May 30 Letters to the Editor
Proud of our county workers
This is a letter to the all the Douglas County employees who work under the jurisdiction of the Douglas County Commission. Douglas County employees are great. You are the ambassadors that help create the quality of life that we enjoy both at Lake Tahoe and the Carson Valley. To all of you I extend my personal thank you. The recent despicable actions of our county commissioners do not reflect on you. Unfortunately our commissioners have decided to go as low as they can go. Hold your heads high and keep doing the awesome job(s) you do for the residents of Douglas County. I am proud of all of you. I am proud to live in Douglas County.
No redevelopment has consequences, too
I was not at the May 16 Board of County Commissioners meeting held at the Lake, but I would like to comment on Redevelopment Area No. 2 and what was said to have transpired during the meeting.
I believe that the column “Our Take” in the May 23 issue of the Record Courier fairly and accurately depicts the ramifications of not proceeding with RDA No. 2. Specifically, as stated in said column, Douglas County’s sales tax revenues are insufficient to support itself. Because of this, the state guarantees a certain portion of our revenue. At any time, the Southern Nevada lawmakers could stop sending money to Douglas County, which has the highest median income in the state. That is what prompted the redevelopment area in the north county (Target, Best Buy, Michaels, etc.).
Although I do not pretend to understand all of the intricacies of RDA No. 2, from a top level prospective, and one from a resident of the Valley at that, I support the concept of an events center at the lake. It will help stimulate the overall economy of that area and the ENTIRE county. It’s not for the casinos. It’s for small businesses and other areas that have not recovered from the Great Recession. In addition, there is nothing similar in the valley that can bring in big tax revenues and more jobs. Only Lake Tahoe has the potential to affect more tourists and conventions. This will result in increased tax revenues (sales tax, other consolidated taxes, transient occupancy tax, etc.) to replace diminished assessed property values (i.e., property taxes) that have occurred since 2000 in the casino corridor.
As far as the call from the all too frequent contributors to the opinion section of the R-C for Barry Penzel to step down from the chairmanship, I feel compelled to state that I believe Penzel to be the most knowledgeable, upstanding, dedicated, diplomatic and ethical gentleman who has served on the commissioners in the 14 years that I have lived in the valley.
The professed allegation in V. Starrett’s and L. Muzzy’s letters in the aforementioned May 23 RC opinion section that one commissioner physically attacked another is just that – an allegation. As this unfolds, I’m confident that more information will be released regarding what happened and whose actions really caused the incident. In the meantime, I do not believe, under any circumstances, that Penzel should step down from the chairmanship.
Congrats to Erik Nilssen
His neighbors in Winhaven, and his many friends across Douglas County are thrilled to hear that Erik Nilssen, Douglas County engineer, has been selected to be the new Gardnerville town manager. With two engineering degrees and a master’s in public administration, Nilssen emerged to top a field of 44 candidates. Known for plain speak, and possessing a quick wit, Nilssen is an ideal choice to manage Gardnerville’s yearly budget of $5 million.
With the issue of road repair and new road construction front and center in Douglas County, Nilssen has been a leading voice in clarifying the true costs. Invited to speak to the Good Governance Group, Nilssen directly stated in his manner of plain speaking that new road construction is $1 million per lane, per mile. He ended all misconceptions concerning the subject.
Interesting challenges await Nilssen. Everyone wants to see a vibrant downtown, and there is work to be done on Highway 395 between Gilman Avenue and Douglas Avenue. Recruiting new businesses in an eclectic mix of older commercial buildings and contemporary mixed-use buildings that enhance the Main Street experience is a must. Nilssen will assure the town’s fiscal sustainability by stabilizing the annual public tax revenue per acre to the town’s service costs per acre. We look forward to shopping, attending great concerts, eating and drinking, and all the while enjoying the Main Street experience. What could be better? Thank you Gardnerville for getting it right.
No accommodations for low-income housing
Douglas County Commissioner Wes Rice, at the May 23 Board of County Commissioners meeting, asserted for the umpteenth time that the adult children of current Douglas residents who grew up here “deserve” to be able to live here. How come every time he says this, I get the feeling he wants current county residents to make accommodations for these privileged kids?
