A better quality of life for seniors, their children and grandchildren Dec 15, 1998


Las Vegas politicians take note, the Reno/Sparks politicians caught your fever to grow
government debt. The Reno/Sparks politicians want to expand the convention center by
$100,000,000, not to be surprised they are like our big special interest spenders in Las
Vegas. Does it really make sense for Reno to do this anymore than some of the public
debt being added to the Las Vegas taxpayer? My old firm designed many convention
centers around the country and Reno is not one that would have had a very high priority
as a convention city other than to satisfy the casino interest as we do many times in Las
Vegas. About 20 years ago Reno produced one of the best thought out master plans for
the future that I have seen. As near as I can recall, not much came of it. Then as now one
of the main problems in Reno has been no compelling reason for major air carriers for
national and international flights to compete for landing slots which really means no strong
business or tourist attraction. Reno has a great natural advantage of nature over Las
Vegas but that does not make it a convention city. Isn't the convention expansion idea just
another WPA era make-work project by government as we are doing here in Las Vegas
with boondoggles such as our $3.5 billion school bonds, $3 billion water sewer projects
and a $3.5 billion monorail for the strip that the casinos wont pay for? These depression
era WPA make-work projects by our politicians and bureaucrats in both our cities will
only add to our public debt and be of little real value to the taxpayers. Maybe Reno should
dust off its old master plan (that's more than we have in Clark County and Las Vegas)
and be reminded that the powers that be, more than likely failed in their objectives to meet
the expectations of that plan and no amount of money for new buildings called convention
centers will bring another net dollar of gain to the economy of Reno. Being realistic the
convention jobs are really more of the same dead end low pay. In fact they most likely
would add to the public debt to subsidize the jobs.
Isn't it time that we in both cities stop government employees and politicians from planing
government (boondoggles) solutions to grow our economy? We all must know that
government employees are hired to serve our needs and by their nature their safety net is
the government job security... so we shouldn't expect them... nor should we put them in a
position to come up with innovative ideas to spur profitable economic growth for a
community. The same goes for politicians who seem to think all ideas come from
bureaucrats so we end up with a loosing team who will never do anything innovative on
their own because the nature of their positions is to protect their rear end. This is really
our fault by default in letting government do these big boondoggle projects usually for
special interest groups such as our casinos who really do not have we the taxpayers best
interest at heart. Yes we do need these people but lets do it to assist in furthering private
entrepreneurship that will be an economic benefit to the private sector and not add more
public debt. Public debt is the fastest growing index in Nevada, a very dangerous trend.
Isn't what we need is something not just for Reno and Las Vegas but something for all of
Nevada that would propel us into the 21st century with a high technology revolution in
innovation that is in demand world wide? For a change lets take advantage of the casino
industry and use it to our benefit. In other words a brand new industry that we are in a
unique position to start up and demonstrate to the world because of our name recognition
and millions of visitors. They come to our cities to visit our concentrated casinos where
we could demonstrate to the world by seeing and using a unique way to transport people
without traffic jams and all controlled by computer.
What I suggest is becoming the world wide headquarters for the planing, design,
financing, manufacturing, prefabrication, construction and managed with Nevada
talent for a very innovative solution of moving individual people, auto-transporters
and freight goods by a ultra-light computer controlled, elevated guideway system
that could be show-placed for the world to see in Las Vegas and Reno. With small
test systems for public presentation and with a master plan to expand such system through
out the community when economics justify, this would be an excellent sales tool. In fact
let the casino owners divvy up some of the bucks and join us. What might work for
start-up could be a nonprofit research and development corporation until it is up and
running then convert to a, for profit corporation inviting Nevada's to join in the venture.
All the world cities are looking for an urban solution to a transportation system that would
maintain the convenience of an automobile and local freight delivery on something other
than the present gridlock of our city streets and freeways. We cannot continue to build
freeways to meet our world needs, in particular when people demand the convenience of
individual transportation not mass transportation. That can be done with what we might
call Transport 2000 where up to four people at a time can access an in-system vehicle and
be delivered non stop to their destination at the same time while other people owning the
newest under 2000 lb., year 2000 commuter autos by Mercedes, Ford Chrysler, Porsche
etc. could drive these vehicles to a shopping center, enter the computer controlled
guideway, drive onto a auto-transport platform, be delivered near their final destination
and drive off to attend to their business without leaving their vehicle. In the concept I
believe a six passenger Taxi/Limo vehicle could also be a on line service vehicle for those
who want it and would take them from with a T/L driver from point a to z non stop, from
airport to hotel etc. minutes. Then at evening low volume vehicle time, up to 2000 lb.
container transporters could go computer controlled from the point of shipping to the end
destination all by computer control. This technology is already designed and tested and is
all off the shelf, the components would be prefabricated and cause little disturbance on the
construction scene all at a cost of about ten percent of what is being spent on so called
light rail mass transit systems that have all the disadvantage of the train. The economy of
a Transport 2000 system would be a for profit self financing enterprise. There is a multi
trillions dollar business nationally and world wide for the taking if we in Nevada have the
entrepreneurship to do it.
