By Selwyn Harris
Pahrump town board members delved into a fairly light agenda during their regular meeting last Tuesday evening.
The first item of business had the board discussing the approval of non-financial support in commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.
Town Board Manager Bill Kohbarger said a local veteran recently approached town officials about lending their support to the agenda item.
“Mr. Jose Tellas came to us and requested that the town write a support letter on behalf of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War to try and get a military jet flyover for the town from Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas,” he said.
In the town’s backup material, Tellas wrote that on Jan. 12, 1962, helicopters flown by U.S. Army pilots ferried 1,000 South Vietnamese soldiers to sweep a National Liberation Front near Saigon.
“Operation Chopper marked America’s first combat mission against the Vietcong. It was the start of one of our longest wars and most challenging war,” he said.
The Vietnam War officially ended on April 30, 1975, when North Vietnamese troops captured Saigon.
Tellas noted that when U.S. troops arrived home after the war, many were treated as second class citizens due to the nation’s negative image of the conflict.
“There were no parades, no homecomings or celebrations, and no welcome home. The Vietnam War was military men going to war of all different backgrounds and coming together to complete a daunting mission. It is the story of patriots who braved the battle and kept themselves in harm’s way for America. They fought hour after hour, day after day, to preserve the freedom we have today,” he said.
Tellas went on to tell the board that Pahrump has a large veteran population and they deserve the respect and recognition which was not afforded to them at the time.
“I’m here to ask for permission to use the town’s name for support of the 50th commemoration of the war so that the community will see that our town is behind the celebration to welcome home our Vietnam veterans here in Pahrump,” he said.
Following a brief discussion, all four board members approved creating a resolution for non-financial support for the item.
Changes on how agenda items will be requested for review by the board was also discussed.
At present, individuals have 10-business days to submit an agenda item.
Board member Mike Darby now wants agenda requests and backup materials to arrive at the town office by 3 p.m., three business days before the preceding town board meeting.
Town Board Chair Vicky Parker said she doesn’t think the change is necessary.
“I don’t understand that one because we have to post agendas three days ahead of time by 9 o’clock in the morning, so I don’t understand how you can be putting in an agenda item on after it’s already past the timeline it has to be posted. I like it the way that it is because the reason we went this way was that we had problems with people putting things on it at the last minute because they didn’t have time to run them past legal or staff. What would happen is a lot of items end up getting pulled. I think it’s reasonable to get them on in time for staff or legal to go over them,” she said.
Darby explained to the board his reasoning for requesting the change.
“This actually has turned into more of a hindrance to get items placed on the agenda. It hasn’t been of any benefit to the board, so I’m making the suggestion that we revert back to the original three days,” he said.
Waters said he agreed with some of the issues Darby addressed, but he would still like to see the board reach an agreement on the time frame for agenda items to be submitted.
In the end, board members voted unanimously to require that agenda items and backup materials must be submitted to the town office by 3 p.m., five business days before the preceding town board meeting.
The board also discussed funding for the annual Pahrump Town Cleanup, which went off last Saturday.
The Pahrump Nuclear Waste and Environmental Advisory Board PNWEAB had requested $2,500 for the community-wide event scheduled for May 12.
Kohbarger, who took part in the event, said providing the funds made sense since the town was the ultimate beneficiary.
“It’s for a good cause. This will be my fourth year. People can bring their kids, spouses, and neighbors and help clean up this beautiful community,” he said several days before the event.
PNWEAB Chairman John Pawlak told board members that the effort was going to focus more on community neighborhoods. The board eventually voted 4-0 to fund the project.
It was the 12th year the event has taken place.