Friday, July 6, 2012

More WTF Crazy in Pahrump

Remember when a few angry Republicans tried to arrest the Pahrump Town Board? Well, the drama is about to get even more out of hand. The Nye County Commission just reversed itself and approved a ballot initiative to essentially "de-claw" the Pahrump Town Board.

Apparently, an "unholy alliance" formed after Town Board Member Vicky Parker made a comment about Nye County wanting to scrap the "more fiscally responsible" Pahrump Board to take all its cash. It infuriated the Nye Commissioners enough to switch their votes and give the Nye County Republican Central Committee what they've been seeking all along, which is to delegitimize and dissolve the Pahrump Town Board.

So what happens if they succeed? Under Nevada law, the current board would be able to finish their terms. But come 2014, the board would be reduced to just an advisory body while the Nye County Commission assumes all fiscal and municipal legislative duties for Pahrump. Funny enough, Pahrump now has 83% of Nye County's population, so theoretically Pahrump may soon have 4 out of 5 seats on the Commission depending on this year's election. However Nye County's seat of government is still 165 miles away in Tonopah, so local government could be even less responsive.

As I had suspected last month, Pahrump is clearly going through some difficult "growing pains".

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.

I'm really wondering how Pahrump residents can get the kind of attention their town really needs if their nearest local government has headquarters 165 miles away. At least Nye County has government offices and some Commission hearings in Pahrump, but I'm still perplexed by the possibility of a growing municipality with 37,0000 people ceding that much local control. Just how sustainable is that?

I also find it funny how the Nye County GOPers keep butting in. They always claim they're for "limited government" and "more local control", yet they're now advocating expanding the power of the Nye County Commision and giving them complete control of Pahrump? Are they serious? I guess grudge matches trump ideology out there in the open desert.

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