The Las Vegas Citizen
Ann Reynolds, editor... Sam Dehne, publisher
No More Gambling Permits 4 August, 1997
The County Commission will either approve it, disapprove it, or put it on the ballot. But be aware that some vital facets of this issue have already been decided on. We WILL finance growth with this SNWA project, that has been decided by a committee made up of developers, casino owners, un-elected officials and citizens. I know of at least one of the citizens on the board who came here to retire. This gentleman assured me that there is no chance of the residents of this valley ever stoping gambling, as though that had always been the case, and always will be. You don't want to stop the growth, he told me, because then the property owners will be stuck with the debt load.
Haven't we come in a circle here? If the taxpayers are expected to finance the growth, then why isn't the growth being managed in a way that best uses the area resources, instead of in a way that is most likely to attract more resident gamblers? And when it comes to accountability, who are these people that decided that we not only have to repair the aging water system controls, which is reasonable, but at the same time we must finance water systems that serve the valley periphery?
And taxing the gambling industry is still out of the question? It is not. The argument that I have heard for not taxing gambling is that the smaller operators couldn't afford the tax, so let's stop granting gambling permits until the demand for slot machines makes all operators able to afford the tax, and then let's tax them. The residents of this valley can't afford to subsidize corporate wealth at the expense of the valley's natural resources.
And as for the huge debt, if it is mandatory (and I don't understand how this "committee" can decide that it is mandatory) that we finance a huge debt like this to build a system that will implode in 15 years due to a "market adjustment", then in 1999, we can pass a tax on the gambling business to pay for it. The thing to do now is to stop issuing gambling permits so that all those small operators can afford to pay it. This will raise connection fees, and slow the growth, and give the public access to the biggest drain on local resources, which is out-of-state corporate gaming that is directed at the wealth of our resident families. Ann Reynolds
Think twice 1 August, 1997
Controlling growth in the Las Vegas Valley is a lifetime effort, it isn't something that we are going to accomplish in one legislative session, or one sales tax issue. One point that Pat Mulroy brought up at Commissioner Malone's excellent meeting on the sales tax increase is that this is the first time that a major water treatment revision has been staged without federal funding. Another point that she brought up is that the federal government funded the one that we have, and if that hadn't happened, then we probably wouldn't have had the water capacity that we have right now.
It's time to stop and think hard. This project has been planned by the forces in this valley that will profit from the growth. Once the financing is in place for this project, it is the debt load that we will be paying for. And if we force the growth down by increasing the connection fees instead of an alternative such as the sales tax, then we will have fewer connection fees, and the slack will be taken up by water rates under the current allowed scenarios. But if we do go for the sales tax increase, we will in fact be insuring the growth, and there will be no turning back ever, because the debt at that point will be huge, and the gambling business will at that point be securely in charge, having imported another 750,000 resident gamblers who moved here in order to evade a responsible lifestyle. Their main interest is in living (and gambling) on a fixed income, and not taking any chances on real business investment. And we also have to admit that many resident Nevadans are more than happy to join in the harvest of this income, and to sit around and shake their heads because it's such a shame to ruin the valley, but gee, what can they do?
I do not have faith that local gambling will support our economy after the limits of natural resources are reached. Unfortunately, we won't see the decline until after the growth stops, at which time the infrastructure will be monumental, and then, (when the majority of resident gamblers are living at a subsistence level,) is when the local population will be hit with the bill. Corporate casinos can cash in and leave town at any time, redistributing their stock and downsizing their operations. It's a grim future because we have no real economic base at this time, and many residents have become cynical and lazy with easy money, justified by our ill-conceived tolerance of gambling anywhere, anytime. Nevada used to be based on small businesses that lived comfortably under the same laws as casinos, but that is impossible with the unchecked proliferation of gambling permits. A tax on casinos to pay for the infrastructure is not only possible, it is necessary. Any legislator who is so tied to gambling that he or she abstains from such legislation should resign from public office. Local-oriented gambling permits should stop immediately until the market adjusts to the point where all casinos are prosperous enough to bear a raise in taxes.
Let's build enough of the water project to make immediate re-furbishing and repair of our existing water system possible. Let's slow the growth now by stopping all gaming permits, period, unless they involve recognized tourist-oriented, up-scale projects. If we go into this process in the way that has been planned by the casino/development sector, then we will be in a cycle that has no happy ending. . .it will be a cycle based on gambling addiction and wide-scale poverty in Las Vegas, as well as 15 years of construction dust and ever-worsening water quality. Ann Reynolds
Sales tax. Cat-tails. 31 July, 1997
The County Commission has some options on the sales tax issue: They can
implement the tax, they can squelch the tax, or they can put it to a vote.