As has been pointed out by others, affordable housing can be found in Douglas County if you’re patient and flexible. If Buddy and Sis turn up their noses at a manufactured home in TRE or a modest abode in the Ranchos, then what’s wrong with sending them up to the apartment complex uphill from Casino Fandango? They’ll have a shorter commute to Gardnerville than a trip from south county.
Rice says Carson City commuters will generate more traffic than if we had workforce housing for them in the county. Show us those traffic studies, please, but let’s be clear about something: affordable, attainable, inclusionary, or workforce housing all mean the same thing: low-income housing. As Jim Slade points out at every BOCC meeting, this type of housing comes at a cost to the existing taxpayers who pay for public safety and other services, and strain on our infrastructure. It also brings non-monetary costs, like traffic congestion, and reduces our quality of life by chipping away at the rural nature of our county.
Low income housing invites speculators who turn the housing into rentals. Since renters have no equity interest in their dwelling and typically regard themselves as temporary residents, they do not look out for one another as is done in owner occupied neighborhoods. Gangs and criminals gravitate to rentals precisely because of this, which makes them more likely to be a source of graffiti, car burglaries, dope dealing, and similar crimes. Sheriff’s Capt. Joe Duffy says we have 62 known gang members living in Douglas County: guess where?
So, Rice, since when do your kids or any other class of people have a right to so-called affordable housing furnished to them in Douglas County at the expense of the rest of us? How about their parents help the “kids” pay Douglas County’s market price for housing? Either that or add a wing to your family castle.
Engels battling for residents
Commissioner John Engels, at the time of the altercation with Chairman Barry Penzel, was standing up to the casinos by stating the obvious. Essentially, he was saying that it is hypocritical to say you support the sheriff but you vote to wall off $116 million (over 30 years) from the sheriff and other county funds for the casinos. This criticism against the three commissioners who support keeping Redevelopment Area No. 2 alive was apparently more than Penzel could endure, and so Penzel interrupted Engels while Engels was giving his statement, and Penzel abruptly called a recess when Engels protested the interruption. Engels ran on the campaign slogan “Born to Battle For You,” and that is what he was doing.
Now the special interests and the good ol’ boys of Douglas County are mounting a smear campaign against Engels, akin to how the Democrats are treating Donald Trump. These good ol’ boys cannot win on the merits of their argument and want to turn the issue to personal attacks against Engels. In days gone by, Douglas County was ruled by the good ol’ boys intimidating anyone who would speak against their interests. Things haven’t changed much.
Engels needs your support. We are holding a town hall meeting at Hamdog’s 7 p.m. June 4 to talk about RDA No. 2. Douglas County taxpayers, we could use your support there and your attendance at the June 20 commissioners meeting at the Lake.
Many members of Congress have spoken of their duty, their responsibility to the American citizens, to provide oversight of the executive branch of this country. I believe this is an important task for Congress; however, I wonder what happened to oversight in the following situations.
Where was the oversight when some 2,000 weapons were allowed to reach Mexican drug gangs under Operation Fast and Furious? Who in the White House had any knowledge of this and when did they get such knowledge?
The primary use for uranium is for nuclear power plants and in the making of nuclear weapons. The world supply of uranium is rather limited. Russia is considered to be a major enemy of our country. Where was the oversight when approximately 20 percent of our uranium supply was sold to Russia? Why was there no voice of opposition to this transaction?
Iran is considered to be the major terrorist-supporting state on Earth. Where was the oversight when some $1.7 billion was flown to Iran?
I would feel much better about members of Congress if they were to spend more time overseeing events that are of benefit to our enemies rather than having investigations hoping to find something that might be used against a political opponent.
How about a little oversight of Congress?
If a member of Congress repeatedly lies or makes false statements about their military service or anything, should they be allowed to question the honesty of others? Are they to be considered as being truthful?
Why does Congress decline to release the names of those members involved in the payout of the $17 million of the taxpayers money for settlement of “wrongdoing?” I feel committing a “wrongdoing” could be considered as a matter of morals and left to the decision of the voters. The use of taxpayers money to settle the matter should be considered as a crime.
Congressional oversight should be used to warn and advise American citizens of wrong doing by elected and appointed individuals.
