View from the fray

It’s almost empowering

Good thing Election Day’s close. I can’t take another political TV ad featuring a woman with dark rings under her eyes, looking near death, plugging the approval of Question 9 for her medical-marijuana needs. Not that the anti-drug-propaganda counter ads are any better.

Worse are the vicious ads regarding Nevada’s next attorney general. “Blah, blah, blah you can’t trust Democratic candidate John Hunt because he was offered huge chunks of questionable campaign contributions,” say the Citizens to Elect Brian Sandoval. “Blah, blah, blah you can’t trust Sandoval, that damned Republican who screwed up some family’s adoption,” say the Citizens to Elect John Hunt.

It’s the kind of crappy campaigning that’s been keeping Americans at home in droves on Election Day. Who in her right mind would vote for either of these mudslinging buffoons?

But then, my inner pragmatist takes over. I have to find some governing principle to set apart these two men I’ve never met, an Occam’s razor of political discernment, if you will. For some, the cut boils down to partisanship. If you’re a Democrat, you’ll vote Hunt. If you’re a Republican, you’ll make a terrible mistake.

For me, a nonpartisan voter, it’s all about power. Who wields it. And how much you pay for it.

In Nevada, it’s no secret that utility bills have been going up. But it could have been worse. Please recall that the Public Utilities Commission did not give Sierra Pacific Power Company all of its last requested rate hike of $205 million.

Who do we have to thank?

Well, there are the folks who signed petitions, and the activists who spoke out at town hall meetings. And there’s Tim Hay, a consumer advocate employed by the state of Nevada’s attorney general, Frankie Sue Del Papa.

Hay, and by extension the Attorney General’s Office, has been a key figure in the battle to hold Sierra Pacific Resources (the parent company of both Nevada’s power companies) accountable for power purchasing practices and other stuff like deals with former energy giant Enron.

Frankie Sue Del Papa has been our attorney general for 12 years. During that time, her commitment to consumer protection and fraud prevention has made life better for thousands of Nevadans. Now, she spends her last days in office fighting a nuclear-waste repository at Yucca Mountain.

Think about that. Now think about Sandoval, who’s represented the Utility Shareholders of Nevada, a group of people who profit from things like, um, utility rate hikes.

Hunt, on the other hand, is all for publicly owned utilities, according to an article by Martha Bellisle in the Reno Gazette-Journal. Hunt is in favor of an initiative on the ballot in southern Nevada that would put power in the hands of the people—or more specifically, the Southern Nevada Water Authority.

Better still, Hunt has the endorsement of someone I respect, a woman who’s done plenty for this state in her 12 years at the helm of the state’s legal arm. Del Papa, who knows what it takes to be attorney general, recommends Hunt.

That’s why Hunt makes the cut for me, and that’s why it’s important to think before you vote or choose to stay at home on Nov. 5.