Good things happen for Nevada in D.C.

A couple of good things for Nevada happened in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Since it's not often we get to say that, both are worth noting.

The first was the unveiling of the statue of Sarah Winnemucca in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol. It's not just a beautiful sculpture, of which artist Benjamin Victor is justifiably proud, but an important symbol for the West.

She lived in two worlds, between the American Indians whose rights she argued for tirelessly and the white settlers and politicians who, in her lifetime, never grasped the fundamental sense of equality she represented.

Some would say she was 100 years ahead of her time, but much of what came after would not have happened had she not set the stage. Congratulations to all those who worked hard to make Winnemucca's statue a reality.

Meanwhile, the Senate Budget Committee may have ended President Bush's plan to appropriate proceeds from Southern Nevada land sales for the federal budget.

Senators John Ensign and Harry Reid have fought the proposal, because the original legislation calls for funds from those sales to go to projects in Nevada, including environmental improvements at Lake Tahoe.

Bush's reasoning - that far more money was coming from the land sales than ever anticipated - doesn't stand up.

Nevada has been handicapped since statehood by the immense property controlled by the federal government here. That the sales are happening while property values are at a historic high is simply good timing.

In addition, we're confident the money will be put to better use here than if it were funneled into the black hole of the federal budget. Bush and Congress need to balance the budget by reducing spending, not by looking for gift horses in the Nevada desert.


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