(Fred Weinberg/The Penny Press) – We devote a lot of space in this publication to the way we in Northern Nevada relate to the Federal Government. All that space is not unwarranted.
There is, for example, the constant effort on the part of both the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture to stifle economic development through the hegemony they exercise over more than 82% of the state’s land.
How many states have to live in fear of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declaring the sage grouse an endangered species? In what other state is it easier to open a legal brothel than get a permit for a new mine?
If you live in blissful ignorance to the fact that having more than 82% of the land in the state owned by the Federal Government is not conducive to job creation, ask yourself why Winnemucca and Elko are relatively isolated islands of economic prosperity on Interstate 80. Here’s a hint. It’s not necessarily the mining industry, although it is a welcome addition.
The real answer is that there is privately owned land which can be purchased and developed.
To just about everybody but the Federal Bureaucracy, privately owned land and development is not an obscenity.
I got an email last week from a regular reader suggesting that if you sell or rent government land access disappears. What access? How about we start small and just privatize 30% of the state’s land. And how about we allow people to homestead 160 acre parcels on half of that? No corporations, no LLC’s, just individuals who want to ranch 160 acres. Lottery, land rush, maybe a reward for service to our nation or a combination. Stay there for five years and you get a deed.
Huge amounts of this state are not habitable in the estimation of people in Washington. Why not offer those places to mere citizens who want to prove them wrong? It worked in Oklahoma. Who knows, we might revitalize the family ranch.
The other half of that 30% we put up for auction but stipulate that the money could only be used to pay down the national debt.
You get a twofer. Economic development and money to pay down the national debt.
Unfortunately, we have a Federal Government that has no faith in its citizens. The bureaucrats and the politicians genuinely think they are smarter than we are and that extends to land that they nominally control where we live.
What better example do we need to come up with to prove that elections have consequences?
One more thing:
Mike Wallace died last week.
He, Andy Rooney and Don Hewitt were an undeniably large part of the greatest generation which invented and then shaped broadcast journalism.
Long before there were 24-hour cable networks, the Internet, instant communication via satellite and years before CBS News was held in disdain by conservatives, those three invented the finest part of broadcast journalism.
If you wanted to practice our craft (and journalism is NOT a profession, it is a craft) than it was relatively easy. Just learn to write like Rooney, ask questions like Wallace and put it all together like Hewitt.
Those of us in the next generation, for the most part, tried to do exactly that.
Imitating Mike Wallace was also relatively easy.
You had to learn to do research before you did an interview and you had to be totally unafraid to ask the tough question—and the follow-up—in the same tone of voice as you would ask where you were having dinner that evening.
Try it, sometime, and you’ll find out why Mike Wallace was one of the, if not the, best of all time.
We just have to wonder what he who guards heaven’s gate says to himself when he’s told that Mike Wallace is waiting in the lobby.