Letters for January 22, 2009

Public documents
Re “City payroll posted on RN&R site” (Upfront, Jan. 15):

A small but critical correction to this segment: The employees associations took legal action to stop names from being printed, not all info. It was the opinion of all the associations and all the employees that specific names did not need to be printed in an attempt to retain some privacy. The original request from the RG-J was for names and addresses, which was turned down quickly. RG-J responded with threats of court action and an attitude of “We’ll get it and print it, so screw you,” which they denied when asked by the public. I don’t see any gain by printing the names of employees with their specific salaries. The county position and payroll information is available all the time on the HR website. By printing names you run the risk of showing stalkers, people with restraining orders against them or other people with negative intent where people are. There was no need for specific names to be listed, it gained nothing for the public. By not gaining the full story and printing the segment you did, you only widen the rift between the public and the government trying to serve them. It made the local governments seem as if they are hiding everything, when they are hiding nothing. If the public is interested in the goings on of the government, then they should take the time to investigate. It’s extremely easy to do, and it prevents stories like this one from tainting the real information.

Dale Kaduk
Via email

Editor’s note: We did not claim in our story that the city was trying to withhold all information, however, we’ll accept your interpretation that we did. However, we chose to withhold the names on the document that was published on our website. People who do as you encourage and get the document directly from the city, get the document with the names on it—hence the phrase “public document.”

Decrease overtime
Re “City payroll posted on RN&R site” (Upfront, Jan. 15):

Interesting that anyone would complain about the police overtime issue, when the City Council has such a long history of not approving more police officers. These salaries do not address that a large amount of overtime is for the special events which require additional police to work while still providing service through the regularly scheduled shift for our locals. Also, your article does not acknowledge is that vendors who put on these events are often required to pay for those extra officers. (That money, of course, is placed into the city’s general funds.)

Eric Darrel
via email

Obama, you owe me
I’ve paid for my faith and trust and belief in you, and I feel cheated. I’ve lost friends, alienated neighbors, disgusted colleagues, and loused up a family’s perfectly good Christmas party for you. It’s actually my own fault. I failed to recognize what I can’t help but perceive as a serious shortage: lack of outrage.

I didn’t really believe it, or was unwilling to admit it, until today. This morning, when I read in Buzzflash that you intend to, “honor,” John McCain on the day of your inauguration, I couldn’t deny it any longer. That was the straw, to mangle a metaphor, that broke this Democrat’s mule’s back.

You seem to ignore, and thus tacitly condone, too many crimes against us and our core beliefs, by your lack of outrage. And why? Apparently, just so a few radical right-wing ideologues can feel a little more comfy. Purpose? Maybe, maybe, one or two more votes in the Senate? Hah. Fat chance.

From where the rest of us Great Unwashed Liberal Masses sit, the Republicans in Congress are as cowed and hopelessly dumbed-down as Fox News’ brain-dead audience. They’re too scared of losing the perks ‘n’ goodies to be impressed by the largesse of your inclusiveness. We know it. We’re the victims of their greed for power, however slim it now may be.

Wait, I’m not through.

Look, Limbaugh, Hannity, and the rest of their repulsive ilk can hide behind our precious First Amendment, and, much as it sickens me, that’s the way it should be.

But Bush, Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld, and their craven minions? We can hear these draft-dodging cowards, these out-and-out criminals, laughing.

We sense, we fear, that because of what we feel is your apparent lack of outrage, they’re gonna get away with it. I want so much to be wrong about this that I ache, and there are million like me.

Headline: “OBAMA’S ATTORNEY GENERAL PICK FACES GROWING CRITICISM/Eric H. Holder Jr. is facing increasing resistance to his bid.”

The bad guys are scared to stomach cramps of Eric Holder. So he’s up for crucifixion. And you, you’re the only one we can rely upon to guarantee these genuine felons some well-deserved measure of justice. Will you? I’m begging you. Will you?

You owe me. You owe all of us.

Mike Price

Record setting
Re “Planting billboards” (News, Jan. 8):

In response to the article “Planting billboards,” I’d like to set the record straight on several inaccuracies written by Dennis Myers.

First and foremost, it is not illegal, as Mr. Myers states, for the Nevada Department of Transportation to send an application to the Federal Highway Administration seeking approval to allow advertising along Nevada’s interstate interchanges. This is only a proposal that not only enhances the state’s interchanges, but is also an innovative way to generate additional highway funding.

Another inaccuracy stated in the article is that this was a “Gibbons administration” proposal. With the support of the Governor, the Nevada Department of Transportation is, in fact, proposing this new and innovative idea for two reasons.

First, it would allow private companies to enhance interstate interchanges with landscaping, thus making these barren areas much more aesthetically pleasing to everyone using the interchanges at no cost to the traveling public. And second, during these tough economic times, this would generate much needed revenue that could be used for highway improvements, including safety projects.

Other points that Mr. Myers failed to mention include:

• This is a test to find out if it works.

• The length of the test period is being negotiated with FHWA.

• It will be applied to a limited number of interchanges.

• NDOT and FHWA will be monitoring these projects on a regular basis.

• At the end of the test period, FHWA and transportation agencies will decide if this solution is acceptable and should be applied nationally or not.

• If this innovative solution works, transportation agencies can augment funding shortfalls

The bottom line is this is a solution-oriented transportation financing initiative to explore new funding options and to enhance Nevada roads. I believe RN&R readers deserve the full story.

Susan Martinovich, P.E.
Director Nevada Department of Transportation

Editor’s note: We did not report that filing the application was illegal, only that the application sought permission to do things on the highways that are illegal under federal law.

In “You’re getting married in this economy?” and “Gift rap” (Bridal Guide, Jan. 15), we incorrectly spelled the name of event planning and photography company Infinite Moments and co-owner Ann-Marie Fenner. We regret the error.