Guest Column: What I don’t get about Incline beach settlement rejection
On June 6, 2013, the Board of Trustees announced a decision which they had been warned would “expose IVGID — and more particularly the vast majority of their constituents — to the probable loss of their exclusive beaches” when they rejected a proposal to settle the case. The split vote at a secret meeting to consider the offer automatically sends the case to the Nevada Supreme Court for final decision.
Acceptance of the offer would have placed the question of continuing or repealing IVGID’s Ordinance 7 Section 62 authorizing discriminatory treatment for properties located outside the 1968 boundaries of the district on an August agenda for public input and ultimate vote. The Trustees would have been free to vote as they wanted, and only then would a rejection move the case to the high court for final resolution.
But if that public response convinced the board not to reject but to accept the settlement offer, a seemingly insoluble ancient conflict would have been peacefully resolved from within; a long-festering wound would be on its way toward healing; the ever-present conflict of interest in 1968-owner trustees making financial decisions affecting non-1968 property owners would be rendered moot; and the Incline Village/Crystal Bay community would be able to join hands and move forward together as equals under the law.
That unification would also have saved the District tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars in no longer having to run a costly double-entry bookkeeping system with questionable accounting allocations; employ high-paid lawyers and expend staff time needed elsewhere to enforce the segregation of its own members from use of the beaches; and many other such examples. Unification would also add a modest amount of additional revenue to District coffers from the equalization of the recreation fee.
Most important, all this would have been accomplished while still keeping entry to the beaches limited to IVGID property owners and their guests, and closed to the general public.
So as the totally biased author of that settlement offer, here’s what I just don’t get about its rejection.
Why would the trustees take the draconian step of moving this litigation to the Supreme Court in secret without ever informing their constituents of the risks of losing? And what’s the big deal about Ordinance 7 Section 62? It wasn’t adopted by the Board until 1987, almost 20 years after the 1968 Deed and obviously not required by that document. Furthermore, the 1995 Merger Ordinance makes no exception for the beaches and this over-riding county ordinance makes the prior IVGID ordinance unenforceable. It is nothing more than dead man walking.
It is ironic that the person who brought this lawsuit and believes that the public should be allowed access to the beaches under Washoe County’s authorization for IVGID to “provide facilities for public recreation” — that would be me — was the one fighting to keep those beaches non-public if his settlement proposal had been accepted; while the people who have pledged to keep IVGID’s beaches out of either my reach or the general public’s have put the District on a path which will almost surely open those beaches to both.
There is still one chance to rescue these questions for public debate and decision before the Supreme Court gets them, however.
I have renewed my May 17, 2013 Settlement Offer and extended the deadline for acceptance to midnight of June 14, 2013. Only public pressure will stiffen the spine of our well-meaning but confused representatives to recognize the wisdom and potential benefits of accepting an offer that can always be rejected in the future without risk or penalty.
Please write or call your Trustees quickly, before June 14, to ask that they change their mind about rejecting this settlement without first placing it on the agenda for public discussion.
Steven Kroll is a Crystal Bay resident.
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