The Las Vegas Citizen


Ann Reynolds, editor... Sam Dehne, publisher

A letter from Senator Coffin 12 Sept, 1997
From: Coffin, Bob Senator[]
Sent: Tuesday, September 09, 1997 1:22 PM
To: 'Ann Reynolds'
Subject: RE: Townhall Update
Ann: Haven't responded to you for months.......Just wanted to let you
know that I still read your stuff and enjoy your articulation of the
ideas. We still need to get together but my "catching up" process and
re-uniting with the family is taking up all my time.
Will be out of town and miss the town hall meet. Please keep posting me on
these discussions because before long I am going to weigh in on this
stuff. I have kept quiet since the committee discussions during session but
there is going to be a time when we somnolent legislators will be
roused. Meanwhile it is good for local government folks to sort out
their differences.
I am still very glad I voted against the tax "enablement". Just sorry
that there was no time to offer cogent alternatives during the rush to
finish. There was no mood for entertaining change, anyway.
I now have some opinions shaping up which I will bounce off you one of
these days.
Bob Coffin
The ending to the Urban Density message 25 August, 1997
As the County Commission and "other community leaders" analyze the growth of the area, please don't forget the people. The people don't want the current growth rate to continue. They are aware that containing growth involves sacrifices. Are these community leaders casino owners, and developers, and members of the status quo who have already invested in land on the periphery of the valley? Interest these people in the opportunities that exist in the areas near washes that could be turned into useable wertlands. Interest these people in limiting gambling permits so that their existing properties can be enhanced without competition from new gaming areas. Interest these people in non-gambling investment in areas like Summerlin and Green Valley so that the quality of life isn't compromised in these areas in order to serve corporate interests.
Corporate gambling is new. We don't know where it goes, but it doesn't work on a local level without rapid growth. We need to re-focus our gambling efforts to a tourist-based industry. The waste-products of this industry are human grief and bankruptcy. It is foolish to stretch our resources to accommodate a growth plan that has no base in community stability. If the community leaders that will be making the rules are the local corporate casinos, then no good will come of your efforts. The people will be taxed to subsidize their games, and when the valley runs dry, they will pull up their tents and leave town. The State of Nevada will be left to pay off the public debt and to care for those who can't afford to leave.
I am but one voice in this valley, but I feel comfortable saying that the people that live here, the ones that love Nevada for its freedom and its open spaces, expect you to control the growth, not "manage" it. Put the casino industry in perspective. The jobs that they offer have one objective in mind, taking people's money, and if it's a local casino, then they do not contribute as much as they take. Please be sincere in your efforts to control growth, and start where it will make a difference. . .stop issuing gambling permits, and stop pretending that casinos shouldn't pay more taxes. Ann Reynolds
A Letter from Commissioner Williams 11 Sept, 1997
Dear Ms. Reynolds:
Thank you for taking the time to share with us your concern regarding
the Wetlands Park and flood control. I have had staff conduct research
on these issues and hope you find the following information helpful.
The County's current Wetlands Park Master Plan is a 20-year plan to
create a recreational area that will also include increasing the current
wetlands acreage from the current 1,437 acres to between 1,572 and 1,617
acres of wetlands. The benefits of the Wetlands Park include the
recreational use, the creation of habitat for birds and other fauna, and
will help to polish water that flows through it. Truly this park represents a
step in the right direction in preserving our wetlands and makes evident the
need to restore and enhance the wetlands in the Las Vegas Wash.
The Las Vegas Valley 208 Water Quality Management Plan Amendment
adopted on August 5, 1997, by the Board of County Commissioners
examined the use of wetlands as an alternative for water quality improvement
for the Valley. However, it was estimated that the use of wetlands for treatment
of the 120 MGD of wastewater currently flowing through the Las Vegas Wash
would require development of an extensive system of channels with controlled
depth, flow rate, harvesting schedule, monitoring, and mosquito abatement.
The system would occupy approximately 2,760 acres (4.3 sq. miles). At the end
of the 20-year planning period, the projected 256 MGD wastewater flow would
require approximately 5,900 acres (9.2 sq. miles). It was concluded that
because of the excessive land use requirements and high cost for implementation
and maintenance of these wetlands that this was not a feasible alternative.
Other recommendations made in the Las Vegas Valley 208 Water Quality
Management Plan Amendment include: that natural washes and unlined
channels in the Valley be preserved to the extent practical and consistent
with the need for flood protection and erosion control; as additional acreage
of wetlands are developed in the Clark County Wetlands Park, consider
implementation of a water quality sampling program to document the treatment
of wastewater effluent by wetlands systems; and that the Wetlands Park
implementation be coordinated with the Clark County Regional Flood control
District regarding the flood control/erosion control structures necessary to
reduce flood damage, increase nutrient cleansing potential, and reduce the
transport of sediments to the Las Vegas Bay and Lake Mead.
Thank you again for bringing your concerns for our community to light.
If you have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to
contact my office.
UNLV Townhall Update 2 September, 1997
An update on the meeting:
The Townhall Meeting to set a grassroots agenda on the quality of life in the Las Vegas Valley is Wednesday, September 24, from 7-9 p.m. at Flora Dungan Humanities, (the 7-story building that faces Maryland Parkway). Parking in the lot at Maryland Parkway and University Road after 6:45 is free on that evening only.
