blank.gif (51 bytes) Crown Jewel I

Dan Steninger did a great job on his Crown Jewel column ["Get Your Government Giveaway: Just $80 Million," May]. The architect of Babbitt’s mischief is the Department of Interior Solicitor, John Leshy. Perhaps Harry Reid should put a rider in the next Interior appropriations bill to eliminate funding for his position.

Jim Duff
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Crown Jewel II

Hear, hear!

I am and have been a resident for 25 years of this area in Washington where the "multi-national evil mining company" is located. I have worked here at BMG for 4.5 years and previous to that for 10.5 years east of here at Hecla Mining Company (until they closed and BMG hired me).

I have watched the grueling, often ugly battle that rages in the hearts of the local farmers, ranchers, orchardists and general business people as a small "local" faction of environmental radicals try to tear apart the very fabric that weaves this community together. This community is behind BMG. These community people are the true "environmentalists" and the small faction is as previously identified.

We grow, we make mistakes, we learn, we change and we grow some more. The "faction" will not even take a moment to note that number one, we cannot and have no intent to mine like we did 100 years ago. Nor do we or would we as locals working at our own homes want to pour anti-freeze on the ground like we used to 10 or 15 years ago.

We grow, we learn, we change—why won’t they ?

Thanks for your article.

Carleen Cochran
Washington state

According to late reports, the federal government’s departments of Interior and Agriculture have reversed field and reinstated the Crown Jewel gold project’s Record of Decision after recent congressional legislation affirmed long-held Mining Law interpretations concerning land use regulations. The earlier vacating of the Record of Decision had been based upon a new and suspiciously expedient interpretation of federal mining law by Interior that many in government, industry, the legal profession and Congress found thoroughly bizarre.


One Tom Collins
Too Many

[Regarding Dan Steninger’s column, "The Sacred Right to a Unionized Government Job," June], Dan where were you in 1933? The government is the people and when greedy self serving factions turn there [sic] back on their neighbors the government sometimes steps in. I hope you realize that unions or associations are organized groups working together to improve their place in a free society. I imagine you belong to the Nevada Press Association or some other press or writing association for the same reason. Doctors, lawyers, businessmen, cattlemen and others including tradesmen, craftsmen and others choose to belong to unions or associations. That is their right in this country and your right to join or not as well.

Assemblyman Tom Collins
Las Vegas

Mr. Collins, there’s no way that a right to freely associate can translate into a entitlement to other folks’ resources—even if those other folks are, in the view of Nevada’s government bosses, mere taxpayers. To want state government organized for the purpose of routing paychecks to certain employees whether or not they do good, efficient, competitive work—well, that’s just about the definition of a "greedy, self-serving faction."


An Open Letter
to Oscar Goodman

Dear Sir:

I’ve read news reports indicating that several of the candidates for the vacant Las Vegas council seat are public employees (PEs). Please reject any PE for the position.

My objection is based on the Constitution and the separation of powers doctrine.

The foundation of our political system is the division of government into separate departments and the principle that "... no persons charged with the exercise of powers properly belonging to one of these departments shall exercise any functions appertaining to either of the others...." (Nevada Constitution Article 3 Section 1.)

There is a fatal flaw in the rationalizations for evading this prohibition. Besides the obvious commingling of the power of more than one department in the same hands, the making of public policy is the absolute province of the private sector. The execution and adjudication of public policy is the absolute province of the public sector.

You can’t have PEs sitting in elective office making public policy for the same reasons you can’t have private citizens executing and adjudicating public policy through vigilante groups or star chambers.

Why is it our leadership will use every forum available to warn us, rightfully, of the dangers of the latter but completely ignores the even greater dangers of the former?

Knight Allen
Las Vegas