The thing that many of us don't understand is that we are being given a
scenario that was created by a "citizens committee" that asked the wrong
question. The question was, it seems to me, "How can we provide for as
much growth as possible?" I think that there is now a new question.
Recent polls have indicated that most people in the Las Vegas Valley don't
want more growth. The question now should be, "How can we control the
growth in the valley without destroying the economy?" The other question,
of course, is, "How do we reclaim the wetlands?"
Commissioner Malone's meeting high-lighted the most important issue before
us: we are vulnerable to operating malfunctions in our water delivery
system if we don't have an alternative operating system. We can build an
operating system without buying into the whole expensive pipeline system,
however, and this option should be considered before committing the public
to a growth agenda that requires providing the periphery of the valley with
water. We can interest developers in other projects. Projects that will
enhance re-development and incorporate the reclamation of the wetlands. We
need another citizens committee that addresses these issues. The first
citizens committee performed the function of removing city boundaries from
many growth considerations, but I refuse to believe that we must accept the
whole cloth of their conclusions. Let's lower the sights of the pipeline so
that the debt can be carried without a commitment to growth that the people
don't want. And let's ask some of the right questions. Ann Reynolds
The Wetlands Park/The sales tax meeting July 30, 1997
I attended a meeting on the sales tax increase conducted by Commissioner
Malone, and I thanked him for holding the meeting, it was a very
considerate thing to do. Dr. Larry Paulson, also attending, gave me a few
pointers on wetlands. . .first, it's important that wetlands park money be
spent on the wetlands park project, not "flood control". Flood control is
misguided in this valley.
Perhaps their biggest mistake is the use of concrete. Concrete diverts
water flow, but it doesn't stop flooding. It just floods somebody else.
There are several possible gullies in the city that can serve as effective
wetlands, but the flood control people have cemented them, and pulled out
all the cattails. Cattails, according to Dr. Paulson, are the best water
purifiers, because they create the necessary chemistry to filter out the
contaminates. Cattails grow naturally in gullies, and also help to stop
flooding by slowing down water flows.
The developers have to be educated in proper use of gullies and proper
methods of developing wetlands. It should be part of the test before a
contractors license is granted, and no, I'm not kidding. Flood control
projects often make flooding worse while destroying natural purification
If we are serious about reclaiming wetlands, then lets get the developers
involved, and talk about projects that incorporate ecologically sound
housing that meets the needs of people that come here to work instead of
people that come here to gamble. There is money in this, and it would be a
lot easier to deliver water to re-developed areas than to brand new housing
on the periphery of town. Ann Reynolds
Big Trouble City 29 July, 1997
The people of Las Vegas need to begin to perceive themselves as in control
of their own future. This is a prerequisite to actually taking control.
Because, of course, the people that live here are in charge. The reason
that casinos dominate our lives is because we complacently give them all
our money, and in the process, give them all of our time as well. The town
is hypnotized by flashing objects, semi-(or totally) naked women and
promises of ever-lasting diversions from responsibility. And we are, with
the very, very best of intentions, paving a very straight road. We aren't
going to get anywhere besides Big Trouble City until we stop gambling and
register to vote. Ann Reynolds
We need to change our focus 28 July, 1997
Some people think that Nevada is a place where anything goes. It has never
seemed that way to me. Nevada, to me, has always been a place where it
takes a certain amount of intelligence just to survive. Nevada is, to me,
an extremely conservative and careful community which has always stressed
judgment and taking personal responsibility for ones own actions. Las
Vegas is now home to thousands of people of all ages who have just moved
here, who have no sense of the awesome responsibility involved in living in
a community where legal gambling is available.
To what extent are the community leaders in the business of milking these
people like a herd of cows? Think of it this way. . .if gambling was
restricted to casinos, and if casinos were restricted to situations that
don't invade the personal lives of the children of this community, then
there wouldn't be the mad scramble for paychecks that passes for business
in this county, and we could get back to rational life in Nevada. These
people are our citizens. Their children will grow up here, they will live
on their Social Security checks here. As a state we owe them more than the
right to throw away their lives and their health for the benefit of
circulating money while the scam lasts.
