Letters for Dec. 13, 2017
Great Parade of Lights
Once again, we are delighted to offer the opinion that this year’s Parade of Lights was the best ever. Some of it (like the weather) is pure luck but the rest requires a huge amount of effort on the part of a lot of organizations and people. Our first set of thank you’s goes out to the Towns of Gardnerville and Minden and their employees. They cover of a list of tasks longer than a 7-year-old’s Santa wish list and this year in particular they stepped up to some unexpected challenges and went above and beyond to make it all work.
Without the full support of Sheriff Pierini and literally everyone at Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, the parade simply does not happen. From patrol to traffic control, Search & Rescue to SWAT, Mounted Posse to Citizens on Patrol, DARE, GREAT and all of the admin staff, they have our gratitude.
Thanks to NDOT for making make sure the parade is safe for our thousands of spectators and to Ahern Rentals for use of their signage at the south end of town. Staging the parade is not the easiest thing in the world and Chamber Ambassador Ted Thran and volunteers Hayden Sneed and Brad Gonzales made sure we rolled on time and in order.
The parade announcers; Drew Aguilar, Jessica Jensen, Lloyd Higuera and Ken Miller add to the experience at both ends of the parade route, and this year judges Brent Holderman and Ursula Prebezac had the unenviable job of selecting the best floats and they chose Girl Scout Troop 371, the Men and Women of the 20-30 Club, the Town of Minden, Joe Benigno’s Tree Service and the Mutant Car Misfits as the best in their categories. They will receive plaques noting their success courtesy of Monique Reno and Accolades. Thanks to Carson Valley Inn for providing the stage in Minden and to Curt and his gang at COD Casino for working with us when we take up space on 4th Street.
We were thrilled to honor long time Record-Courier Editor Kurt Hildebrand as grand marshal this year, recognizing him for his decades of service to the community. And please stop spreading the rumor that Kurt’s first big interview was with Snowshoe Thompson. Thanks also to Bently Ranch boss Matt McKinney for providing the cool ranch truck and driving our grand marshal and to Mike Nelson at Grafx8 for the grand marshal banners.
Santa bore an amazing resemblance to local Realtor Bill Driscoll and provided a terrific end to the parade for both the kids and the adults who act like kids when they see Santa Claus.
As always, our biggest thanks go to the hundreds of our neighbors who take the time to create the amazing floats and to the thousands who bundle up and brave the cold to cheer and laugh and enjoy a special evening each year. We feel privileged to be a part of this extravaganza every December.
Congress needs to treat small business right
Christmas is just around the corner. For small businesses, it is officially the start of the make-or-break holiday shopping season. And this year, passing a tax bill would give small business owners much to be thankful for.
Lawmakers are running low on time to pass a new 25 percent tax rate for small businesses—the largest tax cut in generations, as President Trump often says.
As a small business owner and lawmaker at the state level, my message to Washington is simple: Get the job done. Small business deserves it, voters want it, and the economy needs it.
Here in Nevada, we’ve done right by small business, growing our economy in the process by leaving income and capital gains taxes out of the mix for individuals and businesses alike. That’s one reason we boast a top-five state tax system for small businesses and entrepreneurs, according to the latest survey by the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council.
Of course, I’m rooting for a small business tax cut, and not for selfish reasons. I serve as the minority leader in the Nevada Assembly, where it is my duty to serve and represent the professional interests of Nevada small businesses and citizens alike. I help people at their most vulnerable. Few have cash to burn. Many have daunting obligations, costs, and debts. Like all small businesses, we honor our customers’ hard-earned, carefully spent dollars. And we honor their patronage as we grow our business to serve them even better.
But as much as Nevada lawmakers and business owners have done, we can’t do it all. The federal government’s outdated, burdensome tax code can take up to 40 percent of a small business’s revenue off the table. When typical state and local taxes are factored in, nearly half of all income can go off to the taxman instead of being used to add jobs, boost paychecks, and expand facilities—the kind of reinvestment a majority of small business owners say they’d use their tax savings for.
The feds call this “pass-through” taxation, and it only spares only about 5 percent of all small businesses. For the 95 percent, it’s a deadweight dragging down growth, holding back communities, and hampering the U.S. economy. They’ve endured this counterproductive system for generations, waiting for lawmakers to let them put what their customers spend back into their business.
Congress has an obligation to fix this mess. The American people are growing impatient. Polls show Republicans want their party’s lawmakers to follow the lead of President Trump, who has been steadfast in pushing for small business tax relief. Democrats, meanwhile, want their representatives to follow the GOP’s lead and prioritize bipartisan tax relief that grows the economy and grows jobs.
A majority of voters want our federal tax code redone. They prefer small business tax cuts even over tax cuts for their own families.
All Congress has to do is put two and two together and treat small business right in Washington. Cutting small business taxes will bless millions of Americans with a festive holiday season.
