Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Vacation Time...

I'm back in California this week, and I'll be spending Fourth of July weekend here in Orange County. So I'll be taking a few days off to enjoy friends and family here.

Don't worry. I'll soon be back. But in the mean time, enjoy the start of summer! ;-)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What's Happening in North Las Vegas?

Strange things are happening in North Las Vegas. George Knapp has his own take on what's happening, but I've been hearing things that tell a different story... Or at least, things that make this story far more nuanced and complicated.

Laura at The Sausage Factory has some questions about what's going on.

When North Las Vegas Mayor Shari Buck's dentist, Wade Wagner, won the Ward 4 City Council race by one vote over the Democrat incumbent, Richard Cherchio, North Las Vegas prepared itself for a recount.

During the Clark County election department's audit, it was discovered that someone voted in the wrong ward. The election might be invalid. Shit got real.

A city council meeting was called. The decision was made by the council to re-do the election in the precinct where the "mis-vote" was cast. Mayor Buck abstained from voting because not only is Wagner her dentist, her husband worked for his campaign. Cherchio also abstained from voting.

As expected, the Wagner campaign is suing over the decision. And for some reason, former North Las Vegas Mayor (and failed gubernatorial candidate) Mike Montandon filed a restraining order. But to be quite honest, as a resident of unincorporated Clark County, I didn't care. I don't live in North Las Vegas and I never plan to.

And honestly as a Henderson resident, folks may wonder why I'm paying more attention to this. Let me explain why.

Knapp may have his own questions about Cherchio, but I am really wondering what's behind this mysterious push for Wade Wagner. Police and fire unions formed PACs and sent out attack mailers, but they never filed the necessary reports with the Secretary of State's office. Why?

These said mailers included a whole bunch of attacks that were proven to be false, such as accusing Cherchio of approving hundred-million-dollar projects when he actually wasn't on the council. Why?

And Mike Montandon is now suing to stop the revote in the disputed precinct. Why? Why is he now involved in this sordid hot mess?

But wait, there's more! North Las Vegas Mayor Shari Buck has stated that her husband, Keith, worked for Wade Wagner's campaign. However, Keith Buck was never listed as an expense (as all paid campaign workers are supposed to be) on any of the Wagner campaign's reports. Why?

Honestly, I wanted to write about this election before... But I was too afraid to take it on because of all the unanswered questions. And honestly, I still feel guilty about being a part of the media that always seemed to give North Las Vegas the short end of the stick. #lvmayor was "the sexy race" of the year, and those of us in Henderson were obviously focusing more on what was happening with the Henderson council races.

But at this point, it may really be necessary to ask more questions, since it doesn't look like we'll be getting answers easily otherwise. Why isn't Keith Buck listed as a campaign expense if he worked for Wade Wagner's campaign, as his wife, Mrs. North Las Vegas Mayor, so freely admits? Why is Mike Montandon claiming he will be "disenfranchised" if a revote occurs in HIS precinct (which also happens to be the home precinct of Shari Buck's parents)? Why is someone who was recently appointed to the Citizens Advisory Board and the Utility Advisory Board by Shari Buck now oh so conveniently filing ethics complaints against Richard Cherchio, the council member Shari Buck's friend and dentist Wade Wagner seeks to defeat?

There's something rotten in the state of North Las Vegas. And though it may be late, I figure it's better to to find out what's rotting now than never.

Monday, June 27, 2011

NV-Sen: If I Hear Any More About Byron Georgiou...

If I hear any more about Byron Georgiou being some "po' lil' rich dude" being "besieged" and "relentlessly attacked" by "Big Bad HARRY REID!!!", I will scream. And I will scream so loudly, drunken tourists on The Strip will tremble.

Are the media that foolish? Or are they that desperate for headlines that they need to overlook the real story just to celebrate conflict? Remember this?

Robert Uithoven, campaign manager for [Sue] Lowden, said Democrats’ claims of neutrality in the Republican primary are “completely inconsistent with (Reid’s) actions and those of his political allies.”

Reid is trying to backpedal because Lowden has used his attacks to boost her campaign, he said.

“They haven’t been neutral all along,” Uithoven said. “They realized a little accidental honesty has been hurting them, by making the case Sue Lowden was the candidate he feared. So now he has a new set of talking points they’re rushing out there.”

And remember why this was happening?

But wait, whatever happened to that "conservative value" that is personal responsibility? Did Suzy Lowdown and Bobby Uithoven miss that day's lesson in "GOoP Talking Points 101"? How is Ms. Suzy pulling herself up by her own bootstraps when she wants Harry Reid to tie them for her?

See how ridiculous they really sound? Again, Suzy Lowdown refuses to acknowledge that her crazy words wrecked her own campaign. And instead of realizing that the teabaggers are abandoning her in droves to go for "real deal" Obtuse Angle, she'd rather just try one more "Hail Mary Pass" to save her rapidly collapsing campaign by blaming it all on Harry Reid.

Who would have guessed that a year later, a "Democrat" would be parroting the same desperate lines from REPUBLICAN Sue Lowden, all in a ridiculous ploy to distract the media from his own self-created problems?

“I told them a month ago that I was quitting the board effective at the July 12 board meeting because I don’t have time to serve on a public company board while I’m running for the Senate,” he said in an interview for To the Point.

Georgiou was defiant throughout the interview, accusing Reid of playing “petty politics” to get him out of the Senate race.

“So now he is playing petty politics and has selective memory lapses and is manufacturing the facts in order to assist the person he now supports, who he didn’t previously support, for the U.S .Senate race,” Georgiou said.

There's nothing the media love more than a juicy, sordid, salacious tale of melodramatic conflict. And right now, Byron Georgiou is ramping it up and vamping it up. Why? Simple. He now has multiple scandals on his hands, his campaign is spinning out of control, and he'd much rather focus the media on "Big Bad HARRY REID!!!" "bullying" him than address his own role in outsourcing jobs from the country or not being able to handle his own finances.

Byron Georgiou, meet Sue Lowden.

Neither of them can simply admit to their own respective mistakes, deciding instead to try to bait the media into blaming everything on Harry Reid. This is nothing but a petty, silly attempt to spin away one's own faults by claiming someone else is responsible for them. And since Georgiou doesn't seem to want to either honestly address his own problems or debate Shelley Berkley on the real issues of the day (you know, like JOBS! And housing, energy, climate, civil rights, etc.), I guess all we can expect from him for however long he intends to continue his "Byron Georgiou for Keeping Byron Georgiou in the News AND Doing Dean Heller's Dirty Work for Him!" campaign is more of this same, old failed crap.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

NV-02: Kate Marshall Wins NSDP Endorsement

No surprise here...

State Treasurer Kate Marshall easily won her party’s nomination Saturday in the special election race for U.S. Sen. Dean Heller’s former congressional seat.

Marshall vied against two other Democrats, political newcomers, for the nomination of the Nevada Democratic Party’s central committee at its meeting in Reno. Former regent Nancy Price, who ran unsuccessfully for the seat last year, dropped out of the running for the nomination on Friday.

Marshall won 117 of the 122 votes cast by the central committee.

The nomination sets up a potential head-to-head between Marshall and Republican former state Sen. Mark Amodei, of Carson City, to serve the remainder of Heller’s term in the 2nd Congressional District, a sprawling district that covers all of northern Nevada and includes a slice of Clark County.

Although both parties have nominated candidates, it will be up to the Nevada Supreme Court to decide whether it is Amodei vs. Marshall or an open ballot free-for-all that includes all 29 candidates who have filed with the Secretary of State to run in the Sept. 13 election.

So what does this mean? Well, this may have had a role in it.

Kate Marshall has won two state-wide elections. She is considered to have broad appeal. She is from the north and knows the people intimately. Kate is known for connecting with voters and winning their confidence. Pundits say this may be the closest election in CD2 history, with a good chance of a Democrat victory, thanks to unpopular ideological leanings in the GOP today.

