There’s a little more to Harry Reid’s wealth

To the editor:

In her Wednesday letter, Mary McCarthy points out several legitimate sources of Harry Reid’s wealth, including his real estate investments and legal career. Then she points out his estimated net worth has actually decreased.

However, some of Sen. Reid’s real estate earnings have questionable ties. For example, a $1.1 million profit was earned on a complicated transfer that involved a seller who stood to benefit from Sen. Reid’s support of a land swap. And there are less direct deals, such as his support for an Arizona-Nevada bridge that made his 160 acres in Arizona much more valuable.

As for his legal career, I believe it was short, and that it largely ended in 1968.

As for his net worth, squirrelly laws yield a large uncertainty — from $2.8 million to $6.3 million. We really don’t know his personal wealth. And a lot of Sen. Reid’s “wealth” is in much vaguer family favors. For example, all four of his sons were hired by the law firm in which Harvey Whittemore is a senior partner. Sen. Reid has gone to bat for Mr. Whittemore in some very big land deals, even pushing federal legislation to help the development of Coyote Springs.

And now for equal time: I really don’t believe that Sen. Reid’s deals are much different than those of most other “A team” politicians. We would be foolish to think there is not some benefit of influence for those who go into the legislative branch — give people enough years, then put them under microscopes, and this sort of stuff emerges.

In Nevada, land deals are particularly tempting to politicians because of our cryptic LLC rules and the large amount of land that can be bought for a song. Land becomes valuable with the right bending of the rules and redirection of public “development” funds.

H.W. Stockman

Las Vegas

Budget facts

To the editor:

R.W. Burkett’s Sunday letter suggests that former President Clinton left incoming President Bush “a tidy surplus in excess of $200 billion.” Well, the tidy surplus left to President Bush was the result of a Republican-controlled Congress of which the House was the sole author of spending initiatives during President Clinton’s second term.

Meanwhile, the not-so-tidy federal deficit in place at the end of President Bush’s second term was the direct result of a Democrat-controlled Congress’s spending habits, and not checks written by George W. Bush.

These apocryphal tales would be less repeated if the tale teller had some grounding in the Constitution of the United States and understood how federal spending works.

Michael C. Maze

Las Vegas

Good old days

To the editor:

How plaintive and quixotic was the letter from Spencer D. Freeman regarding his 11-year-old daughter not knowing what the Constitution was, but her school asking permission that she be taught sex education.

Would that we could go back to the “old days,” when teenagers did not get pregnant and when our leaders (supposedly role models) did not support the idea of out-of-wedlock children and extra-marital affairs. Nor were there cases of teachers, at least in grade and high school, having sex with students.

In view of these changes in behavior nowadays, I vote for sex education. Lack of knowledge of the Constitution will not result in teen pregnancy. We can teach it at home or the Internet.

True, we can teach sex education at home also, but children need to attend public functions, and need to be prepared how to recognize unwarranted advances and avoid pregnancy and “social diseases.”

William V. Lofton

Las Vegas

Entry level

To the editor:

After reading all of the commentary about how much hatred exists for those of us in the public sector (Wednesday letters), I would like to present some information that I haven’t seen mentioned.

First, many folks don’t realize that when one starts out in the public sector, it is usually at an entry-level salary “range,” if one is hourly. I believe that folks become misled when looking at salaries of public employees online. They have no idea when a particular employee started working at that entity, and no idea of starting salaries. That information wasn’t provided.

When I started out as a skilled tradesman, it was at 64 percent of what I had been making in the private sector, and I was required to “do everything.” The public sector has no choice but to offer great benefits, including retirement, health care, step raises, sick and vacation time and all the other things sometimes not provided in the private sector. The public sector would never get any good people, otherwise.

In conclusion, it is human nature to want what others have, if it’s better than what you have. I do believe it is human nature to protect yourself, and that means your job, also. Management usually has the power to introduce reductions in force, and it is almost always hourly labor that gets “adjusted,” never management. I also believe that most public entities are management top heavy, and I would like to see that corrected.

Lastly, those who are represented should require those representatives to do whatever it takes to keep jobs at all levels, and then go along with the plan without complaining.

George Barnette

Las Vegas

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