Nevada topics of interest |

Nevada topics of interest

by staff

Here are excerpts of recent Nevada newspaper editorials on topics of state interest:

Dec. 29

Nevada Appeal on Y2K

It may sound absurd, but we’ve allowed a computer programming bug to infect our minds.

The significance of Jan. 1, 2000 lies entirely in the computer world, it is not really the beginning of the millennium, and even if it were, it would only be for our Western culture.

The problem is that our Western culture relies heavily on computers and microchips. …

Even the experts can’t tell which of these devices will work, which will limp along and which will run like champs.

That’s because there is only one way to tell if a program really works or not and that is to run it.

Fortunately, that is what every major power company and corporation has been busy doing over the past two years. …

The only real thing we have to fear has nothing to do with computers and program glitches.

It has to do with us.

Bombs were seen in every package on Christmas Eve all over the country, and yet not one turned out to be the real thing.

Of the two terrorist plots that have come to light, neither appears to have gotten past the early stages.

There’s nothing wrong with being vigilant, but paranoia could do us more damage than any terrorist.

Jan. 1, 2000 is just another day, just another New Year.

We should resolve to put all the silliness behind us and step into the new year as though it were a new beginning, not an end.

Dec. 29

Reno Gazette-Journal on welfare reform

If only 156 welfare recipients lose their monthly checks in January, as expected, the new ”work-fare” system will have worked very well in Nevada. So far, that is.

The state Welfare Division should be proud that the number of recipients fell from a March 1995 peak of 42,703 to only 16,663 this past November. The recipients themselves should also be proud, for successfully undergoing training and moving into the work force within the two-year deadline of the new system.

Still, those estimated 156 people who aren’t working remain a concern. They will still get food stamps and health care, but will clearly be poorer than they are now. If there are children, what happens to them? That is a question that still has not been answered satisfactorily.

Long-term, nobody knows how many of the former welfare recipients will keep their new jobs, or for how long – especially if the economy goes sour.

So while welfare reform is doing well, it is still a work in progress.

Dec. 29

Las Vegas Review-Journal on the Mapes Hotel

From downtown Reno comes word that a new group of preservationists has begun holding daily vigils in front of the 50-year-old Mapes Hotel, which has stood abandoned for years and now faces a planned implosion on Super Bowl Sunday.

”We’re not going to let the Mapes go down without a fight,” says Pete Menchetti of the Citizens’ Campaign to Save the Mapes.

”We’d like to get enough people to link arms around the Mapes to keep the (demolition) workers out. …We need everyone who wants the building to stand to take a stand with us.”

No they don’t, actually.

This being a free-market country with proper respect for property rights, what the protesters need to do is simply put up enough money – or find third-party investors willing to do so – to buy, restore, and reopen the Mapes Hotel and Casino.

Of course, the Reno City Council – which was quite properly censured by a Reno judge last week for holding secret meetings on the subject – has been looking for such an investor for years. Presumably none of the corporate bean-counters can figure out how revenues from an edifice with rooms and service elevators of 1940s vintage could possibly cover the costs of such a modern-day purchase and renovation.

That Mae West, the Marx Brothers, and Liberace all performed at the Mapes during her heyday is all well and good. If someone wants to collect money to erect an historical plaque on the site, more power to them.

But if renovation and re-opening as a hotel can’t be economically justified, let’s be honest about what these nostalgic protesters are really proposing: That the city of Reno renovate the joint at taxpayer expense, thus creating an ongoing black hole for additional tax burdens on the people of Reno – on a site which could otherwise be turned to a newly productive, revenue-producing use – in perpetuity.

Dec. 28

Las Vegas Sun on judicial confirmations

Last week Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced which three individuals he wants President Clinton to nominate as federal judges in Nevada: Henderson Justice of the Peace Kent Dawson, Las Vegas attorney Eva Garcia-Mendoza and U.S. Magistrate Roger Hunt. Two of the three would fill the new federal judgeships in Nevada approved by Congress, while the other would take the expected vacancy to be created if the Senate confirms U.S. District Judge Johnnie Rawlinson to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

While all four Nevadans appear to be highly qualified for these lifetime appointments, it shouldn’t be forgotten that partisan politics increasingly has derailed and delayed some of Clinton’s judicial nominees. …

Nevada was lucky, though, that the Senate acted quickly last year in confirming Johnnie Rawlinson to be a federal judge here.

The Senate’s constitutional role in confirming federal judges isn’t one to be taken lightly and senators should exercise their judgment when deciding whether a nominee has the qualifications to receive a lifetime appointment as a federal judge. Unfortunately, though, the Republican-controlled Senate has abused its authority, allowing partisan politics to dominate the process. This doesn’t show any signs of letting up, especially since we’re headed to 2000, an election year. …

Despite the political considerations involved, it is hoped that the Senate … acts promptly on the three Nevadans that Reid is recommending to the president…. Politics shouldn’t be allowed to jeopardize the ability of Nevadans to get speedy resolutions to their cases in federal court.