By Mark Waite
Secret funds and secret meetings, the closure of the federal detention center, term limits and evening county commission meetings, were some of the out-of-the-box comments rendered by two candidates for the Nye County Commission.
Donna Cox, president of the Concerned Citizens for a Safe Community, has filed to run for county commissioner of District 3, while Darryl Lackey, who sometimes attends CCSC meetings, filed to run in District 2.
The filing period ended March 16.
Four candidates, all Republicans, will square off in the June 12 primary for the District 2 race, incumbent Gary Hollis is seeking a third term, besides Lackey two others — Garren Hesketh and Frank Carbone — have filed to run.
District 3 doesn’t have an incumbent, Cox will join Andrew “Andy” Alberti Jr., Julie Hargis and Kenneth Searles in that race.
Lackey polled 142 votes, 23.36 percent, in the 2008 race for District 3 county commissioner, finishing behind Hollis, who had 344 votes, or 56.6 percent. Lackey ran again for county treasurer in 2010 and won 1,609 votes, 37.3 percent, losing in the Republican primary to Michael Maher.
The commission boundaries were redrawn after the 2010 census so Hollis and Lackey are now in District 2.
When asked why he was running for election again, Lackey said, “Just because I hate to see criminals in position to supply their own financial comfort zone and cutting everybody off. There’s a lot of secrets in our local government. When I found out there was over 70 accounts that are known only to the Nye County commissioners, I wonder what funds those accounts and what those are used for.”
Lackey said he’s concerned about what’s happening on Blagg Road and claimed raw sewage was going into the Pahrump aquifer.
A native of Glen Falls, N.Y. who lived in Southern California before moving to Pahrump eight years ago, Lackey formerly ran a business called Wired 4 Sound LLC, he also was a technician at RV Superstore.
Lackey said he’s presently making a living doing side jobs, but he plans to open a factory in town producing sun-tracking platforms for solar panels called Sun Lackey Systems.
When Lackey was interviewed by the Pahrump Valley Times in 2010, he was openly carrying a Colt Mustang .380-caliber pistol tucked in his belt.
He said, “I’m not really carrying a gun openly these days, the way the police are around here, like what happened in Vegas, cops gun a guy down to death because he had a gun on.”
Lackey will be a delegate to the county Republican Party convention in Tonopah this weekend, he is an enthusiastic Ron Paul supporter. He advocated term limits.
“If you want to clean up a government, never, ever, re-elect anybody in the first term. They learn the ins and outs of it and after that they’re building a garage and not getting a building permit on it, like Gary Hollis. They just throw it in your face and people take it,” Lackey said.
Cox ran for District 4 county commissioner in 2010, where she tallied 249 votes, finishing last in an election more well known for a card drawing to settle a tie between incumbent Butch Borasky and Carl Moore Sr. who each had 381 votes.
Cox grew up in Las Vegas and was appointed to the Whitney Town Board in East Las Vegas by Clark County Commissioners. In 1988, Don and Donna Cox moved to Pahrump and opened D and C Maintenance and Painting. They later left Pahrump to work in St. George, Utah and Mesquite, but returned in 2008.
“My platform and everything is still the same, except now we have some additional problems we need to address since the years have passed, like Blagg Road, and seeing that’s completed,” Cox said. “I suspect it may be an ongoing problem for some time. Now as it stands, the county has some $4.5 million in debt to repair that. It’s our job to make sure they pay it back.”
Cox was the sole named plaintiff for much of the time the CCSC had a lawsuit pending against the federal detention center. She feels it’s not a complete loss, the detention center opened on schedule and the CCSC lost a case filed against Corrections Corporation of America and Nye County, though a case is still pending against the Office of the Federal Detention Trustee over the noticing requirements.
She’s sending out letters to people living within a mile of the detention center in an attempt to add plaintiffs to the suit.
Cox feels if they don’t keep up the heat, more correctional facilities could come to Pahrump.
“The way that prison is set on that property, they could probably bring two to three more prisons on that property,” Cox said. She blamed the detention center for the Blagg Road problem. “Now we have a $4.5 million liability over here caused by the utility company we wouldn’t have if the prison had not come in.”
Cox said property owners near the detention center, like Butch and Kim Clendennen, won’t receive anything for their investment.
While there haven’t been any uprisings, riots, escapes or reports of disturbances, Cox said that isn’t a guarantee.
“It’s not a matter of if there could be a riot and a disturbance, it’s a matter of when. It’s a big cloud hanging over Pahrump. Pahrump will no longer be the same when it sits there,” she said. “If we could shut that down and turn it into a good use for the community, this may not be possible, but I could see that it could be seized by eminent domain.”
Cox is chairman of the Pahrump Boundary Line Advisory Board, a group researching whether to divide up Nye County.
She belongs to the Oath Keepers Group, and is a big advocate for wild horses. Cox said she and her husband live in a $210,000 motor home parked at the CCSC offices on Emery Street, where they do a Neighborhood Watch for area businesses.
Will she have a chance at winning this time? Cox said she’s the experienced person in the District 3 race.
“I looked at everybody else’s background, I have 40 years of political background. I’ve always been out there for the poor person. I’ve never had a paying job in politics, I was the underdog in the community, trying to get better things for the community and I was very successful at doing that in Clark County. We haven’t had a lot of success in Nye County and I would like to see those things succeed,” Cox said.
Cox wants to see a better Pahrump Senior Center. She would like to see some beautification and downtown development in her district.
“My main goal in this whole election is transparency. I want people to be able to come and have a voice. I would even like them to move the meetings back to the evening, where the working man can come because without a voice of the people we cannot fully do our jobs,” Cox said.
“It just appears they already had their meetings behind closed doors or they’ve been told how to vote.”