Another nice attempt at economic development doomed by lack of government transparency.
At least that’s what I saw the other day when the Pahrump Town Board unanimously approved inviting organizers of a regional Burning Man to our lovely, and as yet unutilized, fairgrounds space.
I like the concept. Never mind all the naysayers on our website — complaints of drugs and homosexuality run amok are preposterous.
I don’t have any problem with the event. What I have a problem with is that it was sprung on the citizenry in the manner with which it was, by Harley World insider Harley Kulkin and I suspect Town Manager Bill Kohbarger, whose penchant for state secrets is well known to this newspaper.
Once again, these town leaders have shot themselves in the foot by devising a project behind the scenes, with no input from the public or even the town’s own advisory boards. Advisory boards are designed to act like a filter, studying the merits of various projects, deciding how and when and with what resources they should be developed and then providing recommendations to the town board. Advisory boards answer obvious questions and tie up loose ends so that the town isn’t embarrassed by rushing full speed, headlong into a disaster a la Growponics, Harley World and the myriad other failures and near-failures that have plagued poor Pahrump for millennia.
Did anybody bother to get more than two opinions about this event? Nope, at least as far as I can tell.
That’s shoddy governance and that is exactly why the end is “Nye” for the independent Pahrump Town Board. And that’s sad. Secrecy has its costs — this town board has created every enemy it has encountered the last few years by its own attempts to move its agenda forward without bothering to flesh said agenda out with anyone but themselves and a few behind-the-scenes business interests.
I tire of it, and the majority of voters in November certainly expressed their exasperation with it, too. Burning Man should be an adult conversation, not another PR nightmare for our town.
That said, I like the willingness to experiment with new events. If Burning Man comes here on Memorial Day weekend, I am all for it. Finally, something new.
Let’s not stop there. A few weeks ago I advocated attempting to lure a Tough Mudder event here. That fell through. But there are others to go after. Boulder City is hosting a Devil Dash 5k obstacle course event March 22-23. Why can’t we get something similar? How about a Warrior Dash? How about an extreme sports event, BMX competition, skateboarding contest? How about a huge, annual concert, like a Lollapalooza or a Coachella? We have the space, promoters do the bulk of the work. How about biker rallies and roller derbies and cross-country car races and monster truck competitions and big time rodeos and air shows? Where are all these events?
Is there not a tourism board and a taste for developing more activities like these? Of course, there is.
So, what’s the deal? Well, it appears town officials are their own worst enemy. And more stunts like this Burning Man event, success or not, just anger residents even more.
PAHRUMP GRAND JURIES
Trending on the local wackadoodle front these days is the notion that a grand jury needs to be empaneled in Nye County, ostensibly to ferret out government corruption.
Unfortunately, the folks asking for this don’t seem to understand what a grand jury does or how one is even constituted in the first place.
My favorite perennial candidate for public office, former Chicago bar owner Louis J. DeCanio the J is for Justice! recently went before the county commission seeking support for appointing such a grand jury. He believes that such a group should be formed to investigate public officials.
Of course, grand juries are generally only formed by judges at the behest of prosecutors — and sometimes the governor or legislators — who want to get indictments in cases where certain evidentiary limitations exist. Voters can petition to empanel a grand jury but ONLY after evidence corroborating claims of misuse of public resources is offered and only after 25 percent of registered voters who cast ballots in the last election give up their John Hancocks to such an idea.
I don’t think any of that is likely, particularly the part about providing evidence. The town’s wackadoodle contingent talks a good game, but when it comes to delivering the goods, they are more hot air and bravado than substance.
Besides, I think we already have two groups who perform this investigative function quite nicely — the sheriff’s department and the district attorney’s office.
A grand jury, particularly one whose members dare included members of this wacky contingent would be a farce from the get-go. I don’t know why these people feel the need to keep embarrassing this community with talk of corruption and what not when in fact if you ask any of them to produce one scintilla of evidence to support their claims of government corruption they can’t seem to produce a shred of proof. And in fact, their embrace of far-right conspiracies like Agenda 21 and their willingness to allow people like P.J. Helfrich, a mentally-challenged murder suspect, into their tinfoil clique, is proof positive that no one from this group is to be trusted with anything — and yet a few are holding public office right at this moment, to the ultimate detriment of the community in my opinion.
One only has to listen to KPAH radio, that local Internet bastion of conspiratorial drivel or see failed arsonist Anthony Greco driving around in his “Casino Dealer/Trigger Man Corruption Mobile” to know exactly who the fringe element is and what they stand for. I just wish instead of corruption this group focused on something really worthwhile, like beautification, instead of their guns and their Constitutional rights nobody wants to take either away from any of them , these folks concentrate on improving education, or curing poverty, or feeding the elderly, or caring for homeless animals. Instead they want us all to believe that they are the frontline defense against threats from public officials to our freedoms, when in fact they look more like the goose steppers who if given the chance would use something like a grand jury to TAKE AWAY our freedom.
That’s just my opinion.
Lest anyone misunderstand, I love our wackadoodles. Without them, this newspaper wouldn’t have so many great stories to report — no citizen’s arrests of town board members, no gun rallies in the heart of town, no admitted racists in public office, no Agenda 21 on the county’s agenda, etc.
Mesquite, Boulder City, Elko editors … eat your hearts out.