vs. bears, cable vs. consumers
Special Internet Extra Edition 4-7-2005
BALLARDINI RANCH DEVELOPERS PULL AN END RUN THROUGH LAS VEGAS TO PAVE OVER RENO'S CENTRAL PARK
Call, fax and/or e-mail the Nevada State Senate Judiciary Committee NOW
to oppose Sen. Care's SB 326
(contact info below)
Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce and conservative Nevada Policy Research Institute endorse an alternative measure proposed by an Assembly Democrat
CARSON CITY, NEV. (Thursday, 4-7-2005) At 8:00 this morning, Nevada voters will be treated to a textbook example of one of the oldest ward-heeling political tricks in the book: Get a politician from outside the affected jurisdiction to do your dirty work.
Sen. Terry Care, D-Las Vegas, has introduced Senate Bill 326 as a purported reform to Nevada eminent domain laws. The effect of the bill will be to pave over Washoe County's last chance to have a Central Park. This is baldfaced special interest legislation designed to substitute the judgment of the legislature for that of the judiciary in two separate cases of ongoing litigation.
Sen. Care is using longstanding acrimony over a controversial downtown Las Vegas land grab as political cover to destroy a pristine section of south Reno. Las Vegans are still smarting over city government's heavy-handed confiscation of private downtown property which was promptly deeded over to pet interests for a parking garage. Expensive litigation ensued for years afterward.
Alas and alack, other than Clark County PR value for Sen. Care, his current bill will not prevent another Fremont Street Experience land grab. It will, however, kill a project with broad public support in Washoe County the last large remaining area of open space in the fast-growing Truckee Meadows.
Groups oppose SB 326
Social Darwinism for Dummies
Anti-Constitutional newspaper calls Renoites "Green Extremists"
Sen. Care told the Associated Press (Reno Gazette-Journal 3-26-2005) that no one asked him to introduce the bill. On its 11:00 p.m. newscast of Wednesday, April 6, 2005, Reno's KRNV TV-4 reported that the Ballardini Ranch developers wrote part of the bill. On that same newscast, Sen. Care stated that it is his specific intent to kill the Washoe County Commission's attempt to acquire the Ballardini Ranch and preserve it as open space. Mr. Care plans to introduce an amendment making the proposed law retroactively cover current legal actions.
LV POLITICAL COVER. Section 2 of Sen. Care's bill places a Band-Aid on the still-bleeding Fremont Street gunshot wound to the foot. It apparently re-states the law as it currently stands. SB 326 requires preparation of a written legal finding that "a condition of blight exists for each individual parcel of property to be acquired by eminent domain."
If a government says something's blighted, then it is so. That's the status quo, so what's the need for a new law?
Sen. Care told KRNV TV-4 News on Wednesday that his real purpose is to scuttle Washoe County's long-sought acquisition of the pristine 1,019-acre Ballardini Ranch adjacent to the Toiyabe National Forest in southwest Reno. Section one of SB 326 would prohibit any Nevada governmental entity from acquiring property for "open-space use or protecting, conserving or preserving wildlife habitat."
In other words, more parking garages will still be cool if you file the right paperwork, but bears, birds and bunnies be damned. Ditto the voters. Washoe County voters approved a bond issue in 2000, $4 million of which was earmarked for acquisition of the Ballardini Ranch. After the out-of-state developers acquired the land, they sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton killing an additional $16.5 million in federal money which had been available for the preservation.
It appears that Sen. Care's SB 326 is gathering momentum.
Please contact the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and ask them to vote down SB 326.
Today, it's Washoe's open space. Tomorrow, it may be park land in your neighborhood. This bill seeks to take away all power from state and local officials to protect sensitive wildlife, open space and parkland areas.
FOLLYTIX MAKES STRANGE BEDFELLOWS. Just as I was about to upload this, I got an e-mail from the hardcore conservative Nevada Policy Research Institute. The memo notes that "(t)he Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce is supporting a bill by Assemblyman William Horne (D-Las Vegas), that would make it more difficult for government to seize private land holdings through its eminent domain powers."
The LVCC website article linked to the NPRI e-mail describes a measure which appears to answer many of the southern Nevada concerns arising out of the Fremont Street fiasco without the ban on acquisition of open space included in Sen. Care's special interest boondoggle. Assembly Bill 143 is targeted at redevelopment projects, not parks, open space and wildlife.
AB 143 has broad bi-partisan support in both upper and lower houses (30 of 42 assemblymembers and 12 of 21 senators). Sen. Care is listed as a primary sponsor of AB 143, so the way is clear for him to withdraw SB 326, of which he is the lone sponsor. His doing so will save legislative time and taxpayer money as well as lots of birds and bunnies. [UPDATE: AB 143 was voted out of the Assembly Judiciary Committee on April 13 with a "do pass as amended" recommendation.]
READ MY LIPS. In its latest attempt to get government to wound competitors, the cable industry is using its own medium to push for a bill to tax satellite TV. A spot featuring a Charter Communications executive is now being cablecast on northern Nevada cable channels. The exec exhorts the public to push lawmakers to impose a new tax on satellite programming providers. (Wasn't this supposed to be the "no new taxes" legislative session?) For more information, click here.
This High Desert Plantation really needs an organized consumer lobby. Anybody want to help start one?
Be well. Raise hell.
CONTACT THE NEVADA STATE SENATE COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY TO VOTE DOWN SEN. CARE'S SB 326
Mark Amodei, Chair, Carson City
Maurice Washington, R-Sparks, Vice-Chair
Mike McGinness, R-Fallon
Dennis Nolan, R-Las Vegas
Terry Care, D-Las Vegas
Steven Horsford, D-North Las Vegas
Valerie Wiener, D-Las Vegas
To e-mail the entire committee at once, highlight, copy and paste the following addresses into your e-mail send box. Remember to retain the commas.
Additional legislative contact information
Northern Nevada 1-775-684-6800
Southern Nevada 1-702-486-2626
Statewide Toll-Free 1-800-992-0973 or 1-800-995-9080
Nevada Senate 1-775-684-6500
Nevada Assembly 1-775-684-8533
By U.S. Mail:
401 S. Carson Street
Carson City, NV 89701-4747
Copyright © 2005 Andrew Barbano
Andrew Barbano is a 36-year Nevadan and webmaster of ProtectOurWashoe.org. The opinions expressed hereinabove are strictly his own. Responses to the issues raised are welcome and may be posted. Any respondents who wish comments kept confidential need only ask.
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