When hot issues come up in government, it’s always a good idea to make sure the public is along for the ride.
During the dispute over Reno City Manager Andrew Clinger, the City Council and mayor were in too great a hurry. What was at issue were expenditures for an investigation and then a buyout, and neither were emergencies. Twice special meetings were called instead of listing the matter on the next regular agenda, which would have given the public more time to know what was going on and react. It was particularly regrettable in the second instance, when there was a plan to give Clinger a golden parachute before the completion of the investigation into his conduct. Councilmembers are proccupied with public business constantly. Members of the public need more time.
In the case of the County Commission rushing to appoint members of the legislature for a special session, there was absolutely no reason other than a panicky governor’s political claims. The public owes the Reno Gazette-Journal a debt of thanks for slowing the process down with the open meeting law.
The governor’s “need” for a special session is nonsense. He wants to cut the public out of the process, to ram a malodorous $750 million stadium giveaway through before anyone can give it some decent scrutiny. It’s a repeat of Tesla, when he called a special session so fast it left the state’s taxpayers’ heads spinning, and Nevada was saddled with the biggest corporate welfare package in human history.
This time, for some reason, the governor wants a legislature of lame duck legislators in session on Oct. 7 instead of waiting a mere 33 days for the new lawmakers to take office—or, better yet, waiting until the regular session. There is no way a complex deal like the stadium can be scrutinized adequately in a special session.
If the legislators take their time, the worst that could happen is the deal falls through and taxpayers save $750 million. Oh, darn. What will we do with the money? Well, the Washoe County School District needs $780 million.
Here’s a better scenario: Business as usual. The backers of the stadium acquire the property and build the stadium, using their own money or bank loans like real people. They observe all local zoning and safety ordinances. They follow all state and federal environmental laws (and the governor makes sure they do). They open their stadium, and if income exceeds outgo, that’s free enterprise. Make billionaires pay for their own damn stadiums. Leave the taxpayers out of it.
Additionally, for Northern Nevadans who happen to be fans of the Raiders football team, it’s insulting to make them pay to move the team 250 miles further away from our metropolitan area than the team is already based.
When Nevada was a mecca for securities fraud, the Nevada secretary of state’s office told the public that whenever someone pushed investors to jump in fast, it was a warning. In looking through various scams on the Federal Trade Commission website, we found similar warnings:
“In fact, any pressure to ’act now’ before you miss out on a prize is a sign of a scam.”
Members of the public need to think of their politicians as scam artists, rushing them into a bad deal fast.