LETTERS: Compared with alternatives, cemetery would be ideal neighbor

To the editor:

I am tired of hearing about how this Islamic cemetery is going to ruin a neighborhood. Douglas Murphy’s April 2 letter even claimed it was some grand conspiracy of our leaders to ignore the “will of the people.” I will ignore this and address the people who are disappointed that they will have a cemetery in their neighborhood.

As a longtime Las Vegas resident, I can tell you from experience that if you buy or build a property with large tracts of vacant land surrounding you, you can be assured of two things: First, the city will eventually grow and surround your property. And second, you may not always have a choice as to what will be next door.

As for the claim that putting a cemetery in a residential area is a poor fit, tell that to the residents who own homes adjacent to the cemeteries on Lone Mountain Road and Jones Boulevard in the northwest. Looking at some of these 2,000-plus-square-foot homes, I wonder if the builders thought they would only be able to sell them for a pittance.

I understand residents are also worried about their wells being contaminated by the burial practices of some Muslims who will not use caskets. I am not an expert, but I can tell you as a former well owner that most wells in the valley are at least 500 feet deep in order to reach our water table. A decomposing body in a 6-foot grave would be less likely to contaminate their well than the septic tank I’m sure they also have on their property.

Given the choice of my property being next door to a cemetery, school, park, shopping center, apartment complex or even a two-story home that looks down on my backyard, I would pick the cemetery. The grounds are usually well kept, traffic is only an issue during the occasional funeral, and you can be assured your neighbor will be quiet.



Nevada and public lands

To the editor:

In his commentary on state lands, Will Coggin, director of research at the Environmental Policy Alliance, attacks many of the environmental groups working to protect public lands in the West as having ill-gotten funds from dark money (“Nevadans should have say on land management policy,” March 31 Review-Journal). However, Mr. Coggin fails to appropriately cite his sources.

Among the sources mentioned was the Koch Brothers-funded Property and Environment Research Center. Mr. Coggin cites a study put out by this special interest, without mentioning the fact that the state of Nevada wasn’t even looked at in this study, nor was its history of poor management of public lands. The data are all based on other states that have different landscapes more conducive to the types of revenue sources the study looks at, specifically timber harvesting, grazing and oil and gas extraction.

Mr. Coggin would have the public believe that the efforts of the conservationists looking to preserve the land — as it is, as it has been and as it will hopefully be enjoyed for future generations to come — is an effort to remove access of the people to the land. This is contrary to the facts, as is his claim of the funding sources of the groups looking to protect our nation’s natural heritage that is public lands. The fact is that Mr. Coggin would have us cut down every tree, drill every inch and till up all rangeland to have the state of Nevada make a one-time profit on something that belongs not to one corporation or another, but to every man, woman and child in the United States.



Titus, Heller back veterans

To the editor:

I want to thank Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., and Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., for the work they are doing for Nevada veterans (“Reno VA head reassigned to new position,” April 1 Review-Journal). It is nice to see these two people from different parties and houses of Congress work together.

However, I don’t agree with letting Edward Russell continue to work for the Department of Veterans Affairs. He should be treated like you and I would be if we didn’t do our jobs right, and he should not work for the VA any longer. Being a veteran should not make any difference.

I believe there are many more people in the Reno VA office who need to be investigated and weeded out. They are the ones who created the backlog. Talking to the claims adjusters would be like talking to a child whose hand is caught in the cookie jar.

I am a disabled veteran, and I am not ashamed to say so. And I know what some of our veterans go through with the VA office in Reno. I have been there, jumped through the VA’s hoops and gotten its runaround. I have talked to many veterans here and throughout the Midwest, and it seems that they are going through the same thing. But again, Sen. Heller and Rep. Titus deserve thanks for their efforts on behalf of Nevada veterans.



Indiana RFRA law

To the editor:

Republican Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana recently signed a blatant anti-gay bill into law, that state’s version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. This law is not about religious freedom, but rather is a piece of Republican legislative bigotry and discrimination. The law allows businesses to refuse service to gays, lesbians and bisexuals.

Does everybody see how flawed the law is right off? How are business owners to judge who is or who isn’t gay? That’s how ridiculous the law is.

That Gov. Pence signed this bill into law seems suspect.



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