Jan. 16 Letters to the Editor
Commissioners should listen
At the Jan. 7 Board of County Commissioners meeting, remarks I made at a Planning Commission meeting were called out by Commissioner Wes Rice. My remarks concerned the BOCC overriding the no vote by the Planning Commission in regard to the Park Development Agreement that authorizes adding 2,500 homes to the Minden area.
As a planning commissioner I am required to spend a huge amount of time reviewing master plan amendments and other land use issues that come before us. My career as a civil engineer has prepared me well for this task, and I take this responsibility seriously.
The comments I made regarding the Park Development Agreement (and the Master Plan Amendment required to facilitate it) were out of extreme frustration with the contrary decisions being made by the BOCC not once but twice in approving actions that I deemed insufficiently addressed as presented and ill-thought through.
In the past, when he was a Planning Commissioner, current County Commissioner Larry Walsh wrote a letter to the editor complaining about the BOCC paying little attention to the recommendations of the Planning Commission. Yet today in his role of County Commissioner, he appears to be doing that very thing: ignoring the time and diligence of the Planning Commission in their deliberations. In fact, he and Commissioners Rice and Penzel, have all taken turns on a regular basis expressing annoyance that there are people in the county who have the nerve to not only not agree with them, but to actually say so in public.
Commissioner Walsh labeled an entire room full of county people who showed up to protest the Park Agreement as being followers of the infamous Communist Saul Alinsky, and on Jan. 7 after he criticized me, Commissioner Rice went on in his tirade to denigrate regular attendees of the BOCC meetings as being people he was “sick and tired of listening to” because they made negative comments.
It appears to this Planning Commissioner that the current three member “we know best” majority on the county Board of Commissioners considers themselves above criticism. They have become so egotistically bound to pushing their agenda that they’ve stopped listening to or caring about any input (even from members of the county’s own Planning Commission, or the Planning Commission as a whole) that questions their planned actions or even outright shows their planned actions have gaps and weaknesses.
If that continues to be the case, it signals a sad state of affairs for Douglas County.
Topaz Ranch Estates
Fair and just process necessary for impeachment
The judicial system practiced in our courts is not strictly binding on an impeachment proceeding by the U.S. Congress. However, our total jurisprudence is based on long practiced and accepted basic concepts; substantial deviation from them should be contrary to that which our country has long held to be fair and just. It is not spoken here of particular details but of general principles.
Trial of the impeachment charges as made by the House is the duty of the Senate. Senators present at the trial shall vote guilty or not (they are the jury).
The Constitution appoints the chief justice of the Supreme Court as the presiding judge over the Senate impeachment trial. To preside is universally defined as occupying a position exercising authority, guidance, direction and control. This authority is granted to the chief justice, not the Senate majority.
It seems that the chief justice would do well to consider our existing judicial concepts as a guide to what is fair and just rather than that which the Senate majority may decide.
At a minimum, this includes the presentation of testimony from all who have pertinent information and the inclusion of all written documents. How can one cast an informed just vote if all relevant evidence is not presented and considered? Anything short of this approaches a sham. Further, it is proper, in some cases a duty, for the presiding judge to dismiss a juror that shows a pretrial bias.
Everywhere in our judicial concepts it is considered completely improper for a jury or a portion thereof to decide the rules of procedure for a trial, much less to do so in coordination with the defense.
Judicial Center needs room
Even before I had completed the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Citizens Academy, my wife and I have had opportunities to interact with DCSO from time to time. As we became further familiar with the work performance of individual deputies we became more and more impressed with their professionalism, initiative, and respect for the citizens they serve.
Even so, I was mightily impressed with the resourcefulness of the deputy’s actions reported in the Dec. 4 Record Courier. Suspicious that a motorcycle in a traffic stop wasn’t the driver’s property, the deputy checked the registered owner’s Facebook page, which indicated that the bike had been stolen, though it had not yet been listed in the law enforcement database. This led to the arrest of an ex-felon on multiple charges, including possession of three firearms. As Sheriff Coverley said, “This is an example how the deputies of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office go above and beyond to protect the citizens of our community.”
One of our goals has been to bring a sense of urgency to the Douglas County Board of County Commissioners to fund the desperately needed renovations to the badly overcrowded Judicial and Law Enforcement Center on Buckeye. This building houses the county’s district and justice court as well as less visible, but critical, life safety professionals including alternative sentencing and juvenile probation. Lack of space has forced some sheriff’s and district attorney’s personnel to locate office space elsewhere.
We’re encouraged that our board of county commissioners will have taken a tour of the JLEC prior to their Dec. 7 meeting. Perhaps this will animate and inspire them to make funding adjustments to expand the available space for these folks who work in claustrophobic and sometimes dangerously tight quarters. These are the folks that stand between us and crime. They keep our streets safe, rehabilitate those they can, lock up those they can’t, prosecute the lawbreakers, and serve our community in many other ways.