Revelers wore funny hats, blew noisy horns and threw confetti to ring in the New Year at midnight Wednesday.
It was so long to 2013 and let’s all hope 2014 is better.
Being an odd-numbered year, there were no elections in 2013, only the biennial Nevada legislative session. This year our two new state representatives — political neophyte Assemblyman James Oscarson, R-Pahrump and veteran State Sen. Pete Goicoechea, R-Eureka — mostly voted the conservative line. They voted down gay marriage and background checks for guns, but Goicoechea seemed to be more practical in dissenting with Oscarson in favor of the medical marijuana bill and granting illegal aliens driver licenses.
After the 120-day state legislative session ended, with another huge overload of 1,272 bill draft requests, local exotic animal owners were spared from most portions of a bill that would have severely restricted ownership. Valley Electric Association escaped being placed under regulation of the Nevada Public Utilities Commission, but only by the signature of Gov. Brian Sandoval who vetoed the bill passed by the Legislature that would’ve allowed more transparency.
On the federal front, Obamacare is starting up in 2014. The act should benefit many, lower-income Nye County residents though it’s hard to imagine many anti-government Pahrumpians will sign up.
An even-numbered year means the upcoming 2014 elections and all the ensuing, political games. The candidates for both fifth district court judge positions will file starting January 6. In March, the two-week filing period begins for non-judicial races. Who’s running? Who isn’t? Who’s supporting who? If past elections are a guide, some candidates will jump out of the chute early and announce, others will sit back and see who else files. Sometimes candidates appear on the ballot then change their minds afterwards, others wait until the last day to file.
All countywide elected officials — sheriff, assessor, treasurer, district attorney, recorder, clerk and public administrator — will be up for office in 2014 guaranteeing a barn burner of an election. There’s reports as many as 13 people are interested in running for sheriff, to replace Tony DeMeo.
The face-off between Pahrump Town Board member Bill Dolan and County Commissioner Dan Schinhofen for county commissioner of district five will be an interesting race, candidates haven’t announced they’ll run against County Commission Chairman Butch Borasky yet, but they will most likely emerge out of the woodwork. Oscarson’s two-year term expires next year and also the two-year term of our new freshman congressman, U.S. Rep. Steven Horsford, D-North Las Vegas, who was conspicuosly absent from the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner at the Pahrump Nugget, Nye County Democrats’ biggest event of the year.
There will be lengthy candidate nights in the 2014 campaign, when the hopefuls will speak at functions organized by political parties and civic groups. Candidates will also have to file contribution and expense reports, unfortunately some list donors that are obscure limited liability corporations.
The primary election June 10 will mercifully narrow the field of candidates, the general election will be over Nov. 4, along with all the political ads and the robocalls that bother us while we’re trying to eat dinner.
But there are some things to look forward to in 2014. Hopefully Utilities Inc. of Central Nevada will proceed with cleaning up Willow Creek Golf Course and they will unveil a phase two plan for even bringing some amenities to that long-unoccupied community eyesore.
On the development front, we can probably look forward to a new hotel, a Holiday Inn Express, which will provide badly needed hotel rooms, especially on busy weekends. Names being tossed around in the near future include a Big Five Sporting Goods store.
Bright, shiny, new cabs mark the start up of cab service by Integrity Taxi, run by an established Las Vegas transportation company. That will be a godsend to people who lack transportation.
SolarReserve should finish constructing Nye County’s first solar plant near Tonopah in the near future. First Solar expects to start construction of a 65-megawatt plant in Amargosa Valley, where Solar Millennium had plans. If the U.S. Bureau of Land Management doesn’t block the way, hopefully more solar projects will be grabbing the sun’s energy.
We’ll be waiting to see what happens with the Mountain View Casino, everyone has been titillated by the sign announcing Terrible’s is coming soon, but no plans are being divulged.
Most of all, we hope the unemployment rate keeps going down, the stock market keeps going up, home values go up some more and the rat-a-tat-tat of construction hammers once again reverberates in Pahrump as crews get back to work building houses.
Back to politics, the water issue and a county bill to restrict parceling of lots to five acres or above in single-family residential neighborhoods could arouse a firestorm of controversy.
Maybe in 2014 we’ll see the safety evaluation for Yucca Mountain released. We’ll also be waiting to see the results of the Nevada Supreme Court case over the November 2012 ballot question to get rid of the elected Pahrump town board; if it’s not overturned, expect to see a lot of harsh words from the town board.
Whatever 2014 portends, like the start of every year, all people can do is hold their head up and try to be optimistic.