We need a future in this state. Right now, I don't see one. A large city
whose main business is local gambling is a joke. Ann Reynolds
We need to stabilize our workforce July 25, 1997
Putting a small tax on retail sales is a subtle but very real restraint on
diversifying the economy in favor of already wealthy and well-funded
industries. The sales tax is an encroaching source of revenue that can be
justified again if it is justified this time, and it will not benefit those
businesses that do not depend on slot revenue to make the rent payment.
Sales tax revenue has risen far beyond expectations in Nevada. We should
encourage this trend by stabilizing the tax and encouraging retail
activity, as well as manufacturing and technological activity. The sales
tax is regressive. To even hint that the visitors to Nevada aren't already
paying their fair share of our bills is ridiculous. The sales tax would
merely divert revenue away from local business and into the slot machines.
Nevada, at a 7 percent tax rate, isn't a bad place to buy, but it could be
better. With a trend toward rising sales tax, it is approaching a
high-bracket, and if we raise this tax in order to subsidize resident
gamblers, then we have to examine whose needs we are serving. Forty
percent of our state budget represents 6 & 1/2 percent of gaming revenue.
The casinos that rake in the local paychecks are spending their money
elsewhere, nurturing other markets that will someday compete with Las
Vegas. Competing with Las Vegas will be a lot easier after our water is
gone, and our poverty level has risen to the point of desperation. Local
corporate gambling is a threat to the future of this state. It threatens
the tourist-oriented gambling as well as the stability of our families and
the future of our economy. Defeating the sales tax increase is a first
step in the right direction. Making suburban, car-intensive,
water-intensive, dust-intensive growth more expensive would be an effective
measure to control the sprawl. We should be building affordable housing in
areas where gambling is restricted, but close to jobs on the Strip. Areas
that can be policed and served by non-gambling businesses. Areas that
serve working families who have a stake in Nevada's future. Housing that
serves people who come here to work and take care of their children. We
need to develop a stable and educated work force. The Strip would benefit
from this, and so would small business and other sorts of industry. Ann Reynolds
The tax increase is small 24 July, 1997
It would be a mistake to think that there is only one reason to question
the validity of the sales tax increase. One reason given for passage is
that it is so small, but that is no reason at all. If it was truly small,
it wouldn't make any difference. The 1/4 percent hike will raise a huge
amount of money to subsidize suburban development, which will benefit new
residents, the construction industry, and local corporate casinos. The
construction industry currently employs a lot of people, but it leaves
nothing in its wake. After the building is done, this segment always wants
more building. How much will our natural resources stand before the growth
stops from depletion, an ugly alternative to growth control? And the local
casino industry also depletes our economic resources. Admittedly they
provide jobs, but do they provide a future? I think that they do not.
Their harvest is made from the wealth of our residents, and there is very
little seed returned to the soil, especially since the large casino
complexes are allowed to compete with businesses on almost every level.
If new development were more expensive, growth would be slower. This may
be a bitter pill for the present, but we can create construction jobs that
foster environments that don't spread gambling. Environments that
encourage busses instead of freeways. Environments that don't compete with
currently-operating gambling houses. Environments that are in tune with
the actual requirements and capabilities of people that come here to work
in the tourist-oriented hotel casino industry. Environments that are
capable of nuturing families and economic diversification. Let's grow in
ways that give our economy, our environment, and our children a chance. Ann Reynolds
Sales tax increase 23 July, 1997
There is a hearing on the sales tax increase on Tuesday, July 29th at the Rainbow Library at 7:00 pm, thanks to the concern of Commissioner Lance Malone. I assume that this is a meeting that he is holding for the benefit of his constituents, but I think that it would be fair to go and listen as interested parties, since the sales tax increase will affect us all. Most of the recipients of this note are legislators or county commissioners, and the issue is one of principle as much as raising capital. It would be interesting if the other Commissioners held and publicized similar meetings in all the districts of the county. (I am under the impression that Commissioner Malone's district is relatively affluent.) But in any event, I will be interested to hear the input at this meeting, and to measure the mood of this sector of Clark County concerning this vital issue.
This message is posted on the internet at:
Ann Reynolds 735-6247 FAX 735-6257
PO Box 16022
Las Vegas, Nevada 89101-0022
2290 Blackberry Valley Way
Las Vegas, Nevada 89121
Light Up or Leave 22 July, 1997
There is an intense and meaningful relationship between cigarette smoking and casinos. The way I see it is, smokers are vital to the livelihood of casinos. This has been checked out time and again by the economic failure of non-smoking casinos. (If a smoker experiences stress when he loses money, he lights up. If a non-smoker experiences stress when he loses money, he often stops playing and goes home.) If you have spent any time in casinos, it is the non-smoking tables that get closed first when business slows down, and it is the smoking customer that gets catered to, and apologized to when a conflict arises. Restricting smoking in casinos would have a negative effect on the casino bottom line, but nonetheless, the problem needs addressing on a realistic level.
