Dr. Eugene T. Paslov: Taking matters in hand: A message for our leadership

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This has obviously been a difficult year. Millions are unemployed; many have lost their homes or are upside down with their mortgages. In my own family, my brother-in-law of 47 years, Dave, is fighting for his life against bone marrow cancer. My sister and our entire family want him to win this fight. But Dave will be in the hospital on Christmas day fighting for his life.

I know there are many others who are struggling to make their own lives better, dealing with illness, a bad economy, joblessness and myriad other maladies that afflict the human spirit.

Yet there is much to be thankful for - our families, our children and grandchildren, our friends and neighbors and living in a state of great beauty.

But we must also be careful. I keep hearing that the only way we are going to survive economically is to cut spending, cut taxes and cut government. I've been around long enough to know that "cut strategies" alone have never worked in the past and are not likely to in the future.

I thought Janice Ayres, in her Dec. 4 column in the Nevada Appeal, made a sensible suggestion. Let's stop all the handwringing about Gov.-elect Brian Sandoval and his advisers. I saw one columnist complain there weren't any conservatives among the 29 advisory transition team members. Others lamented there aren't enough progressives. I doubt either is true.

Ayres suggests we take "all the energy and hatred it takes to write nasty letters (about who won or who lost the elections) ... and put those energies to work towards helping all of our elected officials solve the problems facing the state."

They are considerable. Ayres is hand-carrying specific suggestions to Sandoval and key elected officials about the needs of seniors and about methods of funding those needs. Perhaps elected officials will find ways to save those services rather than cut them.

I have spent my entire adult life working in public education. Suffice it to say, education is in trouble throughout the nation and here in Nevada. I plan to take Janice Ayres' lead and hand-carry a proposal to the governor and other elected officials about methods of re-inventing our public schools, changing the governance structure and perhaps creating greater productivity for less cost.

I am also interested in the arts and don't want to see them evaporate in a murky economy. I plan to work with elected officials to help demonstrate the economic power of the performing arts.

The future abounds with great possibilities. Let's work together to make them happen.

• Eugene Paslov is a board member of the Davidson Academy at the University of Nevada, Reno and the former Nevada state superintendent of schools.


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