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IS IT PROGRESS OR IS THE PYTHON OF 
GROWTH CRUSHING US TO DEATH?

by Ken Mahal, NSC President
Originally published on  April 4, 2004 - reprinted with permission

Recently for some reason yours truly has been doing a lot of thinking about this ole life and is this really the place yours truly wants to spend his last days on this earth? Wife Agnes and I spent 2 years looking before we bought our comfortable little home in 1984. What a delightful town to live in, there was nothing like it in the world. Now when one looks at what has happened, the old Las Vegas with real character is long gone. Oh sure some will say “look at the progress” well my answer is “what do you define as progress?

Is it progress when in a short 20 years we have gone from a community of 750,000 to more than double that and from a public debt free lifestyle to one that with debt and debt service in the $12,000,000,000 (that’s as in billion) range. And only the almighty knows how many billions of debt the residents have piled up.

Is it progress when the politicians in charge waste millions in the management of the UNLV Medical Center and then shove it on to the County Manager to fix it?

Is it progress when the politicians in charge waste millions and are two years behind in the design and construction of the Jail and Justice Center and dump the problem on the back of the director of McCarran Airport to bail out their screw up?

Is it progress when the Sheriff can send a dozen cops in black and whites to almost any accident no matter how small while at the same time saying he needs hundreds of millions to hire more cops and at the same time 90% of the housing is in gated communities where few cops ever go and few ever cruise other neighborhoods either?

Is it progress when you drive and leave 3 car lengths in front of you and at least 2 idiots pull in front of you making it a solid line of cars for as far as the eye can see?

Is it progress when every day on the news most of the 11 minutes of so called news is about murders, killings in car accidents and or pedestrians being killed by cross walk violations?

Is it progress when the best paying jobs with benefits to befit a king are almost all in government?

Is it progress when every day we hear more bad news about the failed education system and another 12,000 or more kids a year continue to fill more schools to overflowing?

Is it progress when we have had the truth stretched since the mid 1990s about “don’t worry we have plenty of water” while at the same time we have run out of water and now are going back to the hinterlands of the state to again raise the battle cry “we are coming after your water” and oh yes it will cost another few billion in new debt.

Is it progress when we spend a billion or so building a water pumping plant literally at the end of our sewage treatment plant in Las Vegas Bay?

Is it progress when $600,000,000 is spent to build 4 miles of a 50 year old out of date monorail technology and when they test the vehicles the drive shaft falls off and down to the ground, plus the testing is going so badly they no longer give a completion date?

Is it progress when another billion and more will be spent to extend the Monkey-business-monorail to downtown and the airport with, you guessed, it taxpayer money and you and I won’t get to say one word about it? And worst of all it will serve less than one tenth of our transportation need and serve almost no local travel.

Is it progress when every medical clinic, testing laboratory, doctor’s office and hospital in town is overflowing with sick people many with respiratory problems like never before?

Is it progress when the people living here the longest, are paying for the latest cost of growth no matter if it is roads, water, parks, police, jails, schools, fire stations, police stations and even for the money eating monkey rail they will never ride?

Is it progress when every construction site in the valley is identified by the dirt tracked out onto the street while at the same time those in charge blame the dirt in the air on ATV units in the desert (how bizarre)?

Is it progress when the yellow cloud over a city is not a battlefield in Iraq but the battlefield of construction dust and dirty diesels from the construction industry and every other dirty diesel on the streets in Las Vegas?

Is it progress when the last thing the drought committee prioritized to consider when saving water was that some management of growth should be considered? By the way the month I was required to go to the car wash, the bill to wash the car was more than our monthly water bill.

Is it progress when the Clark County Commissioners are such poor planners that they decided to have a committee appointed to do their job of planning growth? They even failed that gimmick and shoved it onto the County Manager to pick the committee. What is interesting is that another bureaucrat, Dina Titus, proposed in the legislature we create a ring around the valley to control growth showing how little she knows about planning.

And finally, is it progress when the politicians of the State of Nevada burdened us at the last legislature with some $833,000,000 plus in new taxes and the Governor of the great State of Nevada is already saying we will need more taxes come the next legislature?

What is so sad is that there are many hundreds of retirees here, with a world of experience, who would have volunteered their time and most of the above headaches could have been eliminated with growth paying for growth and we could have won a best planned cities award at the same time.

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