Letters for March 2, 2018
Where’s the need for affordable housing
Regarding the letter to the editor, “Home ownership doesn’t work for everyone” in the Feb. 14 edition paper, the estimable Bob Ballou seems to have things a bit backward. Mr. Ballou talks as though there is a pre-existing need for affordable housing in Douglas County. Fine, where is the proof? How many people need to be accommodated, who are they, where are they living now? How much affordable housing we should allow? What is affordable housing? How does affordable housing change the living environment of a neighborhood or county?
More people commute out of Douglas County to work than into the county for jobs. If the requests for affordable housing are coming from certain employers, has anyone asked them to justify changing the makeup of the county versus asking them to pay their workers a living wage? Perhaps the assumption is Douglas County housing is too expensive for employees to afford?
The problem with advocating for affordable housing is that it mostly consists of apartment complexes. The more apartments units the lower the average cost. Unlike small infill rental units, duplexes and fourplexes, apartment houses can’t be assimilated into the vigilant communities that exist in owner occupied neighborhoods. Would you like see 3-, 4- or 6-story buildings next to your home?
Pretending that crime isn’t a problem in an environment where no one has an ownership stake, everyone is a temporary resident, and occupancy turnover is high is dangerously naïve. Apartment houses suffer more crime that owner-occupied neighborhoods or condo complexes.
Douglas is a rural county, the preservation of which was at least one commissioner’s election campaign promise. Most of us are concerned that the Board of County Commissioners has approved zoning variances from Commercial to Multi-Family Residential — large scale apartment complexes. When we know that growth doesn’t pay for itself, that’s no truer than for apartment complexes, which pay very little property tax in return for the county services they use, a cost that goes straight to the property taxpayers, the homeowners and businesses of Douglas County. Remember, we, the existing residents will pay for the increased school costs, the future road expansions, more police, fire, social services and a larger county government.
Affordable housing is in no way compatible with the rural nature that most of us came here to enjoy. A better answer is smaller houses, duplexes etc., which are owned by the occupant. Rentals of such housing is a second option.
Need justice with civil experience
Last December, The R-C published an article about Eric Levin, one of the two candidates for East Fork Justice Court Judge. The article stated, “According to Levin, 90 percent of the cases in East Fork Justice Court are criminal and traffic matters.”
I thought than number seemed a little high, so I looked at the Annual Report of the Nevada Judiciary for Fiscal Year 2017, the Fiscal Year 2017 Appendix Tables, and spoke with an AOC analyst that was involved in putting together these reports. The 2017 Annual Report on pg. 59 shows the two categories of criminal filings (1,139) and civil filings (757) in the East Fork Justice Court. From these two categories, about 60 percent were criminal and the rest were civil filings. If you add the third category of traffic and parking (7,240) to the criminal category, then you get around 90 percent. However, most of the traffic and parking offenses are handled in the Justice Court by the clerks, or in the District Attorney’s office and with very little judicial involvement.
What this tells me is that the Justice Court Judge will spend nearly half of her day deciding civil disputes involving contracts, landlord tenant, evictions, personal property, requests for restitution and possession of real property, collections, mechanic’s liens, storage liens and mobile home liens when money damages do not exceed $15,000, as well as small claims of $10,000 or less. The Justice Court Judge will also decide whether a person is entitled to an enforceable order of protection from another person. These cases typically involve both civil issues, such as temporary child custody, and criminal issues, such as domestic violence and/or unlawful harassment.
It is important that our next Justice Court judge be well versed and comfortable with the civil laws of our state and county. Cassandra Jones, who is also running for East Fork Justice of the Peace, has experience with criminal law in the private sector, and as a former Staff Attorney in our own District Court Department II. Since then, she has distinguished herself as an experienced, capable practitioner of the civil law. If elected, I am certain she will continue her service to the community and make a valuable and unique contribution to our local judiciary.
Joan E. Neuffer
Amendment preserves freedom
When the rules of government were successfully agreed upon, they called those rules the Constitution of the United States of America.
Following a bloody revolution to free themselves from a despotic government, the founders knew too well what governments can become if left unchecked.
So in order to protect the people and their newly won freedom, the founders established the first 10 amendments, known as the Bill of Rights. Those would be protections from the long arm of government.
The 1st amendment would allow the people to “speak their minds” should they find the government veering dangerously away from the rules, causing a potential danger to a free people.
And to further secure that first amendment right, they added the second amendment right to keep and bear arms.
The wise founders knew all too well what it was like to live unarmed under a ruthless despotic ruler over the people, as they had no means to protect or defend themselves.
Should a corrupt and despotic government decide to silence the voice of concerned people they knew they would have to answer to an armed and lawful citizenry not willing to sacrifice one, or any of their rights handed down by adhearance to the divine providence.
It is very sad indeed to see and hear the people of today as they display their total ignorance and downright uneducated views of America and lack of knowledge of our rules for maintaining our freedom.
Of all the correspondence to and from the founders on the Second amendment, there is not one word about hunting or target shooting. They knew without a doubt that an armed people would deter the wrongdoers in governemnt, as well as attending to the security of a free state.
Jefferson said as he was talking about the newly established government “bind them down by the chains of the Constitution where they can do no mischief.”
Perhaps the ignorant and uneducated perople of this country would rather have those chains around their own ankles so they can experience the meaning of despotism.