Editorial unfairly tainted Save Red Rock

Deriving a bogus narrative from an inaccurately sourced book to reinforce “old Vegas” zoning processes that have harmed the valley immensely — while telling “the people” to shut up — is not an approach to the Red Rock development issue that I would want to take. But the Review-Journal did exactly this with its Thursday editorial, “Red Rock development.”

There is no “taking” of property rights from developer Jim Rhodes. Mr. Rhodes has an inviolable property right of about 1,200 “units” (rural zoning), but no zoning rights at all to build the functional equivalent of Boulder City on roughly one-third the land area next to the Red Rock National Conservation Area. Mr. Rhodes is depending on the “old Vegas” model of buying a distressed property, jacking up densities via threatening governmental entities — and cramming “sardine-can” developments on unsuitable parcels. This model has through the decades been directly responsible for the immense sprawl in Las Vegas — and the now-common areas where “units” sit within arm’s length aside each other.

Objectionable in the extreme is how the editorial equated Save Red Rock to the concepts expressed in P.J. O’Rourke’s “Parliament of Whores.” We are not “weaponizing government” to take away the rights of Mr. Rhodes. Quite the opposite. Mr. Rhodes is free to “build what he bought,” as Save Red Rock has always maintained.

Yes, so as long as Mr. Rhodes “adheres to the proper zoning and building codes, he has every right to make productive use of his land,” as the editorial argued. But Save Red Rock does question this editorial’s effort to shut up “the people” regarding the pursuit of viable and active legal issues. You subtly advocate negating free speech, freedom of assembly and protest rights while allowing a developer to run roughshod over the zoning process.

It is not unusual for our group to be unfairly tainted by misinformation and mistaken narratives. We reject this editorial as “fake news,” so to speak. Or maybe it was just poorly thought out. You choose.

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