Letters for Nov. 1, 2018
November 1, 2018
Backing Erik Levin
We are supporting Deputy District Attorney Erik Levin for Justice of the Peace.
Erik fulfills all of the requirements for Justice of the Peace and then some.
Erik put in years with the County District Attorney's office in Tonopah before coming to our D.A.'s office. He and his dogs spent years exploring the desert down south and up here. His German Shorthaired Pointer is gone now but he still has his little rescue dog, Abby.
Remember that, like doctors, attorneys specialize, and, it's perfectly OK to like more than one candidate.
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Mrs. Jones prepared our state planning papers, so, we are obviously comfortable with her expertise in civil matters. However, we believe that the best candidate for the Justice of the Peace position is Deputy District Attorney Erik Levin.
Also endorsed by Sheriff Pierini, Sheriff-Elect Dan Coverly and Douglas County Sheriff's Protective Association. I reached out to District Attorney Mark Jackson for an endorsement and he had stated that because a majority of the cases handled by his office go through the Justice Court he is not endorsing one candidate over another.
Wiley and Nancy Clapp
Supporting Jones for justice
I am writing to you as a follow up to the letter from James McKalip that you published Oct. 25, about the nurse that was charged in criminal court with elder abuse by Mr. Levin last year. That was me. I did nothing wrong, but I was accused of a crime, got arrested, and had to hire an attorney. After I was charged, months and months went by with no resolution. I went through hell, fortunately, my friends and employer stood by me. We finally went to the preliminary hearing in January of this year, and Judge Perkins dismissed the case. Perkins said the prosecutor had no evidence whatsoever of criminal conduct, and I was free to go home. Levin overcharged me with no evidence, and in my opinion, in an effort to make a name for himself. My good name and reputation was forever damaged, and for no reason. This I will never forget. I know this is a good ol' boys mentality area but Levin should not be a judge. I will be voting for Cassandra Jones.
Jones has judicial skills
I have had ample experience in my 30 years of trial practice assessing the qualifications and competency of the judges to whom my cases were assigned. Stepping into the courtroom as counsel you hope that the judge will be ready to hear your case, listen attentively, apply the law impartially and arrive at correct decisions.
A judge should come to the bench prepared for the hearing. Cassandra Jones brings to the bench superior academic achievement which speaks to her habit of being prepared. You do not finish in the top 10 percent of your class without this skill. Cassandra's excellent case preparation is apparent given her record of good results in both criminal and civil cases she has handled.
A judge should be a good listener. In her diverse and successful law practice Cassandra Jones has listened to a wide variety of clients, including pro bono clients. This "good listener" attribute is reflected in her having been voted "Best of Carson Valley" for the last three years. Her clients have been pleased with her.
She has served a function similar to a judge as both an appointed arbitrator and mediator. Arbitrators and mediators are selected because they are regarded as careful listeners who apply the law to the facts in making their decisions. Cassandra's quality decision-making ability also has been displayed in her years of community service in our county.
Judges and counsel are counterpoised. Different skill sets are utilized. Having been a prosecutor in Justice Court does not inherently translate into having the expertise the Justice Court judge requires. And judgeship is not an entitlement.
Cassandra's discernment in choosing what to let us know about her as she campaigned says a lot about the judicial temperament and demeanor we can expect from her. Her opponent largely has chosen to reiterate his endorsements, seeming to direct his campaign only to one-half of those who may find themselves in Justice Court. Cassandra has spoken to all of us, emphasizing her background, training and experience.
Consideration of both candidates' skills as they have been presented to us sets her apart. Cassandra Jones clearly has those that are necessary to transition successfully from counsel to a fair and effective judge, and she deserves your vote.
Mary Porter, Esq.
