Letters for December 11, 2008

Pretty cute
Re “Buy Curious?” (Feature Story, Nov. 20):

Your “Buy Curious?” cover shot of Meredith Tanzer of La Bussola in the Santa cap was absolutely adorable—never seen a cuter cover anywhere. And the article, on shopping locally was most useful.

Pat Patera
Washoe Valley

Holy smokes. I came to your site looking for a simple RSS feed so I could read some of your articles but, wow: Could you guys fit any more information on the entry point? I got a headache in 10 seconds. Way too busy, guys.

Kirk Ellern
via email

Anonymous fears
I write this letter to you out of pure desperation and frustration. I am a city of Reno employee. During these unstable economic times, there are many questions that have crossed my mind and the minds of others. We are worried about the cuts that are likely to come in the not-so-distant future.

The issue I have is, to me, that the city manager and the City Council are asking the same people who got us into this predicament to get us out. If they didn’t have the foresight to prepare for this, how can they have the wisdom to get us out? I worry that, like many big, private companies, we are “top heavy” with too many chiefs making bad decisions, but the little working Indians who run the company are the ones who will be cut. As of right now, we are somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.7 million in the hole.

The questions I ponder daily are:

Who is safe from getting the ax? Who decides who is needed and who we can do without?

Why do we pay for a portion of the Assistant City Manager Mary Hill’s salary? Does she work for our department?

We also have an assistant community development director, and our staff is now less than 60 people. From what was brought up in Council today we will lose another 15 people. Why do we need him?

Why do we have two community development deputy directors, one for Engineering and the other for Planning? Why do we have eight building inspectors, four of whom hold a title of “Lead” inspectors (who lead no one, two of whom hold a title of “senior” inspector (who have no added responsibilities), and one supervisor (who doesn’t even know how to turn on a computer, type an e-mail or fax a letter). Not to mention the fact that they are all under the supervision of a building official/community development building manager who manages his people with ruthless intimidation. Why do we need him?

How does any of this make any sense? How much are all of these “titles” costing us? I don’t know the monetary price we have been paying, but the emotional toll it has taken on this department’s employees is unfathomable! The way this department has been run over the last few years shows on the wary faces of its employees.

The other questions I have are, who is going to take responsibility for all the bad choices that have been made in this department? Is anyone looking into why we spent so much hiring JAS Consulting and then never implemented any of their suggestions on how to improve our department? What about spending a large amount of money hiring Maximus to review and implement a new fee schedule that not only makes no sense, but as has been discovered while using the new fee schedule, has lost the department money. Is this all water under the bridge, no one is to be held accountable?

Could someone please answer these questions, or at the least, look into these concerns?

via email

RTC punishes the poor
Re “Sparks/Meadowood bus run created” (Upfront, Nov. 26):

Shame on the Regional Transportation Committee for taking 30 minutes off the bus transfers! People riding the bus aren’t rich. Two-hour transfers were OK and if anything, the RTC should have added time, not taken it away.

Of course, economic times are bad but why target bus riders to make their ends meet? I’m calling on all bus riders to protest this atrocious decision made by the RTC. Together, we can get that 30 minutes back.

Nevada Borchert Pearce

Public ignored
Re “Is there help?” (Letters to the editor, Nov. 26):

It is now Dec. 4, three days after the final Citizens Advisory Board (CAB) meeting for the public input on the Nevada Wind LLC (aka LS Corporation) in Palomino Valley. At all three CAB meetings, residents filled the facility with over-flowing crowds. At the final meeting, important and potentially “obstructionist” facts were presented by a federal representative of facilities located on the top of Virginia Peak, next door to the proposed wind farm. These facts were ignored.

The presentations by residents of Palomino Valley of the destruction of roads, riparian habitats, views that were paid for in the purchases of lands impacted by the wind farm projects, lies by the principals of the project that were authenticated, non-representation of public interests by county officials in the application process and finally, a hand vote by all residents of the valley produced a 98 percent disapproval of the wind farms project were all ignored.

Yet the CAB members, comprised of an engineer with ties to the project, a real estate broker, and a property owner who had already agreed to lease payments for transmission lines across his property, all hand-picked by the Reno planning commission and influenced by Bob Larkin, the district commissioner, passed the “approval” vote of the CAB despite overwhelming opposition.

Now we all know that “green” energy is desirable, and most of the Palomino citizens are in favor of green energy if it makes sense. But this project does not make sense. Not only is it poorly planned, but the company has no written business plan and no engineered mitigation plan for the massive construction of their project. Also, if the wind farm is approved, the energy produced will impact current non-green energy production and produce massive maintenance and replacement costs of existing energy turbines at the Tracy facility. These costs will be passed on to the Reno-Sparks electric consumer again, as this facility was granted a rate hike recently for improvement in their turbines, which now will be damaged by the energy of the wind farms. So who benefits from this project? Well first, the developers, who receive a mega-million dollar tax credit from federal and state coffers to proceed with this project. More profit than they would receive for 10 years of electricity sales. Then the county wins by elevating the property values where these turbines and transmission towers are put and taxing them for increased value. And the local taxes and fees you pay on your energy bill go to the county. The consumer is in a lose-lose situation, but the residents of Palomino valley are in a lose-lose-lose situation because these wind farms will blight this area.

Ask yourself: Of all the wind farms you have seen, would you choose to build your house with them surrounding you when you built? I think the answer would be no. With vast tracks of government-owned land that is flat, these projects could find better real estate to build their projects. If “green” energy is to work it must be done right from the start, and this is not a good start for the greater Reno area.

Tim Sanders