Letters for October 15, 2009

Don’t dis volunteers

Re “Falling For Birds” (Green, Oct. 8):

Birding has become a national pastime. It is a good thing when someone like Jim Woods can start a business. Readers, however, should be aware, that 1) the limited local places for birding are not sufficient to maintain large enough populations of birds to sustain the species; 2) local birding hot spots like Oxbow, Swan Lake, and the new Kiley Ranch wetlands, exist because agencies and volunteers were committed to protect these properties; and 3) these special places require many volunteer hours and funding to maintain them.

Readers should be aware that Lahontan Audubon provides the same trips for free, offers monthly free programs on birds, provides many hours of free educational tours for students, and invests time and money in acquiring and maintaining these special birding places. The Spring Wings Festival in Fallon in May exists because many volunteers (including Audubon Society members) contribute their time. Tours are part of the modest registration price.

Woods should think twice about dismissing the work of conservationists who, through years of investing their time and money, are preserving critical bird habitats which he now offers customers for a fee. As our population grows, more “birding” tours are needed. Wood’s entrepreneurial spirit is admirable. The many organizations involved in protecting bird habitat and providing educational programs welcome his participation. Eventually, one can hope that he will appreciate their contribution as well.

Tina Nappe
via email

Low-morale majority

Re “Turnover” (News, Oct. 1):

I do agree that morale is low within the Department of Motor Vehicles. However, morale is low everywhere because of the furloughs and the governor’s relentless attack on state employees. We have spent the better part of his term as governor justifying the benefits and pay we receive.

Most employees within the DMV do support Edgar Roberts and his administration. They see an opportunity to get issues resolved from an administration that is unbiased and not tied up in the good old boy system that DMV has experienced in the past. I’m not sure why Tom [Fronapfel] was let go. However, I will say that we took several issues to Tom in an effort to try and get them resolved. Tom either ignored them or simply didn’t find priority in them. Nonetheless, because of Tom’s unwillingness to address workplace issues, we have a situation at the Reno DMV that has spun out of control. It has only been with Roberts and his administration’s willingness to look into these issues that have some of our members feeling optimistic.

I worked with Roberts during the 2009 Legislative Session. He was extremely sympathetic to the issues facing state employees. I found him very easy to work with, and I believe that he should be given a chance to run the DMV with an approach that our members within the agency aren’t used to. I think he has taken politics and favoritism out of the mix when dealing with his employees. If all department heads were willing to do this, I believe we would have fewer grievances flying around. As far as I can tell, the number of grievances hasn’t climbed because of Gov. Gibbons, however, we still see a lot of grievances. Although this is typical when dealing with an entity without the rights to collectively bargain, any intervention from a department head is always helpful. Thus far, Roberts has shown a willingness to resolve issues. I’ve seen it, as well as several of his employees. It’s because of his willingness to listen with an open mind that we stand behind him.

Dennis Mallory
Chief of Staff, AFSCME Local 4041

Carson City

Unions could benefit

Re “Yucca dump backer runs for Senate” (Upfront, Oct. 8):

Unions may not be upset at a change of heart regarding this nuclear waste repository project on the part of this state.

For instance, thousands of craftsmen and laborers would be employed in constructing the railroad and other necessary infrastructure, including roads and power lines, and that work can start before the licensing process is completed.

After licensing, if the NRC agrees that the repository can be safely built, thousands more will be involved in constructing the above-ground and underground facilities. This is going to be the highest quality construction the nation is capable of, and crafts ranging from carpenters through electricians, plumbers, and regular and specialty sheet metal workers will be involved.

After construction there will no longer be thousands, but there will likely be a few hundred, employed for about 50 years to help run and maintain the facilities. At times it is likely that changes will be made to portions of the facilities to optimize them based on experience, and crafts and laborers will again be involved in larger numbers.

In addition, the host county and state will be able to capitalize on the educational and supporting technical opportunities to be associated with such a high technology operation. Opportunities are there for the negotiating. The industry is in a tight spot and will likely be in a mood to be generous. The government is also racking up big financial obligations because of a contract that is not being fulfilled in a timely manner, and may be able to breathe a big sigh of relief (meaning the obligations to be paid by future citizens will be reduced).

Finally, if the NRC determines this facility can be built and operated safely, they will be here at every step to assure that this will be the case. I see it as a potential win-win-win opportunity for my state.

Abraham Van Luik
Las Vegas

Bomb the healthy

Re “Dishonesty and cowardice” (Editorial, Oct. 8):

In the debate over health care reform, the Republicans blatantly lied, and the Democrats preemptively surrendered, both of which are nauseatingly familiar and predictable behaviors. But here’s the rub: A recent Harvard medical school study says that about 45,000 citizens die every year in the United States due to lack of health care coverage. That’s about 3,750 people who are jumped by Mr. Death every month due to lack of medical coverage. For perspective, that’s about 750 more people than died in all the 9/11 attacks combined. We can’t let them damned preventable health care-caused deaths overshadow 9/11. How can we rally the masses into outrage and action regarding this situation?

I got it! Recent history informs us that all we need to do is choose a “Health care-wealthy” nation that we can demonize, preemptively invade, occupy, take over their health care facilities, and hand over the health care spoils to ’Merikan corporations, and we’ll all feel better about this! Any old nation will do, so long as they have better health care than us. The United Kingdom? France? Canada? Germany? Japan? Iceland? Switzerland? Sweden? The Netherlands? Cuba? I’d keep going, but it’s a damnably long list. Just suffice it to say that we should immediately pressure Senate minority leader John Boehner to pen a report denouncing one (or more) of these countries as a dangerous nation(s) with “Healthcare of Mass Constructiveness” Given the fact that we live in an idiocracy, our reliable old mainstream media will ensure that the rest will take care of itself. We’ll be a’ wavin’ them flags and a’ droppin’ them depleted uranium bombs on lil’ kids in no time!

As one o them overedumacated fellers woulda done said, “Illud quoque bardus abeo historia ordo es fatum ut revolvo is (Those too stupid to pass history class are doomed to repeat it).” DOH!

Vive l’oligarchie!

C. Rosamond
Reno