Make car thieves pay for their crimes

To the editor:

The auto theft problem in Clark County does not lie solely with the police. The police force is still undermanned and struggling just to keep up with the calls for service that are generated on a daily basis. Yet officers constantly run license plates on both occupied and unoccupied vehicles with the hope of recovering stolen vehicles.

It’s what happens after the perpetrator is arrested — nothing — that’s disturbing. It is rare that anyone is prosecuted for the crime of auto theft. In fact, charges are rarely filed on the first two arrests. How many cars must a car thief steal before he is caught twice?

Even if the suspect is convicted of the crime, what is the punishment? Most people in the legal system think this is only a minor property crime, a nuisance. As a result, the punishment is a slap on the wrist.

It’s time that the punishment began to fit the crime. We must make sure that the risk of committing the crime is greater than the benefit of stealing our cars. Only then will the auto theft rates drop.




Red light

To the editor:

The state Senate on Tuesday voted down the red light camera program, which is a win for the idiots who run through red lights.

Even though I am disappointed that the bill failed, I take issue with how it was written. The equivalent of a parking ticket would have resulted if the camera captured the driver, rather than the moving violation that would normally be issued by a police officer.

Increased fines for these drivers would be appropriate. A minimum $3,000 fine would be a good start.




Didn’t know

To the editor:

I saw that two off-duty visiting police officers were found in one of the bordellos that Las Vegas police recently busted (Wednesday Review-Journal). I also saw that the officers were released without charge; they claimed they didn’t know it was a bordello.

What happens in Las Vegas really does stay in Las Vegas — especially when you have connections.




Shadowy reforms

To the editor:

Many in the public view raising pay for teachers to be a joke. There are those who believe teachers should be so dedicated and ingrained with professionalism that salary would never be a consideration. Unfortunately for such ignorant and misguided individuals, it is hard for them to realize how impossible it is to purchase a home, car, food and other necessities of life with only professional dedication.

Editors at the Review-Journal have been strong opponents of public education for decades. They continue to vigorously oppose raising the local teacher pay scale; the newspaper’s libertarian viewpoint is so distorted and narrow-minded that editors would be satisfied only with the control over teachers and the pay found in the late 1800s.

Our education system cannot hope to attract and retain the very best to the teaching ranks while driving its classroom teachers to poverty. The Review-Journal has encouraged the elimination of pedagogy education courses and is promoting fast-track teacher licensure as a means of ensuring an adequate supply of teacher candidates. But there has been no great flood of retired professionals or retired college professors to apply for local positions in critical fields like science, math, technology and special education.

Despite implementing the fast-track employment program and other ideas, the Clark County School District has not been able to fill all of its classrooms with qualified teachers. During the past year, the district has had nearly 500 full-time teacher vacancies.

The Review-Journal proposes implementing untested, shadowy merit pay systems that offer questionable financial rewards for teaching excellence as a solution to attracting the brightest and best to local teaching ranks. Many questions about merit pay remain: What qualifies for a merit raise? What is the level of reward for excellence? Is a merit pay raise a one-time event or is it added to the total salary from year to year? How frequently can one earn merit pay raises? Who will determine when merit pay is deserved?

Merit pay systems without adequate controls can easily deteriorate into a "good ol’ boy" system of rewards already common in the district administration today. Until these issues are resolved, merit pay remains a voodoo system of shadowy, unknown rewards for the few — all filled with potential abuse and misuse. Teacher shortages continue to grow despite worldwide recruiting efforts by the district. Why is this so? The answer is simple: The level of pay and benefit packages for public school teachers is simply not enough to compete with or attract the brightest and best from other professions or to compete with the level of compensation offered to teachers in other states.

Virgil A. Sestini



Illegal subsidies

To the editor:

I read the comments from Assembly Minority Leader Garn Mabey, R-Las Vegas, that any bill is dead on arrival if it denies Millennium Scholarship benefits to non-citizens because majority Democrats won’t support that.

How nice of the Democrats to spend my tax dollars on non-citizens. I have a better idea. Next election, let’s get rid of the Democrats.

I don’t want my tax dollars spent on non-citizens — period.

Richard Santa Maria



Supports defeat

To the editor:

We enjoy visiting Las Vegas and have been there 10 times in the past seven years. But I will not return to Nevada as long as Sen. Harry Reid welcomes defeat in the war on terror. Sen. Reid and the wing of the Democratic Party are a serious threat to America.

In the future, we will spend our money in places that do not support defeat.




Rate hikes

To the editor:

It’s time for the residents of Clark County to bring Nevada Power to task. The company’s current requested rate increase of 13 percent is prohibitive, unreasonable, unacceptable and life-threatening. Of course, it will go into effect June 1 to gouge us right when we have to use our air conditioners or suffer serious health problems.

Why does Nevada have a Public Utilities Commission? The commission seems to never deny Nevada Power’s rate increase requests. It should be abolished and the members’ salaries put to better use for the people.

Why was the offer a few years ago from the Southern Nevada Water Authority to buy Nevada Power turned down? Is it because they could operate it more fiscally favorable to residents and businesses?

The power companies should be nonprofit entities. I know I can’t afford the 13 percent rate increase in addition to all their other recent rate increases. I am a senior citizen and my retirement income is not sufficient to cover the rate increase. My Social Security benefits only went up $10 a month this year.

Does Nevada Power care about those of us who can’t afford its high rates? No.

Shirlye Stewart


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