NV-02 is historically a Republican stronghold, but the unique factors of this election may lead to a very surprising result. And remember, these party nominations may not last long. The Nevada Supreme Court will ultimately decide who will appear on the final ballot. That's why I'm referring to what happened yesterday as the Democratic Party endorsing Marshall, and what happened last weekend as the Republican Party endorsing Amodei. Should the high court overturn the lower court's ruling, the general election will be more than just Marshall vs. Amodei.

So now, both major parties have endorsed in NV-02. At this point, the ball is in the court...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Why Pittman Wash Matters

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

At first glance, the end of the Pittman Wash Trail in Henderson may not look all that special... But look closer.

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

And listen to the sounds below.

These are some of the unique sights and sounds to be found with the stunning flora and fauna of Pittman Wash. But if plans to concretize the wash are finally passed, get used to seeing something like this instead:

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

I have a confession to make. I live right along the Pittman Wash Trail. I love being able to see this every day.

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

And frankly, I don't want to lose this as my "extended backyard". And I know I'm not the only one here in the neighborhood who feels this way.

Remember, the proposed project from the Arroyo Grande trailhead (between Santiago and American Pacific) to the railroad trestles is just the first phase of what some city engineers envision as the concretization of the entire wash. It may be this stretch today, then my stretch of the wash tomorrow!

Also remember that Pittman Wash is one of the last six remaining natural riparian habitats left in all of Clark County. What Las Vegas previously ripped out and paved over, it can never reclaim. Why would Henderson want to repeat the past mistakes of Las Vegas and Clark County in destroying natural springs and oases?

So please contact Henderson's City Council members and ask them (politely) to reconsider plans to concretize Pittman Wash, starting with the creek near Arroyo Grande. So far, they have been willing to stop and study this some more. We need to encourage them to continue to do so, and to schedule public hearings so local residents can speak about what we want to see at the wash.

This is such a stunning natural treasure right in the heart of Green Valley. It would be a horrific tragedy to lose it forever.

Friday, June 24, 2011

New York, New York

Lawmakers voted late Friday to legalize same-sex marriage, making New York the largest state where gay and lesbian couples will be able to wed, and giving the national gay-rights movement new momentum from the state where it was born.

The same-sex marriage bill was approved on a 33-to-29 vote, as 4 Republican state senators joined 29 Democrats in voting for the bill. The Senate galleries were so packed with supporters and opponents that the fire marshals closed them off. And along the Great Western Staircase, outside the Senate chamber, about 100 demonstrators chanted and waved placards throughout the night — separated by a generation, a phalanx of state troopers and 10 feet of red marble.

“Support traditional marriage,” read signs held by opponents. “Love is love, Vote Yes,” declared those in the hands of the far more youthful group of people who supported it.

Senate approval was the final hurdle for the same-sex marriage legislation, which is strongly supported by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and was approved last week by the Assembly. Mr. Cuomo is expected to sign the measure soon, and the law will go into effect 30 days later, meaning that same-sex couples could begin marrying in New York by midsummer.

At least some place gets it. And America moves yet another step closer toward full equality for all. It's just too bad Nevada will take a little longer to get there.

UPDATE: Nevada Stonewall just released a quick statement.

[...T]hanks to the persistence of both Governor Cuomo and the many equality activists working tirelessly to make this day happen, New York is making history. New York will the the sixth US state to enact civil marriage equality (following Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, and New Hampshire), the third state to do so through the legislative process, and the most populous state ever to do so.

We at NSDC salute our friends, family, and fellow allies in New York for their much deserved victory, and we are committed to working for progress on marriage equality and the end to all unjust discrimination here in Nevada and nationwide.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Coming Soon...

Even more goodies here at the blog. This weekend, I'll have more on what's happening here in Henderson, as well as some additional thoughts on the aftermath of the legislative session and a preview of what's to come in the next election.

As always, stay tuned for more. ;-)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

NV-02: Maybe Xenophobia & Teabagger Scare Tactics Aren't the Answer?

(Also at Daily Kos)

Mark Amodei may be basking in the radioactive glow of his daringly xenophobic campaign ad. But ask Nevada tourism officials about it, and they're getting worried.

That concern is real, said [Republican] Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, who has spent considerable energy developing Nevada’s Chinese tourism market.

Krolicki described the relationship with China as important and delicate. He noted the value of Nevada’s exports to China has grown to $456 million from $13.6 million in the past decade.

“Certainly it raised an eyebrow,” Krolicki said of the ad. “But I take it as a flare glaring over Washington, D.C., and its policies and deficits and not a negative to our Chinese partners.”

One economic development official, who didn’t want to publicly criticize Amodei, said he has been contacted by Chinese consulate officials who were irritated by the ad.

“I think they feel like ‘why do you even have to use us in some kind of pejorative way to make a message,’” the official said. “This ad makes you have to go through the calculation of ‘are we being racist or beating up on the horrible financial decisions made in Washington D.C.?’

“The fact is China is a very important trade partner for Nevada and this stuff isn’t helpful.”

So why is Mark Amodei stooping down to use "this stuff" in a desperate ploy to boost his campaign? Maybe the same reason why Sharron Angle stooped down to similar "stuff" last year?

They both have to distract from their own records. We all remember Angle's story... But what about Amodei? Well, it's complicated. First off, he's afraid of NV-02 becoming the next NY-26...

Firing the opening shot on the debt ceiling is also an attempt to pivot away from Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan’s divisive budget plan and, specifically, the controversial Medicare provisions Democrats view as a lightning rod with the political voltage to rocket the party back within grasp of a House majority.

It’s been less than a month since Democrats’ surprise win in a special upstate New York congressional race that was defined by Ryan’s plan. Though the dynamics of the upcoming Nevada race don’t provide an exact parallel, they feel similar messaging can only pay dividends in a district where they’ll again be underdogs.

“This ad does not mention the words ‘Nevada’ or ‘jobs.’ Considering Amodei announced his support for the Heller-Heck plan to end Medicare last Saturday, it’s no surprise his first ad highlights how out of touch Nevada Republicans are,” Nevada Democratic Party spokesman Zach Hudson saidin a swipe at all three of his GOP targets, including freshman Rep. Joe Heck.

During a debate prior to the selection meeting last week, Amodei praised the Ryan blueprint. “I like a lot of what he has to say in terms of Medicare. I think that’s excellent.”

Oh, yes. You heard them right. Amodei doesn't want us even think of the word "Medicare"... Especially if it's used in the same sentence as Paul Ryan and privatization!

After all, look at what happens when House Republicans have to answer about their support for Paul Ryan's "Kill Medicare" plan!

Hold on, this sounds familiar. Where have we heard this before?

But in one respect, Amodei provides a new angle on this. If he's that serious about not voting for any revision to the federal debt ceiling, then he must support raising taxes, cutting Medicare & Social Security, and/or cutting military spending. So which "poison" will Amodei pick? I have a feeling he doesn't want any of us to remember his own words and deeds in 2003.

The whole McCarthy-esque red-scare theme of the ad is bad enough. But pledging to never vote to raise the debt ceiling is to call for financial suicide on a nationwide scale. It is like telling the bank you are going to stop making payments on your mortgage and credit cards. Banks don’t take too kindly to things like this, and the result would not be good for your credit rating. Not raising the debt ceiling — which would be required even if Democrats adopted the recently-passed GOP budget bill — would destroy the country’s credit rating and cause interest rates on government securities to skyrocket, making the debt problem far, far worse. It’s hard to predict the collateral damage such an action would have on the economy in general, but it wouldn’t be good. [...]

Of course Amodei and other Republicans are playing politics with the national debt, which they had no problem with when George W. Bush was racking up more than $5 trillion on the nation’s credit card, or when Ronald Reagan tripled the debt in the 1980s.

