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Putting Flesh 'round the Bones

by Pat Hickey, Editor

hen I decided for family and business reasons not to run for reelection to the Nevada Assembly, I had no intention of giving up my involvement in public policy. After all, what’s in it for a family man and business person if state policies get any more onerous and cockeyed?

Therefore, a chance to remain engaged in policy pursuits and apply my just-completed course work on a journalism masters was more than I could say a polite no to. That having been said, I must tell you I am extremely grateful to be the new editor of the Nevada Journal.

For too long media elites have defined what they think the public policy agenda should be and then proceeded to tell you how to think about it. I’d like to ask your help in changing that.

Here at NPRI, you are our most important partners in "putting the public back into public policy."

At my first editorial staff meeting I suggested the mission of Nevada Journal is to help the public and policy makers to:

refine issues into policy choices

plum to core values on issues we write about

spell out the cost and the consequences of the choices we offer

bridge the expert-public gap

listen to and report on ideas from our readers and policy leaders

help create deliberative policy discussions

In this month’s cover story, NPRI’s Ralph Heller weighs in with both barrels blazing at incompetence and governmental abuse in the state’s public sector. Heller demonstrates how a growing bureaucratic elite is fast becoming a new aristocracy and, all too frequently, out of the purview of public scrutiny.

D. Dowd Muska shows how the government’s crusade against spam (unsolicited commercial e-mail) does nothing more than open a can of meat that could be better handled by the power of the market.

Elsewhere in this issue Steve Miller examines how power and privilege makes it possible for a union leader to proclaim: "Get in our way and we’ll knock you flat on your ass." Dan Steninger reminds us how Yucca Mountain wouldn’t even be a blip on Nevada’s radar screen if government didn’t try to be the mother-of-all regulators. Diane Alden returns to this issue with her Nuggets of Western sense and nonsense. Great Basin College professor Glen Tenney points to the folly of the gun control crowd in trying to keep guns from criminals who will pay whatever is required to keep stocked in the tools of their trade.

As Nevada lawmakers embark in the next legislative session to improve the quality of the state’s school teachers, we at NPRI reprint for your consideration a timely feature from The Washington Times on the failure of the nation’s schools of education.

We Solicit Your Response

As our masthead states, Ideas Lead to Reform. For thoughtful free-market views to take the lead in reforms, we the writers, and you the public, must build flesh around the bones of our ideas.

In this issue you will find an enclosed reader questionnaire on a business reply card. This magazine will only get better if you help us understand our strengths and our weaknesses. Please fill it out and send us feedback on your Nevada Journal.

You will find a new feature called News to Use at the end of every policy story in NJ. It will be a box of action points, addresses, and other assorted items to help you follow through on issues explored in the article you’ve just read.

Also in this issue, you’ll find a new feature entitled Great Speeches. Knowing that many of you are activists who take ideas from NPRI and share them in your own presentations and conversations, I thought reading an occasional great speech would give you a dose of inspiring intellectual ammo.

In this month’s issue, you will also find the first in a series of issue pieces I plan to do on the topic of The New Millennium. I hope ideas on issues like religious freedom, the media, education and government will provoke your own thoughts about the public agenda for the coming century.

I’m honored to be a new member of the NJ team. The writers and research staff at NPRI are committed to being a voice of reason in these complicated times. Please send us your feedback on the magazine. With your help, we promise to make Nevada Journal even better. u


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