Retirement system will end up breaking us

To the editor:

Among all the columns, comments and letters regarding David Roger's retirement from his position as district attorney, one aspect of the story that has not received much comment is the role the Nevada Public Employees Retirement System played in his decision.

Mr. Roger is 50 years old. He has worked in government for 25 years and, following the PERS rules, he is eligible for a $150,000-a-year pension for the rest of his life. Are there any private-sector workers out there, union or not, who can match that? Is this the price we peasants are required to pay to "attract and retain the best and the brightest people to government"? Is this the price society must pay to "professionalize" government and "run it like a business"?

In 25 years, has Mr. Roger really contributed so much more to society's well-being than the private-sector working people who are now being forced to work into their late 60s and even 70s, only to wind up with a fraction of Mr. Roger's golden-parachute pension?

Let's be clear. Mr. Roger has not "gamed" the system. He's played it straight all the way. It's the system that has gamed the people of Nevada. PERS, as it exists now, is a cancer on the body politic, and if left untreated it will destroy us.



Wrong target

To the editor:

I have been following the proposed new city of Las Vegas ordinance that would punish banks for not maintaining foreclosed properties. Just reading about it makes blood shoot out of my eyes and ears.

As radio host Tru Hawkins used to say, "Follow the money."

City officials need revenue, so they will punish the innocent and let the guilty walk -- the home buyers and renters who occupy the properties. They don't pay the mortgage or rent, but they have time to destroy the home or apartment they occupy before the bank or lender can foreclose.

With the number of foreclosures in Las Vegas, fines against banks of $200 in fees and $1,000 a day mean the take could be a trainload of money. During the 30-plus years I spent dealing with government on behalf of clients, I have seen this happen time and time again: The guilty walk, the innocent get punished and the government gets the money.

I have coined the phrase, "The blind are leading the stupid, and now the stupid are in charge" -- so here we are!

If the city's goal is to shut down future development, it is about to hit a home run.



Pipe dream

To the editor:

Your Tuesday editorial endorsed the proposed 1,700-mile oil pipeline from Alberta, Canada, to refineries in Texas. I wonder if anyone has considered an alternative.

Yes, a 1,700-mile pipeline across productive farmland and one of the nation's largest aquifers would generate lots of jobs, and quite likely would be safe (I agree that the Alaska pipeline's safety record is good, and it's been there for 40 years). But is this huge project absolutely necessary?

Anyone who has driven across Wyoming on Interstate 80 has seen the large Sinclair refinery that is visible from the highway, near Rawlins. On my maps, Wyoming is a heck of a lot closer to Alberta than Texas. Why can't the oil pipeline from Alberta be run to the refinery in Wyoming? Actually, there are two refineries in Wyoming, the other in Casper, giving the builders a choice of routes.

By routing the pipeline to one of those two refineries, the length of it is considerably shortened and the destination is an existing U.S.-based refinery. The impact on the environment is less, and the overall cost is less. And we still get to import oil from a friendly country that actually likes us.

A win-win for everyone.

David Adams

Las Vegas


To the editor:

I'm confused about Nevada's redrawing of legislative boundaries. Democratic voters outnumber Republican voters, 42 percent to 36 percent, and yet the districts will be set up to guarantee a two-thirds supermajority in favor of the Democrats. This will ensure 10 more years of fiscal and economic misery for Nevada.

We owe this happiness to an "impartial" committee of "special masters." Are these the same guys from the cigar box, wearing Pilgrim garb? I don't know. Maybe they've inhaled way too much smoke.

Mike Mathews

Las Vegas

Job creation

To the editor:

Rep. Shelley Berkley says the state needs more high-paying jobs (Monday commentary). I have a solution.

Good jobs require a good education. More companies would hire more workers if the workers seeking employment had a better education. Currently, Nevada's education bar is touching the ground. To go any lower, a trench would have to be dug.

I challenge Rep. Berkley, all other Nevada politicians, school boards and school administrators to focus on getting K-12 grades significantly higher. A good start would be to require kids to master each grade before advancing to the next grade. When was the last time you've heard of that simple requirement? Overall test scores would improve. Class sizes might very will go down.

If a student fails a grade twice, he will not be allowed to return to school. Call it tough love if you like. I feel certain the teachers will approve wholeheartedly.

Additionally, Rep. Berkley complains that Big Oil companies make too much money. Well, if it's illegal, prosecute them. Big Oil companies pay good wages -- the kind Rep. Berkley is seeking for Nevada.

You can't have it both ways. Big Oil is looking for workers with good educations. Nevada needs to provide that education. That's something to focus on.

Norris Inman

Las Vegas