From time to time, my topics in this space have been challenged as being “soft” or “weak.”
I understand these criticisms. Some people want a “hard-hitting” column every week. Others understand that I like to write about historical topics and personal matters.
But if I am not strong enough for you every week, then maybe you have not read my columns where I have sided against Nye County officials who want to bring a nuclear dump to our county to engorge the county coffers.
If you believe the five “leaders” who meet in Pahrump every couple of weeks, they speak for “all” of Nye County and want a waste site at Yucca Mountain. They do not speak for me and I have voiced my opinion against them.
Need another example?
Along comes a headline in a recent Pahrump Valley Times which declared “Cliven Bundy and Nye County vs. BLM.”
It made me want to puke.
In the past, I have written for and against Nye County federal land-challengers Dick Carver and Wayne Hage. Sometimes I felt their criticism (an even lawsuits) against the feds were justified.
Sometime I disagreed.
But I cannot find a single ounce of sympathy for Cliven Bundy. He broke and continues to break the law. And he stands as a single pimple on the earth of law-abiding citizens who pay their grazing fees and work with federal agencies—sometimes contentious, but with reason and moxy, not with rifles and militiamen at their backs.
But Nye County, largely through commissioner Donna Cox, wants to take on the feds and use Bundy as their mouthpiece. We have five commissioners and if we oppose their actions there is always the ballot box to replace them during the next election cycle.
But until that election they believe they speak for “us,” you and me.
I wonder where some were when the public lands committee met at the Tonopah Convention Center.
Commissioner Lorinda Wichman was there as were representatives of federal agencies.
The feds took some very harsh questions from the senators, assemblymen and a Clark County commissioner. I thought all parties acted professionally and held up very well.
But Ms. Cox knows what is best for central Nevada lands. She knows the state can manage the lands better than the federal government. Better than a federal government which is not always right. But which has a system in place and history on the ground.
Turn it over to the state? Most knowledgeable people know that would be a financial if not bureaucratic disaster.
It sounds great as a political sound bite. But find me some state officials who have limited budgets to start with and people like Ms. Cox want them to take on a multitude of tasks, real and financial, to manage these lands.
Good ol’ Cliven was pictured on the front page of the PVT with his son, faithful dogs and some cows in the background. But this guy is not the poster child for land management which Ms. Cox and others would like portrayed in Nevada media. After all, this is the guy whose fight with the feds went up in flames when his inflammatory racist comments saw the light of day.
So as always has been the case, I would like to see our local representatives stick to local subjects—and don’t tell me that the state taking over millions of acres of federal lands is a local issue.
Like a dog chasing a car, once the likes of Ms. Cox get to control the federal lands, what are they going to do with it?
Yell HELP! Hope someone comes to the rescue.
I have listened to reasoned opinions by locals like the Fallinis and the Cliffords. They have had and will continue to have issues with the feds.
But if you could put together a county commission with understanding of federal and state land issues it might contain Joe Fallini, a member of the Clifford family, a member of the Kretschmer family, Tonopah town manager James Eason and somebody from the public who understands the issues/maybe an ex-BLM, forest service or wildlife department official. Then the vitriolic rhetoric, guns and militiamen might go to the back burner.
But I am not an idiot. It never happened during the time of Wayne Hage or during the time of Dick Carver. It will never happen as long as federal agencies and local ranchers remain adversaries in the process.
But ask yourself this—did state law prevail for the Fallinis recently?
Has federal law come down on behalf of Carver and Hage in some lawsuits?
Are there not better people than Donna Cox and the other four great minds to decide central Nevada’s fate?
Not too “soft” I hope.
Bill Roberts’ family were the long-time owners of the Tonopah Times-Bonanza &Goldfield News, where he continues to report and write a weekly column.