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Recall effort targets Amargosa town board member

A recall drive targeting Amargosa Valley Town Board member John Bosta will likely be submitted to the county clerk by the Oct. 8, 90-day petition deadline.

Nye County Clerk Sam Merlino said the organizers only need 88 valid signatures to ask for a special recall election, one-fourth of the voters in Amargosa Valley who went to the polls in the last election. Bosta was elected in November 2012, polling 185 votes, or 13.79 percent, to finish fifth.

Bosta was one of the organizers of a petition asking to upgrade the Amargosa Valley town board from advisory board status to an elected town board. Prior to November 2012 Amargosa Valley residents voted on town board members by paper ballots, but county commissioners made the appointments; the town also needed approval from the county commission to spend money and couldn’t pass their own ordinances.

Ken Pitarre, Ed Munton and Michael Weitman signed the notice of intent to recall Bosta on July 8, starting the 90-day period to circulate petitions. After petitions are submitted, Merlino will have up to four days to conduct a raw count of signatures. If that number is sufficient, the secretary of state will be contacted. The county clerk’s office will have 10 to 20 days after that to call a special election, which will take place 30 days after it’s called according to state law.

If organizers have enough valid signatures, Merlino expects a recall election could be held in December. She has already received approval from the secretary of state to hold a mail-in election to save money, though a machine will have to be set up at the town office for early voting.

Pitarre wouldn’t disclose how many signatures they already have on the recall petitions or the exact reasons for the recall.

“Basically I can tell you he hasn’t done the job the way the job has to be done. We’ve asked him on more than one occasion to alter the way he does things and he refuses to do so,” Pitarre said, describing himself as a local businessman.

But he admitted Bosta’s sole advocacy on behalf of certain issues, like persuading the governor’s office to hand over appointments to vacancies to the county commission, has “got most everything to do with it.”

“They threw it back in the county’s lap, which is what we were trying to avoid by becoming a township,” Pitarre said.

“We’re trying to make people aware we’re a serious contender for some businesses. You can’t do that when people act like a fool,” he said. “It’s just incompetence. He didn’t do what he was elected to do, a job which he hasn’t done. In place of that job, he’s run off in little tangents of his own.”

Earlier this month Bosta spoke about the shortfalls of a state assembly bill on water, before a joint meeting of the Nye County Commission and Nye County Water District Board.

After he challenged the governor on the state’s policy over making appointments, Bosta said Pitarre threatened to recall him. But Pitarre had to wait until he was in office six months, a period that ended in July.

“At the town board meeting, Ken Pitarre told me I was not representing the best interests of the community,” Bosta said.

Munton’s wife approached him twice and said he should stop arguing with fellow board members like chairman Doc McNeely and “just go with the flow,” Bosta said.

An active town resident even before he took office, Bosta defended his advocacy, such as deciding the town’s assets with its new status.

“It’s like when the county wanted to take and parcel the property where the library and the community center is. I went to commissioners and asked the question, how do you parcel something you don’t own?” Bosta asked.

He was asked by the Amargosa Valley town board to look into getting crosswalks for the school, something Nye County Public Works Director Dave Fanning is looking into. He was told to ask about turnout lanes at Valley View Road and Highway 373, something that will be considered in the next fiscal year.

Bosta said he’s never seen the recall petitions nor have many other town residents. But he added, “if people don’t like me because I want the town and community to follow the law, if that’s a reason for recalling me, then people put me in the office, they also have a right to take me out of the office.”

“He (Pitarre) told me I was going against the wishes of the developers, whoever they are, and the investors, whoever they are. I can’t deal with bogeyman comments. He told me his collection of investors were going to bring money to the valley. It’s never occurred,” Bosta said.

By contrast, the town now has a good company, First Solar, that is interested in building a photovoltaic solar plant, he said.

Under public comment at a special meeting of the Amargosa Valley Town Board Sept. 12, Pat Minshall said she didn’t particularly care for Bosta but didn’t think he should be recalled. She referred to the fact there were only six candidates for the five positions on the newly-empowered town board in the last election.

“These gentlemen work very, very hard and it’s a very unappreciated job. There wasn’t a stampede of people vying for these seats,” Minshall said.

“Before he goes to the commissioners, governor, attorney general, the president or the pope, the town board thinks he should go to the people,” Minshall said of Bosta. But she added, “I will absolutely not sign a petition against him. He is a valuable person to this board, he’s very intelligent, he works hard. He knows a heck of a lot of stuff, he probably knows more about the NRS (Nevada Revised Statutes) than anybody in this room. He asks a lot of questions and he’s willing to look for the answers.”

Minshall said a lot of people who signed the recall petition don’t even come to the town board meetings.

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