But for Amodei to take the extreme position and say he would vote against raising the debt ceiling is totally uncharacteristic of the person I know. After all, Amodei was the co-sponsor of the 2003 bill that created the largest tax increase in state history at that time, a compromise he worked out with Democrats. This doesn’t sound anything like the Amodei who is now threatening to destroy the country’s credit rating. It’s as if some evil spirit has taken control of the old Amodei and created a monster. [...]

Amodei’s transformation from moderate to crazy conservative happened so head-snappingly fast that it makes me wonder if the man has any core principles. Perhaps the moderate Amodei we saw before was just an illusion, the performance of a politician who just tells people whatever they want to hear, regardless of the truth.

But one thing for certain is that fire of ambition I saw in Amodei before is in total control now. It is his master, and his only constituent. If he does get elected to Congress, good luck trying to get him to do anything that doesn’t involve feeding his ambition.

So who is Mark Amodei? Really? He seemed quite moderate when he served in Carson City. Hell, he even voted for the largest tax increase in state history in 2003! He didn't have a problem cutting that deal before when he knew Nevada needed more revenue.

But now that he's running for Congress and desperate to win the teabaggers' favor, Mark Amodei wants to force America to default on our debt and rip apart at the seams the very social safety net our society depends upon? What happened?

Maybe this is why Mark Amodei wants to distract us with his xenophobic "Red Scare" ad.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

NV-02: Why Are These Republicans Against JOBS & Energy Independence?

(Also at Daily Kos)

Last week, Reno News & Review had an interesting article on Nevada experiencing more of the dangerous effects of climate change without us previously realizing it.

A string of tornados. Major international floods. Record-breaking wildfires across the Southwest. And—far less destructive but more noticeable to Northern Nevada residents—a freakishly wet and chilly May, making it the spring that never was. It’s left many to scratch their heads and say, “Maybe there’s something to this climate change thing.” If climate change were happening in Nevada, what would it look like, and are we seeing it now?

To the second question, the Desert Research Institute’s Dr. Kelly Redmond, says, “Yes, I think we probably are.” Redmond is deputy director of the Western Regional Climate Center. He compares recognizing climate change to noticing signs of aging. Every once in awhile, we have some episode—we discover we can’t party as hard as we used to, or we have a wrinkle, a gray hair, an illness—and we realize that while we don’t see it every day, we are undoubtedly aging. We don’t notice global warming every day, either, but a vast amount of data shows the Earth is warming, and the effects of it are both subtle and blunt. Sometimes climate change looks like a raging wildfire, sometimes like a butterfly where it never was before. [...]

Redmond says everybody should be skeptical of data by itself. When he first saw temperatures on research thermometers rising, he thought something was wrong with the thermometers. But even with new thermometers and placement of them, evidence of warming remained. He’s also seen evidence of snowmelt occurring one to three weeks earlier than it did 50 years ago. Lilacs and honeysuckles are blooming earlier. The biggest fires in the history of the Western U.S. have been in the past 10 years. Pine beetles in Canada, previously kept in check by cold snaps, have jumped the continental divide and are headed down the East coast. Chipmunks, mice and voles have moved up in elevation from where they lived 100 years ago. Most butterflies are also slowly moving north.

“All these bits and pieces of evidence, all these compasses, are basically pointing in the same direction. Maybe one or two of the compasses are broken. But if they’re all pointing in the same direction, you pay attention. This is very much like solving a crime. There’s a standard of proof in criminology, and we should have some kind of standard of proof in our head for when we decide to believe something or not. And then, are you willing to change your mind based on the evidence you see? I think most people’s minds can be changed by what they see. If we listen to what the world’s telling us, we’ll get it. The question is, will we get it fast enough?”

It's becoming increasingly difficult to deny the sobering reality of the coming climate crisis... Except apparently if one wants the endorsement of the Nevada Republican Party. If we're to accept the "energy policy" prescriptions coming from the Republicans (including Nevada Republican Party endorsed candidate, Mark Amodei) running in Nevada's 2nd Congressional District, we may actually never get it! Go ahead and listen for yourself as they refuse to even acknowledge the realities of climate change and deride "green energy" as "not responsible".

Face, meet palm. Well, at least I'm not alone. Mr. Spectator was also disgusted.

[...] The candidates differed in no appreciable way on issues. They predictably answered litmus questions from the party faithful on the gamut of right wing nut job topics, but I found their comments on “Green Energy” the most telling. Here is the exact question: “It is often touted that Nevada is the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy. Address the cost to the consumer and reconcile the political versus that cost.” What’s not well hidden in this poorly worded question is an inherent denial of human caused climate change. There is no reason to develop more expensive renewable energy if climate change is a myth concocted by left wing scientists. We want the cheapest energy source possible to be most economically competitive. Corporations can be trusted to not grossly pollute for profit, can’t they? [...]

If the scientific realty of human caused climate change is not front and center when setting energy policy and priorities, these are not the people we should be sending to Washington, at least to represent me. From their “green energy” responses we do not know how the candidates stand on climate change, but apparently these fellows need to pander to flat earth Nevada Republicans who are still in a tizzy President Obama was not actually born in this country. All three candidates seem to value science if it makes money or war, but not when science points out pollution and environmental destruction on a global scale.

Clearly Mark Amodei, Kirk Lippold, and Greg Brower don't want to recognize real science. So instead, they run to the hocus pocus "magic" of dirty coal, oil, nuclear, and the rest of the failed fossil fuel industry. Lovely.

Here's the problem. One, we simply can't afford to give up the potential for much needed jobs.

Good jobs are already being created right here in Nevada, and even more will be created if we invest more in renewable energy development and energy efficiency.

And here's another big issue. Mark Amodei likes to complain about the "high cost" of renewable energy, but he failed to mention the real costs of dirty fossil fuels. Solar power is becoming more affordable and accessible as companies continue to innovate with new technology and solar becomes more widespread & mainstream. However as renewable energy costs have dropped over the last decade, fossil fuel energy costs continue to rise as supply becomes more limited and the many hidden costs of pollution are revealed.

Even our REPUBLICAN Governor and Lieutenant Governor recognize the need for Nevada to go green with renewables.

So even prominent Republicans here in Nevada recognize the need to go green. Why don't Mark Amodei and the other Republicans running in NV-02?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Mark Amodei to Nevada: Drop Dead (You Red!)

(Also at Daily Kos)

So Mark Amodei, just after being crowned the GOP nominee in NV-02 (we'll see how long that lasts!), releases some silly ad full of xenophobia.

But the debt, THE DEBT!!! What about THE DEBT??!! Well, here are some facts about the national debt that Mark Amodei doesn't want you to know.

When George Bush was President, Republican Congressional leaders voted 19 times to raise the national debt ceiling by $4 trillion! Funny enough, I don't remember Mark Amodei screaming then about REPUBLICANS "surrendering to China"... But I do remember REPUBLICANS in Congress chiding anyone who tried to negotiate budget reforms into any debt ceiling vote.

So what changed? President Obama is now in office. And we're just barely getting out of a brutal recession that would only worsen if Mark Amodei has his way and we reduce public investment exactly when the economy needs more investment.

And by the way, why does Mark Amodei hate China? Clearly, he hasn't received the memo from the great titans of Nevada industry!

Yes, that's right. Wynn Resorts, MGM Resorts International, and Las Vegas Sands all have huge investments in Macau... Which happens to be a part of "BIG BAD COMMUNIST CHINA!!!" So is Mark Amodei ready to call these great Nevada capitalist institutions "COMMUNISTS!!!" for investing so much in China?

And is Mark Amodei also ready to hurl that same insult on the entire Las Vegas Strip corridor? As international tourism continues to pick up and the weak dollar continues to lure even more tourists to visit America, the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority (LVCVA) plans to invest another $3.5 million in international promotion, including opening an office in CHINA (!!!), in hopes of encouraging more of those international tourists to include Las Vegas in their itineraries.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority board of directors [last week] approved contracts for 10 international offices and an extension of its advertising agreement with R&R Partners as it said goodbye to five elected officials, including its chairman, Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman.