Our biggest challenge will be from politicians and government employees who will
immediately throw up smoke screens of it has never been done before, we don't have the
talent to do it and if it is so good why hasn't some one else done it? These concerns are
easy to answer because the biggest deterrent to innovation in the ultra-light individualized
transportation concept has for forty years been blocked by government employees and
large engineering firms who have never done anything innovative in their life, have never
hung their reputation on their ingenuity and trusted their judgment to enter fields where no
one else had done it before. Innovation takes people who know how to size up an idea,
describe in very clear terms the end result desired and reduce the design to its simplest
form using the latest known technology and try it. The advent of the present day computer
in its smallest components for every part of this system is the breakthrough we have
needed for computer controlled individual transported systems on a controlled guideway.
I can predict this, if we don't do it now the Taiwanese are well on the way and in several
years we will be licensing foreign technology. As of this time it can and should be U.S.
technology for sale world wide.
People do resist change and the ones most likely to throw up the biggest smoke screens
after government types and politicians will be the casinos who will fear the independence
of the people of Nevada to make a very good living without them. Admit it or not it will
scare the hell out of them. The best example I can think of is many years ago IBM wanted
to build a large production plant in the home town of the my old companies long time
client the respected and world renowned Mayo Clinic. Why would Mayo resist? Very
simple it controlled a very good and cheap labor market (just like our casinos). Well IBM
did build the plant and guess what wages did go up considerably, Rochester's economy
boomed and the famed Mayo Clinic is more prosperous and more world renowned than
ever. Early in candidate Kenny Guinn’s run for governor I ask him to introduce me to a
few people that would help me at least start a public discourse, he did nothing. I think
Kenny is a very honest, honorable person but apparently either lacks foresight or is a cover
your rear, play it safe politician. I invite him again to get serious about a revolution from
low pay casino jobs to the 21st century of a new innovative high tech entrepreneurship
with high pay jobs that can live side by side with the service industry.
Isn't the most important issue in all of this, what is Nevada's future in the 21st century?
We are fortunate to be in a most strategic location in the West with all its natural beauty,
our international name recognition. We are only hours from the Canadian Alaska country,
hours to the west coast, the gulf coast, and with air travel nationally and internationally
second to none thanks to our casino industry. Let's take advantage of our good fortune
and start the 21st century as the Nevada international headquarters for Transport 2000.
We have such a great untapped resource in our young and growing labor force, which
until now has little incentive to excel, to finish high school or enter our fine Universities.
Let's give them that challenge to excel now. Let's create an integrated service of design,
manufacturing and systems need, which reaches into and challenges everyone and every
community in Nevada that wants to be a part of the revolution and new beginning for
entrerpreneurship in our great State of Nevada.
Ken Mahal A.I.A.
Nevada Seniors Coalition
Ken Mahal, Dec 15, 1998
In a ten-year effort to see some progress in cleaning up our filthy air, we finally got the attention of the Federal EPA San Francisco office. We did have a meeting with them, Dr. Kwalick, head of the Clark County Health Department and Michael Naylor, head of Pollution. Robert Hall, Rick Neilson, Jim Sohns and myself did have an opportunity for the first time to vent our concerns in front of all three parties involved. We had a two hour session and covered it all from dirty industries, to dirty diesel trucks, dirty diesel construction equipment, uncontrolled dust at every construction site, unmarked and un-permitted construction sites, unmarked construction equipment, unmarked pick up trucks and more. There is something very strange about the operations of this one sector of the construction industry in this valley. Is there a hidden ownership that controls it?
We speak of the sand and gravel pits, concrete mixing plants, rubbish trucks, gravel trucks etc... plus all the on site heavy earth moving equipment, graders, front end loaders, and you name it on the construction sites. This sector of the construction industry, it seems, has a "be as dirty as you like pass" to pollute, to violate the regulations and to be just a lousy community citizen. They receive not much more than a pat on the head from the people in charge of protecting our health and well being. This bunch is the worst I have seen in my fifty years in the design construction industry, nationally and internationally. Their diesel engines on the trucks, dirt haulers, earth movers, front end loaders, graders, Cats etc. are either worn out or need tuning, or are detuned on purpose to give a power surge when they put the foot too the pedal and spew out about 25% of their fuel in black lung killing plume. I agree with Jim Sohns that the dirty diesels in this valley are a far worse health hazard than carbon monoxide from cars. Have you noticed how many arrogantly use our streets with their big rigs with no license, and no identification?
