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Passt The Presentdent?
by Ken Mahal, NSC President
Originally published on  February 14, 2008 - reprinted with permission


   So much noise over our caucus but as far as I could see it went just fine at our caucus. I will admit when we entered the gymnasium there was some confusion at first but with the help of two or three people we were given our direction on which classroom to go to. When we got there a person came in and gave us our instructions. We followed them and in about thirty minutes we were through. In fact when ask for interested delegates there were just enough hands up so there was no need for questioning anyone. We voted on secret ballots, counted the votes and went home. Our precincts voted the most votes for Mitt Romney. You can see how smart we were.


   With the choices we have so far I wonder who one can possibly want to vote for. I cannot remember a time in my life when I am as frustrated as I am for this election. With 66 years of voting under my belt this is by far the most difficult one I can remember. Maybe we could just not have a president for a couple of years until someone who would bring the country back together showed up. I do believe we are on the verge of a political disaster unless the good Lord is going to give us a miracle. I think he has done this for us before and this is surely a time when we need one again. I have always felt this was the greatest country in the world meaning we the people and what we have done for ourselves and how we have bailed out the European countries twice in a life time and Japan for good measure. In just a few short years it seems this country is heading down the road to disaster unless that miracle does come along. Our age group, the WWII people, are on the way out and most of us today are wondering what has happened to this great country in such a short few years. I know in our case we worry about our grown up children in their fifties and sixties along with our grandchildren many whom are getting out of college or have been out for some time and what is there for them? So much seems to have gotten worse in a short 25 or 30 years. Even when we moved to Las Vegas this was one of the greatest, most fun places to live where anyone who wanted a job could have one and those of us who moved here to retire loved it. Our little city as it was then could not have been better. Then we had an explosion of growth on the strip and life has not been the same since. Even the US as a whole has changed so much in a short 30 years that one wonders what forces have taken over this country and changed it so much. Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to coast along for a few months without a president until we find one that could do the job of saving our nation. Nutty idea isn’t it, but how bad could it be to not have any new laws passed for the better part of a year?


   Actually things were bound to change when I think back to what happened to our education system over the last fifty years. Our family, for one, made the decision to put our two sons through parochial education because at that time we already saw the public school system changing; and unfortunately not for the good of our community. And today I believe you could say the results we see from public education are that the more billions we thrust at them the worse the results are. Why is that? Maybe we older folks are to blame if we gave up on the system. I know from my own personal experience I did all I could without results. These were people of our age serving on the school board who were educated, well meaning and screwed up the school district. Our city of Bloomington, Minnesota was a new city formed after WWII so it was a perfect example of how well meaning people can screw things up in no time at all. In fact it was so bad that several of the new schools never were used because the baby boom came to a stop over night. We were left with a couple hundred million in debt and had to sell off a number of the schools for 50 cents on the dollar.

   My greatest experience in education was when our A&E firm provided the professional services for a great university for twenty five years where I saw great things happen. It was the University of Notre Dame during the Reverend Theodore Hesburgh’s Presidency. He believed in excellence in education and meant it. I never lost interest in giving them our best because it was such fun to see a leader who put his money where his mouth was. And knowing they had to stretch every dollar to its maximum made it all the more exciting. We did things that had not been done before and kept their budgets in line. You could say the Padre was a progressive thinking person who let us do it right.

   Now jump forward a dozen years to mid-eighties when we arrived in Las Vegas. This is when we voted on our first big school bond issue for a school district that had not built a school in a dozen years. Three of we citizens who were interested in good education got together as a team that had experience in programming, budgeting and design and construction. What better help could they get as volunteers? We reviewed their program, budgeting, school site selections and offered to help the Clark County School Trustees and Superintendent Brian Cram. We found a lot of problems in their programs, site selections and budgets. We offered help in all the areas they needed but they showed no interest in our offer. Well they went so far over budget they were about 70 schools short and had to buy hundreds of portable buildings. To this day they are using concrete block for building walls which for their needs are ridiculous. In fact one of the suggestions I made was to go to a pre-built wall system that could be built in a covered area on a assembly line concept 24 hours a day if need be. In fact the same idea was used by Target who built their panels in Minnesota and trucked them out here because they were so simple, well insulated and light weight that it was cost effective over even concrete block. This idea is so cost effective that they would have saved at least 25% of their construction costs and the buildings would be so well insulated that they would have been as good as any of this green construction they talk about today in the housing industry. You might remember this when the new request for billions in construction come up again at the Clark County School District which is over half of our state budget every year. Isn’t that something to think about when they brag about the great job they have been doing with our tax dollars?