The two-year deals for international representation run from July 1, 2012, to June 30, 2014, and will cost the authority $1.7 million in fiscal year 2013 and $1.8 million in 2014.

In addition to approving offices in Canada, Mexico, Japan, several western European nations, Australia, China, Brazil and Russia, the board authorized a request for proposals for representation in South Korea, India and France.

The authority is developing a strategy to increase the percentage of Las Vegas visitors from other countries from the current 18 percent to 30 percent within 10 years. Last year, 6.7 million international visitors came to Southern Nevada and spent an estimated $6.6 billion, which would support 58,000 jobs.

International visitors stay longer and spend more money than their domestic counterparts. The U.S. Commerce Department says international visitation to the United States is expected to grow by 49 percent through 2016 and LVCVA President and CEO Rossi Ralenkotter said Las Vegas needs to take the opportunity to get a good share of those visitors.

So when will Mark Amodei call out the BIG BAD COMMUNISTS!!! at LVCVA?

Let's face it: Our nation will suffer immensely if the debt ceiling is not raised very soon. We simply can't afford for the federal government to shut down after defaulting on its debt. All it would do is cause a global economic catastrophe unseen since The Great Depression.

And guess what? If all that comes to pass and the world falls into deeper recession, maybe even depression, following a failure to raise the federal debt ceiling, then I doubt Las Vegas will be able to bring in all those foreign tourists we had hoped for. And last I checked, Las Vegas tourism and gaming are the biggest source of revenue for the entire State of Nevada.

So does Mark Amodei really want to further cripple our state by killing what just happens to be propping up Nevada's sickly economy at the moment? Think of all the jobs Nevada would lose if Mark Amodei and the teabaggers had their way in holding our country hostage over the debt ceiling. And think of what prospective international travelers think of people in our government essentially spitting on them and their culture (which is what Mark Amodei is essentially doing). And again, why are they so gung-ho to push the economy off the cliff now when they refused to do anything about George Bush's deficit spending five years ago?

I smell something fishy here. Am I the only one?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Brian Sandoval to Nevada Students: "No Breakfast for You!"

No, really. I'm not even kidding.

Gov. Brian Sandoval has vetoed four more bills, including one to require certain public and charter schools to supply a free breakfast to children and another to allow inmates out of prison earlier.

The governor said Assembly Bill 137 would require free breakfast at any public school, including a charter school that is eligible to operate a program of nutrition in accordance with federal regulations. The bill said the breakfast must be served after the day begins in the classroom in a transportable manner or in the cafeteria.

Oh, I can already hear the excuses on AB 137...

"We can't afford it!"

"The school districts can decide on that."

"No freeloaders!"

Here are the facts. This is a FEDERALLY FUNDED PROGRAM. The money is already there, as it's distributed by USDA. And we're talking about kids from working poor families where they may not be able to get breakfast at home.

And think about the return on investment.

Many children do not eat a nutritious breakfast every morning. Often families are living on very tight budgets and can’t afford to provide good breakfasts at home every day nor the money to buy them at school. Regardless of income, families today live busy lives that often make it difficult to sit down long enough in the morning to eat a nutritious breakfast. Sometimes children are not physically capable of eating breakfast at home when they first wake up. Other children may have long commutes to school or long periods between breakfast at home and school lunch, making breakfast at school an important option.

Studies conclude that students who eat school breakfast increase their math and reading scores as well as improve their speed and memory in cognitive tests. Research also shows that children who eat breakfast at school – closer to class and test-taking time – perform better on standardized tests than those who skip breakfast or eat breakfast at home. Evidence has grown that children who eat school breakfast are less likely to be overweight, and have improved nutrition – they eat more fruits, drink more milk, and consume a wider variety of foods than those who don’t eat breakfast or have breakfast at home.

Schools that provide universal breakfast in the classroom report decreases in discipline and psychological problems, visits to school nurses and tardiness; increases in student attentiveness and attendance; and generally improved learning environments. Universal school breakfast refers to any school program that offers breakfast at no charge to all students, regardless of income.

So what's the issue here? Did Sandoval just have to throw this bone to teabaggers (by denying breakfast to poor kids)? Are certain folks in Carson City that happy to watch poor kids starve? Does Clark County School District need yet another excuse to do nothing about the suffering happening under its watch?

Yet again, Nevada leads the way in kicking the working poor while they're already down.

Pittman Wash Story Reaches News 3 Las Vegas

In case you wanted a quick refresher on what's happening at the wash, you can also check my story from yesterday.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

On Distractions, Destitution, Weiner-gate, & Mittens

(Also at Daily Kos)

Look! A poll, a poll! What could it say?

Only 29% of voters think the economy will get better in the next year, while 30% say it will get worse and 39% say it will stay about the same. The number who feel the economy will get worse is the highest since April 2009, two months after Obama signed stimulus legislation.

Today, 45% of respondents say the stimulus will not help the economy. Sixty-two percent say Obama inherited the economic situation versus 25% who say Obama's policies are responsible.

Congress gets very low marks, with only 18% approval. That's the lowest rating since March 2010, at the climax of the health care debate.

WHAT??!! You mean the economy is what voters care about? If one were to pay attention to the corporate media, one would get the idea we spend all our time worrying about Weiner's weiner and Kate Gosselin's TV career and which "Real Housewife" Slade will shack up with next (while he continues to evade paying child support).

But yes, believe it or not, many Americans may not have the time to worry about stuff like that. But all too often, the distraction of bread and circus allows certain politicians to skate by as they offer a glimpse as to what they really think about us.

Mitt Romney sat at the head of the table at a coffee shop here on Thursday, listening to a group of unemployed Floridians explain the challenges of looking for work. When they finished, he weighed in with a predicament of his own.
“I should tell my story,” Mr. Romney said. “I’m also unemployed.”

He chuckled. The eight people gathered around him, who had just finished talking about strategies of finding employment in a slow-to-recover economy, joined him in laughter.

“Are you on LinkedIn?” one of the men asked.

“I’m networking,” Mr. Romney replied. “I have my sight on a particular job.”

I mean, what can be more out of touch than that? A multimillionaire calls himself "unemployed" as real people suffer the consequences of the very "disaster capitalism" that he participated in as it brought America to the crisis we now face.

"From 1984 until 1999, Romney led Bain Capital, a Boston-based private equity group that earned jaw-dropping profits through leveraged buyouts, debt hedge funds, offshore tax havens and other financial strategies. In some cases, Romney’s team closed U.S. factories, causing hundreds of layoffs, or pocketed huge fees shortly before companies collapsed."

Maybe this is why we hear no substantive proposals from the Republican Congressional leaders and Presidential candidates on job creation. Just saying.

Now yes, there may be some "gotcha" with this story. However, I think it offers some real insight as to the problems we face right now. It really seems like the chatter we hear on Capitol Hill has nothing to do with the problems "Middle America" faces. People ask about jobs, and the corporate media keep salivating over "WEINER"!

Back here in Nevada, most of my neighbors and friends don't really have the luxury of spending their nights pondering the importance of Weiner-gate. They're looking for action on job creation.

They're looking for real educational opportunities that will lead to a more stabile economy in the future.

And of course, they're wondering why one of our Congresscritters keeps hating on seniors and the disabled...

And why this is actually being debated in Congress.

Suffice to say, Nevada and America face real, serious problems. We need more jobs, and we have the opportunity to create more jobs here in America simply by taking the climate crisis seriously and investing in renewable energy & energy efficiency programs. We need to give kids more opportunities for better careers in the future, and we can do so by investing in our public schools now. We do face problems ahead with our health care system, but we can solve them by strengthening institutions like Medicare rather than weakening and dismantling them.

