Letters to the editor for May 23, 2019
Don’t confuse Water Co. and county
In reference to Marshall Goldy’s letter to the editor regarding the Pinenut project (Stoneridge Villas Manufactured Home Community). Commissioner Engels was so concerned about the demand on the rickety county water system this project would have on it? Engels really should have checked his facts. This project will be served by the Gardnerville Water Co. not Douglas County Water. The Gardnerville Water Company is not part of Douglas County or the town, but a nonprofit, user-owned water utility since 1929. The Gardnerville Water Company has seven fully functional water wells and two storage tanks. Their reports reveal the aquifer shows no change in its level and no decrease in static water well levels in the past few years. Gardnerville has not seen a multi-family project since 2013 when Parkway Vista Apartments was built. The Gardnerville Water Co. is ready and willing to serve potential growth without detriment to its current customers. The mission of the Gardnerville Water Co. is committed to providing water in a courteous and accountable manner, for the long-term benefit of our customers, above and beyond the standards set for public health, safety and the environment.
Is RDA still legitimate?
I took the opportunity to attend the Board of County Commissioners meeting on Thursday afternoon to witness the discussion regarding the possible elimination of Redevelopment Area No. 2.
The legality of whether RDA No. 2 was properly created has been settled however there still remains the question on whether blight still remains and this designation as a redevelopment area continues to be necessary.
The blight of the Tahoe Shores Trailer Park was nearly completely mitigated by what is now the development of the Tahoe Beach Club prior to the designation by the then BOCC in early 2016. Only 1 of the current BOCC members was on that particular board.
Now, three years later, with nothing done, the additional tax dollars generated within that area are inaccessible to the county for needed expenses.
The Tahoe Douglas Visitors Authority and the casinos in the redevelopment area would contend that the continuation of the redevelopment area is necessary to generate funds for the building of a Douglas County citizen subsidized year-round event center. The casinos indicate that gaming and room occupancy has dwindled to an unsustainable level and without the event center their businesses are in jeopardy, however, they themselves have been heavily involved in creating their own competition in California working with the various Indian tribes in development and management of casinos, many of which are in the areas surrounding Sacramento which is far easier for citizens of California to access especially with the extremely high cost of gas in that state and without having to spend the night in a hotel room. They also state that employment has fallen significantly due to the lack of gaming yet they themselves have eliminated that manpower expense with automation in the form of change machines and video table games, none of which will return, event center or not.
What we are getting down to is what is the role of local government, is it to subsidize businesses in order for them to remain financially stable?
If the business interests of Lake Tahoe feel that the building of an events center is what will help them sustain their financial stability then I have no issues with that, I would support them at the county level to facilitate their ability to do so short of the county taking on a financial role in this development
These are the issues I was going to speak to however I was not able to remain in attendance. My request to the BOCC was going to be very simple, it is my belief that while I do not agree with a publicly subsidized event center this question is too big of an issue to be decided by the BOCC alone and should instead be put before the voting citizens of Douglas County. If they decide that this is an appropriate function of local government so be it, if not, lets eliminate the redevelopment area and allow the county full access once again to the revenues generated within that area.
Topaz Ranch Estates
County commission dysfunctional
At the county commissioners meeting on May 16 I was witness to just how dysfunctional the BOCC has become under Chair Barry Penzel. This is the first board in a long time that has had a definite split in philosophy on some of the most vital issues facing the county, particularly how to handle development and the viability and fairness of Redevelopment Area No. 2.
In the past, board meetings plodded forward to what seemed to many of us who take an interest in local politics as foregone conclusions (set by insiders who regard government more as a good way to provide solutions to every ill or obstacle that comes along than as a provider of the basic environment for individuals to enjoy a high quality of life they attain on their own). As a result, not much real debate occurred.
Things have changed. There are two commissioners who want limited government, carefully vetted development (which is development in line with the Master Plan without variances or zoning changes), and a conservative approach to financial management.
The last of the above list is what was under discussion Thursday, and it was during item four that called for a presentation and discussion on “Ways to Modify RDA#2” that tension that had been building all evening finally spilled over into one commissioner physically attacking another.