The limit on the meeting is 300 people, so call now for reservations, they are free. When I called, they asked for my name, my social security number, and they wanted to know if I had received the catalog in the mail. They already had my address, I am technically enrolled there. Act fast.
The number is 895-3394, it's the number for the Continuing Education Program at UNLV. Whatever agenda this committee comes up with will probably set policy on ballot and platform issues, so sign up and go. Ann Reynolds
UNLV "Community Interest" 8 September, 1997
For those of you who have not looked over the new UNLV Continuing Education Catalog that was just out the last part of August, there is a Town Hall meeting being held in the evening, on Wednesday, September 24, from 7 to 9 p.m. Parking is free after 6:45 p.m. in the lot at Maryland and University Road that night only, and you need to call to reserve space. It is being held at Flora Dungan Humanities, Room 109. That is the seven-story building that faces Maryland Parkway.
The number is: 895-3394.
It is being moderated by Ruth Annette Mills, President of the League of Women Voters of the Las Vegas Valley, and James Deacon, Chair of Environmental Studies at UNLV.
According to the blurb in the catalog, The subject of discussion will be "Quality of Life in the Las Vegas Valley: A Grassroots Agenda." Examples of discussion topics are listed as, "air, water, traffic, crime, the economy, population growth, and education." The purpose of the meeting will be to form study groups which will influence election debates in 1998.
Sounds like a good time to me. Ann Reynolds
Perception, there is a word for you. 5 September, 1997
Let it be noted that I appreciate the comments and letters that I have received from the members of the County Commission. These letters indicate that the Commission recognizes the value of public input, which is in itself a step in implementing change.
If you look at a group of people in a room, they all seem similar. Everyone, with some exceptions, has a brain, five senses, hands to manipulate the world, and feet to navigate the world. Any one person, looking at these other people, often assumes that the others in the room perceive the world in a similar fashion.
But they don't. Many individuals are consumed with guilt or passion that colors all their thoughts, and they spend each day searching for justifications for excess, blind to any argument that challenges the status quo. Some folks would never consider speaking out or defending their own point of view in the face of those who have been elected to public office, automatically assuming that holding public office conveys wisdom. Others keep from speaking out because they assume that holding public office is an indication of greed and hypocrisy, and that any information offered would be used against them. And such speculation could go on forever.
There are just as many different perceptions of exactly what the role of an elected official should be. Some people seek power in order to perpetuate and justify an economic model that serves them well. They consider their position to be self-justified, and don't hesitate to serve their own interests simply because the public elected them. Some politicians feel that it is their duty to simply find out what the will of the people is, and to fulfill it. Some politicians feel that it is their duty to educate themselves beyond the scope of the average person, and to make informed decisions for the good of the general public, whether the general public agrees or not.
And then there are various perceptions of the source of the power of elected officials. At the beginning of my letter-writing campaign, I assumed (silly me) that all politicians in a democracy considered themselves, at least for the purpose of rhetoric, to be servants of the people that elected them. But I have been confronted with the concept that the County Commission gets its power from the State of Nevada, because that is the political body that created the county. This is a basic issue.
If Clark County were a county with 7,000 residents, like some Nevada counties, then that argument might make sense. If the Clark County Commission wants to tax the gambling business, then it is only a matter of time before that will happen. I realize that the Nevada legislature hasn't given us permission to do that, but it is an option within two years. We won't get home rule from the legislature. We will get home rule when we start solving our problems, and when we start requiring our elected officials to either serve the public interest or be accountable to voters at the ballot box.
The County Commission has the option to kill the sales tax, impliment it, or put it on the ballot. A decision to impliment it will make a major decision for the voters that will be irrevocable once the debt load is assumed. A decision to put it on the ballot will test the intelligence and courage of the voters in this valley. A decision to kill it, whether that decision is made by the Commission or by the voters, will be a decision to tax the gambling industry in 1999.
The various governments in the Las Vegas Valley are positioned so that it is very easy to say, "That's not my fault," or "We have limited jurisdiction." But not in this case. The Clark County Commission has the power to say no to the public subsidizing the huge profits of the casinos. Saying yes without testing the will of the people on this issue will destroy any chance of Home Rule that Las Vegas will ever have. . .we will be subject to the whims of the slot machine owners until the game is over, and the pyramid collapses into a whilrpool of public debt and private despair that will suck the State into absolute poverty.
Any legislator with a personal interest in legal gambling has no business pretending to represent the public. Abstention on gambling issues is merely refusing to legislate, refusing to do a job that they asked for. In that case, I feel justified in examining their motives for running for office.
There is no reason to feel that we are not up against the loss of Nevada's freedoms. If we want to retain our state identity, we have to struggle against easy money and fast talkers. We won't have another chance, and there will be no winner over the long term if we don't take a hard look at the decisions before us. If the County Commission doesn't kill the tax, they should put it on the ballot. That way, if this sales tax passes, at least we will deserve it. Ann Reynolds
The School District 29 August, 1997
I know a lot about casinos and gambling addiction and single mothers and sexual harassment. I know about living in Nevada and writing lots of letters. I don't know a lot about the Clark County School District.

If we are going to have the best school district in the nation, then we have to realize that our system is seriously flawed, and that the resentment of the waste within this system is ready to explode. I know that a conventional schedule is probably more conducive to family life, and better for our children, than a schedule that is tailored to saving money and streamlining education.
