It’s time for Carson residents to stand up to outsiders
For the Appeal
Most people who choose to move to western Nevada do so because of the lifestyle advantages we offer. It is a pretty easy life whether you are a senior citizen or a family raising children. We have low taxes, a good economy, a civil society, a college, a new hospital campus, clean air, four moderate seasons and exceptional recreational activities. In addition, Carson City enjoys some of the finer amenities, usually not found in cities of 57,000 people, because we are the state capital.
When I moved to Nevada, 35 years ago, Carson City was often described as wholesome 1950s Middle America because of the small town layout and cohesive population. Carson City did not become a desirable place to live by accident. Credit the people with values, ideals and a vision who worked hard to build this community. Thank those born here or those who moved here many years ago for our high well-being index! Sure we are not without problems, but anybody who has cable or satellite television can attest that news from other areas of the country depict nightly horrors and issues from which we have been mostly immune.
If you love Carson City and the lifestyle here, pay close attention to the rest of this article. Not everyone has moved here simply to enjoy the western Nevada lifestyle; regrettably, there are those who have motives of greed and power who are trying to impose their ideas and take over our community. Our values and history of political independence are being threatened, and unless the silent majority speaks out and takes action, we will lose many of the comforts and advantages that make us what we are as a community.
The invasion began about 10 years ago and gained a momentum over the last several years. Political extremists, lobbyists, ideologues and those frustrated with a lack of personal political power in their home communities began to move here. Their activism often begins with unrelenting criticism of our local organizations, public employees, boards and institutions, in order to manipulate public opinion and gain a foothold. Next, they offer up one of their own for the board or political office that they have targeted.
After all, we are an attractive takeover target as a state capital with a relatively small voter population. It is not difficult to win an election for your candidate in a small district when you have a lot of money, outside lobbyists and vendors, and a strong, dedicated organization with newsletters and sophisticated letter writers. And it does not hurt to use popular political slogans such as smaller government, lower taxes and accountability.
Take, for example, Chuck Muth’s organization, Citizen Outreach, which reported a 2006 tax return income of $965,000 from donations and “public service revenue” that was substantially generated by a fundraising firm in Virginia, with his company’s records in Florida, and his address listed as Washington, D.C. Examples of “donors” include UPS: $70,000; AT&T: $10,000; Verizon: $10,000; and, Rogish Communications Group: $25,000. He files as an organization that is exempt from income taxes. Does this sound like political lobbying, or a citizen’s group looking out for the best interest of Carson City? (Editor’s note: Chuck Muth writes a column for the Appeal Opinion page every Friday, and he operates the Web site http://www.muthstruths.com.)
Let’s not be fooled. The lobbyists and ideologues spin a good tale but would sell us out in a minute. Take a look at Muth’s position on Yucca Mountain. He is proposing to ask the federal government for money in exchange for the nuclear dump. The pipe dream is that we would never have to pay taxes if the money is enough. Longtime Nevadans understand that this idea is ludicrous and a betrayal of our values.
The feds own 87 percent of the land in our state and we have never been able to collect revenue from them. In the 1950s and 1960s, they undertook a nuclear testing program that was guaranteed to be safe. Our neighbors in eastern Nevada and Utah developed a variety of health concerns – including cancer -and over the years, many have had to undergo regular thyroid and other testing because of the effects of the radiation.
In 1982, Congress promised to provide a national storage site for nuclear waste. The premise was that it would not be forced on anybody and the location would be based on good science. Following a non-related political scuffle with the Nevada delegation, in 1987 Sen. Bennett Johnston, of Louisiana, got his revenge by ramming the “screw Nevada bill” through Congress. This conveniently eliminated his state – as well as 48 others – from consideration and left Nevada as the only state available for the nuclear dumping site.
Every governor and every legislature in Nevada has opposed the Yucca Mountain site. State money has been appropriated and spent for challenges and lawsuits during the past 20 years. “Nevada is not a Wasteland” advertising attempted to bring attention to the issue. The feds again promised that the location of the site would be based on science, yet standards and measures have been changed during the years to guarantee that Yucca would meet tests and challenges. In spite of earthquake, groundwater and other concerns, the Department of Energy has held firm.
So with a history of broken promises and mishaps from the feds, and in this age of bogus Internet rumors and terrorism, are you sure you want this site to be 90 miles from Las Vegas? All it would take is an event at the site or in transport, or an Internet rumor of contamination in Las Vegas, to disrupt tourism and the state’s economy. What then do you suppose would happen to our easy life in Carson City?
This fight is for our integrity, independence, well-being and safety. Carson City citizens need to stand up to the outsiders, lobbyists and carpetbaggers who threaten our community. Write letters, talk to your neighbors, and show the invaders that we are not going to be taken over.
• Saul Singer is a licensed marriage and family therapist, a licensed alcohol and drug abuse counselor, and the owner of Counseling, Consultation and Training, a technical resource agency for child welfare and family mental health. Previously, he has taught college, worked in management for private industry, and for government in Human Resources and Law Enforcement.