Yesterday I got called out for complaining about Storey County Politics. Ron Fields asked me to quit bellyaching and offer up some solutions. So I did.
Mr. Fields, great post.
Thank you for the kind words about my writing.
I remember being in a meeting with Steve Jobs in the mid 80’s where he tossed someone for bellyaching. “Here at Apple if you want to complain you had better present three well thought out solutions or you can get your *bleeping* *bleep* out of here.”
I wrote down eight solutions in five minutes and took an hour fleshing them out.
But before we get into that…
A parking lot to keep your shoes from getting muddy? I am all for it. However, Commissioner McBride leased Storey County Taxpayers some of the dirt under that asphalt to the tune of $18k for years before finally selling it to us for $200k in July. VCTC board member Ron Gallagher netted $160k for dirt next to McBride’s. A million dollars is roughly 8% of the 2017-201 budget. A budget in which all departments were asked to trim 10% from their submitted figures during the 2017-2018 budget cycle.
A million dollar parking lot is a kick to the crotch of all Storey County Taxpayers and should completely piss off any genuine principled conservative.
So what would I do?
First, I would start by removing Lance Gilman from his powerful position as County Commissioner. When I was a kid, nobody would have stood still for a New York minute if Joe Conforte was on the Commission and he wielded a tenth of the power that Gilman has today. Corruption, as plain as the noses on all of our faces.
I was at the Nevada State Capitol yesterday and the elected State Official I met with talked for 20 minutes about what a laughing stock our county is with Gilman pulling the strings. The conflict of interest that exists with him on the County Commission is part of what drives me to do what I do.
All conflicts of interest need to be cut out of our county with a chainsaw (for more conflicts of interest, keep reading).
Second, I would roll back all the graft Lance Gilman has red carpeted for Roger Norman and burdened Storey County Taxpayers with. With the pending effluent pipeline, we will be on the hook for another $35 Million. Now that the county has consolidated the power for approving new debt into the hands of Pat Whitten, I fully expect the $30 Million of the project that TRIC GID is supposed to pay for to by transferred onto our backs behind closed doors. That would put our portion of the graft at $105 Million.
Imagine having $105 Million to spend in the county; we could have 105 new parking lots!
Or we could have a new Pool. And a new Community Center. And a new Senior Center in all four communities. And four new parks in all four communities. And money left over for emergencies.
But instead Lance and Roger have the $105 Million (OK, technically it’s not $105 Million yet, only $80 Mil) and we hold the bill.
When I talk to other County Commissioners around Nevada, they roll their eyes at amount of Developer Improvements shouldered by Storey County Taxpayers. They say, “That’s what you get when Lance sits at both sides of the table.”
Third, I would review all the power and authority that has consolidated into the County Managers hands and delegate some of it to department heads and elected officials who serve at the pleasure of the voters and not the Commissioners. Transparency. Distributed powers. Checks and Balances. Bedrock American Values.
Fourth, I would implement an independent citizen review board to review and administer all infrastructure deals at TRIC, overturning the recent County Commissioner resolution that concentrated that power to the County Manager. I would require this board to meet in all areas of the county to get input from all citizens. I would hold these meetings in the evening so that people who work for a living would have an opportunity to provide input.
Had this watchdog agency been in place in the past, we might have avoided paying for a highway interchange in Washoe County, a rail spur, the fiasco that had Storey County Taxpayers give USA parkway back to the Lance and Roger show so they could sell it to the Nevada Taxpayers for a cool $42 Million profit and not reduce our debt a red cent. This agency would oversee the constant land giveaways that seems to go on all the time and get fair value for the transfers.
Fifth, I would use modern technology to both push transparency to and pull feed back from the citizens. Twitter is a spectacular tool and has been used to completely revolutionize forward thinking communities, not just to entertain the President and torment the media.
Check our this article to consider the possibilities of twitter and streamlining local government —> https://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/jun-spain-run-by-twitter/
Sixth, I would invest in and deploy tools like the ones available at opengov.com to help run the county more efficiently and transparently.
Check out this link for a look at some of the affordable yet powerful tools they offer —> https://opengov.com/reporting-and-operational-performance
Spend some time on opengov.com and your mind will really be opened to the beauty and grace of honest government and you can see what other counties across the fruited plains enjoy.
Seventh, I would appoint an independent citizen review board to review and approve or deny all future real estate purchases. Our County Manager is threatening to deploy eminent domain to steal property from a 40 year Storey County resident which will likely cost the county upwards of $4 million dollars to buy and renovate. All without a plan that anyone but himself and the County Managers have any idea what it is (if they even have such a plan).
Meanwhile, the abandoned Black and Howell money pit is used as a parking lot for a single county vehicle, the Gold Hill Train Depot languishes abandoned and the County now wants to go into the Opera House business.
And let’s not forget that we could have purchased the Camel Races arena when it was unimproved mine tailings several years ago for next to nothing. Instead, under the “leadership” of the VCTC board and the crack negotiating skills of our County Manager, we paid to improve privately owned land, we lease the land from the land owner and we pay the land owner .60 of each ticket sold at every venue.
And who is that business savvy land owner? None other than VCTC Board Chairman Scott Jolcover.
The County calls it “smart business, a solid public and private partnership”.
Not me. I call it what it is; in your face graft, greed, corruption, conflict of interest and plain ‘ol criminal.
It is one of the countless reasons they, the people in the State Capitol, the people in Washington DC and the grafters themselves, are all laughing at us.
Us. The Storey County Taxpayers.
Eighth, I would dismantle the VCTC and return it to the free market. The abysmal performance of the VCTC is exemplified by the inability to bust out a balance sheet that reflects financial reality.
Month after month after month, year after year…
Snow shoveling 10% of the County Budget into a furnace to directly benefit less than 100 C Street merchants, many of whom don’t reside in the county, don’t own the real estate their shops are in and do not approve of or are satisfied with the job they do is a waste of taxpayer money. Meanwhile the rest of us chumps who pay the bills do not directly benefit a whit from it.
Not. A. Whit.
Fun Fact: Street Vibrations is not a VCTC thing and is the most successful event all year in terms of raw dollars pumped into the economy. Can you say free market?
Let the merchants run their own show, and if they can’t figure it out on their own, let them fall on their own faces. If they don’t want to pay for it, let it fail. Don’t use Storey County tax dollars to prop up a boondoggle.
These are the first eight ideas I came up with five minutes of casual thought and an hour of scribbling.
I’m sure if other readers of this email list were to put five minutes to the test they could come up with some great ones of their own.
Sam Toll – Editor