Local News – Mesquite and the Virgin and Moapa Valleys

September 12, 2018 – Mesquite Chamber of Commerce Luncheon

The Mesquite Chamber of Commerce hosted a luncheon at the Eureka on September 12, 2018. The Chamber luncheon and featured two speakers that addressed both the Yes or No position on Q3 and speculated on the impact of Q3 and some of the possible implementation scenarios of the Energy Choice Initiative should the voters choose to amend the Nevada constitution to force the legislature to act. The capacity audience listened intently to the speakers hoping to find sufficient factual data to enable an informed vote on this issue in November. The speakers were:

Bradley Mayer – Yes on Q3

Bradley Mayer got his start in politics working on the campaigns of many of Nevada’s top elected officials. Over the last 15 years he has helped elect candidates to offices across Nevada including the Clark County Commission, Las Vegas City Council, North Las Vegas City Council, Henderson City Council, Clark County Sheriff, State Senate, State Assembly, and Judicial offices.

At Argentum, Bradley’s work spans several areas including state and local lobbying, land use, political campaigns and strategic communications. With over 15 years’ experience as a leading strategist, lobbyist and political consultant, Bradley’s unique relationships help Argentum’s clients achieve their objectives at the state and local level.

Tracy Skenandore – No on Q3

Tracy Skenandore is a skilled marketing, public relations and corporate communications executive with more than 20 years of experience driving brand and marketing strategy, media relations, crisis communications, and public relations efforts for fortune 500 corporations, small businesses, and community organizations across multiple industries.

Skenandore previously served as the Senior Manager of Communications for Republic Services for more than eight years overseeing corporate communications, public relations, and media relations where she also served as a national spokesperson. Earlier this year, she joined the Coalition to Defeat Question 3 as the campaign Communications Director.

A question and answer session was not on the agenda, but the audience was invited to ask the speakers questions after the luncheon had concluded. Both speakers joined the Mesquite Weekly in brief but informative interviews.

Words are important, and their meaning is even more important. Listen carefully to what you hear and then dig deep to find the facts. Make sure that you have all the information to make the right “choice”.

August 28, 2018 – Mesquite City Council Meeting

The City of Mesquite lobbyist Warren Hardy presented topics that are of concern to the city and that need to be addressed in the 2019 Nevada legislative session. Topmost on the list of legislative priorities for 2019 will be legislation to implement the Energy Choice Initiative (ECI) should Nevada voters pass question 3 on the November 2018 ballot. The City did wade in on this subject last February and passed Resolution 945. The ECI presentation sparked a lively debate among city council members and the public. The Hardy presentation and the ensuing council and public comment conversations should be viewed in its entirety, with due diligence and special attention to the words that were used at the council meeting to obtain an understanding of what took place.

There was no appeal for repeal of Resolution 945. Again, words and their meaning are important. Therefore, listen carefully to the remaining conversation on this topic.

Three seats on the city council are contested and six candidates are on November 2018 ballot. In addition to a request for comment by the city council, we also asked the candidates for a statement on this matter. All five city council members replied, taking a supporting position for Resolution 945.

Mayor Litman stated that Resolution 945 is not necessary. George Gault seeking to take a council seat replied by stating that the “council verbal statements did not explain the apparent contradiction in the written Resolution 945 statement”. Gault also commented on the ECI question and stated that the passing of question 3 and thereby required constitutional amendment is a big mistake. Candidates Black, Fielding and Ramaker did not provide any statement.

We reviewed the February 13, 2018 minutes to determine the basis for Resolution 945 and the conclusion for the strong support of the Energy Choice Initiative. We recognize that energy and the politics surrounding energy policy is very complicated and it is a big money game where billions are at stake. Many critical questions still remain unanswered and an amendment to the state constitution may place Nevada’s low energy prices in jeopardy for decades to come. We hereby present the minutes from the February 13, 2018 city council meeting for your understanding of nonfactual arguments surrounding ECI and to appeal to reason and not the obvious ineffectual rhetoric.
Mesquite City Council Meeting Minutes – February 13, 2018

At the request of Councilman Dave Ballweg, Lobbyist Hardy also addressed a pressing concern on the difficulty of attracting medical professionals to provide the health care for the aging Mesquite community. Please view this most important presentation by Hardy and Councilman Ballweg’s direction to provide a workable solution to the problem.

August 16, 2018 – Mesquite Holds a Meet and Greet for Lynn Goya Clark County Clerk

The November 2018 election day is slowly getting closer and closer. Are we prepared to vote? Are we aware of the candidates and their promises and their performance records? On August 16, 2018, we presented an opportunity to get to know the incumbent Clark County Clerk and her bid for re-election.
The Mesquite city council candidates were also invited, and we heard from Annie Black, Karen Fielding and Sandra Ramaker.
Goya spoke at length and held the attention of the audience by addressing issues, elaborating on accomplishments and plans for specific goals to further improve record retention reliability in an effective and efficient manner.
A video of the meet and greet speakers is hereby provided to enable you the voter to become familiar with the issues and to vote for the candidate(s) that support your positions:

August 15, 2018 – Overton Power District Board of Directors meeting.