Let me be clear. Prior to item four, Penzel set the tone when in his lengthy opening remarks he berated the attendees for being at the meeting and caring about something so “unimportant” as what was on the agenda instead of being in Carson at the legislature fighting against a marijuana bill. Things got progressively more uncomfortable when four commissioners voted on a water rate that the chair didn’t like to the degree that he called his fellow commissioners “hard-hearted” for holding their view. The chair appeared highly agitated and made extensive comments on this matter.
More snappish behavior followed with the chair using his position to pick at Commissioners Nelson and Engels. Then, in the middle of Engels calmly reading his prepared remarks that criticized, sometimes in hard language, the other three commissioners for their favorable stance on RDA#2 (which secures $116 million for an $80 million event center and myriad non-priority items instead of allowing that funding to be used for other vital county needs), Penzel angrily interrupted and, along with Commissioner Rice, began taking Engels to task.
Penzel abruptly called a recess, and the commissioners headed for a door just behind where they sat. Well, Penzel went through, and Engels followed, but then Penzel closed the door. Somehow, Engels ended up injured on the floor.
Penzel’s actions were entirely out of line. His demonstrated disdain for both his opposition on the board and the rules of how to conduct a meeting show it’s time for him to step down as chair.
Penzel should give up gavel
Regarding the May 16 Board of County Commissioners meeting held at the Lake, I was at the meeting from the beginning to the end. Also, I worked on both Penzel’s and Engels’ campaigns and know both of them.
During the meeting, Chairman Penzel added tension to an already contentious meeting, losing his temper multiple times, publicly chastising some of the residents for speaking at the BOCC when he felt their time would have been better spent speaking at the state Legislature, and taking offense to comments from the public where none was meant. You can see this for yourself on the website Douglas County meeting calendar.
During the meeting Penzel improperly prevented Engels from completing his statement regarding RDA2 and the construction of an event center, versus the need to support the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. Engels is a plain-speaking, no-nonsense gentleman who keeps his temper under control and responds in measured tones.
I also witnessed the aftermath of a physical altercation that took place in a private office between Penzel and Engels, who came out with his right arm bloody from elbow to wrist. I saw not a thread on Penzel’s clothing that was out of place. It should be noted while on reserve duty with the North Hollywood Police Department, Engels was injured by a ricochet bullet while working as a Hollywood Reserve Police Officer. This resulted in permanent damage to his leg which affects his physical balance. Based on this and what I saw, I think I know who the aggressor was.
In my opinion Penzel is neither worthy nor temperamentally fit to lead the commission and should surrender the gavel to someone else.
Great Arts Council concert finale
The final concert was a full house with Laurie Lewis and the Right Hands and wrapped up the Carson Valley Arts Council 2018-19 Concert Series. The support of our sponsors and CVAC members and volunteers are the only ways we are able to bring the concerts and youth outreach to our community. Thanks to everyone who attended one or more of the six concerts, so our performers could also present assemblies for Minden, Jacks Valley and CC Meneley Elementary Schools.
Special thanks goes to our amazing concert series sponsors and sponsors for all of our other programs this year: Nevada Arts Council, WESTAF, NEA Arts Works, Nevada Tourism, Carson Valley Inn, COD Casino, Big George Ventures, Douglas County, City National Bank, Jennifer Yturbide Law, R. O. Anderson, Bing Materials, Southwest Gas, Coffee on Main, Wells Fargo Advisors, Chase International, Record Courier, Warren Reed Insurance, NV Energy, Sierra View Dental Center, Carson Valley United Methodist Church, Democrats/DCDWomen, Wa She Su Casino, Bike Habitat, The Pink House, Karen and Brian Fitzgerald, Napa Auto Parts, Valley Pediatric Dentistry, Towns of Minden and Gardnerville, Carson Valley Visitors Authority and Chamber of Commerce, Heartstrings Gallery, Carson Valley Community Theatre, DCCA TV, The Ridge, The Smallwood Foundation, and Norma Freitas.
Please thank all of the sponsors for supporting the arts in Carson Valley. Call 775-782-8207, visit our website cvartscouncil.com/sponsors/ or email CVAC email@example.com if you would like to help sponsor next year’s Concert Series that begins Oct. 4 with the DonGato Latin Band.
Sharon Hoelscher Day
Events Committee Chairwoman