Really, this all boils down to the economic anxiety of the American people, and the need to protect and strengthen our working middle class. This is why most people here and throughout the country think America is heading in the wrong direction. But when we hear about the state of the economy in the national corporate media, we mostly just hear about how Republicans want to use it to attack Obama. And when these wannabe Presidents and their cohorts in Congress talk about the economy, they never seem to offer any realistic solutions.

Instead, it's all about the fiasco of sex, lies, and Twitter. How do we change this? How do we demand more from our representatives? How do we demand more from our media? And how do we demand more from ourselves?

If we are more interested in titillating trivia about the personal lives of celebrities than we are in the ramifications of Basel III, then we will get Paris, Kim, and Lindsay. If we are more intrigued by the sexually charged adventures of Foley, Craig, Vitter, Ensign, Lee, and Weiner than we are about what is necessary to prevent some of the major effects of global climate change, then we will get what we asked for. Media is, after all is said and done, a commercial enterprise.

If we are content to sit about grousing about the lack of content in media broadcasts and publications, then there is no reason to expect those outlets to provide us with more information and less entertainment. [...]

If all we want is Politics then the generalized questions will suffice. If what we want is more information about policy development then we need to respectfully request that anchors and editors ask better questions.

If we allow ourselves to be entertained, or merely reinforced, then the Simon & Garfunkle lyrics may take the day: “I get all the news I need on the weather report.”

On one hand, I can tell that "We the People" seem to understand the real problems of the day. And the more I talk with my neighbors in the community, the more hopeful I am that they "get it". However if we really do "get it", why do we keep obsessing over Weiner-gate instead of asking how Mitt Romney can get away with calling himself "unemployed" and why Congress is debating budgets to slash public investment that will create jobs instead of supporting more investment in job creation? Will someone please explain this to me?

We'll Pave Paradise... For What?

I'm very blessed to have something awfully special right in my backyard. Want to take a peek?

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

This is Pittman Wash, a natural riparian habitat filled with native flora and fauna (especially those lovely birds!), and it's one of only six natural washes left in all of Clark County! So this is truly something to be treasured...

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

But unfortunately, the City of Henderson has been considering plans to replace much of the "natural landscaping" with concrete. No really, read for yourself!

Henderson's plan to turn a section of the Pittman Wash into a concrete flood channel has raised the concern of the volunteer group that maintains the trails and natural areas within the wash.

Henderson Public Works officials and project contractors recently met with the group, Project GREEN: Friends of the Pittman Wash, armed with maps, information, a conciliatory tone and an olive branch, but the conservation group remained skeptical and confused. [...]

The Regional Flood Control District included the $5.1 million project in its 2008 Master Plan Update at the request of the city's Public Works Department, and funded it last month.

However, the project appears to fly in the face of previous city master plans, feasibility studies and federal and state funding agreements that all dictate the entire wash is to be restored and revegetated to its natural state.

While the Friends are charged with maintaining all of the wash in its natural condition, the city exercises its control of the wash from Arroyo Grande to Pecos Road under three departments - Public Works for flood control, Utility Services for maintenance of an in-the-wash sewer line and its towering manholes, and Parks and Recreation for recreational and trails purposes.

Here's the deal. City engineers claim that concretizing at least a portion of the wash will help solve erosion problems, but concrete will actually INCREASE the velocity of the water (since replacing soil and plants with just concrete will allow the water to travel more quickly), leading to further erosion down the wash! Concretizing the wash really seems to make no sense, especially considering it conflicts with the city's intended mission to preserve Pittman Wash in its natural state. In fact, a possible easier solution to erosion may simply be to plant more native vegetation to help control water flow.

In addition, this proposed project may cause much more trouble for Henderson than it seems to be worth.

Under a five-phase proposal that the city's Public Works Department made to the Nevada Division of State Lands, the Friends were awarded nearly $300,000 of conservation bond money in December 2004 for projects in areas including the area of the wash where the concrete channel would be built.

The grant money came out of the $200 million so-called Question 1 bond funds that voters approved statewide in 2000.

Also, the Friends indirectly received $11.4 million in Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act funds in February 2006 for the Arroyo Grande and Pittman Urban Watershed Recreational Trails, Phase II project.

Both applications stressed that the goal of the Friends project is " restore Pittman Wash to a natural habitat and construct trails for public use and benefit."

The city could be liable for repayment of the $11.4 million, since the Department of Interior financial agreement states, "This Agreement is subject to enforcement if the recipient fails to comply with any terms of this Agreement and may be terminated in whole or in part."

Now Clark County may be on the hook for this initial $5.1 million project to concretize the channel between Arroyo Grande and the railroad crossing (and potentially start a process of concretizing more and more stretches of the wash), but Henderson may end up being liable for far more money if the city is found in violation of the agreement it made with the state to preserve Pittman Wash as natural open space.

Perhaps this is now starting to get the city council's attention. Apparently at the most recent Henderson City Council meeting this week, Mayor Andy Hafen suggested more public hearings... And even a walk with the city council along the Pittman Wash Trail! Our city council now seems to be willing to ask more questions on the necessity of this project and learn why we the residents of Green Valley are worried about losing one of the last open stretches of nature left in not just Henderson, but really all of Greater Las Vegas.

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

When I was at the Pittman Wash trailhead at Arroyo Grande yesterday morning, I was surrounded by birds. They were chirping away, and they were clearly enjoying the natural springs. But if this portion of the wash is concretized as proposed, the springs vanish and the birds will likely become homeless (or at least be forced to move elsewhere).

There were also plenty of walkers, runners, and bikers enjoying the trail. We like to use this trail precisely because of the scenery, and because of the natural cooling from the vegetation. But when vegetation is removed and replaced with concrete, the "natural cooling mechanism" from the plants is removed. And instead of all that pretty scenery, we instead have a prime target for graffiti.

Los Angeles realized this, and that's why LA has slowly been replacing much of the old concrete channel that was The LA River with natural soil and vegetation. They recognized that instead of being a constant graffiti target and neighborhood liability, it can become a community asset just by restoring the river to its original natural setting.

That's why I'm perplexed by this proposal to concretize Pittman Wash. Why would we want to do precisely what LA, New York, and other cities are moving AWAY from? Shouldn't we preserve something we can be proud of? Hopefully, the Henderson City Council will recognize this as they engage in more dialogue with the community.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

NV-Sen: Haven't We Seen This Before?

The poll for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee was taken June 11-14 by Mark Mellman, who is also Shelley Berkley's pollster. Before the partisans discount it (42-37):

1. Mellman knows Nevada. His surveys for Harry Reid in 2010 were unerring.

2. The results are not that surprising and virtually mirror what he found in March.

3. Appointed Sen. Dean Heller's negatives are up a bit, thanks to the Democratic pounding. But he has lost only a statistically insignificant one point and still a lot of undecideds this far out.

Ralston caught wind of this, and now everyone is talking. What does this mean? Do internal polls matter?

Remember this. When Harry Reid's campaign looked for polling to base targeting and messaging decisions upon, it didn't want to pay for fluff. That's why it went with the best, and Mellman is among the best here.

CNN, Razzy, and the others, OTOH, just wanted something to show the on-lookers from elsewhere, and they didn't bother paying attention to the rules to getting good Nevada results. That's why they all showed Angle slightly ahead last October, and that's why they all ended up with egg in their faces last November.

Just remember that as all the pundits now try to spin this poll's results.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Another Step Forward for Equality


A federal judge on Tuesday refused to invalidate last year's ruling against Proposition 8, deciding the gay jurist who overturned the same-sex marriage ban had no obligation to step aside because of a possible conflict of interest.

The decision by Chief Judge James Ware of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco left the ruling by retired Judge Vaughn R. Walker in place. Walker’s decision remains on hold pending a separate appeal to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Proponents of Proposition 8 argued that Walker's conflict was not his sexual orientation, but the fact that he was in a serious same-sex relationship that could conceivably lead to marriage.