We do not need “more moderate politicians.” What we need is more elected officials that believe in honesty and will put this country and its citizens before any political party.
Electoral College important
I am greatly concerned about the Electoral College debate. The Founding Fathers knew the importance of putting a check on unbridled democracy and that is why we have a democratic Republic. Although it sounds reasonable for the person with the most votes to win an election there are circumstances where this is unwise. Our nation is at serious risk as more and more people become dependent on the “government plantation” and don’t want the welfare programs spigot turned off or curtailed in any way. The vast majority of urban dwellers want bigger government to solve the seemingly unsolvable problems they face in city life and likewise the vast majority of rural citizens want as little government intrusion in their lives as possible. Many states have faced this problem for years with our neighbor to the west, California, being a prime example. Los Angeles, San Diego, and the Bay Area dictate the policies for all Californians with little regard for the feelings and rights of those that live north of San Francisco or east of the Sierra Nevada.
On the federal level, if the Electoral College is put in the dumpster, our votes here in Nevada won’t be worth a plug nickel. Voters in California, Texas, New York, Florida, and a couple of other states will control who wins the White House every four years and we could see a one-party system much like Mexico in a few years. While I know that many out there would love to see the Republican Party disappear that would not be a good result for the nation. I think Dr. Ben Carson summed it up very well when he said “For the American eagle to fly it needs a left-wing and a right wing.”
Politicians need to not only go to the largest population centers they need to address concerns of all voters. The EC has served Americans since the 1780s, now is not the time to mess with it just because the “media darling” candidate didn’t win. Maybe she should have gone to Wisconsin after all.
Although you cannot tell by the weather, Spring has sprung, and Main Street Gardnerville is working hard on getting their annual “Main Street in Bloom” ready for the first week of June. However, for some reason, we have had a downturn in the sponsorship of hanging flower baskets this year. The flowering baskets that are hung along Highway 395 through downtown Gardnerville annually are dependent on sponsorship donations.
The goal is to hang 70 baskets along 395 through downtown, which we do every year with the support of horticultural programs at Douglas and Smith Valley high schools, and China Spring Youth Camp. Maybe it was the long winter that took everyone disoriented and they haven’t remembered to sponsor a flowering basket yet. But we only have about half the number of sponsors we usually get.
So if you have forgotten or if you would like to start sponsoring a flowering basket please go to http://www.mainstreetgardnerville.org/purchases and click on “Hanging Flower Basket Sponsor” to donate online or you can bring cash or check to the Main Street Gardnerville office located at 1407 US Highway 395 North Gardnerville, NV 89410. The donation amount is $95 per basket. Participants can request to receive a card with a photo of one of the flower baskets, to send as a gift for someone. The flowering baskets will be hung in early June and can be admired all summer and you won’t need to water them.
Main Street Gardnerville 501 c 3 non-profit and is a community-based program made up of volunteers to revitalize the downtown.
Main Street Gardnerville
Thankful for grant
Guitars for Vets works with the VA health care system to bring the healing power of music to veterans who are dealing with the stress of being exposed to war. After 10 weeks of custom guitar lessons, our students receive a graduation package worth $200 that includes a new Yamaha acoustic guitar and accessories.
Recently, our local Walmart made a generous grant to the G4V organization. This will be extremely helpful for accommodating our veterans who are in the waiting list for guitar lessons at our VA community-based outpatient clinic.
I would especially like to thank Erik Schumann and Angel Cooper of the Gardnerville Walmart Supercenter number 5864 for considering our request, and for recommending approval of the grant.
For information, visit the Guitars for Vets website: https://www.guitars4vets.org/
If you are interested in donating or volunteering as a guitar instructor, contact G4V Gardnerville chapter coordinator, Gary B. Swift at 775-350-9454 (leave message).
Gary B. Swift
Our child president has thrown another tantrum; this time refusing to participate in the governing of our nation until the Democrats cease all investigations into his past activities including those relating to the 2016 elections. If, truly there is nothing to hide, shouldn’t he stop issuing “executive roadblocks” and say to his adversaries; “Investigate all you want … just get it over with quickly so that we can get back to ‘doing the business’ of the people who elected us.”