Renters not as vigilant as owners
At the Dec. 7 Board of County Commissioners meeting, Commissioner Penzel said that Douglas County had no plans to create a department that would be setting housing policy. He omitted to mention the recently formed Douglas County Affordable Housing Task Force composed of two county government staffers, four real estate professionals – two of whom don’t live in Douglas County – a member of the Douglas County Business Council, and one ordinary county resident, that will provide a blueprint for the growth of affordable housing.
Affordable housing mostly consists of low income apartment complexes which tend to attract crime and graffiti because they don’t form vigilant communities like those in owner-occupied neighborhoods. Vigilant communities develop when residents have made a financial investment in the neighborhood and feel a sense of permanency of place. Low income apartment renters have neither, which makes their complexes efficient incubators of crime. Unfortunately for the rest of the county, crime, graffiti, and traffic congestion from hundreds of added cars will not honor property boundaries.
Much of what makes Douglas County a special place to live is that most of us who live here are property owners. We moved here to work or retire, we have a large financial investment in the community, we pay four and five figure property tax, and therefore have a vested interest in maintaining the quality of life we enjoy. We assumed that our rural lifestyle would be preserved. Our county is cohesive enough to absorb small pockets of rental units, but an ambitious expansion of affordable housing in Douglas County will tilt the balance between those who love where they live and those with no special regard for the community.
Political neophyte Larry Walsh ran for Commissioner and beat a well know multi-generational county rancher by 18 points based on his now-broken promise to preserve Douglas County’s rural nature. Commissioner Penzel was elected by promising to work for the needs of the taxpayers instead of self-dealing special interests. It’s disappointing to see that Mr. Penzel signed off on forming DCAHTF with a membership not at all representative of the community and which holds its meetings in secret.
Penzel and Walsh shared their vision at the December 7 BOCC to infill commercially zoned property in the county by re-zoning to multi-family residential. Douglas County has designated receiving areas further out from the county core for expanding residential building but that’s not where the low income housing will be built. Commissioners Walsh and Penzel most certainly betrayed those of us who worked on their political campaigns
But beyond that, who are they to give anyone – developers, builders, low-paying employers – the power to permanently ruin the lifetime investments we taxpayers made in our rural, safe community? The quality of life we all thought was ours in Douglas County will be going away, sooner rather than later.
Know where you live.
After reading Gene Robinson’s letter: Put the county on a tight leash, suggesting referendums to control the County makes me cringe. If we had to vote on every budget and expenditure nothing would get done. I also don’t want Nevada to follow the same path California has been going down for years which has made it a very expensive State to live in.
Suggesting to take the tax support from the Swim Center. Why just the Swim Center? How about schools, the community center, what else on our tax bill can we can rob from.
Suspend collective bargaining. County, City, Municipal and School District collective bargaining rights are State law. You can’t just suspend them.
Redesign or competitive sourcing of government services. Many roads and other large project the county needs to have done go to bid, they are done by private industry. Also buy your gas in Douglas County and support your roads. For example buying gas at Costco is paying for Carson City roads.
Property tax constraint to prevent tax gentrification. What an interesting thought. I live in the Town of Minden and I pay a quarterly fee for the privilege of good street, trash, street light etc. I also pay property taxes which are used to sustain additional areas of Douglas County and the State. A lot in the Town of Minden, if you can find one will cost as much as prices of a home in other parts of the county. The choice of living in the Town of Minden come with a considerable price tag. We pay for what we get and then some. I’m not saying that I don’t want others to have good streets but a dollar only goes so far.
Social Security began August 4, 1935. Public employees weren’t allowed to participate in the program so the turnover of good employees was high. Other states had instituted a retirement system so in 1947 the legislature created PERS. Public Employee Retirement System is just that. The Federal Government wouldn’t allow all Nevadans to participate in PERS. PERS is great if your you only want to work as a public employee. But most people who paid into Social Security and then go to work for a public employer in Nevada, will have their PERS retirement deducted from their Social Security, due to the way Nevada PERS was established. Nevada is one of seven states treated this way by Social Security.
Things look good from the outside but when you learn some of the nuances it’s not as good as you think. Ask a county employee how much their health insurance deductible is, or why doctors that they have gone to for years no longer accept county insurance.
Not a well country
America is sick. Consider the symptoms: we have as president a man not elected by the popular vote but rather, appointed by the electoral college, an anachronistic institution that should have gone the way of the horse and buggy! We have, posing as leader of the free world a narcissistic buffoon who thinks that everything that comes out of his mouth is true, or soon will be (“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it,” Joseph Goebbels); a man who has difficulty verbalizing more than five words in a row to form a legitimate sentence; a man willing to make unfulfillable promises as long as it gives him a temporary advantage; a man quick to condemn political foes for alleged unsavory behavior of which he himself is suspect. And is this not just the tip of the iceberg?
This president is an embarrassment to the United States worldwide and an insult to the legacies of George Washington, (Father of Our Country), Abraham Lincoln, (Savior of the Union) and Franklin Roosevelt, (Savior of the entire world).
America truly is sick. One may only hope that “Dr.” Mueller is now formulating a prescription that will provide a cure before it’s too late.