An objective look at the school district is nearly impossible in the current emotional climate, but it's obvious that we can't ignore it any longer. When we gather the committees for this project, let's be sure to include current representatives of administration who have to explain and account for administrative staff. Before we come up with more than stop-gap solutions that will cause bitterness and political barriers to communication, let's do some soul searching. Each special interest should be asked to evaluate it's own agenda, honestly, and to answer to the community in terms of the compromises that it's willing to make.
Las Vegas children face special problems. What works in other communities isn't going to transplant without modification. But in the face of generous funding of schools by the legislature at the expense of all levels of the community, the teachers themselves have to realize that they are competing with their own structure for funds. Ultimatums to the public must be dealt out carefully.
When I get a closer look at the school district, I want to see a dedicated group of professionals that understands the special challenges of the area. I want to see a group that takes responsibility for its own effectiveness. I want to see a group of people that is capable of independence from extensive administration, a group that is deserving of the public trust. Is this what I am going to see?
I, personally, would rather fund teachers and school principals than crap dealers and pit bosses. I am hoping that the ensuing battle over teachers salaries doesn't change my mind. Ann Reynolds
Go to the sales tax meeting. 28 August, 1997
The Southern Nevada Water Authority will conduct a Public hearing to consider a proposal to increase the sales and use tax by one-quarter of one percent to partially fund water and wastewater facilities that would otherwise be fully funded through increased rates and connection charges. This proposal was authorized by assembly bill 291 as passed by the 1997 Nevada Legislature. The public hearing will take place at the Las Vegas Valley Water District located at 1001 South Valley View Boulevard, Las Vegas, Nevada on August 28, 1997 at 2:00 p.m. The public is invited to attend and participate.
Published August 11, 18, and the 25th in the RJ and the Sun
For those of you in Las Vegas who are unaware that alternative water treatment systems are being talked about, please educate yourselves. A good place to start will be at the sales tax hearing, where, hopefully, (but not probably) we will hear something besides a repetition of a sales pitch on behalf of pyramid financing. I would like to see some resourcefulness and drive put into developing and financing a natural system, based on exploitation of amenities created by the system itself, with some initial costs being put up through taxation of the gaming industry.
I have received a great letter from Commissioner Williams outlining some of the issues that were considered recently by staff members. I hope that considerations concerning exploiting ecological solutions aren't shelved as unfeasible.
The natural water system could be gradually introduced, with a portion of it being on the Strip. Maintenance and operating costs wouldn't be as high as initially projected because once the economy is slowed down and diversified, the growth will be less demanding. And the once the growth is based on small business services operating in the shadow of the tourist gambling business, as well as serious and major technological research being fed by a superior school system, and manufacturing and entertainment ventures that serve the market in California and Europe, then the water problem will become much more manageable on all levels. Our economy will nurture its residents, and our residents will tend to stay instead of coming and going. Our university will benefit, also, since the community will begin to value scientific application of natural technologies.
What we need to do immediately is to make sure that we make necessary repairs to our existing system possible. We also need to stop issuing gambling permits so that we can tax the casinos in the next legislative session. This will make the water bill much more affordable while we can start to cultivate some permanent residents.
Did we all notice the dust in the valley today? If this growth continues for ten years, constantly disturbing the ground cover and paving the valley floor, the damage to young and old lungs alone will be monumental, similar to the ravages of cigarette smoke. Even if the construction does stop in ten years, what about the suffering in the meantime? Is that okay, or something? (No, not by any civilized standard.) And the water quality! If we pass it through the lake one more time with feeling, what will it taste like then? Pure chlorine?
I'm going to make an effort to be at the meeting, I predict that it will be an interesting one. Perhaps I will see you there. My experiences at these marvelous events are varied, but I haven't found boredom to be one of the risks. Ann Reynolds
Who are we? 27 August, 1997

Las Vegas is more than a growing city, it is more than entertainment, it is more than gambling, it is more than a glorified school district. It is an experiment in rejuvenation. It is difficult to explain to those of you who do not live here the diversity of the population and the unlimited opportunity that is available. For all the criticism that I have of this city, and there is a lot to criticize, I cannot begin to think that I have all of the answers for its problems, nor can I say that all of its problems should be answered here and now, even if that were possible. Much of the apparent prosperity is real. Much of the laughter and joy of living is genuine.
The stew that is brewing here will be felt long into the next century, and those who snub Las Vegas for its materialism and its love affair with glitz will be mystified by the victories that it scores in the coming decades. What this city lacks in intellectualism isn't caused by any lack of intelligence of its people. What this city lacks in traditional expressions of "culture" isn't caused by any lack of conservatism, or by a failure to attract educated residents.
What all of us have to realize, and I think that everyone does realize it, is that the momentum that is raging in this town isn't going to stop. Las Vegas is going to become something bigger than the world has seen before, simply because so many of the people here see and understand the potential. The population of Las Vegas is young and strong and brash and smart. The large number of seniors that live here don't argue with the youth to the extent that they dampen the rush of life that goes on here, and the youth don't harass the older people. The myriad of races that live together here is truly cosmopolitan, I have found that I need that in my environment.
Many of the young women are absolutely frightening in their independence and their equality and their assured state of physical fitness. The young men strut about with orange hair and pierced lips and shaved heads, taking pure joy in their bodies and their power. (Or, they are so cool it hurts to watch.) The seniors rant and rave and smoke and gamble and whine and jaywalk, but they also teach, and volunteer, and become involved in the community's problems to the point that they are truly leaders without judging the youth all around them. Everyone that lives here is constantly amazed. Las Vegas is not boring. The people that live here are not bored.