There are ways to reduce cigarette smoke, and these ways should be implemented. There is no excuse for allowing employees to smoke on the casino floor. Many casino employees are afflicted with various degrees of lung disease, and it is callous to ignore their plight to the extent that other employees are allowed to smoke around them. If the employees on the floor were told to stop, it would significantly reduce the level of smoke.
But when we are talking about a business that isn't primarily a casino, this arrangement that provides a maximum feeling of freedom and comfort to the smoker shouldn't apply. The public health (and family bank account) should prevail. Gambling and smoking are adult whims, and people flock to Las Vegas in order to be free of the irritating demands of people that want to breathe and make the car payment.
But in a grocery store (or a convenience store, or anywhere where groceries are sold), or a day care center, the slot machines are not the primary form of business. (Although the tips from the gambler's winning's often are the reason that the machines, and the smoke, are tolerated.) Smoking should not be allowed in a grocery store, slot machines or not. And daycare centers that are positioned in casinos. Ann Reynolds
The Clark County School District 18 July, 1997
There is a need for fast decisions about growth, about the school district,
about limiting local gambling options. But it is important not to be
hasty, too, and it is important to retain perspective. Efficiency is
admirable in running a school district, but efficiency isn't the goal. A
school district should support family unity and community values, because
those two things are a vital part of education. The goal of a good school
district is to educate the children so that the children function in a way
that supports and nurtures the total society. This is everybody's
problem, not just the parents.
I'm not saying that the education of children shouldn't be a parent's
primary goal. It should be. I'm saying that if the education of children
isn't the parent's primary goal, then the community, if it is to remain
healthy, has to examine its own values. Encouraging casinos to diversify
into child care centers and post offices and convenience stores and movie
theaters and bowling alleys and skating rinks and radio stations is
seductive and enabling support of gambling addiction. The current record
of our graduation rate and our percentage of teenage unwed mothers points
to the fact that we should be restricting casino involvement in our local
life, not encouraging it. And how does this relate to educational matters?
Restricting the business options of casino environments would control the
dysfunction because we would have fewer "jobs" to offer inside the
neighborhood casinos. Casinos cause family stress with their 24-hour shift
work and rampant holiday schedules and, most importantly, the constant
cash-your-paycheck temptations to gamble. With fewer restaurants and other
family entertainment options inside casino walls, employers would be able
to offer more family-oriented atmospheres and schedules, and casinos
themselves could go back to serving the adult population.
As admirable as it is to offer day care within the workplace, a casino is
no place to raise a child. The deadly cigarette smoke alone disqualifies
it. At the very least these centers should be in a separate building,
which of course would show the true intent of such centers. And an
educational system that serves the interests of the casino industry is
convoluted. The casino industry should serve the interests of providing
the best education possible for the children that have been abandoned by
its sometimes devastating effects on society.
I have been called a loudmouth and an ignorant person by an acclaimed
expert on school administration. This person isn't an expert on gambling
addiction, however, and many of the problems of our school districts and
our exploding growth would dissipate if gambling addiction among our local
population were addressed as a problem instead of a desirable way of life.
The gambling business outside of the Strip tourist area should be severely
curtailed, giving non-gambling business a chance to serve daily needs such
as groceries, day care, movies, and family entertainment. This would make
the area more prone to economic diversification, and more comfortable for
families to live in. It would be a lot easier for a small non-gaming
business to survive, and it would be a less-likely environment for the
single-parent homes that are so devastating to children.
It would also be a less attractive environment for the person who gambles
all the time, thereby making gambling less powerful, and absorbing the
discretionary income of the community in ways that will make it back into
the local economy instead of being transported to the Midwest and the East
A school district that accommodates family values is vital to Las Vegas.
Efficiency is a factor, but not the main one. Children are the future,
and children are the main concern of any intelligent population. Ann Reynolds
The Park, The Park 17 July, 1997
On August 6th there will be a hearing on the most important aspect of our
community. . .our water supply. At that time the Commission will hear more
details on how to reclaim wetlands areas. This will probably not be easy.
This will test our mettle. This will decide whether or not we will become
a city of the future. The winds of change are in the air. If you moved
here for a good time, or to run away from your problems, or to hide behind
other people's pain, then go back where you came from. If you are one of
the people who believes that Nevada is not for children, or that the people
that live here don't care about things that matter to other communities,
then I suspect that your party is over.