We also pointed out the constant dust plumes in the air at 95% of the construction sites and the filth on the black top roads from site track out, at just about every site in the valley. Even down the Strip where all the casino construction is taking place, the black top is filthy from all the dirt tracked out. You can see this at just about every construction project in the valley. On average the Pollution Department has about 1400 active permits issued for some sort of facility expansion, earth moving etc. They have only about a dozen inspectors in enforcement. A few of them split up their time to sniff the gas fumes at the filling stations; but do almost nothing about the spewing grease laden air from the restaurants and fast food operations.
Dr. Kwalick was challenged on the quality of permitted enforcement. He was requested to stop further permitting in Clark County until there is an official audit and case history of inspection on every active permit (1400 on average) to see how little inspection there is. Dr. Kwalick and Michael Naylor are responsible for our health and well being, and do not seem to realize that by over permitting they are violating federal, state and local regulations. It is their responsibility, once a permit is issued to keep the site in compliance. They are professionally licensed along with others in the Health and Pollution Departments and seem to have forgotten that if they permit violations of the regulations by over permitting, there could be good cause to challenge their fitness to hold a professional license. There may be cause before the appropriate Nevada State Licensing Board to determine their fitness to be a licensed doctor or engineer.
Why is it that people like Steve Wynn, (Mr. Clean Casinos) and other big time operators of these multi-billion dollar casino show places, (with this concern about their national and international image) show no concern about our filthy yellow cloud of dust and diesel particulate? It is filling our lungs with gunk and permeates every building inside and out, plus the furnishing and fabrics? Worst of all it is plugging up their multi-million dollar filter systems for air handling in these fancy places and they do nothing about it. Why is it that politicians like Mayor Jan Jones talk a lot and do nothing about this filthy air? Every kid's and senior's lungs in Las Vegas is affected. Don’t you care? Doctors, why don’t we hear from you with your thousands of patients with respiratory illnesses? Do you care?
Lest we forget, the people in direct charge of the Health and Pollution Departments are politicians on the Health Board and are as follows: County-Erin Kenny, Mary Kincaid, Las Vegas-Gary Reese, Henderson-Amanda Cyphers, North Las Vegas-Stephanie Smith and Paula Brown, Boulder City-Bob Ferraro.
When they feed you the propaganda about how clean the air is, I would suggest about 10,000 homeowners, office building property managers, apartment managers, shopping center operators, the hospitals, the medical clinics etc. of the valley take their 10,000 dirty filters to the appropriate government meetings and in particular dump them in the front yard at Dr. Kwalick and Michael Naylor's headquarters on Shadow Lane north of the University Medical Center when the next health board meeting takes place.
None of the above covers the ingenious offset program by Dr. Kwalick & Naylor Inc.(K&N Inc.) who sell big time polluters like power plants, industrial plants etc. pollution offset credits so that the polluters can keep polluting while K&N Inc. are supposed to use that money ($7M to$15M) to blacktop a few miles of BLM and the likes. These are gravel roads; which is supposed to offset the polluters pollution... what a farce. At the same time they play games with this issue. Almost every black top street in the valley is covered with construction dust because there is almost no enforcement by K&N Inc..
Another interesting issue is that a required permit is to be posted on every permitted construction site in the valley (1400 on average). It only took me about seven years of beefing to get Dr. Ravenholt and K&N Inc. to require a 4 foot by 4 foot permit board on a site, which lists the permit number, the company and who to call at K&N Inc. if it is a dirty site. That, to their credit, is working. But what is not working is when dirt is being plumed about the site and the contractor has not taken out a permit. If you report it, guess what? K&N Inc. don't shut the violators down. As a matter of fact, it will take about six weeks to hear the case and by that time the project is done.
Guess what the fine is? It is a lousy $200 bucks. Without a permit it is an illegal operation, without a permit the contractor should be shut down, without a permit the contractor should be fined from $3,500 to $10,000 depending on size of project and number of violations. Many of these contractors are repeat offenders. The $64,000 question is why don't the repeat offenders lose their contractor license after the third or fourth violation?
The point of this entire story is that with proper enforcement and restricted permitting to their ability to enforce the regulations, most of the dust plum could be controlled in 60 days. As to the dirty diesels, maybe we should call every company that has them and shame them into being good citizens, they are making millions. Ask the Chamber and Nevada’s for Solutions to help. In the end to solve the dirty diesels, we will go the Nevada State Legislature and ask that all $2 billion dollars worth of diesel equipment in Nevada be licensed and smog tested every year; just like you and I are required to do.
Believe your dirty air filters; not the clean air reports by K&N Inc. Thank the millionaire developers, contractors and industry fat cats in Las Vegas for our brown cloud of dust and diesel particulate, for filling and killing our lungs each day we live. Together we must win.
Ken Mahal A.I.A.
Nevada Seniors Coalition
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