What Las Vegas lacks in judgment it makes up for in gall. It is facing its limits in that scenario. But from what I've seen in four years of living here, it doesn't lack kindness, or patience, or self respect. Las Vegas doesn't fear self-appraisal, and it doesn't fear the judgment of the world. Las Vegas wants to be the best, and if it doesn't make it, it won't be for lack of energy, intelligence, or resourcefulness. Las Vegas respects people who try. The valley is experiencing a metamorphosis, a defining of its core. I don't know what the result will be. But it will be amazing.
If any of the people who live here, and are reading this, are under the impression that you cannot participate in this process, wake up. Las Vegas is a spiritual entity at its best. Casinos do not control the spirit of Southern Nevada. Register to vote. This one act will awaken the sleeping giant that dwells here. I can't wait to find out who we are. Ann Reynolds
Statistical Jeopardy. 22 August, 1997
I have received an informative response from Commissioner Lorraine Hunt regarding her statement in the Review Journal that the Clark County Commission only has authority over one-third of the growth in Clark County. I appreciate the response, and will share some of her statistics with you, although I am certain that most of you are already aware of them. I offer them not so much for your information as to solidify the ground for discussion.
She has forwarded me a table concerning growth in the Las Vegas Valley between the years of 1990 and 1996. The source is the 1980 Census, and the 1990-1996 Clark County Department of Comprehensive Planning Admatch of Assessor Records: the table is abreviated and adapted to prevent e-mail distortion.
Las Vegas Valley Residential Population-July, 1990-1996
Las Vegas Valley Increase in persons: 310,992
(This indicates a growth of 40.5% over this period)
Boulder City Increase: from 12,679 to 14,032 (10.7% increase)
Henderson Increase: from 69,933 to 131,887 (88.6% increase)
Las Vegas Increase: from 281,891 to 396,968 (40.8% increase)
North LV Increase: from 47,987 to 83,328 (73.6% increase)
Las Vegas Valley
increase: from 355,380 to 452,647 (27.4% increase)
This table undeniably shows that the demographic boundary that contained the largest percentage increase in number of persons was Henderson, and the demographic boundary that contained the smallest percentage increase in the number of persons was the unincorporated areas of the Las Vegas Valley.
But we cannot assume that it was policy set by Henderson government that caused this increase in Henderson. One of the compelling reasons for the huge percentage of increase is the fact that Henderson's population was so much smaller to begin with. The same thing can be said of number two on the list, North Las Vegas. It's population nearly doubled, but that doesn't change the fact that over twice as many people moved into the unincorporated county as moved into North Las Vegas.
If we were to present the figures in a different way, then the growth picture would change somewhat. For instance, if we were to present the figures in a way that showed which areas accounted for a percentage of the total growth, so that the total growth figure represented 100% of the growth:
Population increase of the Las Vegas Valley - 310,992 100%
Increase of persons in Boulder City - 1,353, less than 1%

Increase of persons in Henderson - 61,954, 20%
Increase of persons in Las Vegas - 115,077, 37%
Increase of persons in N. Las Vegas - 35,341, 11%
Increase of persons in
the unincorporated Las Vegas Valley - 97,267, 31%
In this example, the County jurisdiction has fostered a greater percentage of the growth, and the County is in #2 position instead of #4 position.
And let's get another perspective, as long as we are in the neighborhood. Lets look at where the percentage of population resided before and after the growth.
Population of Las Vegas Valley, July 1990, (%) and July 1996 (%)
Total Population 767,870 (100%) - 1,078,862 (100%)
Boulder City Population 12,679 (2%) - 14,032 (1%)
Henderson Population 69,933 (9%) - 131,887 (12%)
Las Vegas Population 281,891 (37%) - 396,968 (37%)
North Las Vegas Population 47,987 (6%) - 83,328 (7%)
Unincorporated Las Vegas
Valley Population 355,380 (46%) - 452,647 (42%)
Looking at this chart, I see a shift of potential political power of 3% to Henderson, and 1% to North Las Vegas. . .I don't think that these figures are indicative of who is controlling growth. . .I think that these figures are indicative of where new residents are choosing to live. The fact that most areas are granting building permits like crazy seems to be a universal trend. I don't see an awesome change in one area over another in terms of general policy. The pattern seems homogenous. Obviously, no one is controlling growth. I'm tired of statistical games, and petty bickering over who gets to blame who for what.
The growth rate, and nature of the valley economy is greatly affected by the local corporate gambling business. The granting of gambling permits to slot routes and local-oriented casinos continues unabated by all local governments except Boulder City. Allowing sales tax to subsidize the growth into unbroken ground in this valley without further taxation of the gaming industry, which pacifies new residents like a new drug, is a denial of your responsibility to regulate gambling. If the little guys can't afford an increase, then stop granting permits until the demand increases to the point where they can afford it. And then tax gaming.
The Nevada legislature gave the County Commission power to either impose a sales tax increase, table the sales tax increase, or put it on the ballot. You are elected representatives of the entire valley. You will be accountable for your decision.