There are many people in Clark County that have been forming visions of the
future for the Valley, and the validity of form of the wetlands park will
decide the foundation that these visions will grow on. We need that
foundation to be based on the absolute best scientific knowledge that we
have, so that we can nurture the valley, and the people in it, for the next
hundred years. The seeds that will grow in such a garden will amaze us
all, and there is no better place to plant such seeds than Nevada. Nevada
isn't about casinos and gambling. Nevada is about freedom. My experience
of freedom is that it isn't easy, so let's not settle for easy, or fun, or
someone's marketing scheme. Let's do it right. Ann Reynolds
Casino Day Care Centers 16 July, 1997
Daycare in a workplace is a fine idea, but if the workplace is a casino, is
there a problem here? It is well-documented that unless cigarette smoke is
filtered by a totally separate ventilation system that it pervades the
entire atmosphere of a building. And it is also well-documented that the
effects of cigarette smoke are much more marked on children than on adults.
It is bad enough that casinos are allowed to compete with any business that
they wish to compete with, considering their addictive nature. But to
subject children to 8 or 9 hours of mandatory casino environment in the
name of employee benefits is stretching it. Why has the county health
department allowed this, and what on earth are we thinking? Are the child
centers at Boulder Station and Sunset Station on separate ventilation
systems? My guess is no, that would be too expensive. After all, the idea
is to make child care convenient to gamblers. . .it would be much too
expensive to actually do something that would be to the benefit of the
families involved. Is smoking allowed in day care centers that aren't in
casinos? And if not, why is this tolerated within the walls of the casino
industry? I know that slot machines are more important than public health
in grocery stores, but I wasn't aware that they were more important than
children's health in day care centers, too.
Casino employee day care centers should be in separate buildings, that
would be a generous and true benefit to the employees. But casinos aren't
in the business of caring for children, are they? Ann Reynolds
The Root of the Matter
When working with market forces, and changing the direction of an economy,
almost by sheer will power, there is no place to go that doesn't require a
thorough search of one's own soul. Lessening the dependence of Nevada on
gambling isn't a matter of passing laws, or expecting elected officials to
listen to reason. It is a decision to live differently, to spend money in
different ways, and to respect the values of those that you live around.
Who, me, perfect? Nope, not even close. Just concerned. I'm certain that
the direction of this county will not change unless the people of this
valley (a) stop gambling, and (b) register to vote. The politicians won't
respect us until we do that, and it's rather hard to blame them, isn't it? Ann Reynolds
A Bit of Heresy 14 July, 1997
I was standing in line at a nationally-known car repair place the other
day, waiting to be acknowledged. . .this always takes awhile, because there
are never enough people to wait on you in a good car repair shop. I
wandered around, losing my place in line, and someone cut in front of me
when I was too far away from the counter to be considered "in line." Soon,
three other people were behind me, and we were all sighing, and getting
annoyed. Sooner or later I said, "It's always like that here," and that
was all that was needed. "I don't know why I shop here," said one woman,
"this place is terrible," and there was general agreement on the fact that
there is never enough help, and one man said that he had come back to have
his battery replaced, but that he shouldn't have to pay for it, but there
was nothing that he could do about it. "These people are crooks," said the
old man. "There are no controls here," said the other man, "it's the fault
of the State of Nevada." They all agreed.
But, you know, it isn't the fault of the State of Nevada, and I said so.
Of the population of Las Vegas, what percentage is registered to vote? I
asked these folks if they were registered to vote, and they immediately
became hostile. One man assured me that he didn't live here, which means
that he hasn't registered his car here because he doesn't want to pay the
licensing fee; he doesn't want to register to vote because he doesn't want
to be called for jury duty. The other man told me that if I wanted him to
register to vote that that meant that I was a crook like the rest of the
crooks that run this town, and the woman told me that it doesn't do any
good to vote because they stuff the ballot boxes anyway. The State of
Nevada, it seems, is some evil and invisible force that comes out of the
North and visits every possible evil upon the population for its own gain.
I'm not saying that the State of Nevada has ever passed up an opportunity
to make a buck at the expense of a fool, but that doesn't make the State of
Nevada responsible for the state of Las Vegas civil order. The people of
Las Vegas are responsible for the state of affairs here.
I expressed this bit of heresy, and I was almost attacked. "You go to
hell!" said the woman, yelling at me. "I've paid my taxes! Harassing
senior citizens is against the law! I can have you arrested." The older
man agreed with her. "You're all alike," he said, "and nothing will ever
change you. You have no right to tell us what to do."