Walker, a Republican appointee, has never said publicly whether he wished to marry his partner. But he told reporters that he never considered his sexual orientation grounds for declining to preside over the Proposition 8 challenge.

"It is not reasonable to presume that a judge is incapable of making an impartial decision about the constitutionality of a law, solely because, as a citizen, the judge could be affected by the proceedings," Ware wrote in his ruling.

The judge said all Californians share an interest in having the the Constitution enforced. The "single interest" Walker shared with the same-sex couples who challenged Proposition 8 "gave him no greater interest in a proper decision on the merits that would exist for any other judge or citizen," Ware wrote.

So Judge Walker's ruling was supposed to be invalidated because he's gay, according to the defenders of bigotry? Shouldn't they also then argue that straight folks shouldn't rule on marriage equality, either? So I guess that would leave us with either "Judge Lassie" or "Judge Flipper".

It's nice to see the courts recognize the obvious. Let's hope Judge Walker's ruling continues to stand and we'll one day see the end of this kind of hurtful discrimination.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Corruption of Lake Tahoe... LITERALLY!

OMG, I'm going back to #California! #fb on Twitpic

The rest of the country may be shocked when learning of today's US Supreme Court ruling overturning The Nevada Supreme Court's ruling that invalidated our state ethics law, but here in Nevada what's shocking is that someone is finally declaring something is wrong with our system of open bribery "influence in government".

Mr. Spectator has a great blog today on R&R Partners, the lobbyist powerhouse that essentially runs the state. Apparently, he felt the same sense of nausea upon reading Jon Ralston's latest column and catching this snippet that I did.

[Nevada Governor Brian] Sandoval [R-Corporate Lobbyists] not only was a superb salesman for his own policies, but he also showed another discerning quality of an effective leader: He put excellent people around him. With longtime, successful consultant Pete Ernaut always orbiting the office, Sandoval also installed Heidi Gansert as his chief of staff and Dale Erquiaga as his senior adviser. It seemed almost a triumvirate at times because they meshed so well, with the governor giving voice to policies and numbers provided by Erquiaga, a nonpareil wonk who jousted with the media on a weekly basis, and Gansert, who had legislative relationships that were important and has the ability to not answer a question with a smile as well as Sandoval.

And don't get me wrong, Ralston is 100% correct. It's easy to see Republican Governors like Wisconsin's Scott Walker and Florida's Rick Scott as complete douchebags when they display their vileness so openly and constantly make public displays of affection with the teabaggers. Nevada's Brian Sandoval, however, is snart enough not to do that. Instead, he has this slick crew of PR geniuses manage his public image while simultaneously ensuring the corporate power players' agenda IS his agenda.

The Spectator explains in further detail.

What really troubles me about this paragraph are the names, Pete [Ernaut] and Dale Eriquaga. Mr. Ernaut is “President of Government and Public Affairs and Principal” of the PR and lobbying firm R&R Partners. So to hear Ralston describe it, this paid lobbyist and noted influence peddler is all but part of the Sandoval Administration. On the R&R Partners web site under “Government Affairs/Lobbying,” they describe their services:

Experience, access, and political intelligence. The three necessities to managing an issue. With a federal lobbying practice, as well as state lobbying in Arizona, Nevada and Utah, no one understands the dynamics of the playing field better than R&R.” [Emphasis mine.]

“Access”? So if I pay R&R money, they sell me access to elected leaders I would not otherwise have? Do they mean my representatives? The Governor? Whether you are a Socialist or a Tea Party stalwart, Governor Sandoval’s coziness with people who sell “access” for money is a big problem for regular Nevadans. For those who hump their Blackberries and iPhones while supping at Adele’s [the lobbyists' favorite Carson City hangout], corporate lobbyist connections to the highest office of state government are an apparent triumph; but for the family hoping their children can get a decent public education, not so good.

Clearly, R&R has direct access to the highest levels of Nevada Government. But wait, there's more! In addition, they're also IN Nevada Government!

Dale Erquiaga is referred to as Governor Sandoval’s “Chief Advisor.” Mr. Erquiaga is not listed on the R&R web pages as a current employee, but was once “Vice President of Brand Services.” Ah the challenges of managing the Sandoval brand. Here is what R&R says it can do for their clients regarding “Media Relations.”

“We’ve placed stories everywhere from The Washington Post to MSNBC. Our deep Rolodex of “inside the Beltway” journalists, producers and editors will allow you to leverage your message in the press.”

Excellent. Sounds like they have reporter friends in high places indeed. And of course, what’s good for the R&R client list is good for Nevada, right? Man, Ralston is correct, that team in the Governor’s office is just humming like an oily machine. Yes, the message discipline they exhibited when attempting to destroy schools for corporate profit was very impressive. And I’ll add, a governor who is too tight pals with any group or individual who sells access and influence is no better than Sandoval, Democrat or Republican. This is not a partisan issue. Corporate influence over state government needs to be reined in; but that can only happen unless you, the Nevada citizen and constituent, demand to know if the people who represent you have been swayed by R&R or any shark paid money to change minds.

And if you don't think this matters, pay close attention. Because powerful corporate lobbyists, like good ol' R&R, wanted more development at Lake Tahoe, Nevada is now threatening California and the federal government with withdrawal from Tahoe's oversight agency (Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, or TRPA) if they don't agree to weakening the agency's regulatory authority so more development can be approved. Essentially Nevada is threatening to allow for the full trashing of Tahoe if California and the feds don't agree to R&R's desire for more of whatever their clients want (casinos, McMansions, malls, etc.).

Back in March, I had a chance to finally see Tahoe in person. I just can't appropriately describe in words the amazing natural beauty that is Tahoe. Hey, a picture is supposed to be worth 1,000 words!

#Snow #WinterWonderland @ #Tahoe #California :-D #Reno #fb on Twitpic

Moi @ #Tahoe #California! I'm in #snow :-D #Reno #fb on Twitpic

First glimpse of #Tahoe #California! :-D #fb on Twitpic

Plenty o snow in #Tahoe #California #fb on Twitpic

Once one sees the glory of Tahoe for oneself, one knows. That's why it pains me to see this great jewel of The West essentially being put up for auction. And why? Because a certain Nevada State Senator owns property in Tahoe? And because R&R has both its own lobbyists and clients clamoring for more development at Tahoe? Even though TRPA has already been approving plenty of development and redevelopment plans, apparently it's not enough for R&R.

Lake Tahoe is supposed to be OUR LAKE! Public land is supposed to mean that it belongs to the public and it's preserved for the public. What Nevada's Legislature and Governor did in approving SB 271 showed that most of them simply don't care about this... Simply because they care more about private profit than public good.

However, this war is far from over. Both houses of California's Legislature must now vote on Nevada's SB 271, then it must gain approval from California Governor Jerry Brown (D), Congress, and President Obama before becoming law. If you live in California, please contact your legislators and ask them to oppose the weakening of TRPA and the trashing of Tahoe. Tell them that Lake Tahoe is a vibrant treasure that Californians, Nevadans, and really all of America want to see preserved. We can't let a few corporate lobbyists and corrupt politicians take Lake Tahoe away from us.

We C'n Haz Ethics?

Oh, looky here...

The Supreme Court on Monday unanimously upheld a Nevada ethics law that governs when lawmakers should refrain from voting on official business because they might have a conflict of interest.

The court reversed a Nevada Supreme Court decision that said elected officials have a constitutional right to vote on official business that the state law violated.

The decision came in the case of Michael Carrigan, a Sparks council member who voted on a casino project even though his campaign manager served as a project consultant.

Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the court, said an elected official's vote "is not his own speech but a mechanical function of government -- the commitment of his apportioned share of the legislature's power to the passage or defeat of a particular proposal."

Almost everywhere else, this is a no-brainer. But here in Nevada, our Supreme Court thought it was simply too much to ask lawmaker to abstain from obvious conflicts of interest.

