Another incumbent-protection scheme

To the editor:

The Las Vegas Review-Journal's Saturday editorial, "More 'reform,' " is a refreshing view from an editorial board. It's great to see a respected newspaper shatter some myths about the benefits of taxpayer-funded campaigns.

"Reformers" such as Stanford University professor Lawrence Lessig, who seek to put the government -- instead of citizens and voters -- in control of campaigns are inherently misguided. Mr. Lessig and his allies wail about the corrupting effects of money and politics, but their grand scheme would make campaigns even less competitive. Incumbents with established small-donor networks and high name recognition would have an even greater advantage over challengers forced into such schemes.

It's ironic that Mr. Lessig doesn't recognize the importance of money in marshalling citizen activists and rallying supporters behind a candidate or a cause. I assume his organization accepts no private money -- only donations of $100 or less?

Sean Parnell



Doing the right thing

To the editor:

I agree with your Friday editorial, "Deportation program a step forward." The 287(g) program, which allows local jails to initiate the deportation of illegal immigrants arrested in connection with other crimes, must be working because all the right people are howling about it.

If North Las Vegas police had taken advantage of such a program in 2002, when they arrested and jailed one Nicolas Serrano-Villagrana on suspicion of driving under the influence and loitering for the purpose of prostitution and jailed him, a small boy would be alive today and her mother would not be badly crippled for the rest of her life.

All the signs were there: no driver's license and no insurance.

Instead, the local police covered their tails by sending the usual fax giving names of everyone whom they had jailed. Serrano-Villagrana was sent to DUI school and released to kill. He plowed into a bus stop in 2004 while intoxicated. Now we're paying for his three hots and a cot at state prison.

Las Vegas police and corrections workers should keep up the good work. North Las Vegas and Henderson should get on board.

Many kudos to Sheriff Doug Gillespie for bucking political correctness and ethnic politics to do the right thing for the citizens of Clark County.

Kenneth Record


Already paying plenty

To the editor:

There are some deficiencies in the Sunday editorial, "State worker pay cuts? Oh my!"

The editorial suggests, in essence, that state workers should basically buck up and "absorb a pay cut equal to the Social Security withholding that private-sector workers pay."

This conclusion is a bit misguided. Most state workers (excluding school employees) already pay 22 percent of their gross income into the Public Employees Retirement System in lieu of Social Security. This contribution is expected to increase due to the shortfall in funding to PERS. This will be compounded with skyrocketing benefits costs passed on to state workers; no raises; and pay cuts.

I am not sure how many families can accommodate these increased costs in addition to the pay cuts proposed by Gov. Jim Gibbons. Many people agreed to take state jobs based solely upon the benefits because the pay averages 30 percent less than municipal and county workers.

Some fact-checking by the Review-Journal would go a long way.

Brian Rakvica


Plate politics

To the editor:

In Nevada, you cannot obtain the personalized vehicle license plate "NOBAMA." It has been flagged as "inappropriate" by the Department of Motor Vehicles. I assume this is because we wouldn't want to give anyone the crazy idea that your speech is protected by the Constitution.

What is particularly insulting is the plate "NOBUSH" is available, and apparently not offensive to the geniuses who so effectively run the DMV. Of course, the personalized "OBAMA" plate has already been issued.

It would seem that the economy has taken its toll on freedom of speech. Only 50 percent is protected.

Jack Clark


Trickle up

To the editor:

In response to Bill Baltas' Friday letter to the editor, "Do the math," I believe he has been a bit shortsighted in his assessment of Sen. Harry Reid's stimulus math.

One trillion dollars invested in public works jobs could create a "trickle up" effect. Employed people purchase durable goods such as refrigerators, cars, clothing, etc., creating new jobs in retail (salespeople) and manufacturing (building more refrigerators and cars).

Employed people have disposable income for services such as entertainment, creating demand, leading to more jobs in those sectors.

Employed people spend money.

So, you see, the potential for the 47,500 jobs Sen. Reid spoke about is a real possibility.

Joel Rector