‘Stretched thin with normal duties’?


From Assistant Editorial Page Editor Vin Suprynowicz:

I wrote a few weeks back about a neighborhood of small Las Vegas businesses whose customers find "you can’t get there from here."

You can sit in traffic on West Charleston Boulevard near the I-15 overpass in downtown Las Vegas, and stare right in the front door of the Charleston Antique Mall, at 307 W. Charleston Blvd. But you can’t pull into their parking lot. …

To help motorists find their hard-to-find locations, these merchants post signs and banners, with arrows, on the privately owned fence at the corner of Wall and Western. City code enforcement officers then come by, nearly every day, and tear those signs down, even though the neat, colorful and attractive banners don’t block any motorists’ view of the street or the stop signs; even though they’re on private property. …

After my column ran, the proprietors report Mayor Oscar Goodman and the second-ranking member of the Las Vegas City Council, Councilman and "Mayor Pro Tem" Gary Reese, dropped by the Charleston Antique Mall for the standard "Gosh, if there’s ever anything we can do …" handshake. Though they explained there was nothing they could do about (Code Enforcement Officer Anthony) Rogers tearing down the signs, you understand.

Well, guess what? Mr. Reese showed up in the newspaper again on Friday, June 5, in a story about property owner Walt Walters and his chief of security, Earl White, trying to do something about some really SERIOUS code violations in the neighborhood they’re trying to clean up, about a mile further south near the Stratosphere Tower. …

But residents shouldn’t expect much. No, because of budget concerns and issues related to foreclosures and abandoned properties, code enforcement staff are … wait for it … "stretched thin just with normal duties," the councilman explained.

"Normal duties" … like traveling every day to the corner of Wall and Western to tear down signs which merchants post on a privately owned fence there, in an effort to help motorists find them, so they can stay in business and pay the taxes that Mayor Goodman and Councilman Reese so love to spend, providing fat paychecks and benefit packages and annual raises to city employees like Code Enforcement Officer Anthony Rogers?

For more, go to www.lvrj.com/blogs/vin/


Republican-on-Republican violence

From political reporter Molly Ball:

Attempts to purify the Republican Party of dissident elements continue, with the Douglas County party scheduled to discuss censure and expulsion of those Republicans who endorsed Sen. Harry Reid.

The Douglas County Republican Central Committee is slated to take up the resolution at its meeting this Thursday.

Submitted by Stuart Posselt of Minden, the proposed resolution states that the Douglas party "censures the below listed registered Republicans for their endorsement of Democrat U.S. Senator Harry Reid," and "expel(s) any of the listed registered Republicans from membership in the Douglas County Republican Central Committee and urge all the other County Central Committees and the Nevada Republican Party to do the same."

Those on the list also would be disinvited from Republican functions, according to the resolution.

Posselt said he thinks the measure has a good chance of being approved, though it’s not clear what effect it would have as he didn’t believe any of those listed were Douglas County residents.

"Come on, guys, this is a Republican group — a partisan group," Posselt said. "If you’re going to support a Democrat, sayonara."

For more, go to www.lvrj.com/blogs/politics/


Quicker closure, big savings

From columnist Jane Ann Morrison:

Whether accomplished with a nudge, a push or a shove, the first marathon mediation settlement effort for medical malpractice cases in Clark County is working. Out of 61 cases, 31 have been resolved, slightly better than half.

And a few more cases could be resolved this week.

Senior District Judge Stewart Bell, one of the mediation judges, said the litigants in medical malpractice cases benefit by a speedier resolution, because it helps them with closure.

"Many medical malpractice cases are very emotional cases, many times someone died, a spouse, a parent, children. It’s emotionally difficult and draining, sometimes for the doctor too. When you can bring closure to those cases, you are doing these people a huge favor."

While that’s one positive, there’s also a time and cost benefit.

Bell said to try the 31 cases settled so far would tie up one courtroom, a judge and five staff members for an entire year. "Just salaries alone would cost $500,000. To pay the four of us (settlement judges) cost $65,000."

The idea for the marathon settlement sessions came from Supreme Court Chief Justice Jim Hardesty and Clark County Chief Judge Art Ritchie while Justice Michael Cherry is administering it, and Bell credits all three as visionaries.

Solving cases through mediation eliminates the current 18-month wait for a trial date and saves costs for litigants, Ritchie said.

For more, go to www.lvrj.com/blogs/morrison/

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