And we wonder why "outsiders" always call Nevada government corrupt?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Nevada Redistricting: Onto Our State Senate!

Now that we've explored a number of Congressional redistricting options, I figured it's now time to see what may happen at The Nevada Legislature... Especially now that it's all heading to court.

So what may a court drawn State Senate map look like? I take a spin at Dave's Redistricting App to see what's possible.

Let's start with Clark County. Because Clark is picking up one new Senate seat, I needed to contract the current seats while cleaning up all the grossly gerrymandered lines and finding space for the new district.

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

Here in Clark, we'll start with the North Las Vegas/Downtown Las Vegas/East Side (Paradise) urban core.

SD 01 (The Blue District)
Incumbent John Lee (D-North Las Vegas)

44.6% White CVAP, 25.6% Latino CVAP, 17.4% African-American CVAP, 8.9% Asian-American CVAP
US-Pres 2008: 61.8% Obama (D), 36.6% McCain (R)
Estimated NV-Sen 2010: 58% Harry Reid (D), 38% Angle (R)
Estimated NV-Gov 2010: 51% Rory Reid (D), 47% Sandoval (R)
Early Race Rating: Safe Democratic

SD 02 (The Green District)
Incumbent Mo Denis (D-North Las Vegas)

53.1% Latino CVAP, 28.1% White CVAP, 11.8% African-American CVAP
US-Pres 2008: 68.1% Obama (D), 29.5% McCain (R)
Estimated NV-Sen 2010: 64% Harry Reid (D), 31% Angle (R)
Estimated NV-Gov 2010: 57% Rory Reid (D), 39% Sandoval (R)
Early Race Rating: Safe Democratic

SD 10 (The Deep Pink District)
Incumbent Ruben Kihuen (D-Las Vegas)

51.8% Latino CVAP, 29.9% White CVAP, 10.7% African-American CVAP
US-Pres 2008: 71.5% Obama (D), 25.7% McCain (R)
Estimated NV-Sen 2010: 68% Harry Reid (D), 27% Angle (R)
Estimated NV-Gov 2010: 61% Rory Reid (D), 36% Sandoval (R)
Early Race Rating: Safe Democratic

SD 03 (The Dark Magenta District)
Incumbents Valerie Wiener (D-Las Vegas) (termed out in 2012) and Steven Horsford (D-North Las Vegas)

35.8% White CVAP, 30.6% Latino CVAP, 23.8% African-American CVAP
US-Pres 2008: 72.0% Obama (D), 26.2% McCain (R)
Estimated NV-Sen 2010: 68% Harry Reid (D), 28% Angle (R)
Estimated NV-Gov 2010: 61% Rory Reid (D), 36% Sandoval (R)
Early Race Rating: Safe Democratic

SD 04 (The Red District)
Incument Mark Manendo (D-Paradise)?

44.0% White CVAP, 34.2% Latino CVAP, 9.8% Asian-American CVAP, 9.2% African-American CVAP
US-President 2008: 64.8% Obama (D), 32.8% McCain (R)
Estimated NV-Sen 2010: 61% Harry Reid (D), 35% Angle (R)
Estimated NV-Gov 2010: 54% Rory Reid (D), 43% Sandoval (R)
Early Race Rating: Safe Democratic

SD 07 (The Silver District)
Incumbent David Parks (D-Paradise)

46.6% White CVAP, 33.1% Latino CVAP, 9.2% African-American CVAP, 8.1% Asian-American CVAP
US-Pres 2008: 65.5% Obama (D), 32.0% McCain (R)
Estimated NV-Sen 2010: 62% Harry Reid (D), 34% Angle (R)
Estimated NV-Gov 2010: 55% Rory Reid (D), 42% Sandoval (R)
Early Race Rating: Safe Democratic

As you can see, not much drama... Other than SD 07 being split into two districts (SD 04 and the new SD 07) and Valerie Wiener's old SD 03 being dismantled. Since the court will be drawing the lines this time, there's no chance of any gross gerrymanders or outrageous "dual districts". Yet despite the gimmickry (and Mark Manendo possibly having to move to keep his Senate seat), this very diverse section of the valley remains quite firmly in Democratic hands.

OK, then. Let's move to Summerlin, Spring Valley, and the west side of the valley.

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

SD 15 (The Dark Orange District)
Incumbent Elizabeth Halseth (R-Enterprise)?

69.8% White CVAP
US-Pres 2008: Obama (D) 49.2%, McCain (R) 49.0%
Estimated NV-Sen 2010: Harry Reid (D) 45%, Angle (R) 51%
Estimated NV-Gov 2010: Rory Reid (D) 38%, Sandoval (R) 59%
Early Race Rating: Leans Republican

SD 14 (The Olive District)
Open Seat (See SD 04, incumbent Valerie Wiener termed out)
46.2% White CVAP, 34.4% Latino CVAP, 10.7% African-American CVAP
US-Pres 2008: Obama (D) 62.3%, McCain (R) 35.3%
Estimated NV-Sen 2010: Harry Reid (D) 58%, Angle (R) 37%
Estimated NV-Gov 2010: Rory Reid (D) 51%, Sandoval (R) 46%
Early Race Rating: Safe Democratic

SD 06 (The Teal District)
Incument Allison Copening (D-Summerlin)

68.1% White CVAP
US-Pres 2008: 54.0% Obama (D), 44.2% McCain (R)
Estimated NV-Sen 2010: 50% Harry Reid (D), 45% Angle (R)
Estimated NV-Gov 2010: 43% Rory Reid (D), 54% Sandoval (R)
Early Race Rating: Leans Democratic

SD 08 (The Slate Blue District)
Open Seat (IncumentBarbara Cegavske [R-Summerlin] termed out in 2014)

63.3% White CVAP
US-Pres 2008: 54.0% Obama (D), 44.3% McCain (R)
Estimated NV-Sen 2010: 50% Harry Reid (D), 45% Angle (R)
Estimated NV-Gov 2010: 43% Rory Reid (D), 54% Sandoval (R)
Early Race Rating: Tossup

SD 11 (The Chartreuse District)
Open Seat (Incumbent Mike Schneider [D-Spring Valley] termed out in 2012)

47.4% White CVAP, 23.5% Latino CVAP, 16.7% Asian-American CVAP, 9.8% African-American CVAP
US-Pres 2008: 61.4% Obama (D), 36.3% McCain (R)
Estimated NV-Sen 2010: 57% Harry Reid (D), 38% Angle (R)
Estimated NV-Gov 2010: 50% Rory Reid (D), 46% Sandoval (R)
Early Race Rating: Safe Democratic

SD 09 (The Cyan District)
Incumbent Elizabeth Halseth (R-Enterprise)?

51.6% White CVAP, 23.2% Asian-American CVAP, 14.6% Latino CVAP, 7.0% African-American CVAP
US-Pres 2008: 58.9% Obama (D), 39.2% McCain (R)
Estimated NV-Sen 2010: 55% Harry Reid (D), 40% Angle (R)
Estimated NV-Gov 2010: 48% Rory Reid (D), 49% Sandoval (R)
Early Race Rating: Leans Democratic

As you can see, the fast growing west end of the valley makes some dramatic changes in redistricting. With both Valerie Wiener and Mike Schneider termed out, remnants of their old districts become minority-majority opportunity seats that will most likely provide opportunity for up-and-coming local Democrats. Meanwhile in Summerlin, incumbent Democrat Allison Copening keeps a district that she can probably win next year while soon-to-be-termed-out Republican Barbara Cegavske is doomed to leave behind a district that's a tossup at best and quickly trending Democratic. And even though newly minted Republican incumbent Elizabeth Halseth lives in The Southwest, she will probably prefer to run in the new and more GOP friendly Northwest district than face the new, diversifying, and more Democratic leaning Southwest district.

Now let's head back east and check in on the Silverado Ranch and Henderson area.