Overton Power District 5 held a Board of Directors meeting to focus on 2018 and 2019 capital expenditure projects and the financing for those projects. Mesquite City Council member David Ballweg addressed the board and voiced his suggestion to reduce the OPD’s debt load by using cash reserves and surpluses to paydown the debt. It was noted that the capital expenditures were required to replace aging infrastructure and to reintroduce a reasonable degree of reliability to the distribution system over the next two years. Current long-term liability and loans were reviewed noting interest rates of less than five percent. Renegotiation of debt terms were noted to be more likely to come in at less favorable rates in the near future. A formal risk analysis to determine short term cash requirements and long term financing was not noted, but the board did propose a debt paydown on loans coming due in October and voted to approve the debt reduction.
Here is part of the discussions surrounding long term debt and the allocation demand on those capital reserve balances.

August 14, 2018 – Mesquite City Council meeting.

Mesa View Hospital CEO Ned Hill addresses City Council and details plans to obtain much needed medical services and medical providers for the city and the surrounding communities. Mr. Hill is also looking toward the city as resource to at least partially provide financial help via housing subsidies and incentives such as student loan payments for young doctors that may have a large debt burden. The city council listened attentively and added suggestions to strengthen medical care through physicians’ assistants (PA’s) and professional nursing staff.

Also noteworthy was a presentation made by Clark County School District Associate Superintendent Grant Hanevold. Questions from the council regarding the status of the distribution of marijuana state tax funds remains a mystery.
It was noteworthy that while the schools still have not seen any of the marijuana tax revenue the City is fully supportive of enforcing business licenses for illegally selling marijuana and not collecting the city and state taxes imposed on the product.
Here is City Attorney Robert Sweetin detailing the plan to revoke one such illegal business.

Business licensing ordinances were also amended to address home businesses operated by individuals through a larger transportation contractor and thereby allow individuals such as drivers for Uber and Lyft to operate. The City also obtained and contracted for the services of a public defender to provide legal aid to defendants without the financial means to obtain legal services.

July 10, 2018 – Mesquite City Council Meeting Presided Over by the Mayor Pro-Tem Council Member Gino Withelder

Mayor Litman was absent (minor medical procedure) but the Council attended to business as usual and the main topic was affordable housing to attract much needed labor forces to fill open jobs. City Planner Richard Secrist presented a plan to attract low income housing construction builders and outlined recommendations for zoning changes and incentives for investors. City Council members seemed to be amicable and in principle agreed with the recommendation but wanted to be assured that the plan considered all the alternatives. Council Member George Rapson spoke at length and provided an outline of deliverables and consideration of additional options.

Council member Dave Ballweg added that in order to avoid unanticipated complexities a few more refinements to the city’s low housing incentive plan should be considered. The council approved the plan but with additional due diligence efforts and ongoing studies to assure that the most opportune approach to obtaining low income housing is taken.

July 4, 2018 – Mesquite Celebrates Independence Day with Spectacular Fireworks Display

The Eureka Hotel put on a show! And WOW! What a show it was! A big band got everyone in the mood with patriotic music and rousing singing performances. An audience of more than 500 spectators filled the parking lot areas adjacent to the Eureka, joined in the merriment and celebration of our nations independence declared 242 years ago.
Dean Heller still aglow from his primary election victory was spotted and was noted to have made a few remarks. The audience however came to see and hear the band and the usual spectacular display of bombs bursting in air and the rockets red glare.
And so they did. A fitting tribute to the men and women who declared an end to tyranny and so we all experienced a great end to a wonderful evening and another day of freedom and liberty in pursuit of happiness.

June 26, 2018 – Mesquite City Council Meeting

The Mesquite City Council meeting on June 26, 2018 proceeded at a breakneck speed and lasted less than an hour. The hour was packed with details and included a summary pertinent to the Nevada Public Utilities Commission approval of the 28 million dollar pipeline providing for natural gas delivery to the City. The council also passed a number of ordinances including the city charitable trust which did entertain some additional discussions and questions, but was eventually passed unanimously by the council.
Robert Sweetin, Mesquite City Attorney was asked to present the details of todays court proceeding regarding the Clean Air for Mesquite ballot intiative to the City Council. Here is Attorney Sweetin’s recap of his day in court:

June 20, 2018 – Overton Power District Board of Directors meeting.

OPD management presented a summary analysis of the potential impacts of the Nevada 2018 ballot initiative “Energy Choice”. OPD management indicated that the initiative and related deregulation legislation may abdicate oversight and control of energy generation and rate setting to out of state parties and interests.
Operational activity and financial updates were presented by the OPD Treasurer and Operations manager. The board also voted on a measure to upgrade the emergency communications system and approved salary adjustments for the OPD CEO. The board set the next meeting to be held in Mesquite on August 15, 2018.