Congratulations to all those newly elected officials in Nye County, particularly those serving in office for the first time.
Tuesday must have been a magical experience, one no one can ever take away.
Congratulations to new Assemblyman James Oscarson, District Judge Kimberly Wanker, commissioners Frank Carbone and Donna Cox, Justice of the Peace Ron Kent, town board members Bill Dolan and Amy Riches. Pete Goicoechea, though an old hand in a political sense, should also make a fine state senator.
While we certainly will disagree at times over the policies you folks support or choose not to support, we will always appreciate your service to your community.
It takes a lot of guts to do what you’ve done. It isn’t easy and at times can even be thankless, but someone has to step into the breach and you have chosen to do just that.
Hopefully you will use your new-found authority to achieve meaningful results for your neighbors and for your community.
Do your homework and never be afraid to seek advice from more than your political supporters.
Again, congratulations, now don’t mess up, because we’re all counting on you.
Ballot Question #2
For those of you who follow this page, you will know that I am no fan of ballot question #2, which passed on Tuesday by barely a 1 percent margin. It was a squeaker if I’ve ever seen one.
I disagreed that this question, which essentially turns Pahrump’s independent town board into an advisory board, was necessary. Frankly, I’m not at all certain why this ballot question was ever placed. Sadly, the commissioners who voted to move this forward didn’t really feel like sharing their feelings with the public on the matter; “let the voters decide” was their kind of cowardly mantra. Sure, let uninformed voters decide without giving them a clue how their own elected leaders really feel and why they feel that way; seems like poor leadership to me and a recipe for failure.
Well, we are discovering that indeed there seems to be a lot of misunderstanding about what Question #2’s passage really means. The ballot question even talked about duplication of services and other reasons for passing the item that didn’t make sense before the election and doesn’t make sense now. The whole thing is in court, too, which adds a costly layer of frustration for all involved, especially the taxpayer who is paying for the legal drama.
I think county commissioners need to act fast to resolve this, tell the public their true intentions with this question and let’s all move forward. Where’s the fire department going? Anywhere? Does Bill Kohbarger have a future in Pahrump? Will the town board still function as an independent board for the next two years, really? Why? I frankly worry that real damage can be done over the next two years by those spiteful about the passage of this item (I’m pretty cynical that way). Are there ways to mitigate that potentiality that need consideration?
If what I keep hearing from some officials, that not much is really going to change, except that the commission will have the last word on town spending, then why the drastic step of a ballot question. The lack of communication between board members and commissioners could have alleviated those concerns — all of you could and should be on the same page, but because you’re not willing to work together, I feel like the community will pay the price for it.
That’s sad and totally unnecessary.
Front Sight and Don Holbrook
I really, really can’t wait to write this story. I feel like I over promised and under delivered this week because I couldn’t get this into the paper.
Oh, but we will.
Today, county commissioners will consider a suspicious plan to spend $63,000 in taxpayer money — the town of Pahrump is being asked to kick in an additional $63,000 — helping gun nut paradise Front Sight develop some cockeyed “private public” partnership where we spend taxpayer money so Front Sight’s owners and their politically connected consultants and buddies can earn a paycheck by lobbying the legislature for what amounts to a sales tax improvement district.
See, Front Sight got this bright idea, we suspect, from a certain bankrupt “economic developer,” that they could finance a new development (tourism, retail, housing, who knows, it’s unclear) by creating an improvement district and adding a sales tax hike to pay back the bond they would need to take out to finance said project. Of course, this is only necessary when other serious investors pass on your idea.
So, developers who can’t get financing from any other place start scheming, usually with said bankrupt economic developers and politically juiced-in former politicians/consultants (this is particularly popular in Southern Nevada). This sort of scheming often ends up lining people’s pockets without delivering jack squat to the public.
When you really think about it, these folks have the gall to ask a poor county and town like ours to fork over hard earned cash so that they can razzle-dazzle some big wigs in Carson City, and pretend to be developing something that likely has zero chance of ever being built, and if it does, by some miracle from heaven, guess what, it ain’t sending any money this way.
Consider this, a 2010 University of Nevada Reno grad student wrote his masters thesis on STAR bonds used to develop retail malls in Sparks and Reno. I haven’t digested all of his findings yet, but he makes the case that sales tax districts are inherently unstable (sales fluctuate too wildly to say exactly how much revenue you can deliver); the process of creating the districts generally reveal an undemocratic process (voters have no say in its creation) that tends to favor private interests over public ones (that’s a sin); also, the only model where sales tax works at all is a retail model, which gives you a clue about what would be built first at Front Sight — stores to sell things to customers.
Well, what impact would that have on Pahrump? No one can say, or if they are saying it, it ain’t worth the paper it’s written on. Front Sight is not inside Pahrump, so spending our tax dollars to develop something that probably won’t impact us, except by stealing our own customers away from local businesses, makes no sense — unless the people who approve such a cockamamie idea are on the take.
Dear commissioners, don’t pass this thing. It smells funny.
Before I forget, town board members and beloved town manager, this theme park idea of yours sure does seem to dovetail real nicely with this whole Front Sight idea, there’s even that familiar bankrupt economic developer.
Makes you go hmmm. Stay tuned.