NPRI this week filed a formal complaint with the Attorney General’s office — its subject a newly announced Incline Village General Improvement District (IVGID) records-retention “policy” that clearly violates state law. A Nevada Journal report released this week documented the falsity of testimony by IVGID officials assuring board trustees that their email-destroying efforts had State of Nevada approval. In response, NPRI President John Tsarpalas issued the following statement: “Nevadans deserve maximum transparency from their government, which is something the state’s public records law is supposed to provide. But this law means nothing if governments are free to defy it without consequence. The Attorney General must ensure all governments provide their citizens with the maximum transparency they deserve, and that the law demands.” Read More
Stadium “deals” are notorious for leaving taxpayers out to dry. In a five-part American Spectator series, author Johnny Kampis reveals the “different kind of game being played in Vegas,” a game, that Nevada taxpayers are bound to lose. Kampis explains that — not surprisingly — the stadium is most generous to the team. Among other things, the Raiders will pay no rent to use the stadium for the 30-year contract or any new property taxes. Tourism will largely pay for the stadium with the increase in the hotel room tax. However, this tax has no sunset provision. Seems that the tax — in addition to making Vegas visits more expensive for Americans — will also most likely, once the stadium is paid off, become a slush-fund. As Michael Schaus, NPRI’s Communication Director pointed out, “This is a good example of them saying we need to raise taxes for ‘x’ purpose when really they just want to raise the taxes in perpetuity.” Read More
Separation of Powers
The Nevada State Constitution clearly states the important government-limiting principle of the separation of powers: “No persons charged with the exercise of powers properly belonging to one of these departments shall exercise any functions, appertaining to either of the others.” However, currently 10 legislators — out of 63 — also have jobs within the executive branch. In the case of Heidi Gansert, a state legislator who also holds a position in the executive branch, NPRI’s Center for Justice and Constitutional Litigation (CJCL) this week appealed District Judge James Wilson decision to dismiss the lawsuit. Joe Becker, CJCL Director commented, “We believe the plain language of the constitution should take precedent over a non-binding LCB opinion, or the preferences of the ruling class. And we look forward to the appeals process finally giving further legal clarity to this important issue.” Read More
A natural disaster often brings out the very best in Americans, and that’s again been true in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Still, sadly, some try to exploit the plight of millions for their own gain. Consider the Texas Organizing Project Education Fund, a SEIU-funded campaign seeking to direct some of that help into its own coffers. “Your donation,” the group says, “is vital to ensuring that we have the resources we need to organize and fight for Texans devastated by Hurricane Harvey!” Seems like a lofty enough goal, but Michael Saltsman, research director for the Employment Policy Institute, points out the fine print on the site stating “that it funds workplace organizing efforts, rather than direct aid for Harvey victims.” In another statement, the fund says that “100 percent of the money will be spend directly on ensuring low income and people of color are not forgotten in the relief, recovery and reconstruction efforts.” The group has not disclosed how the funds are to be distributed. Read More
Amid Funding Shortfall, Santa Ana Raises Median Police Compensation Above $213,000: Journalist cites TransCal data to dispute police-union claims of being underpaid and demanding that taxes be raised on residents — who’ve median earnings of $35,000 — to give cops already making $213,000 a raise.
City of Riverside taking steps to curb oversized overtime: In May, nonprofit watchdog Transparent California highlighted the metastasizing overtime pay pocketed by Riverside utilities dispatcher Donald Dahle. In 2016, Dahle earned $257,719 in overtime, boosting his total pay to $373,235 and more than tripling his regular pay of $110,145. Factoring in benefits, Dahle’s total compensation for the year amounted to $423,568
Big public pensions keep piling up: Factoring in pension systems in addition to CalPERS, Transparent California reports nearly 53,000 public pensioners collected pensions of $100,000 or more last year.