As a voter in this Valley, and as a Nevada citizen, I am not interested in any conclusions drawn by a committee of developers, casino owners, new residents, and appointed bureaucrats. The ball is in the court of the County Commission. Either table the tax, or put it on the ballot. A decision to impose this tax without a vote will be a denial of your faith in the intelligence of the residents of the county. It will be a denial of your chance to participate in controlling the growth of this area. The County Commission has the power to decide this issue. There is no need for you to try to be a part of any team, because you are the team. The public elected you. The Legislature has empowered you. So make this decision. Ann Reynolds
Something else that you can do 20 August, 1997
The Southern Nevada Water Authority will conduct a Public hearing to consider a proposal to increase the sales and use tax by one-quarter of one percent to partially fund water and wastewater facilities that would otherwise be fully funded through increased rates and connection charges. This proposal was authorized by assembly bill 291 as passed by the 1997 Nevada Legislature. The public hearing will take place at the Las Vegas Valley Water District located at 1001 South Valley View Boulevard, Las Vegas, Nevada on August 28, 1997 at 2:00 p.m. The public is invited to attend and participate.
Published August 11, 18, and the 25th in the RJ and the Sun
Okay, folks, we are going into round eight. (Or is it round nine?) The Legislature passed this hot potato to the County Commission, so please attend the hearing, if only to listen to the Southern Nevada Water Authority tell you that you have to accept the escalating debt that will be generated by public subsidy of casino/developer profits.
If you do attend, please keep in mind that corporate local gambling does not a stable economy make. And also keep in mind that this proposal was concocted by an elite board made up of the very folks that will profit by this pyramid scheme. Their best selling point is that the current water delivery system is vulnerable to accident.
So let's make the necessary amendments to the system that will allow for proper maintenance and repair, and let's stop issuing gambling permits. That will create enough demand for slot play so that small operators can't reasonably protest a raise in the gambling tax. That will give the infrastructure fund access to taxation of the huge profits that are being enjoyed by the gambling sector. Please go to this hearing, and demand responsible management and purification of our water. And demand regulation and reasonable taxation of the gambling business.
The raise in the sales and use tax not only squeezes the poor disproportionately, it forces manufacturing and retail sales to subsidize gambling profits, thereby subverting the diversification of our economy. It encourages the importation of resident gamblers and casino workers instead of working class families and small business owners who would have a stake in the future of Nevada's economy and a sane lifestyle. It's at 2:00 p.m. on a Thursday afternoon, so I doubt that anyone who is working outside the gambling industry, or anyone who isn't retired and interested in depressing property value can attend.
Attend the meeting. Demand a different goal for the water system, one that doesn't commit the population to subsidizing water lines to previously un-broken ground. Demand that our elected leaders create zoning that requires re-development of fallow urban land, and denser use of existing urban areas near existing casinos. Demand that our gambling business be directed toward tourists, and refuse to be told that the spread of local casinos and slot routes is irrelevant to the issue. It is the very heart of the issue. And demand taxation of the casinos to subsidize any new water delivery systems outside current urban areas.
That should do it. I work until 3:30, but I'll try to make it anyway. You can rest assured that there will be lots of bureaucrats, developers and casino reps there to tell us that there are no other alternatives. That is not true, don't let them tell us otherwise. There will be some brave voices against this thing. Go help them. This issue, if the County Commission doesn't kill it, belongs on the ballot. Ann Reynolds
Something you can do. 19 August, 1997
In my own limited realm, I have run across stores that don't have slots or smoking. . .these have limited supplies of groceries, and are friendly, and customer-oriented. Since I am one of those obnoxious die-hards who have held out against getting a "value card" at the supermarket, I'm paying convenience store prices for food anyway.
And it's not difficult to find customer-oriented stores. They aren't perfect. I find the service a little slower, but it's more sincere. The absence of smoke while buying food is appetizing. I find that there is a lower possibility of a "tip jar" at the cash register at a store without slot machines. There are stores in the area that sell organic groceries exclusively, as well as drug stores in the more conventional realm that cater to the "family" atmosphere.
I doubt that there is more that a person can do as an individual than simply not patronizing establishments that make profits from local gambling. The other aspects of their business seem to take second place, no matter what their priorities appear to be. And it makes you feel like you are making a difference, if not a difference in the major economy of the city, a difference in your own private quality of life. Ann Reynolds
Stop cementing the washes. 18 August, 1997
The rain is nice, unless you live in Henderson. The flood control philosophy in this area isn't comprehensive, and doesn't work. I noticed concrete on the bottom of the Tropicana Wash near Valley View this week, is that the project for the entire system of washes in the area? Just cement them in?
Will someone who knows what they are doing please review the flood control project for this valley before someone comes up with a class-action suit that devastates the county budget entirely?
I don't have a degree in engineering, but I don't need one to know that if we pave the north valley, and pave the washes, that this will increase the velocity and the volume of the flood water on its journey to Lake Mead. This may well increase the volume of water that we are able to reclaim through recycling through Lake Mead, but is it worth the cost of homes and inevitably lives? Are the people who set this policy insane?
The reclamation of this water can be done gradually, through careful, thoughtful, redevelopment of the city, and that process can be started immediately by consulting experts in environmental development, of which there are several in the country. Or it can be done in desperation after the affluent citizens who live in Henderson hire the proper attorneys and sue the relevent officials who not only ignore this problem but aggravate it with policies that can charitably be described as stupid and greedy.
Stop cementing the washes. And for God's sake get in touch with someone who knows what they are doing. Ann Reynolds
Las Vegas is a great town 15 August, 1997
Last night I felt tired, and since all other remedies had failed, I opted for an hour or two at the gym. . .The main treadmill area offers a sense-blitz that includes a huge screen for videos plus three TV stations on 12 screens. I watched Mills Lane glistening, and frowning, and pointing to his ear for half an hour on MTV. (And we thought Perry Como was an unlikely youth role model.)