At this moment I was called to the counter, where I made an appointment to
have my brakes adjusted, but the woman still followed me to the door, and
called me a "God-damned hippy," and said that I would burn in hell for
tormenting her by suggested that she was responsible for anything that goes
on in Las Vegas, that it is the fault of the ballot-stuffing thieves that
run the State of Nevada, and that I'd better not forget it or she would see
to it that I was put in jail.
This session of the legislature has given Las Vegas a lot of rope. Are we
going to use it to reign in the gambling business and take control of our
own city, or are we going to use it to hang ourselves? The bitterness
expressed by the seniors in line to have their cars repaired is a symptom
of gambling addiction.
It is impossible to tackle the problems of this town until the residents
stop gambling and register to vote. Get ready for 750,000 more people who
are going to move here and give all their money to the casinos. The State
of Nevada has declined to make our decisions for us, leaving it up to the
people who live here. Pretty scary, huh? Ann Reynolds
Brush on the Desert Floor 12 July, 1997
Dear Commissioner Williams,
Does anyone out there remember what undisturbed desert floor looks like in
the Las Vegas Valley? The brush is often spare and brittle, looking like a
miniature tree in winter, and it seems rather ineffectual, hardly
qualifying for the classification "ground-cover". But upon closer
examination, one will notice a mound at the base of the plant made up of
super-fine dust which has gathered there, as though the branches of the
little bare tree were dust-collectors, as, indeed, they are. To rip up
these delicate natural "dust-covers" is to loose the powder-like earth into
the atmosphere, to be absorbed into the lungs of the residents.
According to the Friday article in the Sun, 2 acres an hour are razed for
future development in the Las Vegas Valley. The response of the county has
been to raise the permit fees from $28 an acre to $85 an acre. There seems
to be some confusion about whether or not the County has the power not to
issue more dust permits. Fortunately for everyone, I can clear this up.
If the county has the power to issue a permit, it has the power not to
issue a permit. And if the County has the power to raise the fees to $85
and acre, then it has the power to raise the fees to $1,000 dollars an
It would be further incentive for developers to change their focus from
pristine desert to areas within the city that need to be re-developed,
specifically the many, many houses that have been built in the middle of
washes over the last couple of decades.
We need earth-movers in the Valley, but we need them to be doing something
besides killing us with dirty air. When is the reclaiming of the wetlands
going to begin? What area of the washes are we going to recover? What
type of vegetation are we going to use?
It won't be a park like other parks, it will be distinctly a Nevada park,
beautiful to those who love Nevada, to those who cherish Nevada's fragile
heritage of freedom and personal growth. The wetlands area should be a
nesting place for a fresh economy, with few cars and lots of people, free
of gambling, and free of dust. It can be an area that purifies the lake,
and houses people that come here to work or to study. It can be a place
where people can raise children, a place where people can start a
neighborhood business that doesn't include the raw greed and exploitation
of slot machines, a place where people can buy food and run a day-care
center without the ever-present and deadly cigarette smoke. A place that
doesn't generate freeways and carbon monoxide. We could start this if the
proper incentives were put out there in the form of permits issued that
don't need dust permits. And we could fund it with expensive dust permits.
We are either going to do this, or we aren't. If we wait until the economy
implodes under the weight of its own odorous stupidity, then it will be too
late. The Strip is building it's employees a place to park. Let's give
the people who are going to work at the Venitian an intelligent and
nurturing place to live.
Sincerely, Ann Reynolds
A place to live without a wall 11 July, 1997
Dear Commissioner Williams,
If there is a good side to the fact that the "Ring Around the Valley" bill
failed, it is that the bill was not nearly restrictive enough to actually
protect us from the frivolous waste of natural resources, nor was it
challenging to the predatory local casino business. The casinos in
Summerlin should not be built. We have not even tried to stop them, not
really. If the growth guidelines that were set by the county had any
meaning at all, then the building permits for these abominations must be
illegal in some sense.
We can woo the developers away from this project by other projects that
could actually serve the public interest. What would the proper design and
marketing be for an urban residential multi-zoned (NON GAMING) project that
encouraged pedestrianism and small business? Who would live here? The
people that are coming to town to gamble themselves to death, or the ones
that are looking for a career in gambling, or students that come to UNLV.
Or the person that stumbles into town because he was going somewhere, and
Las Vegas was big enough to notice? Do these people really want a lawn?
