Any time you shine a light on the practices of government, you’re bound to hit a nerve. That was certainly the case with my recent commentary in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which highlighted 2012 employee-compensation data for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, posted recently at TransparentNevada.com.
The commentary drew the ire of liberal RJ columnist Steve Sebelius, who accuses NPRI of, among other wrongs, distorting the data.
Earlier this week, we at NPRI updated our government-transparency website, TransparentNevada.com, with 2012 salary data for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
The release of this data has generated a lot of media coverage, helping to bring increased public attention to the handsome compensation levels that many Metro employees enjoy. The data shows, for example, that 149 employees took home more than $200,000 in total compensation last year, and that 888 of them brought in more than $150,000.
Sunshine Week release of Metro salary data shows link between six-figure compensation packages, budget problems
Metro salary data shows link between six-figure compensation packages, budget problems.
So Dwight Jones is out as Clark County School District superintendent, the news breaking this week that he is resigning effective March 22 so that he can care for his ailing mother in Dallas.
I’ve already been asked more times than I can count for my reaction to the news, with most questions focusing on 1) Jones’ performance in his two years on the job, and 2) what his departure will mean for education in Clark County.
It’s difficult to assess where Jones’ performance would rate on the traditional A through F scale. Given the brevity of his tenure, he probably warrants an “Incomplete.”
I know what you’re thinking.
All the doomsday talk coming out of Washington, the promises about the dire consequences of sequestration, the warnings that life as we know it will end if the federal government doesn’t strike a deal to prevent the looming spending cuts … why, you can almost hear Bill Murray yelling in the halls of the Capitol: dogs and cats, living together — mass hysteria!
And the most terrifying thought of all: Could this really be the last Week in Review you’ll ever read?!
Well, I don’t want to come off as callous or dismissive of these doomsayers, but let’s just say I’m bullish on the sun rising on Saturday morning.
Earlier this week, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid delivered an address before the Nevada Legislature. As I was reading through the transcript — it’s better for my blood pressure to read than to watch — I was struck by how much of what Sen. Reid said was either a distortion, based in ignorance or simply not true.
That’s a link to a news video that Kyle Gillis, a reporter for NPRI’s Nevada Journal, produced one year ago today. The story covered the grand opening of the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, popularly known as the Mob Museum, and spotlighted criticism from NPRI and the Taxpayer Protection Alliance over the use of public funds for the project — as well as some colorful reaction from former Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman, the museum’s primary champion.
In the video, Goodman boldly predicts that the museum will draw 800,000 visitors in its first year of operation, while acknowledging that he’s been cautioned to put the actual number at a more realistic 400,000 or 500,000. Oh yeah, he also refers to critics of the project — which was subsidized with $42 million in taxpayer money — as “idiots,” “morons” and “monkeys.”
President Ronald Reagan would have turned 102 years old this week. The Great Communicator was full of wonderful stories and anecdotes. One of my favorites was his quip that “I’ve always felt that the nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’”
I was reminded of that statement this week as I visited with lawmakers and walked the halls of the Legislative Building in Carson City. There are a lot of energetic and intelligent politicians in that building, but how many of them understand what Reagan put so simply? Once government goes beyond performing its core functions in the most efficient way possible, it doesn’t solve problems — it makes them worse.
There’s been a big hullabaloo over the revelation that pop diva Beyoncé opted to lip-sync the national anthem at Barack Obama’s inauguration this week. Her critics miss the point. I’m convinced that her performance was brilliantly designed to befit the occasion: an inaugural address during which the president paid mere lip service to the cause of responsible government.