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Bad Ideas and Good News
by Ken Mahal, NSC President
Originally published on  August 10, 2006 - reprinted with permission


  In case you forgot Republic Services has a contract extending until 2020. This all happened out of the blue back in 1999. I never in my life heard of a subcontractor to government get such a sweetheart deal so donít bet on how we will come out on reducing our garbage pickup from two days a week to one day a week with no reduction in our cost. With all of the pets and babies in this town that alone would seem to be enough to not want to cut out half of our garbage pick ups let alone all the other smelly things that get into our garbage containers. We have been filling our recycling boxes every since they have been doing it and see little problem in doing it. So politicians put on your thinking caps, keep the twice a week collection while at the same time come up with a way to increase recycling substantially. If we lived in Germany they have bags for everything that goes into the recycling so no matter what we do here it will never be as difficult as they must do in Germany. With all of the growth here there should be little question that the building and service industries should all be doing their part with out a complaint. As for apartments there is no question that they should be required to do it. What a shame to not recycle considering all of the waste that must be hauled out to Apex and also dumped on the side of the highway on the way to Apex. In fact a lot of our waste could be burned for fuel in generating electricity. There is a large power plant near the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul that has been burning rubbish for over twenty years. So that is also another possibility. Sure it takes scrubbers to clean burn it.


  This might be a good time to vote any commissioner out who is up for election on the Clark County Commission. They are talking about forcing developers to include a number of low income homes in their projects for our poor teachers and other poorly paid workers who they think we need in Las Vegas. Why we have to subsidize anyone is beyond my thinking ability when it comes to housing. I bet most of us remember when we had to rent an apartment because we werenít earning enough to buy a home. So what is wrong with the teachers renting for a few years until they save enough to make the down payment and can make the monthly payments as well? Another idea might be for the overly wealthy teachers union to get into the financing of starter homes for these poor teachers who cannot afford to go into debt on their own. Only since World War II have we had the big boom in single family home owners. This happened when our banking system was stabilized and when savings and loan banks were formed just for that purpose. This idea of forcing developers to mix subsidized housing in the midst of regular market rate housing would be another disaster waiting to happen. How unfair that would be to the rest of the homes going in the project if they were forced to subsidize the cost of low cost so called starter homes. If we want to do something worth while in low cost affordable housing we should be setting aside certain zoned properties that would be used for master planned manufactured homes placed on small lots with narrowed streets. Why is it that the politicians from the Clark County Commissioners to the city councils of our cities wonít talk about building some master planned manufactured home residential areas throughout Clark County? Instead of throwing people out of their manufactured homes why arenít we using our heads and creating master planned manufactured home communities? I see nothing wrong with living in this type of housing. In fact after WWII my wife and I built a neat little 400 square foot home with a flat roof and slab on grade that we lived in until we could afford to build our full sized home some half dozen years later.


  Our monthly Medicare costs are going up again including means testing. This was as they say slipped through after dark when no one was looking. Can you believe this was done in 2003 and we are just now finding out about it. Is this OUR government or some south of the border operation?

Means testing our Medicare Part B starts at eighty grand a year for individuals and while most of us will not qualify give it a couple years and it will drop down to your level. That is how NSC started and we helped kill that means testing law about 15 years ago but I doubt if there is the will to do anything about it now.


  Mayor Goodman and his Las Vegas City Council members are making jokers of themselves in their dealing with the homeless issue. How could they waste taxpayerís money on the time it took to write the ordinance let alone the time it will take to enforce this bad ordinance prohibiting the feeding of homeless people? About half a dozen years ago I wanted to take the Mayor out to the Twin Cities to show him how the United Way out there collects $80 to $90 million dollars a year for non profit social services. If he had done that by now we could be well on the way to providing service centers for the homeless and a dozen other issues that should be taken care of to make our area a first rate community. What do we need? For starters a first class performing arts center, a museum a dozen community centers serving our ethnic population as well as half a dozen more activity centers for Boys and Girl Scouts and on and on. How do we make a United Way of Las Vegas work? We must get commitments from every major business leader to come on board to make the business of raising money work as well as the management of non profit social services who would need help from the business community in how best to manage the nonprofits. One really needs to see it to understand how much we are lacking in becoming first class cities where people want to live work and play. I didnít intend to get going on this but if you have ever seen what should be done, can be done and see how lacking we are it really makes one sad to realize how much we havenít done to make the greater Las Vegas area a first class city of cities that we are all proud to live in. When we get national attention because we have a Mayor who doesnít want to feed the homeless how can we ever keep people from laughing until the fall out of their proverbial chair? Sure we know how to build places for people to live, stores for people to buy things and lots of medical facilities for sick people, that is a start but it is a long ways from being a community of people.


  This past week it was nice to see our name prominently noted on TV8 telling about our meeting date, where and who our speakers are. Florence you do a good job. Thank you. (She also gets us written up in Loviní Life a publication of Senior Friends and in the RJís Tuesday column, Around the Valley ó Editor)


  Have you ever listened to the news and think, well all they need to do each day is change a few names and locations but basically most of the time the news is about killings, accidents, lawsuits and the likes that tells us mostly how badly we are doing. What is the good news about Las Vegas? Lets all come up with one good thing that we can send to all of the TV stations to see if we can help them.