Do we really want them to have one, considering the huge demands that a
single family house makes on Lake Mead? Wouldn't it make more sense to
give the public a lawn that is fed by the seasonal washes, and to build
denser housing around this public park (not golf course, park)? Do they
want a car? Can they afford one?
The first step is to designate which portions of the wetlands to re-claim,
and then to design the housing that will rim it. What is a high-rise? Ten
stories? Twenty stories? Thirty stories? Would each building have a row
of shops on the first floor, selling everything from comics to child care?
The zoning would restrict adult business from outside advertising. The
schools of the area could be small and numerous, close enough together to
share a football field. . .they could use the public areas for physical
education. There would be jogging paths and bicycle lanes instead of
8-lane streets. There would be a resident policeman in each block, who
would personally know who the teenagers were.
The rents would be reasonable, because water use would be restricted (maybe
timers on showers?). The apartments or condominiums would be small, but
none of this share-a-kitchen-with-three-strangers. . .the buildings would
be well-insulated and offer big windows and no long dark hallways. There
would be no income restrictions, the only thing you need to move in would
be the rent money. No section 8. No welfare subsidy. Just a decent place
to live that doesn't require a new freeway or a new sewer line to get to,
positioned near a job. With good bus service that caters to small area.
(Downtown, Strip, University.) And no video poker unless you take the
short trip to get to it, assuring that the local markets don't have to have
slot machines to survive. Professionals could have offices here, every
other block could have parking garages. The speed limit would be low.
People could take a breath and develop their lives. And then the people
who could afford it could move to Summerlin, which would be smaller, and
cost more. This could work.
Sincerely, Ann Reynolds
Sales Tax increase 10 July, 1997
Dear Commissioner Williams,
I feel that Clark County government has made the mistake of assuming that
there is wide support among the residents for the sales tax increase. Are
we supposed to feel grateful that developers and real estate agents and
corporate casinos are getting rich? After having searched my soul
carefully, I have found no gratitude, nor do I see any logical reason why I
should feel that this growth is my responsibility, other than trying to
stop it, I think that is every Nevadan's responsibility.
Having a healthy business community is vital to any area, but this growth
isn't healthy. We have limited resources. The people who love Las Vegas,
and who have always accepted it, warts and all, are appalled by the lack of
limits and lack of insight that is being shown by local government
agencies. The headiness of the rapid growth of the last decade, where ten
people moved to town for every person that went bankrupt, experienced
foreclosure, and left town heartbroken, will not repeat itself this time.
The trend, because of the actual limits on drinkable water and breathable
air, will have a more sobering wake. The good jobs in the casino industry
are more rare than they once were. Job security in the casino industry is
becoming more tenuous as the casinos exploit the over-abundance of cheap
labor. The Strip hotels, which represent a meaningful and important
segment of our economy, are not being distinguished from the corporate
local casinos. The Strip hotels can handle the competition, but the
locally-owned restaurants and small casinos are the ones who suffer. They
are the ones who will be elbowed out by any billionaire with a bulldozer in
I have no desire to subsidize this element. There are many people who
moved to this valley with a lot more money than they have now, because they
didn't realize the facts of life where gambling is concerned until it was
too late. They have no desire to subsidize this element. There are many
families in old, established neighborhoods whose property value would rise
a lot sooner if they didn't have thousands of new cheap homes every year to
compete with. They have no desire to subsidize the developers of
under-priced (and under-inspected) homes.
I know a lot of people in the valley, and I don't know anyone who is in
favor of this tax increase. Much of our "booming economy" right now is
being fed by construction and local casinos. This doesn't bode well for
the future. When the next wave of population either gets bored or addicted
by the gambling atmosphere (if they are bored, they will quit, and if they
are addicted, they will soon have no money,) will we have an economic
alternative to offer them? Not under this scenario. You will have spread
the good jobs thin, driven out small businesses, and ruined the property
values. The casino industry, by choosing to go after the paychecks of
local families, will have done itself irreparable harm by buying its own
hype, and refusing to recognize that a really good customer of the casino
industry goes broke. Is this the vision for the future for our county?
I am currently living in your district. Kill the sales tax, and fund this
new construction so that the people that will profit from it are the same
people that pay for it. It's not my tax. If you want to tax me, build
schools. Re-habilitate women in the casino industry, where sexual
harassment is re-invented daily (click here) with the blessing of Nevada law.
Establish a non-gaming, multi-use zone around a wetlands park for
pedestrians, and stop pretending that the water is drinkable. (Do you
drink it?) (Would you, on a bet?)