Jones assures fair treatment
Who would want to enter a courtroom under a charge that could result in a burdensome fine, denial of liberty in some way, conviction record, or even going to jail feeling he or she wouldn't be getting a fair hearing from the sitting Justice of the Peace? I'm guessing no one. And I'm guessing further that most people's sense of how justice should be applied depends on putting judges in place that are truly seeking truth. That's why choosing the right candidate for Douglas County's next Justice of the Peace in this election is vitally important. Justice is all tied up in having the punishment fit the crime, starting with proof that a crime has even been committed. From this approach, Cassandra Jones is far and away the person we should elect, and here's why:
Both candidates in the Douglas County Justice of the Peace race — Cassandra Jones and Erik Levin — are without question qualified on knowing the law. They both have law degrees and more than a decade of experience. Ironically, the official job description doesn't even call for that. All that is necessary, according to NRS, is a high school diploma. Thus, the insistence that a "prosecutor" is better trained to be a Justice of the Peace than a lawyer who's been preparing cases and presenting them on a regular basis (and FYI winning them) is nonsense. Moreover, the assertion made by John and Linda Hamer in their LTE (R-C 10/25/2018) that Erik Levin's being embedded in the "local law enforcement community" makes him a better choice should actually be viewed with great skepticism.
Coming from the "local law enforcement community" can suggest strong ties to that community. Of course, that doesn't mean automatically that decisions from the bench would lean in favor of the law enforcement entity bringing the charges, but it should give pause. And Levin has taken his law enforcement community connection even further by welcoming and actually proclaiming endorsements from the Sheriff, Sheriff-elect, and the Douglas County Sheriff's Protection Association as hallmarks of his campaign.
But, possible bias in favor of conviction aside, what other measure might be used to evaluate a candidate's sense of fairness? Why, the candidate's record. And, as pointed out by Jim McKalip (R-C 10/25/2018), Erik Levin's record shows a pattern of going after defendants too aggressively, such that charges don't hold up, and justice slips away. Again, Justice is all tied up in having the punishment fit the crime, starting with proof that a crime has even been committed.
Cassandra Jones shines as an advocate for justice, and she shines as an advocate for the Douglas County community. She's involved: Pro Bono, officer in Austin House, Town of Gardnerville Board. She's raising her family here, and she wants a safe community. She has my vote, and I urge my fellow voters to choose her as well.
I'm most qualified for JP
The East Fork Justice Court deserves a judge with the skills and experience necessary to handle its broad range of cases. Yes, a portion of the court's caseload is criminal (mostly misdemeanors), but the other 40 percent is civil including evictions, protection orders, and disputes under $15,000. A well-qualified justice of the peace must be versed all these types of matters, be familiar with how the court functions, be skilled at making good decisions, and be a fair and firm adjudicator of justice. I am all of these.
I am the only candidate who has handled both civil and criminal cases in Douglas County. One of my most challenging cases was a termination of parental rights trial (which is the equivalent of the civil death penalty). I also have the distinction of helping a client with the largest civil judgment in Douglas County history. One memorable day, I had a hearing on this multimillion dollar case in the afternoon, having finished a hearing that morning for a pro bono client in her attempts to enforce less than $2,500 in support from her ex-husband. I know the full breadth of cases in our county, and I know that justice must be the same no matter who the person in the courtroom is.
I am the only candidate who serves as a judicial officer. Besides my experience as staff attorney for the local District Court, where I handled felony and civil matters, I am a certified arbitrator and mediator. For almost a decade I have arbitrated and mediated trust, business, and family law disputes. Taking note of my skills and hard work, the Douglas County commissioners appointed me as Justice of the Peace Pro Tem more than three years ago.
I am the only candidate to carry out the ideal: the judiciary must provide firm, fair, and independent justice for all our citizens. The East Fork Justice Court is the court that hears all misdemeanors in the Carson Valley. It must maintain its independence from law enforcement. To remove any doubt that I would hear cases without bias, I have not sought nor used any endorsements from law enforcement.
I gladly serve this county and I am the only candidate who has voluntarily given time to local endeavors. I represent clients on a pro bono basis, support children in crisis as an officer for Austin's House, and try to better my community on the Town Board of Gardnerville. I have invested in our community by choosing to raise my family and build my business here.
Lives depend on judges getting the law right. Knowing the law is one thing, but applying the law firmly and fairly brings justice. Our county depends on its Justice of the Peace to ensure safety. Working with hundreds of clients on hundreds of cases has only made me more passionate about justice, and that is why I am seeking to be the East Fork Justice of the Peace.
