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FROM THE EDITOR: Moving time, and my land issues education

I barely had time to unpack.

The Pahrump Valley Times is moving offices this weekend, leaving its home of decades on East Calvada Boulevard and moving to the cozy, refurbished digs at 1570 E. Highway 372. You may recognize the address as the Pahrump Mirror offices a block west of Highway 160 behind the Bank of America.

Times’ parent company Stephens Media acquired the building a couple of months ago, and the Mirror came with the deal. The Mirror will continue to be located there, but the Times will move its entire editorial and business operations to the building. It is going to be a tight fit but the building is ours. That is important because we will no longer be financially saddled with yearly rent payments that took a big chunk from the bottom line.

The building purchase shows Stephens Media, which also owns the Las Vegas Review-Journal and many other publications, is committed long-term to the Pahrump Valley Times. In the past few years, the company has sold its rural Nevada newspapers in Mesquite, Lincoln County, and Ely, to name a few. But while the Arkansas-based company is divesting much of its rural Silver State holdings, it is investing here with the building purchase and refurbishment.

While the Mirror and the Times will occupy the same real estate, they will continue to operate independent from our editorial influence with their own editor and news staff.

One of the downsides of the move is the Times will no longer be located a short walking distance from the county building where the various county boards meet. So instead of a leasurely stroll to the meetings, it will now be a short drive.

Come Monday, the Pahrump Valley Times will have a new address that we plan to occupy for the next few decades. And a healthier bottom line that will make that possibility more likely.

My land issues education

One of the issues I am learning people in Pahrump are passionate about is land with a deep desire to have the federal government leave it alone.

Late Wednesday, the Bureau of Land Management postponed a meeting scheduled the next night at the Bob Ruud Community Center to discuss the “Las Vegas-Pahrump Resource Management Plan.” In Boulder City at the time the 7:30 p.m. announcement was made, I cut-and-pasted the email and placed it on the newspaper’s Facebook page and Tweeted the information.

First, the Bureau misspelled the town by writing “Parhump” in the press release.

Second, the comments immediately started coming in questioning the validity of the information I posted, and if it was a ploy by the feds to either push the issue past the public, or trick the public into not showing up and hold the meeting anyway.

A poster on our Facebook page said as much.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the BLM showed up anyway, claimed that it wasn’t canceled, and said ‘well, there’s no public comment, so we’re going ahead!’”

At the center of the dispute is what critics claim is a move by BLM to remove 3.1 million acres of public land and restrict it from recreational use. The issue is too complicated to get into here, so I would suggest a read of Times reporter Mark Waite’s front page story on the issue from Wednesday’s newspaper.

Some critics are connecting BLM’s plan to something called “Agenda 21,” a United Nations action plan for sustainable development that non-binding and voluntary. It was originally developed in Brazil in 1992 with the stated goal of helping the environment. This is where the “Think globally, act locally” catch-phrase was born.

Agenda 21 has been dismissed by mainstream media, most recently with the monthly magazine The Atlantic terming it a “wacky conspiracy theory.” I’m not saying all critics of the BLM plan are seizing on Agenda 21, but enough are for me to take notice.

Plus, we are not too far removed from the sheriff’s race where United Nations treaties became a hot-button moment in a debate.

In the following 22 years, opposition to Agenda 21 in the United States, who is a signatory country on the non-binding plan, has been seized by the growing property rights movement led by conservative Republicans.

The basic belief is that Agenda 21 is a conspiracy by the United Nations to deprive individuals of property rights. So when the BLM rolls into Pahrump with a plan that talks about a revised resource management plan for 3.1 million acres of public land that has already been criticized for creating 20 more Areas of Critical Environmental Concern, it is not hard to see critics make a connection.

While the BLM claims the plan is a guide for how to manage public lands over the next 20 years for a V-shaped area that includes Nye County as far north as Beatty, down to Laughlin, then up to Mesquite, critics want nothing of this plan.

So for now, the outcry in Pahrump has been so loud that the feds have decided that they needed a bigger room than what Ruud could provide. That room was big enough to hold a debate last month, but I guess this issue demands a bigger stage.

Arnold M. Knightly is the editor of the Pahrump Valley Times. Find him on Twitter: @KnightlyGrind.

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