I stopped for the mail at my PO Box this afternoon, and the man who guards the door is 71 years old today. . .He said he spent the day watching METRO raid the homeless settlement across the vacant lot. . .they had come out to sun themselves after the clouds dissipated, and were noticed right away.
My routine is settling in, having discovered the absolutely fastest route to work, so of course I leave later, so I'm still late, (yes, we are all sinners) but I do manage to stay off the interstate. It took me four months, and that reminds me that it is rare to have a job that lasts four months, so I try to relish every day. I resist the temptations of the lunch truck, which offers lunch at 9:30 to our crew, which starts at six. No doughnuts at the Deli, either, in an attempt to stave off sugar fatigue.
I listen to the men I work with speak of video poker and 21. . .they have been in town about a year, or six months, and swear to me that they don't gamble, and I believe them, what else can I do. I mean, if someone goes to all that trouble to lie to me, it would be rude to protest, since it's none of my business in the first place. . .at times, they seem grateful that I care.
And I do care. I'm grateful to be working steadily outside of a casino, away from smoke, with people who care about my sensitivity. Las Vegas, in pockets, is a generous and intelligent town. I try to encourage that whereever I encounter it, in my attempt to make the town my own. The quality of life here, aside from the traffic and the air and the water, is quiet and dependable like a series of ports in a continuous storm. There are thousands of people working, and watching, and waiting for something to vote for. So register. The town is just under the surface, waiting to rise up and be counted as a place where people live, work, raise their families, and accept responsibility for their lives and their communities. That's Nevada. It's never been easy, so let's not settle for easy solutions to difficult problems. Begin a dialogue with your friends that accommodates meaningful change. Visualize a sane and intellectually stimulating town. We are in charge. Ann Reynolds
The wetlands park continues 14 August, 1997
Dr. Paulson, a water consultant who is working on the wetlands park, has told me that the community was in dire danger from contaminated water from the recent flash floods. It seems that we were inadvertently saved from much of this harmful contamination by the fact that much of the water in question was trapped in a gravel pit that borders the proposed wetlands area.
In a fairy tale, this serendipitous discovery would be met with instant civic action which would re-define this gravel pit as environmentally sensitive land. It would then be traded through Del Webb Corporation for land in Downtown Las Vegas which already has sewer service, and which could be re-developed in a way that would complement the path of the Las Vegas Wash, turning it into a an ever-greener strip of cat-tails and small dams, collecting the water from floods, and purifying it. Re-development would build on ridges, draining into the gullies. The resulting water traps, instead of channeling off the water in cement ditches, endangering the homes downstream, would preserve large tracts of water for purification and for relief from the desert heat. Such traps would absorb the heat from the sun, giving us cooler nights in the summertime.
These developments, denser and better-built & insulated than the single-family tract homes that tax our resources and infrastructure, could absorb much of the population influx, giving people who come to town to work on the Strip a place to live.
I have been noticing tracts of cat-tails everywhere in the city lately. These tracts should be left alone instead of being mowed down. We should have water traps all along the wash, beginning in the northwest, so that we can trap flood water instead of turning it into a deadly force, and so that we can filter it into the Lake to enhance our drinking supply. And our building policy should encourage re-development.
The challenge for developers should be the creation of safe urban living, oriented toward pedestrians and bus systems, with a gaming-free zone so that small businesses and families can have a chance to grow without the ever-present and boring domination of video poker. Allowing gaming-free zones close to downtown would be a boon to downtown gambling casinos. And encouraging affordable and sane living conditions would enhance the employment options of the Strip casinos as well. Ann Reynolds
We have to believe it before we can see it. 13 August, 1997
One of the things we can do to stay optimistic about the future is to constantly visualize a dynamic economy based on technology and tourist-oriented entertainment. The local forms of expression in such a community would feed the tourist trade while nurturing the esoteric needs of the local population. The people who live here would be primarily concerned with education of our youth, and with the preservation of our environment. The industry located here would be based on the strictest standards of quality, competing with the entire world for the best employers and the highest-paid employees. Las Vegas will be strong and proud and clean, with a well-disciplined and a well-educated population. To an extent, we are already there. Let's make sure that everyone who fits this description, or wants to fit it, is registered to vote, and doesn't feel left out of the current political poker game. This scenario is a lot closer than you may think. It's just a few elections away. Ann Reynolds
The Southern Nevada Planning Authority 12 August, 1997
I am writing in response to the hilarious article that was published in the Las Vegas Review Journal concerning the fact that the public is dissatisfied with the growth management in Clark County. Check it out, "Click":
Hilarious Las Vegas Review Journal Article

The County Commissioners, instead of accepting the verdict of the residents, simply say that the only reason that we are upset is because we aren't aware of the facts. Commissioner Hunt responded by saying that she hopes formation of the Southern Nevada Planning Authority will help publicize efforts by the county to manage growth.
The Southern Nevada Planning Authority will be made up of the same mix of developers, casino representatives, bureaucrats, and new residents that made the recommendations for the sales tax increase. This isn't what people want, and it is foolish to appoint the people who benefit from growth to regulate it. This is exactly what the people are unhappy about. We know that it is difficult to regulate a growth that is as rapid and dynamic as the growth in Clark County, but nonetheless, that is what we want the County Commission to do. And we don't need the Commission to tell us when they are doing a good job of it.
