The problem isn't just the anti-qualify of life policies of our present mayor and the incumbent city supervisors. True, they bear much responsibility. It actually started nearly a decade ago when a developer - literally in the dead of night - absconded with one of the city's historical treasures, the old Virginia & Truckee Railroad shops.
Yes, it was derelict. It could've been reclaimed and made a prime Carson City historical asset for tourism. About that time, our mobile home court wells were seized and we were forcibly put on city water. I knew instinctively every drop was going to be used for urban blight. To his credit, Mayor Marv Teixeira realized such mistakes should be remedied. The way in which the V&T shops abruptly disappeared signified a "nothing is sacred" element had cast greedy eyes on our beautiful capital.
Teixeira created a Quality of Life Council, composed of downtown interests, urban and rural people and - yes - conservationists like me. We voluntarily served, gathered in the council chambers and broke up into various committees. Everyone's views were patiently considered. All recognized our downtown was deteriorating. Ideas were adopted and some rejected.
One situation all agreed was relevant; we had priceless urban open space that must be saved for the people and future generations. We traded lands with such agencies as the BLM. We even passed a bond issue to buy more.
For nearly a year and a half we drew up lists of problems and identified key sites and areas. Again, another concern we all had in common; quality of life for those citizens now here.
Yes, we had to allow for some reasonable growth, upgrade downtown, create jobs, get the bypass started and save natural places like Lone Mountain and the Lompa/Steinheimer wetlands. In late June 1996 we all gathered with city, state and federal officials at the city auditorium. The proceedings were aired on Channel 10.
Dissatisfied were the "Bulldozer Bobs," who sat and said nothing. Their plans were already made. First came shark attacks over two holidays. On July 4 and Thanksgiving - like the Pearl Harbor raid - the "Bulldozer Bobs" began invading the wetlands and key areas cited by the mayor's committees.
In came the Masayko machine, richly financed by the developers. Masayko previously was a Democrat. He switched parties to attract more developer funds into his campaign coffers. The development disease quickly got out of control.
Pity our poor "skipper" butterfly. It's a victim like the rest of us. Not even Fuji Park is to be spared. In spite of choking traffic downtown, the bypass was repeatedly held up so the "Bulldozer Bobs' could feverishly build condos and ravish our neighborhoods.
Ever wonder why your water is cloudy? That's added aeration to maximize use of our depleted water reserves. Finally, citing the Clean Water Act's Section 404, I complained to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service who brought in the U.S. Corps of Engineers. Why? To red-tag the wetland invaders.
Alas, what about Lone Mountain? To use Masayko's own words, "OK, so what if it was dealt with by citizens' committees? We (the Masayko machine and the Bulldozer Bobs) decided on our own input - development there is now a "done deal." Hmmm!
Who's going to pay for the resulting overburdened infrastructure (more police, fire, schools, streets, sewers, etc.)? That will come out of your and my pockets, folks. Watch your next property tax bill! It's about time we told the Masayko machine "You're history" in the next election.
CHARLES S. WATSON Jr.