needing redevelopment, so does 75 percent of Nevada.
County staff should withdraw altogether from business and economic development and leave that to private enterprise and the business community and their organizations. That is the American way. To believe that county staff and commissioners are the most effective arbiter of business development smacks of Marxist communist theory. History proves that government is the least apt in efficient business development.
Jack Van Dien
Redevelopment cart before horse
On March 9, 2005, AIG Baker attorney Brad Johnston implied that it might be putting the cart before the horse to receive $11.05 million from the citizens of Douglas County to encourage AIG Baker to build a new shopping center. Apparently, $11.05 million was not enough inducement because the shopping center was never built, and AIG Baker walked away from their $1.9 million they had spent on this deal.
Today’s proposal of $24.7 million to induce an unknown developer, Riverwood Redevelopment LLC, to build one tiny piece (4.67 acres) of that same shopping center (102.93 acres) is designed to overcome the hurdle of getting this shopping center started.
Many citizens have already complained that there are no guarantees that the rest of the shopping center will be built as a result of paying $24.7 million for one small piece of it, and they are absolutely right.
The “horse” in both the former and current deal may not be the shopping center. Instead, I am concerned that the $24.7 million commitment may be used to force the citizens of Douglas County in the very near future to accept an additional and subsequent expenditure of $18.9 million for off site infrastructure, land assembly and grading costs such as road improvements, utility relocations, sanitary sewer construction, grading and retaining walls in order to recover our $24.7 million bad investment. (See page 4, last paragraph, of Redevelopment Resolution 2006R-107. These “significant financial challenges” are “assumed” to be funded by the developer of the larger 600,000 square feet project without any incentive from Douglas County. I challenge the honesty of this assumption.)
Just as the $24.7 million inducement will enrich exactly one landowner and does not guarantee a subsequent larger shopping center, likewise, the planned future expenditure of $18.9 million in infrastructure could enrich the already wealthy adjoining landowners such as Hohl/Cryer, John Serpa and Raymond Sydney (the Google guy “Big George Ventures”) by increasing the value of their vacant land without them having to spend a dime, and it will not guarantee, yet again, the building of that same unneeded, premature, financially-unjustifiable shopping center.
Go to http://www.gggdc.com to view redevelopment resolution 2006R-107 (including Riverwood Fiscal Impact Analysis) and transcript of Jay Timon’s testimony on March 9, 2005, in Douglas County versus Indian Hills General Improvement District.
Why no flags
at half staff?
I was driving around town today (Dec. 7) and couldn’t help but notice that out of all the businesses we have in this town only two seemed to remember the tragic events that took place in Pearl Harbor so many years ago. Only two flags were at half mast that I could see today; the Minden sanitation department (or as I call it the poop plantation) and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.
Does anyone know or even care about what happened to change our nation that fateful day? We should never forget. And we should honor those who we lost there. I think it’s horrible that there weren’t any other flags at half mass today. To the businesses that were, I salute you and thank you for remembering.
Gathering for Operation Care
Our troops in Afghanistan are not just fighting, but assisting the country and its people in surviving and getting on their feet as a young democracy.
My son’s fraternity brother Russ is flying for the Navy and reports the following:
“…there is progress being made in rebuilding Afghanistan. While it’s a slow and sometimes painful process, I overfly new construction of roads, schools, hospitals, and other infrastructure every day. I see stories in the base paper about good work being done with the local people. These poor people, of which almost 50 percent of the population is under 15 years old, have known nothing but conflict for 25 years. Nothing will happen overnight and our presence here the last 5 years is overnight in comparison.”
“One really great thing going on here is Operation Care. We’re basically just trying to help the local kids by getting them the stuff they need to succeed. I would like to ask that if any of you could help I would gladly make sure your donations get to the kids. We’re collecting clothes, shoes, coats, school supplies and toys. I realize that it is important to help the folks in need back in the U.S., but after seeing what little the kids here have, our poor are much better off. If you can spare anything and want to help, please send stuff.”
I, my family and friends have sent a number of boxes of clothes and school supplies to Operation Care. Russ sent me a photo of the Nov. 19 distribution at a local hospital where they delivered 147 pairs of shoes, 197 bags of clothing, 254 small stuffed animals, 312 bottles of water, 80 backpacks with school supplies and 10 pounds of candy to 100 adults and 130 kids. That’s a total of 230 people. And that’s just one distribution on one day. As supplies are received, they are gathered, sorted and delivered by the U.S. Navy personnel.
If you care, please send what you can to Operation Care, Task Force Tiger, APO AE 09345. Parcel post shipping is suggested as it is the least expensive.
Please Ð no patriotic, military or religious related items on clothes, toys or food, No pork, spicy or seafood related items on clothes, toys or food. And, they cannot accept money.
Thanks for your help.
Stuart L. Posselt