However, it is difficult to sympathize too strongly with a population that has consistently declined to register to vote. If there is one service that our media should provide, it is strong and consistent insistence on this issue. The people of Clark County must register to vote if they expect their politicians to respect their wishes. And if we expect the casino industry to stop preying on our quality of life, then we have to stop giving the casinos all of our money. Stop gambling. Register to vote. There is no other way. And there isn't a lot of time, either. Ann Reynolds
The voters know what is going on 11 August, 1997
Any project that so blatantly benefits new residents at the expense of old ones, and that so blatantly benefits casinos without taxing them, should be put under extreme scrutiny before being implemented. The water project should be downsized to repair and upgrade the old system. Any pre-approved building projects that need new delivery systems should be put on hold and re-assessed until funding is provided from the casino industry. It is possible that the residents of the valley know exactly what the SNWA project is about, and what it means to them. What they are saying to the County Commission is to find another way to fund growth besides taxing the resident population without even seriously considering taxing the casino industry. Ann Reynolds
NEWS: Testing for perchlorate set to start
I saw this statement in your latest article: "The Chemical pollution
near Lake Mead almost certainly affects Lake Las Vegas, as well. I hope
that the proper tests are being made there, even though millions of
dollars of developer profits may be involved."
I'm not sure if you know that I did the water quality monitoring at Lake
Las Vegas during 1989-1995, when I worked as a consultant for the
company. The testing we did in Las Vegas Wash, above and below the
project, and in the lake itself was as comprehensive as the wastewater
dischargers are required to do in the wash and Lake Mead. Lake Las Vegas
hired its own biologist in 1995 to take over the sampling program.
Lake Las Vegas is no longer required by State EPA to monitor in Las
Vegas Wash. Their biologist still collects samples weekly from the lake
and sends them to our laboratory for analyses of nutrients, biochemical
oxygen demand, salinity, suspended solids, fecal coliforms, algae, and
There is no monitoring in Lake Las Vegas for perchlorate. Indeed, until
last week, that contaminant was not even monitored in Lake Mead. There
are no laboratories in Nevada certified to do that testing. Samples have
to be sent to California. I see from the attached article that more
testing of perchlorate will be done in Las Vegas Wash, Lake Mead and
valley wells. I'm not sure if they will sample in Lake Las Vegas. I hope
this helps answer your question. Doctor Larry Paulson
"Click" here to read about Perchlorlate
Contaminant of the Month 8 August, 1997
The Chemical pollution near Lake Mead almost certainly affects Lake Las Vegas, as well. I hope that the proper tests are being made there, even though millions of dollars of developer profits may be involved. For those of you who aren't aware of Lake Mead's contaminant of the month, check out the article in the Las Vegas Review Journal at... "Click" on the address to read (but be sure to come "Back"):
The article states that there aren't any recommended safety levels for the chemical perchlorate in the State of Nevada, but that 18 parts per billion have spurred remedial action in California. Poison.
I can see no better reason for reclaiming wetlands in the Las Vegas Valley, although much of this particular poison may well be reaching the lake through groundwater avenues. Nonetheless, a good system of cat-tailed gullies in the valley would do wonders for purifying Lake Mead. Ever notice the condition of the washes in the urban areas of the city? They are, for the most part, lined with cement and devoid of life. An exception is a portion near Nellis and Charleston. . .I noticed the long leaves of what are probably cat-tails along the bed of the wash, after the cement sides give way to a ribbon of soil. The wash is protected with high fences, perhaps to protect the public from the violent water during flood season.
Be aware that there are economic reasons for the cement, and for keeping plant life out of the washes. The more water that is returned to Lake Mead, the more water is available for re-cycling through the delivery system. Cat-tails in soft soil will trap and purify the water, but less of it will return to the Lake, thereby making less water available for chemical treatment, and less water available for delivery back to new development. Truly re-claiming the wetlands to the extent that Lake Mead would benefit fully from the resultant purification would mean a significant reduction in water-feet available. . . unless we buy more water rights. . .assuming that we can get someone to sell.
Negotiating with our neighbors in terms of money for water rights may get some really positive attention. It will probably be more effective than calling farmers greedy and wasteful. Farmers use water, and they spill a lot of it around, creating trees and harboring wildlife. They can be guilty of a lot of abuses, but having a farmer downstream isn't necessarily a bad idea. We should pass a law, however, making it illegal for anyone representing Las Vegas casino/developer interests to call anyone else greedy or wasteful. We could call it the glass house bill. It would clear more air than dust control.
And where would we get the money for water rights? We could tax the casino industry, now there's a novel idea. And after we use the water for re-development that includes reclamation of wetlands, and the restoration of our water table, and purifying the lake, we may well be ready for solid economic growth that is based on real economic activity that will last for the remainder of the twenty-first century.
Mr. David Toll, familiar to many "inter-net-ers," has given me the address of Envirotech Consultants, Inc, at... "Click" on the address to read (but be sure to come "Back"):
I urge all developers who would truly capture the imagination (that's the catch-phrase of the 70's, think of all those rich "Boomers" out there) of the monied classes to create something valid for our valley. Something based on reason and replenishment and peace rather than addiction and depletion and deception and death. Ann Reynolds
In the Meantime. 7 August, 1997
There are interim issues everywhere in Las Vegas, many of them are positive, and many of them can be addressed easily on a daily basis. It's difficult to try to persuade others over to another new way of thinking, especially when the gambling business has been considered God for decades. I can't think about it all the time, and there is no need to.
