LETTERS: Other solutions for North Las Vegas

To the editor:

It is gratifying to note that the North Las Vegas City Council eventually saw fit to uphold “Thou shalt not steal,” ending an eventual collision with the “obligation of contracts” clause of the Constitution (“NLV rejects eminent domain,” Thursday Review-Journal).

There does appear to be a good case for penalizing post-foreclosure evictions which result in the property remaining vacant for an extended period. The risk of crime and vandalism increases, police and fire protection still need to be provided, all while utilities receive no return on their investment.

One possibility would be to compel timely payment of property taxes and homeowners association assessments by the party responsible for eviction. To avoid such penalties, the foreclosing party would need only allow the property to remain occupied, perhaps through a month-to-month rental, with the former owner as the tenant.



Tax facts

To the editor:

Once again, columnist Steve Sebelius misleads his readers on two crucial facts about taxes (“Brager gives sheriff Hobson’s choice on tax,” Friday Review-Journal). Mr. Sebelius states (for the umpteenth time) that the sales tax is regressive and that we should be funding pubic safety with the property tax. He’s wrong on both counts.

Nevada’s sales tax is not regressive, because it is rooted in the free economic choices of a free people. For example: You go to the store, buy your food, go home and eat. You pay no sales tax. Want to treat yourself to a nice dinner out? Pay the tax. It’s your choice. You might want to ask yourselves why the economic empowerment given to you to make that choice drives Mr. Sebelius and his fellow statists so crazy.

As for the property tax, Mr. Sebelius’ position is pathetic. The property tax is, far and away, the most regressive of all forms of taxation. Visualize the social pyramid. Start at the top. What percentage of a multi-billionaire’s assets and cash flow is paid in property taxes? Practically nothing; fractions of 1 percent. Then start going down, past the corporate executives and the successful entrepreneurs to the working people. At each level down, the property tax burden becomes heavier and heavier until you get to the working poor, who pay property taxes via their rent while getting zero equity in return. This is the tax Mr. Sebelius wants to use — and a tax he wants to raise — to fund public safety?

There are several areas where Mr. Sebelius’ columns are spot-on, but when it comes to economics and taxation, the best place for those columns is at the bottom of your bird cage.



Downstream consumption

To the editor:

The Southern Nevada Water Authority wants to spend $12 million for another project allowing it to draw water from Lake Mead at a lower level (“New water project emerges,” Friday Review-Journal). At least this one won’t cost $1 billion, like the third straw. But taking a few more feet out of the lake will only delay the time when the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has to cut the outflow from the dam to match the inflow to the lake to protect Las Vegas, and no amount of spending will prevent it.

It’s time to decide how to cut consumption by downstream agricultural users. If Las Vegas only takes 3 percent of the Colorado River’s flow, it makes no sense for us to pay in order to delay cuts to the farmers and ranchers who use the lion’s share of the water.



Casa de Shenandoah

To the editor:

It was front-page news when the Southern Nevada Water Authority announced plans to declare an emergency in securing the valley’s ever decreasing water supply (“New water project emerges,” Friday Review-Journal). Using words such as “vital” and “urgent,” this report made it quite clear that our precious resource of water continues to be in jeopardy.

So imagine my disgust a few minutes later while reading an article in the Business section that Casa de Shenandoah, the former estate of Wayne Newton, has recently installed 1 million feet of grass (“All dressed up, but what’s the goal”). Did anyone else find this ludicrous?

The new owner has also had 1,500 trees and thousands more shrubs installed. How many of these trees and shrubs are native and drought tolerant? How many millions of gallons of water will be required to maintain them? There was mention in the article of Casa de Shenandoah donating some revenue to charity. Although altruistic, this goal would be much better attained if the property’s water bill wasn’t in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Shame on Casa de Shenandoah for not being environmentally conscientious by converting 39 acres to desert landscaping when it had the opportunity.