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

SD 13 (The Dark Salmon District)
Incumbent Michael Roberson (R-Henderson)

60.1% White CVAP
US-Pres 2008: 56.9% Obama (D), 41.2% McCain (R)
Estimated NV-Sen 2010: 53% Harry Reid (D), 42% Angle (R)
Estimated NV-Gov 2010: 46% Rory Reid (D), 51% Sandoval (R)
Early Race Rating: Tossup

SD 05 (The Gold District)
Incumbent Shirley Breeden (D-Henderson)

68.9% White CVAP
US-Pres 2008: 55.0% Obama (D), 43.1% McCain (R)
Estimated NV-Sen 2010: 51% Harry Reid (D), 44% Angle (R)
Estimated NV-Gov 2010: 44% Rory Reid (D), 53% Sandoval (R)
Early Race Rating: Leans Democratic

SD 12 (The Cornflower Blue District)
Incumbent Joe Hardy (R-Boulder City)

77.9% White CVAP
US-Pres 2008: 45.8% Obama (D), 52.1% McCain (R)
Estimated NV-Sen 2010: 43% Harry Reid (D), 52% Angle (R)
Estimated NV-Gov 2010: 35% Rory Reid (D), 62% Sandoval (R)
Early Race Rating: Safe Republican

While my Senator, Shirley Breeden, loses some pockets of Democratic strength in Silverado Ranch and The East Side, she also loses Republican heavy precincts in MacDonald Highlands, Seven Hills, and the outer reaches of Old Henderson. All in all, it's likely a wash (maybe even slightly improving her district, since those parts of Henderson are filled with high-propensity GOP voters) and she's probably a slight favorite to hold onto this swingy but Democratic trending Green Valley based district. In the mean time, my other Senator, Michael Roberson, loses me and the rest of Green Valley as the SD 05 dual district is broken up and his house is placed in the new Silverado Ranch anchored SD 13. For him, that's not good news, since his house is placed in a rapidly diversifying and Democratic trending seat. Meanwhile, Joe Hardy can breathe more easily now that his once swingish seat sheds its East Side and North Las Vegas tentacles to contract to just GOP dominant Anthem, Old Henderson, and Boulder City (along with Laughlin at its southern tip).

Now that we have nearly all of Clark County covered, let's take a trip north and see what this map does to Reno and the rurals.

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

We'll start with the rural territory.

SD 16 (The Lime Green District)
Open Seat (Incumbent Dean Rhoads [R-Tuscarora] termed out in 2012)

76.0% White CVAP
US-Pres 2008: Obama (D) 35.2%, McCain (R) 61.3%
Estimated NV-Sen 2010: Harry Reid (D) 35%, Angle (R) 58%
Estimated NV-Gov 2010: Rory Reid (D) 28%, Sandoval (R) 66%
Early Race Rating: Safe Republican

SD 17 (The Dark Slate District)
Open Seat (Incumbent Mike McGinness [R-Fallon] termed out in 2012)

78.9% White CVAP
US-Pres 2008: 37.3% Obama (D), 59.9% McCain (R)
Estimated NV-Sen 2010: 32% Harry Reid (D), 57% Angle (R)
Early Race Rating: Safe Republican

Other than longtime Legislature legends Dean Rhoads and Mike McGinness being termed out next year, there's nothing really changing all that much here. SD 16 actually does have to dip into Clark County, but the addition of Mesquite only strengthens the Republican tilt here.

OK, then... Let's hit Carson and Reno!

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

SD 18 (The Yellow District)
Incumbent James Settlemeyer (R-Minden)

81.8% White CVAP
US-Pres 2008: 45.2% Obama (D), 52.4% McCain (R)
Estimated NV-Sen 2010: 39% Harry Reid (D), 54% Angle (R)
Estimated NV-Gov 2010: 30% Rory Reid (D), 64% Sandoval (R)
Early Race Rating: Safe Republican

SD 21 (The Maroon District)
Incumbent Ben Kieckhefer (R-Reno)

78.3% White CVAP
US-Pres 2008: Obama (D) 50.8%, McCain (R) 47.3%
Estimated NV-Sen 2010: Harry Reid (D) 46%, Angle (R) 49%
Estimated NV-Gov 2010: Rory Reid (D) 33%, Sandoval (R) 62%
Early Race Rating: Leans Republican

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

SD 19 (The Yellow Green District)
Incumbent Don Gustavson (R-Sparks)

67.9% White CVAP
US-Pres 2008: Obama (D) 55.6%, McCain (R) 42.3%
Estimated NV-Sen 2010: Harry Reid (D) 51%, Angle (R) 44%
Estimated NV-Gov 2010: Rory Reid (D) 38%, Sandoval (R) 57%
Early Race Rating: Tossup if GOP picks another nominee, Leans Democratic if Gustavson or another teabagger is GOP nominee

SD 20 (The Pink District)
Incumbent Sheila Leslie (D-Reno)

62.7% White CVAP
US-Pres 2008: Obama (D) 65.2%, McCain (R) 32.3%
Estimated NV-Sen 2010: Harry Reid (D) 60%, Angle (R) 34%
Estimated NV-Gov 2010: Rory Reid (D) 47%, Sandoval (R) 47%
Early Race Rating: Safe Democratic

Sparks Republican Don Gustavson gets an unwanted surprise here when his district retracts from rural territory and takes in Downtown Sparks (reuniting all of the City of Sparks). This makes his district significantly more Democratic, and potentially unwinnable for a flame-throwing teabagger such as himself. Meanwhile in Carson City and Valley, James Settlemeyer's district doesn't change much, only reuniting all of Douglas County and taking in some Reno exurbs in Washoe County. And back in Washoe, Ben Kieckhefer gets a district that's probably better suited to his moderate ways... But if he gets teabagged in a GOP primary, it could potentially fall if Democrats unite behind a strong candidate. And in Reno, Sheila Leslie's district remains rock solid Democratic (don't pay too much attention to the NV-Gov numbers, Sandoval is "the hometown boy") as it contracts to just inner city Reno and the "college town" neighborhoods surrounding UNR.

I know this map isn't perfect, but I tried my best to keep districts compact, bring together proper communities of interest, and create as many neatly drawn minority-majority districts as possible. I think it's something The Nevada Supreme Court will at least consider.

And by the way, in case you were wondering, here's my breakdown of the partisan divide of the new Senate seats:

9 Safe Democratic
4 Safe Republican
8 Tossups & Leaners (2 Lean Republican, 3 Lean Democratic)

Friday, June 10, 2011

She's BACK! And She's Not Alone...

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Will Sharrrrrrrrrrrrrrron ever really leave us? I guess not...

Especially since her crazy "ideas" continue to thrive in the Nevada Republican Party. Wait, who called Social Security a "pyramid scheme"? Oh, that's right! It was Joe Heck!

Congressman Heck appears to have settled, at least briefly, on the narrative that privatizing Social Security will save it for future generations. No it won’t — it will dismantle and eliminate it. The last time this privatization scheme was put forward the rationale was clear: “Privatization isn’t a plan to save Social Security. It is a plan to dismantle Social Security. Private accounts do nothing to address Social Security solvency. In fact, because private accounts are financed by taking money out of Social Security, privatization actually increases Social Security’s funding gap and moves forward the date of its insolvency from 2041 to 2030.“

There is a secondary myth associated with Social Security, that it constitutes a retirement plan in lieu of all others. Wrong again. Social Security is a social safety net program. If any individual wants to contribute to a private retirement account he or she is perfectly free to do so. There are numerous flavors of individual retirement accounts available from your broker of choice, and at least two major forms of IRA’s. The purpose of the Social Security program is to provide a minimum level of financial support to those who would otherwise slip into poverty in their later years.

Yet again, Joe Heck is offering nothing more than microwaved second helpings of Sharrontology crazy. Angle may not have won herself, but sadly her legacy lives on in the Nevada GOP.