For those of you who are discouraged by the constant presence of casinos and slot machines, spend your time avoiding them, it's kind of like a game. It's very difficult to buy groceries without encountering smoke and slots, which is interesting in a state where it is illegal to smoke in a grocery store. . . EXCEPT. I'm thinking about food co-ops, there are bound to be some good ones.
If you are looking for something to do besides spend time in a casino, I recommend health clubs, there are lots of them around, of high quality and low cost. There are lots of fat old people like me in them, too, so don't be discouraged. The dollar movies are great, too. And when school starts, try patronizing the local drama departments for entertainment.
If you are single, without dependants to look at you with fear and loathing if you were to change careers, then start looking for a non-gambling job, just for grins, and then if you find one, don't go in casinos. If you are a senior citizen, go to school to do taxes in the season. If you are wary of making too much money, then volunteer to teach kids to play chess, or find a reading program for the blind, or start a quilting club, or a bridge club. If you think that that is too much like where you came from, well, Nevada is a lot like where you came from. Aren't you getting a little homesick for some sanity? The people that are used to living in Nevada are getting a little homesick for sanity, too. If you came here to gamble, then go home on Sunday night. Gambling is for tourists. Residents are supposed to figure that out.
Politics will never defeat domination by the local casinos. The only way to do that is to stop giving them all of our money. And stop giving them our attention, too.
If all the gambling residents stopped gambling, there would be fewer gambling jobs, but that in itself won't hurt the economy. There is just as much money as before. The jobs will be created where you spend your money, and voila! (or however you spell it.) The economy will be diversified, and the gambling sector will go back to entertaining tourists instead of boring us to death with those irritating ads on TV and radio. (Whenever you hear a string of casino ads that promise you free money, turn off the radio, and call the station and tell them that you did it because of false advertising.) Food co-ops and non-casino movies and local live theater and other local businesses could advertise on radio and TV. Supermarkets will start competing with stores that sell food. (Wouldn't that be a novelty?)
This can all happen, and you don't even have to register to vote to do it. But register to vote anyway, there might be something to vote on any day now. Ann Reynolds
How about your ideas of "other" things to do... "Click" to write
A Deal with the Devil 6 Aug, 1997
Perspective helps everyone. It's very easy to get so caught up in the momentum of growth. We all assume that we know what is in the future, but we don't. It's easy to predict growth patterns, armed with statistics and building permits and financing plans, but we are in a scenario that has never existed before. Legalized gambling, with the local population as a target, has never been allowed to be developed as a modern marketing model, with stockholder gain being regarded as the ultimate good. (Except maybe in Rome, at the Colliseum.)
The County Commissioners have been asked to make the difficult decision. Many of the people who say this assume that the difficult decision will be approving the sales tax increase, but that is not true. That is the easy decision. The difficult decision is to listen to your hearts, County Commissioners, and then actually get to work figuring out how to get out of this spiral of greed and death before it consumes our souls.
A friend of mine made an astute observation about Nevada's economy the other day. "When you make a deal with the devil, there's a down side." This does not necessarily mean that we are obligated to sink the state's economy into oblivion with a pyramid scheme based on publicly-financed debt. We can instead display the courage that Nevada has always harbored and actually, for the first time in 15 years, begin to regulate the gambling industry, even without their permission. Any elected official that is so involved with the gambling business that they cannot in good conscience vote for issues that restrains it should look in their mirrors and see the problem. And they should then do two things. They should pass a law that anyone with compromising interest in gambling monies should not be allowed to run for public office. And then they should resign, with a good conscience. It may be their last chance to do so. Ann Reynolds
Wetlands Park or Sewage Dump? 5 July, 1997
Dr. Larry Paulson, retired biologist from UNLV, sent me the charts of the financing breakdown for the water project that the SNWA presented at Commissioner Malone's Townhall meeting. According to Dr. Paulson's analysis (which I agree with), the SNWA's inital recommendation had developers paying 79% of the costs and 21% paid by residents in a nickel/1000 gallon surcharge. The "citizens" advisory committee, made up mainly of developers, casino owners and bureaucrats, recommended that the developer's share drop to 52%, and the public's share go up to 48%, which includes the surcharge, water rates and sales tax. Gaming, of course, pays nothing in either scenario. Dr. Paulson, who is also active in the wetlands reclamation effort, has written the following letter to the County Commission, pleading with them to respect the fragility of the existing wetlands, and to educate themselves about the reality of our situation: ["Click" here to read Dr. Paulson's letter.]
Not only did the developers pass on 48% of the costs to residents, they
also "phased" in the connection fees. In the upper chart, it shows
connection fees don't rise significantly until later in the life of the
project. In the lower chart it shows, connection fees won't reach the
$3,400 figure until March of 1998.
Bottom line is connection fees should pay more than 52% of the project
and there is no way connection fees should be "phased" in. If
connection fees were raised to $5,000 right now instead of 10 years from
now, there would be no need for the sales tax. Plus, this would act to
reduce growth by increasing housing costs. Growth finally paying for
growth. The commissioners should overrule the SNWA and citizens advisory
committee and raise the connection fees now, if they really are serious
about slowing down growth. Ann Reynolds