Letters to the editor March 17
Closing UNR’s agriculture college a travesty
Closing the College of Agriculture at the University of Nevada is astonishingly stupid. The university was established as a federally endowed land-grant institution under the Morrill Act that required instruction in agriculture and the mechanic arts. As such it has received, for more than a century, federal monies for statewide support of mining, agriculture and practical mechanical training.
The programs to be ended are critical to a nation facing serious issues in natural resources, food supply and nutrition, water resources, animal diseases, forest and range management, wildlife preservation, animal biochemistry and biotechnology and environmental science.
Losing these programs and professors who have spent years specializing and conducting research in these fields will damage the university irreparably. The students closed out of the veterinary program deserve more than a dismissive remark from the administration about their being unhappy.
The university previously offended the Mackay family by reducing the prestigious Mackay School of Mines to a school within the College of Science. Will the Fleischmann family, whose foundation gifts included several million dollars to build the College of Agriculture buildings in the 1950s, be any happier? What about the many benefactors who donated land for experimental farms and research stations throughout Nevada?
My father, who taught in the College of Agriculture for 30 years, would turn over in his grave, not because the college shouldn’t share in financial hardship, but because one doesn’t take a hatchet to prune a tree.
Evalyn Titus Dearmin
Where the proposed recreation center stands
In 1996, the voters approved Question18, the Quality of Life Initiative. This added 1/4-cent to our sales tax, with no sunset, to be used as follows: 40 percent parks and recreation capital projects, 40 percent open space acquisition and management, and 20 percent operation and maintenance. The ballot booklet listed things it could be used for, one of them being a multipurpose gym.
Around 2005, they started looking at sites for this project and came up with about 13 possibilities. They looked at bond capacity, hired consultants, did feasibility and operating cost studies, and hired an architect.
About this time, the bonding rate was excellent so they bonded about $6 million that was set aside for this project.
The Boys & Girls Clubs was finishing its building and was in need of a gym. It had ample space for a recreation center/gym. The total cost for this project is $10 million to $12 million.
With our current economy and revenues based heavily on sales taxes, bonding is not good at this time, and with layoffs likely throughout the city, staffing would be difficult. But because current building costs are so low, they are looking to see if there is a way to finish the rest of the design later.
We have a building designed and have an agreement with the club that we can purchase the land there for $1 anytime over the next 10 years. That’s where we’re at.
Cutting public safety holds longterm consequences
Concerning the financial cuts at the sheriff’s office, this would mean that there would be the possibility of 21 more families in Carson whose houses may fall into foreclosure, families that won’t be spending money in local businesses, or families who may relocate, leaving the area entirely.
Over the last 30 years, Nevada’s economic diversity has deteriorated as state and county economies all embraced large property tax revenues. With the loss of that revenue, the counties have become increasingly dependent on business taxes – taxes that now do not exist in the economy that is present-day Nevada.
In order to attract business to Nevada, the state and city have to offer something. Diminished or substandard police and fire protection will not entice any interest in coming to an area that is already experiencing an increase in gang- and drug-related crimes or that is dealing with inadequate fire and property protection. This is in addition to continued city job reductions and reduced employment.
There is not going to be an easy answer. Changes in service, union renegotiation or employee furloughs may play a role in the final outcome. But a loss in police protection of the percentage being considered will have far-reaching, long-term implications that need to be considered. The result of a totally financial reaction to the economic condition of the city, with a corresponding direct cut of sheriff department staffing, may not be the best answer.