blank.gif (51 bytes) Applause for Heller

I wanted to inform you that I really enjoyed an article in your December 1998 issue called "Longfellow's Christmas Legacy" written by Ralph Heller. I have always enjoyed reading what Mr. Heller has to say, but this article especially struck me. There should be more writers like him in the world today. Thank you.

via the Internet

Incline Bashing

In regard to your article on property taxes ["The Widows of Incline," October issue]… There have been two decades of Incline bashing by Washoe County, the Washoe County School District and the State of Nevada. In fact, Incline has suffered decades of taxation without representation and the theft of Incline tax dollars for the benefit of the Reno/Sparks area must now be well over $60 million, even before Tahoe loses another thirty million or more on the new Washoe County School bonds.

If Governor Miller’s July 4, 1997 veto of the proposed Incline School District could be overridden by the legislature in the coming session this could possibly avoid at least part of the future Tahoe debt service liability. Incline School District would provide a degree of fairness and self government for Incline Village, but Nevada politicians won’t let this happen.

Roger Steele
Incline Village

Hooray for Us

After reading the article in your December issue by John McClaughry (who by the way is not a Nevada resident, just an intelligent human being.) about the fact that there is a scientific way to dispose of Nuclear Waste, rather than trucking it all to Nevada ["We Don’t Need No Stinking Nuke Dump"], I applauded.

I was however appalled to learn that this information has been brought to the attention of both Senators Reid and Bryan, and they chose to ignore it! Their staffers were more interested and gave more credence to the issue than either senator.

Mr. McClaughry points out some very interesting facts as to possibly why nothing has been done to do away with an unnecessary Yucca Mountain: Building Yucca Mountain is a multi-billion dollar, multi-year project, which is going to feed a lot of contractors. No one wants to find out that there is a far less costly alternative process for Nuclear Waste because this would make their labor (and paychecks) unnecessary. Second, as pointed out above, Nevada seems to have an extremely ignorant congressional delegation.

Nevada is not just some playland for politicians, it is the home of many people. We may not be as largely populated as New York City, but we have a lot more spirit.

Rita Templeton
Las Vegas

Who's Really the Boss?

Contributing Editor D. Dowd Muska’s analysis of today’s Social Security crisis ["Social Securities," December issue] will help many readers to better understand the situation. Perhaps most interesting is the fact that public employees were given the option of alternative retirement plans while the general, taxpaying public had no choice but to stick with Social Security.

Those retired public employees are now living in comfort, obviously—on a monthly average of $3,649 in 1997, with retired police officers and firefighters receiving even more, averaging $4,927 per month.

Yet try to find a retired citizen who never worked for the government who is receiving a monthly Social Security check of even $1,500. Part of the answer can be found in Ralph Heller’s legislative report in the same issue of your magazine. Forty percent of all members of the incoming Nevada Assembly are presently or former government employees, and they have the lobbying strength in both Carson City and Washington that the rest of us simply don’t have.

Both state and national government stopped listening to the rest of us long, long ago. Increasingly, outrageous professors’ salaries, bloated public employee retirement plans and other benefits, retiring from public employment frequently after only 20 or 25 years of work and more have managed to make a mockery of democracy.

To make matters even worse, the daily press is obviously far more interested in publishing government press releases than in government accountability. But it all raises a fascinating point: In our presently distorted version of democracy, who’s really the boss—the people or their government employees?

The governor’s mansion has been getting a $5 million "facelift" while the federal government is planning to build underground parking garages for over 2,000 White House employees. This is what you get in a monarchy, but when did we become a monarchy?

Frank Lacato
Clark County


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