Last year after the Nevada Consumer Affairs Division was shut down to save money, the FBI and local officials reported a sharp rise in scams—telemarketing, car repair frauds, identity theft, mortgage games.
Around the same time, the state eliminated funding for cloud seeding. Nevada is a desert state, and its water is limited. In addition, how dry or wet a winter is can affect how serious a fire season, with all its attendant costs, will be the following summer. Clark County officials, believing that Nevadans need the cloud seeding, pitched in with $900,000 that the county could ill afford.
Last week the Washoe County health department reported that because of budget reductions annual aerial larvicide application is being cut by 40 percent. Health officials warned members of the public to take greater than normal care with their health this summer by using mosquito repellant more assiduously, quickly clearing out any standing pools of water around the house to reduce mosquito breeding grounds, making sure all window screens are intact and repaired if there are breaches, and so on.
On and on it has gone, as programs to protect the public have been reduced or done away with altogether. If there is a common thread among stories like this, it is shortsightedness. That brings us to Jim Gibbons.
Governor Gibbons likes to talk about waste and inefficiency in government and how cuts will not affect the basic needs of Nevadans. This may occasionally be true here and there, but after 30 years of tax cutting fever, four major state budget crises during which the state has been forced to cut services, and reorganization after reorganization, Nevada government is not a hotbed of wasteful spending.
Budget cuts have often come to programs and services whose shutdowns caused more problems, and expense, than they solved. The governor’s incessant desire to save dimes has cost dollars. His ignorance of and inexperience in budget matters has meant that by not putting money on the front end of problems, those problems became much worse—and much more expensive—later on. That is bad management. His unwillingness to listen to people who are better informed and his inability to work with his fellow officeholders has cost the state lots and lots of money. He has driven up the cost of government.
We had considered endorsing one of Gibbons’ opponents in the Republican primary. Instead, we decided to simply urge that whoever is chosen, the governor should be rejected.
The governor considers himself a conservative. But there are plenty of wise and capable conservatives who know how to run a government and have not made a mess of their offices. Former North Las Vegas mayor Mike Montandon and former state attorney general Brian Sandoval, the governor’s Republican opponents, are both conservatives who are willing to listen to those with whom they disagree. They have shown they know how to work with others without becoming defensive.
We urge a vote against Governor Gibbons not because he is a conservative but because he is a fool.