Sam Says, Hats Off to the JudgesSam Says, Hats Off to the Judges
A Novel Idea Hit Northern Nevada Government When It wasn't Looking - Democracy! Reno Citizen Staff Report
"If I had only had my guitar with me, I would have sung that old song, 'I (They) Saw the Light'." Sam Dehne
A cartel of northern Nevada judges (with a little help from Reno's citizen watchdog) spent the morning of 30 May, 2000 explaining government to the Washoe county commissioners.
You see, those judges want a new court house facility to replace what they say is an outdated and archaic gaggle of scattered buildings that are a logistics and financial nightmare.
Their spokesman, judge Hardesty, explained adamantly to the commissioners that this nightmare is costing citizens massive amounts of wasted taxes... and is delaying the justice process.
The judges want a new court complex very badly. But the really critical issue here is that they think the citizens are the ones who should be allowed to decide if a new court house building... is what the citizens really want. They want the cost of an $86 million dollar bond issue to be explained to the citizens (hopefully via fair scrutiny of all pros and cons). And then they want those citizens, themselves, to be allowed to give a thumbs up or down to the idea.
This heretofore novel concept for local bureaucrats was so shocking to the commissioners that they hardly knew how to react. They even seemed to forget that the judges were not asking THEM to make a decision on the project. The judges were merely asking that the commission allow the concept to be placed on the ballot for the November election... and then for citizens to decide. Truly a novel concept for northern Nevada's bureaucrats.
Self-appointed watchdog Sam Dehne was the only citizen in the audience who spoke on the court project issue. He introduced himself as "just a plain old ordinary distinguished citizen who was an Air Force Academy graduate and retired Air Force pilot who was tired of local government's dictatorship by oligarchy".
Sam said that he was not there to speak for or against the new court house, but he pointed out that the really critical aspect to the entire request was that the judges were asking the citizens be the ones who decide. And Sam thanked the judges heartily for promoting the idea (for the first time in recent memory) of allowing the citizens to decide a major issue. In what must have been a startling revelation for commissioners, he reminded all that the purpose of government, in its very basic form, is "to sound and honor the will of the people". "This is a concept that has virtually disappeared in local democracy." Sam exclaimed, "Thank you judges of northern Nevada!"
Sam said that after attending virtually every local government meeting in the area for the past 5 years, this is "something I have been waiting and begging for."
Through the years Sam had watched the Washoe county commission... the scandal-plagued Reno city council... the scandal plagued and cash-strapped RSCVA and Reno Airport... ignore citizens time and again. They refused to allow the peons to have a say in their own government. The members of these semi-elected and appointed bodies of the same old "usual suspects" have taken the stance of eliminating citizens from the process of deciding what citizens want for themselves. The fat cat-inspired Railroad Trench, the diabolical Airport Landgrabs, the ill-contrived Convention Center Expansion are but a few of many evil self-serving multi-million $$$dollar tax-wasting schemes that the citizens were not allowed to participate in.
For the record Sam, and his dedicated cadre of concerned citizens have been articulately and courageously espousing the concept of allowing citizens to participate in their own government for many years. "Let the Citizens Decide!"
In this case, the commissioners finally saw the light... and put their stamp of approval on the plan to pursue the concepts presented by the judges... and Sam Dehne.
Note: The sad annecdote is that on 20 June the commissioners voted unanimously to spend over $12,000,000 of citizens' taxes to buy the Pioneer Casino... before the citizens even got a chance to vote thumbs up or down for the court house scheme. One of many questions now raised; is what does the county do with this Casino if the voters turn thumbs down to the court house scheme in November? It is against the law for the county to run a casino. "Egg on the face" will be the order of the day at county commission. Or does county know "something" about the outcome of that vote that the rest of the citizens don't know?!?
Sam Dehne as Reno mayor (click) looks more logical all the time.
More information about this story and many others can be found by reading The Reno Citizen and its links to ABCSN's Government Concepts.
[Note: The asking price for the site for the court house is about 400% too high. There are far too many blighted lots in the area that could be used for this project... at a much lower cost to the taxpayers.]
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