Friday, June 15, 2012

Pahrump... WTF??!!

If you ever thought city/town council meetings are incredibly boring, then you've clearly never been to Pahrump.

About 30 members of the Nye County Republican Central Committee led the charge to make a citizen's arrest on three town board members after voting to repeal a town ordinance passed years ago.

Attorneys say Pahrump Town Ordinance 46 is unconstitutional because it restricts power of future town boards, and so they put the issue on the agenda to repeal it. Members of the NCRCC say that is illegal because it should have been put to a public vote. Town leaders voted anyway, and that's when meeting turned to melee.

Bill Carns led the charge, as NCRCC members tried to make a citizen's arrest on board members Harley Kulkin, Tom Waters and Vicky Parker. When Nye County Sheriff Deputies refused, the group tried to make citizen arrests on deputies themselves.

Board Chair Vicky Parker says the group has been disruptive before.

"This is just the first time they decided to arrest us," she said. "It was bullying, it was threats, intimidation, harassment."

At first, this looks like downright lunacy. And to a large extent, it really is. Last I checked, one actually needs to present evidence of criminal wrongdoing to make an arrest.

However, I can also see the real frustration behind this week's melee... And why it was finally unleashed.

Not that long ago, Pahrump was just a sparsely populated rural outpost far from any bustling metropolis. Now, it's a town of over 36,000 people that's increasingly looking like an exurb of the Las Vegas metropolitan area that's now topping 2,000,000 people. And now, Pahrump actually has a larger population than (incorporated cities) Boulder City and Mesquite combined.

Fifty years ago, Pahrump didn't even have telephone service! But especially in the last two decades, people have been flocking here seeking a "simpler", more bucolic life. And while there may still be some wide open space now, even that's been changing as more housing and commercial developments are approved. Really, this once rural outpost in the middle of nowhere is increasingly looking like an exurb.

And I can see why many folks there are becoming frustrated. They went to Pahrump looking for "the libertarian ideal". However, they found a community experiencing serious growing pains.

While the surface issue looks to be an ordinance prohibiting the pursuit of cityhood, I suspect there's more beneath the surface. And until Pahrump residents decide whether they want to save their rural way of life or continue growing into a full fledged Las Vegas suburb, there will likely be more of these problems going forward.

I just find it funny how the Nye County Republican Central Committee is butting into this dispute. They supposedly favor "limited government" and "individual rights", yet they're supporting a measure meant to limit peoples' First Amendment free speech rights. Oh, the irony!

But again, this may not be the last time we see this kind of explosion in Pahrump.

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