Bob Thomas: Our local campaigns
October 11, 2012
In my opinion, we need new blood in both supervisor offices that are up for election. I’ve had my fill of developers and Realtors whose ideas of sound economic development are limited to housing, box stores, car dealerships and tourism. And we don’t need city mothers like incumbent Molly Walt, whose idea of city oversight is joining every civic group in town.Since 1974 it’s shocking to me how blas our city leaders have been when it comes to understanding and pursuing the one economic activity that produces the greatest number of higher-paying jobs, for the longest periods of time between recessions. That is manufacturing.What can be better than having a large group of manufacturers who ship their products all over the country, bringing money from other states into Nevada?Why should our city leaders wait for NNDA or any other group to act in our behalf? In the first place, compared with the way I used to do business, these guys wait for the phone to ring or for a response to advertising or promotional material. I have yet to see an aggressive attack by any Nevada association or group to invade California and convince disillusioned manufacturers to relocate here. Yes, it takes money but we have the talent. It only needs to be mobilized. Moreover, NNDA and other such groups are promoting all of Nevada. We need our own Carson City attack group to promote industry relocation here. That’s what built our industrial airpark in the 1970s. To show you how unimaginative our city fathers and mothers are: Why would they consider using our tax dollars to finance a limited-appeal downtown project when they could be investing in an attack on California. If properly managed, this would bring us genuine, long-lasting and consistent economic growth in the one sector which isn’t seasonal (like tourism) and knows no bounds. Manufacturing is limitless. And considering today’s business-hating atmosphere in California, we have the two most important magnets with which to attract frustrated companies: “No income tax and the Right-to-Work.” Gaming is primarily responsible for our statewide lack of industrial development. Greed is always shortsighted. It was obvious to many of us legislators in the 1980s that the golden goose wasn’t going to be able to maintain its gambling monopoly. Too many states were making noises about licensing gambling. Some of us tried everything we could to convince gaming to help diversify Nevada, but because it controlled Nevada, it wasn’t about to relinquish or share power with another potentially influential group.Today is a different ballgame. Nevada gaming will never be what it was. Oh, perhaps it will again be more profitable than it is today, but Nevada must now diversify one way or another and the power structure must be shared. This is why Carson City should make its own plans exclusive of the rest of the state. It is in our present manufacturers’ “skilled labor” interests, as well as the interests of owners of vacant industrial buildings and properties, to help recruit newcomers. I see no reason why our city and our private sector can’t raise the funds to launch our own attack plan.This is one reason why I am staunchly supporting candidates Dennis Johnson and Jim Shirk for election to our Board of Supervisors, Wards 2 and 4. Both are knowledgeable, solid citizens who have exhibited strong desires to help lead Carson City in the direction of establishing manufacturing as the main engine driving our local economy. With a stable economy in the form of jobs that are more permanent and skilled than tourism, all else follows. Manufacturing is traditionally a long-lasting proposition because of the financial investments that have to be made in facilities, machinery, equipment, purchased materials and trained labor.As an aside but no less important, I support Pete Livermore for re-election to another term as our state assemblyman. Pete probably knows Carson City better than anyone having been a long-time supervisor, and he has Nevada’s best interests at heart. And I also support Ron Knecht for re-election as our University regent. Ron is the best guardian of our purse we’ve ever had.• Bob Thomas is a retired high-tech industrialist who later served on the Carson City School Board, the state welfare board, the airport authority and as a state assemblyman. His website is http://www.worldclassentrepreneur.com. These endorsements are Thomas’ and not those of the Nevada Appeal.