Assemblyman Goldwater assured himself that the people who are opposed to
the sales tax increase are zealots. Maybe we aren't all zealots. Maybe
some of us have lived in Nevada long enough to know that there is more to
the Nevada economy than meets the eye. We are approaching a crisis if we
don't act now with responsibility and vision. Ann Reynolds
Let's get to work 9 July, 1997
Assigning blame and calling names is not important. I'm personally
grateful to Senator Titus for waging a good fight. I wish the Democratic
Party in Las Vegas was a bit more cohesive, but there are other things to
worry about. Commissioner Gates, please stop pointing at what other groups
do and don't do. I've heard rumors that you can stop growth. I would be
happy with stopping the spread of local corporate casinos for now, because
it is the most important facet of our population explosion.
Stop pretending that the water is drinkable, and put the unions to work
reclaiming the wetlands. The areas to recover should be close to downtown
and the Strip. Hire some scientists to decide which tracts have to be
reclaimed, then hire some engineers to build the necessary embankments, and
then hire some more scientists to figure out what sort of vegetation we
need. Then start condemning appropriate properties, issuing building
permits for private high-density housing projects, and advertising for bids
for building initially sponsored high-rise, well-insulated, high-density
union-built and county-inspected comfortable housing (apartments and
condos) with great views of the park. Think pedestrian area. Think
resident police protection. Think non-gaming enterprise zone. In the
primary years of this project, first preference in business licenses should
go to those people who have been priced out of the gambling business by
over-building of local casinos. We need imaginative, multi-zoned housing
to accommodate day-care, schools, and local markets, cafes, shops, small
theaters, public access to the park (no, not golf course, park), and some
luxury units close to existing gambling areas. Great bus service extending
to Downtown, Strip, and the University.
Go for it. Sincerely, Ann Reynolds
Overdue Thanks to Sam 3 July, 1997
For all the disparity between the North and the South, many of the people
who live in the Northern regions of our state are anxious to see the
gambling business pay more of their own way. For those of you who don't
follow the links to the other "Citizen"(click here) pages, these words are published by Sam Dehne, an advocate of sanity and intelligence in the Reno area. His constant fight for a reasonable approach to running the Reno airport has greatly benefited the residents, while he suffers the slings and arrows of
outrageous Reno City Council members, none of whom appreciate his dry wit
or his cool head. (With the exception, of course, of Judy Pruett, a brave
northern Valkerie who has stood up to the police excesses as well as an
There are times, Sam, when it may seem that I don't appreciate you as a
publisher, even though you go to great lengths to publish my page "my way,"
virtually ignoring your own crusades, and staying up into the middle of the
night listening to the problems of Southern Nevada. In case you are ever
feeling that I take you for granted, please know that there has been many a
bleak night during this legislative session when the only encouraging word
that I have heard has been from you, telling me about a new link or telling
me that I have 50,000,000 subscribers when I'm certain that I have fewer.
As the legislative drama climaxes, for better or for worse, know that I
could not have kept this up without you. And if any Southerner who feels
gratified by anything that I have said, also feels abandoned by the
Northern half of the state, know that there is a "Gadfly" (click here) in the Sierra that has taken time for you, without condition. Thanks. Ann.
Mother May I 8 July, 1997
So what is the truth, after all is said and done? Do we really ask the
gambling lobby for permission to pass our laws? I think we do. The
quality of life in the Las Vegas Valley at this point depends on their
whims, and so does the stability of our economy. How did we get here, when
did this happen?
It is not a question of who did this to us. Every person who lives in
Nevada has to accept responsibility for the precarious situation that we
are in. The Las Vegas Valley, with its constant influx of new people who
are not aware of the ramifications of gambling addiction, is easy pickin's
for a fast-talking marketing major who has no clue where his money comes
from. The gaming industry does not deserve its current status. The gaming
industry, in its current manifestation which honors corporate procedures,
stockholder priorities, and modern marketing techniques, is ten years away
from bankrupting the State of Nevada if they are allowed their druthers.
This is the problem of every person who lives in this beautiful and fragile
state. The more time that we waste justifying having lunch with Joe Slot
Machine, the less time we have to get gambling back under control. Perhaps
we have to use them, but we do not owe them anything, including an even
break. Register to vote, Las Vegas. As tempting as it is to blame the
whole mess on the North, it isn't a premise that will hold water for long,
because pointing a finger won't solve the problem. You can't sign a
petition if you don't register to vote. Ann Reynolds