Letters to the editor for Feb. 2, 2018
February 1, 2018
Writer represents special interest
No special interest group should ever control our county. I hope everyone in Douglas County agrees with this statement.
Commissioner Dave Nelson's wife, Jeanne Shizuru's latest attack on our county manager about tiregate has nothing to do with the theft of tires but is about Commissioner Nelson's dislike for Larry Werner. Since becoming Commissioner Mr. Nelson has attempted to pressure our county manager to sponsor his special interest items without any agreement from other commissioners. Obviously, our county manager knows better than to yield to any special interest requests.
I have worked for many large well respected companies throughout my carrier and not one of them was immune to some form of larceny. If you have something of value, someone will attempt to steal it. Blaming our District Attorney or County manager is like blaming our Governor, he was in office so he must be culpable.
There is a method behind the madness of this blame game. It is an attempt to discredit our current board of county commissioners. It's no secret the group wants to take control of the majority of the board seats to promote their special interests. This is why Jeanne attacked Commissioner Thaler for not saying something. How's that for a reach?
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I am personally very disappointed that our election season has started so soon and so nasty. Unfortunately, this is just the beginning of these baseless attacks and I expect them to get even more personalized as we get closer to election day. I do however have faith that the citizens of Douglas County will see these attacks for want they are and realize that any special interest group is wrong for our county regardless of their message.
Support people's agenda
Douglas County Commissioner Barry Penzel campaigned in 2012 on getting control of the county's personnel costs, which he estimated as over 70 percent of the budget, eating up revenue for infrastructure and other taxpayer priorities. Once in the majority, Mr. Penzel presided over a series of giveaways to the employee unions including multi-year lavish raises in a June 2017 contract vote, followed by a taxpayer-funded bailout for employee health care coverage increases.
Commissioner Larry Walsh, who ran on preserving the rural nature of Douglas County, has become an affordable housing evangelist, eager to approve apartment complexes throughout the county. The resulting crime, congestion, and sprawl will certainly disrupt our rural nature. So much for campaign promises; Mr. Walsh has traded in his voters for a new constituency of developers and employers who refuse to pay their workers a living wage.
But affordable housing that doesn't help the Commissioners' special friends is expendable, like the mobile home park at the Lake replaced with the ritzy residential Beach Club, valued at $700 million. If the Lake casinos ever get Loop Road modified to their liking, more affordable housing on the California side will also disappear. The Commissioners' Lake redevelopment scam will divert $47.2 million in Beach Club taxes over 30 years to help the Lake casinos build an event center, just when Lake casino earnings have jumped a net 92.5 percent.
Recently proposed tax increases for the Judicial Law Enforcement Center and roads insult the taxpayers. The Commission should drop the farce that union employees are contributing to their PERS and insist they pay half the cost, as state employees do. The Commission should dissolve the Lake Redevelopment Agency and tell the rich casinos to fund their own event center.
The Tiregate scandal which surfaced last Spring has been a shock to the voters, who now want to know the names of the guilty parties. Between the time the Commissioners were informed about the thefts and the news was publicly released, four of them pushed through promotions and contract extensions for those who very possibly could be involved in the scandal, as well as pay and benefit hikes that might go to guilty employees. We don't know how a million dollars worth of corruption took root in our little county, but they say that fish rot from the head down.
There was much hope last year that new commissioners Nelson and Walsh would form a majority that wouldn't take orders from the special interests, but Commissioner Nelson is alone in standing with the people. We have the opportunity this year to vote in two new commissioners who will put the County back on track. Our new candidates, Janet Murphy in District 4 to replace term-limited Nancy McDermid and John Engels in District 2 to unseat incumbent Steve Thaler, will support the people's agenda and join Commissioner David Nelson in working for the people.