Settelmeyer wrong on primary
Republican State Sen. James Settelmeyer, in my opinion, has been excellent for several key issues, such as domestic well water rights, in representing those who voted for him. However, last year Settelmeyer supported a bill to introduce California-style, left wing, so called "Open Primaries" in Nevada. Although this was not adopted at the time, I have been informed that Settelmeyer is again supporting this California procedure. Aren't there enough liberal RINOs already in the Republican Party? How else could we have been assaulted with the gross receipts tax/margin tax and the increased Douglas gas tax, for example? Do you want to remove entirely the differences between the two parties so that both are socialist? Do you think left-wing Democrats are going to vote for conservative candidates in Republican primaries, if Settelmeyer gets his way? Who is Settelmeyer representing anyway: Socialist Democrats? What is the point in having party primaries if those registered to an opposition party are included? Are voting delegates to the Republican National Convention allowed to vote as delegates to the Democratic National Convention? If you would like to contact Settelmeyer, you may be able to reach him at http://www.james4nevada.org/contact.html, or James.Settelmeyer@sen.state.nv.us, or 775-450-6114.
Backing Duncan for AG
While the most ardent partisan Democrat may attempt to make a case for Aaron Ford to be the next Attorney General — they fail.
The far better qualified candidate, by both background and relevant experience, is Republican Wes Duncan. Duncan is a former Clark County prosecutor. He served from 2014-2017 as Nevada's First Assistant Attorney General, helping lead an office with nearly 400 personnel across the state.
Twice elected to the Nevada Assembly, the 37-year-old Duncan also served 4 1/2 years on active duty as an Air Force judge advocate, including deployment to Iraq.
By contrast, Ford acknowledges having no experience with criminal law — either as a prosecutor or defense lawyer. His legal background is exclusively in civil law, now working for a Las Vegas personal injury law firm.
As a result, Wes Duncan carries the endorsement of Nevada law enforcement—all of Nevada's 17 County Sheriffs offered their endorsement of his candidacy for Attorney General.
Some very partisan Democrats excuse Ford's now revealed history of legal troubles as mere "slip ups." Voters of all parties should take a more critical view.
Ford's four arrests in Texas for public intoxication, stealing tires and twice failing to appear in court are relevant to his candidacy. More significantly, three IRS liens filed against him for more than $185,000 in unpaid taxes, interest and penalties from 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 are more current and should be a "disqualifier" in the eyes of any discerning voter- Democrat, Republican or independent.
Take back your country
I have a few quotes for you:
"There have been so many bad things said about me over the years and in some cases they've been true. It doesn't bother me. If I have a fault and somebody exposes that fault, you won't here me complain."
"Part of the beauty of me is that I am very rich."
"I do not want to be controlled by any superpower. I myself consider myself the most powerful figure in the world and that is why I do not let any superpower control me."
"Sorry losers and haters, but my IQ is one of the highest and you know it. Please don't feel stupid or insecure, it's not your fault."
"I have to keep law and order and it means that I have to kill my enemies before they kill me."
"Don't let the brevity of these passages prevent you from savoring the profundity of the advice you are about to receive." And finally "There is freedom of speech, but I cannot guarantee freedom after speech."
Part of my trip to Cozumel, I had the fun of spending time in a hyperbaric chamber. To keep people occupied there is a choice of over 100 movies. I picked one I had no knowledge of. It stared Forest Whitaker and James McAvoy called "The Last King of Scotland."
They had a captive audience because I was at 90 feet decompression for four hours. This was one of the most riveting, disturbing stories I have ever seen on the screen. One of the many things that deeply disturbs me about our new president is how he uses the word "I".
It made me think of Idi Amin, one of the worst dictators in African history. From the above quotes, can you tell who said what? They are from Idi Amin and Donald Trump. I won't tell you who said what. Take the time to look them up and rent the movie. We need to make our voices heard every day because we need guaranteed freedom after speech. I hope people who back the egotistical, narcissistic, demented buffoon of a president are proud to hold him up as a role model to the world and your grandchildren. We have the power to change this vote Nov. 6.
