Jim Clark: What in the world is going on in the Truckee Meadows?
October 1, 2014
Turf fights in the Truckee Meadows are starting to make the ISIS bloodletting look like all day kindergarten. Luckily those of us living safely up here in Incline/Crystal Bay can peer over the mountain pass and watch the dysfunctional bickering among the would be city dads.
Unfortunately, our property, gaming and sales taxes all go over the hill to be frittered away by those warring factions so it behooves us to stay informed.
The starkest example of narcissistic elected officials is the Washoe County School Trustees (with the singular exception of Trustee Estela Gutierrez, who has opposed everything the others have done), who violated Nevada law to cashier a popular and successful superintendent.
The results of their actions have been well-publicized, but there is still much that has not been publicly disclosed. As a result of a lawsuit settlement brokered by respected Judge David Hardy, attorneys for both the school board and Supt. Martinez have required all parties to execute non-disclosure agreements so the public may never know what sparked the trustees' precipitous actions.
How can we keep Pedro Martinez and get rid of the school trustees? The editorial board of the Reno Gazette-Journal emphatically endorsed this idea in a front page editorial headlined: "Washoe school board should resign."
The editors suggested that a judge could remove the trustees for malfeasance but that would require a lengthy and expensive law suit; they suggested that citizens could join to recall the six offending trustees which would also be lengthy and expensive, requiring five different recall elections; they note that if the trustees resigned one at a time, the remaining trustees could appoint successors which, under the circumstances, the editorial writers dismiss as "untenable"; they conclude that "the only path available to the citizens of Washoe County appears to be to request Gov. Sandoval to use his power to act in an emergency and take charge … (and) appoint an interim superintendent (and) acting trustees …"
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Unfortunately the governor's emergency powers do not extend to righting wrongs committed by trustees whose egos are bigger than their brains. So it appears we taxpayers must resort to a malfeasance lawsuit or a recall campaign to bounce these bozos. School board critic and residential developer Perry Di Loreto is currently holding citizens meetings and plans to take action after the November election so stay tuned.
Less well publicized have been the latest developments in the ongoing fight between Washoe County's Truckee Meadows Fire Department and the City of Reno Fire Department.
Readers may recall that Reno managed both units until a year ago when the county pulled their assets and personnel which was followed by much finger pointing and many accusations. There are lots of annexation splinters of Reno City limits extending into Washoe County, but fire stations are located based on perceived need to counter threats, not jurisdictional boundaries.
This dichotomy is dealt with by mutual aid agreements whereby different fire departments agree to service a blaze or medical emergency based on location of the need, not the fire station. The Reno/Washoe mutual aid agreement was the first casualty of their divorce.
The effect was profound when the home of Reno's Jones West Ford Dealership owner, located in a county island in Hidden Valley, caught fire and was responded to by only a small Washoe County unit; nearby Reno firefighters continued to play pinochle because the automatic aid agreement had dissolved. The house was totaled.
To mitigate the problem, Washoe County recently offered to unilaterally extend automatic aide to Reno and waive any request for reimbursement. Their response: thanks but no thanks, because acceptance would imply that Reno is unable to keep up with its own service demands.
Does the Reno FD really care about citizens and property or is their spat with the county more important? What arrogance!
Jim Clark is president of Republican Advocates. He has served on the Washoe County and Nevada State Republican Central Committees. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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