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The Fat Lady Ain't Sung Yet 
by Vice President Knight Allen
Originally published on February 11, 2016 - reprinted with permission

    "The deal is far from done so stay tuned."

    That is how I ended my column last month reporting on the PUC's decision on rooftop solar and net metering. So, did you stay tuned? It looks like the original ruling may, or may not, be completely reversed. At the very least the original rooftop folks may get grandfathered in at the old rates. That tends to raise a red flag with me since I have read both the Attorney General Bureau of Consumer Protection's (BCP) request for a stay of the order and the Commission Staff's reply.

    I was most interested in seeing how the BCP would refute the PUC's position that non-solar ratepayers in Southern Nevada subsidize solar users $623 per year. Much to my disappointment the BCP didn't do that to any serious degree. What they said was there are other subsidies in the system that are multiple, multiple times bigger than the $623, so what's the big deal? It's a whole new industry. It's jobs!

    I don't know folks but to me it's just another example of crony capitalism and corporate welfare in which the few - 18,000 rooftop solar users, the obscenely taxpayer subsidized companies and their Wall Street owners do well - while the vast majority foot the bill. But, of course, it's all for the Greater Good. Right?

    Speaking of crony capitalism I stumbled onto a sports radio station where the phone lines and social media were burning up over the announcement by the Sands that they want $780 million in public money to build the stadium which will supposedly attract the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas. Sure, and the Great Pumpkin is on his way and is bringing the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus with him. But once again, it's JOBS! Right?

    Like you, I've been following the presidential campaigns with at least a passing interest at this stage of the game. Lots of noise but not much substance. Mr. Trump's bull in a china shop bluster and Bernie Sanders' "It's all the fault of the one percenters" may be the loudest but all the candidates seem to be trying to fit the mold of strongman (or woman) who will take the office of POTUS to new heights of strength and power. We've had eight years of that. Eight years of executive orders and picking and choosing which laws will be enforced and which ones won't. Eight years of making public policy from the Oval Office rather than executing it as required by the Constitution's separation of powers doctrine.

    So, where are we now? Millions upon millions of people are in open rebellion against the Establishment leadership. And make no mistake it's not just the Republican grass roots anger that has given rise to Trump. The same thing is happening on the Democratic side and to just as powerful a degree. If it wasn't, Bernie Sanders wouldn't be a blip on the primary screen.

    Since 2007 Mr. Charles Savage of the New York Times has provided a survey to the presidential campaigns to articulate the candidates' "understanding of the scope and limits of the powers they would wield if elected."
    In 2007 - 9 of the 12 campaigns participated.
    In 2011 - 5 of the 7 campaigns participated.
    In 2015 - only Rand Paul, who has since dropped out, responded. No other candidate from either party participated.
Mr. Savage points out that the "survey's very failure may still have told voters some things they should know." Indeed.

Contact Vice-President Knight Allen