Approach ballot measures carefully
With all the negatively charged campaign ads from both sides of the political spectrum polluting the air waves, it seems like honest discussion of the issues is a vanishing breed of discourse. As a result, it's difficult to understand exactly what will result if the various ballot measures succeed.
One might argue that an overall rule of thumb should be that changes to the constitution should be made with great care, since reversing them if they end up being a mistake might be nearly impossible. So, perhaps a "No" vote on proposed constitutional changes is warranted without a major compelling reason to vote "Yes."
Specific thoughts to consider: Measure 1 – It's hard to argue against victims' rights. But, does that mean that we should threaten the rights of the accused? We should exercise care voting for something that might result in unfair treatment of potentially innocent defendants. 3 – Not only is this measure a constitutional change, it sure seems like it's other energy companies who stand to benefit, rather than NV Energy customers! 5 – Ever stood in line at the DMV? Do you really want to wait even longer while those overworked DMV workers process voter registrations all day? It took me perhaps 5 minutes to register online, and I'm sure it would be just as simple to register at the county offices. Frankly, if someone won't take 5 minutes to register from home, I don't think I want them backing up lines at the DMV while I'm forced to wait even longer than normal for business that I'm forced to take care of there.
Again, maybe a good rule of thumb is to let the elected legislature make the laws, rather than voting for citizen written initiatives that might result in unintended, unanticipated, negative consequences! Sales tax on hygiene products notwithstanding (and not earthshakingly important), "No" votes should be a strong consideration.
New county manager must be outsider
It's Halloween, and the atmosphere at Douglas County remains very spooky. Skeletons are rattling around in the closets, trying to bring their buried secrets to light. The living still attempt to ignore the ghosts of the past. Will employees ever be asked to admit their knowledge of, and responsibility for, the illicit "Tiregate" scheme?
When you consider hiring a new County Manager either from the outside or from within, you must evaluate integrity. Will the candidate insist on honesty at all levels? In the past, when there has been suspicion of illicit activity, has it been reported by the candidate? We have not heard publicly which Douglas County employees and/or their relatives bought tires from Chris Oaken. How many were there? And how many others knew? When will we have a complete report from the Attorney General? Until we have all the facts, we should not halt an outside search for a new County Manager. It seems that the best course of action is to begin a new era of transparency and accountability. Can this be done by promoting an existing employee? My answer is NO. Only someone from outside the county who does not have any prior connections to Douglas County can be viewed as fair and balanced in all their decisions. Our interim county manager does not meet this standard. To restore confidence in our local government, we need to start with a clean slate.
Why did so few come forward
According to the Nevada State Department of Investigations, very few Douglas County employees came forward to report that they had purchased the tires that Chris Oakden stole from the county. As a result, the State's report, which is in its final stages, will point out that the lack of information is due to the lack of cooperation from our employees. Apparently, the people who work for the taxpayers would rather protect themselves and participate in a mass cover-up than to be truthful, honorable and helpful in the investigation. There will be no remedying at the completion of this two-year investigation from our employees.
Jennifer Davidson, Douglas County assistant county manager, is a prime example of someone who had valuable information to offer to the investigators but chose not to. Her father, a former Douglas County road maintenance employee, purchased three sets of four tires from Chris Oakden. Neither Jennifer nor her father reported this information to the investigators. Any value that could have been gained by their knowledge was lost. Yet our commissioners want to hurriedly promote her on Nov. 1 to county manager before the newly elected commissioners are seated in January. Jennifer should be disqualified for not standing up for the interests of the citizens of Douglas County above herself, but I fear we are going to be stuck with another Vickie Moore, former CFO, whose one qualification was her ability to cover up incompetence and corruption in our county governance.
One commissioner, David Nelson, did step forward this week when he confirmed with Jennifer that both she and her father had not contacted the investigators. Nelson reported this information, himself, to the Department of Investigations. The department responded to him immediately and reassured him that, although very late in the process, these interviews would be conducted by the investigators. We deserve restitution for the tires that were stolen from us.
Apparently, the other four commissioners just want Tiregate covered up as quickly as possible.