(Jim Clark) – Early voting begins Oct.20. Republicans, Democrats and most non-partisans probably know which candidates they will vote for, but how about those ballot questions? The problem with Nevada ballot questions is that their proponents and those who write arguments in favor and against are anonymous so it’s impossible to tell from your ballot who is pursuing what agenda. In this column, I will summarize ballot questions Incline/Crystal Bay voters will face this election and offer an opinion as to an appropriate vote.
There is only one state ballot question. It asks whether the legislature should be able call itself into special session by a two-thirds vote. At present, only the governor can call a special session. In my opinion, that’s the way it should remain. As Mark Twain said: “When the legislature is in session no one’s safe.” The present system has worked for 150 years, so don’t change it. Vote “no”.
There are two Washoe County advisory ballot measures. The first, WC 1 “Automatic Aid,” asks whether citizens want responses to fire and medical emergencies to come from the closest source “regardless of jurisdiction.” If your response is “huh?” I’m not surprised.
This is all about a squabble between Reno and Washoe County over fire and EMT services and is an idiotic attempt by a bare majority of county commissioners to try to involve voters in an extremely complicated issue that we pay commissioners handsomely to resolve on our behalf. This does not involve Incline/Crystal Bay because we have one of the best and most responsive fire districts in the nation. The normal voter reaction would be, “Sure, I want the best,” but there’s no explanation of the costs associated with “automatic aid.”
If your taxes would triple, would you still want “automatic aid”? The sensible answer is: “Well, I need to study alternatives,” but the proponents don’t give you either costs or alternatives. Voters are supposed to guess. More importantly for Incline/Crystal Bay voters, there is no up side to this question. Our emergency services will remain excellent no matter what, so do we want the county raising taxes to implement “automatic aid” in the Truckee Meadows? Vote “no”.
WC 2 asks whether voters want their vehicle registration fees increased by 25%. The proponent is the county commission, clearly looking for “cover” to raise taxes. They try to sugarcoat the measure by suggesting that resulting revenues might be spent on “essential public services such as senior services, public safety services and public infrastructure.”
It’s the words “such as” that gives this away. There is no promise that any such revenues would be earmarked for the purposes they are implying, so this is just a bait-and-switch measure to give county commissioners the backbone to jack up taxes. Full disclosure: If you are persuaded by the “argument against” WC 2 on your sample ballot, I cannot tell a lie . . . I wrote it.
Incline/Crystal Bay voters should remember that when the $40+ million judgment in favor of the Village League and against the county was announced, there was talk of raising vehicle license fees because real estate tax rates in most of the county are already at the statutory maximum. So does anyone really think this is about “seniors,, “public safety,” or “infrastructure”? The Nevada Supreme Court slapped the county’s hand for singling out “Income Village” property owners by unconstitutional methods of assessment not applied anywhere else in Washoe County or the State of Nevada. This is about increasing taxes to replenish county coffers. Vote “no”.
(Jim Clark is President of Republican Advocates and has served on the Washoe County & Nevada State GOP Central Committees. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)