By Mark Waite
A blast of robocalls went out to numerous residents Monday afternoon, advising them to be at the Pahrump Regional Planning Commission meeting at 6 p.m. today to protest an application by Rene Morales to open a landfill on East Simkins Road.
The robocalls, an automated telephone message, are of a woman’s voice warning that Morales wants to import toxic waste from Las Vegas. It adds that Morales wants to ship 3,100 truckloads per month.
The Pahrump Valley Times was unable to discover the source of the robocalls or whether the information was even accurate. The Morales application was tabled at the Dec. 11, 2012 RPC meeting.
RPC member Bob King said that after talking with Planning Director Steve Osborne the plan is to ask for a continuance on Morales’ application for 60 days until he can put together a presentation on how they’re going to build the landfill, with more specifics on design. That came at the request of the district attorney, King said.
Morales has a concrete batch plant and metal recycling yard at the site. He said there is also a large hole in the ground where he wants to put material that can’t be recycled.
King was concerned there weren’t controls on the application to prevent him from importing waste from Las Vegas.
Frank Incopero, a resident of Mayfield Ranch Estates subdivision, which is near the proposed landfill but on the other side of Highway 160, wrote a protest letter to the RPC. Incopero said he didn’t hear about the proposal until an article appeared in the newspaper about the December RPC meeting. Incopero said people came to his door distributing fliers opposing the project, warning about a drop in property values.
The fliers read: “We will have massive trucks hauling trash from Vegas and California on 160 turning up Simkins. The noise, odor and safety for our families is just a few of the consequences if Morales is allowed to proceed. If you read the newspaper recently you saw where Morales filled the Pahrump Regional Planning Commission meeting with non-English speaking employees with buttons saying they are for the dump. Doesn’t that sound reminiscent of how they got the prison so close to town and our neighborhood?”
There was an ethnic element in the discussion last month; a few Hispanic businessmen came out in support of the application. A Spanish language television reporter from Las Vegas covered the meeting as well. Las Vegas TV reporters are supposedly going to attend tonight’s meeting as well.
Incopero said he doesn’t know the source of the robocalls but is happy they went out.
“I don’t care who it is, Hispanics, Germans, Irish, Italians, I don’t want a friggin’ dump in my backyard,” Incopero said.
John Shea, owner of Pahrump Valley Disposal, said he had no knowledge of the robocalls.
The landfill will be among a number of hot topics the RPC will consider. The Morales application is scheduled after a debate on whether to revoke Karl Mitchell’s conditional use permit for an animal sanctuary. It comes before another hearing on the expansion of Two Brothers Junkyard in Johnnie and an application by a company that wants to build a four-story, 160-unit assisted living center at 780 W. Gamebird Rd.
Andy Alberti, who used robocalls to promote his political campaigns, said it cost him $100 up front and then two cents per call, with a minimum of 5,000 calls required.
Robocalls were used frequently during the 2012 election campaign, urging people to vote for a candidate, often irritating people during prime time when they’re having dinner.