Opening brief filed on Pahrump water order appeal

Special to the Pahrump Valley Times Acting Nevada State Engineer Tim Wilson took over the office after former state engineer Jason King resigned early this year.

The Nevada State Engineer’s Office has filed its opening brief in its appeal over water Order #1293A, which was overturned by a district court judge late last year.

In its brief, the engineer’s office, now under the leadership of Acting State Engineer Tim Wilson, argues that the findings of the district court judge were made in error and pleads with the Nevada Supreme Court to reverse the district court’s ruling. Wilson took over for former state engineer Jason King in January.

Water Order #1293 was issued in Dec. 2017 and was followed six months later by amended Order #1293A. The order restricts the drilling of new domestic wells in Pahrump unless two acre-feet of water rights have been relinquished in support of the well.

A group of local real estate agents, property owners and well drilling companies quickly formed Pahrump Fair Water LLC to fight the order, filing a lawsuit in which the group prevailed in December 2018.

Now the battle has moved to the Nevada Supreme Court and while the appeal moves through the legal process, the supreme court has issued a stay on the district court’s ruling. This means that Order #1293A is currently in effect and will remain in effect until the court makes its ultimate decision on the appeal.

“This appeal arises from the district court’s Dec. 6, 2018 order granting Pahrump Fair Water’s petition for judicial review, whereby the district court found that the state engineer exceeded his statutory authority in issuing amended Order #1293A, the state engineer should have provided notice to property owners prior to issuing amended Order #1293A, substantial evidence does not support amended Order #1293A and that Pahrump Fair Water, LLC had the requisite standing to challenge amended Order #1293A,” the state engineer’s opening brief details.

Throughout the 66-page document, the engineer’s office attempts to refute each of these findings of the district court, stating that it believes the engineer had full authority to issue the water order under existing Nevada law.

Citing a declining water table and an over-appropriated basin with the potential for nearly 100,000 acre feet of water use annually, the office claims that without the order in place, significant damage to local water resources could occur.

Further, the engineer’s office declared that if the Nevada Supreme Court does not reverse the district court’s ruling, then the engineer’s office will be placed in the precarious position of not knowing what control it can exert over domestic wells.

“Without amended Order #1293A the state engineer’s only option for addressing groundwater problems in Pahrump will be to regulate, or curtail, by priority, whereby any new domestic wells would be the first water use restricted,” the brief reads. “However, the district court’s findings even call into questions that legal directive and authority of the state engineer. If this court does not reverse the district court’s findings, the statutory authority of the state engineer to regulate domestic wells by priority is uncertain.”

In conclusion, the brief states, “Prior to issuance of amended Order #1293A, domestic wells represented the last unaccounted groundwater use in the Pahrump Basin, and yet water levels continued to drop, threatening thousands of existing wells. Amended Order #1293A is necessary to protect the existing water users in the Pahrump Basin and is a necessary component to the overall long-term management of the groundwater basin.

“Absent authority to intervene and manage the water resources, the state engineer may be required to curtail by priority, resulting in all new domestic wells being the junior most rights and the first to be curtailed,” the conclusion continued. “Allowing unrestri

Robin Hebrock/Pahrump Valley Times Pictured are pages from the Nevada State Engineer’s opening brief for its appeal in the case of water Order #1293A.

cted proliferation of new domestic wells in this context represents poor management of the groundwater resource and would have dire consequences.” 

Pahrump Fair Water now has until March 21 to file its answering brief.

Documents related to the appeal, including the opening brief, can be found on the Nevada Supreme Court’s website under case number 77722.

Source: Opening brief filed on Pahrump water order appeal

Newspaper column: Democrats display disrespectful distraction

 

Nevada Democrats have taken identity politics to a whole new level. They have not just lowered the bar, they have buried it.

Recently they held a press conference to announce the state party’s mascot for the 2018 election season – Mitch McTurtle. Apparently without a hint of embarrassment state Democratic Party Chairman William McCurdy unveiled the mascot. It was someone dressed in a turtle costume and holding a faux bag of cash, displaying a name tag reading “Mitch” and standing in front of a sign saying “shelling out millions for Dean Heller since 2011.”

The mascot looked like a parody of a Mutant Ninja Turtle, moviedom’s parody of super heroes, making it a parody of a parody. Is a parody of a parody a double negative and thus a positive?

The character apparently is meant to ridicule Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, not because he moves legislation through the muck and mire of the swamp on the Potomac at the pace of a turtle, but because of his appearance, of all things.

It seems some editorial cartoonists think the older white man McConnell’s thick neck and pointy head protruding from the shell of a suit and tie resemble a turtle. Imagine the hue and cry and pitch forks and torches that would be brought out if some Republican ridiculed someone, anyone because of their appearance, skin pigmentation, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity.

We presume the costumed character is the 2018 version of the person in the chicken suit who hung around Republican events in 2010 to ridicule Republican senate candidate Sue Lowden for her nostalgic comment about the old days in rural Nevada when doctors did house calls and were paid in chickens instead of government welfare subsidies.

Some Democrats, without a hint of shame, discomfort or awkwardness, even posed with the green-bedecked character for photos that were posted online.

In this election year there are so many real issues that need to be addressed. All the representative seats are on the ballot. Two will be open seats, as Congressional District 4 Rep. Democrat Ruben Kihuen, under a cloud of sexual harassment allegations, will not be seeking re-election, and Congressional District 3 Democrat Rep. Jacky Rosen has announced she will oppose Republican Sen. Dean Heller, the designated target of the turtle mascot.

But first Heller must face Republican Danny Tarkanian in a primary, presumably sans turtle mascot in tow.

There is also a wide open race for governor since Gov. Brian Sandoval is term limited.

On the Republican side Attorney General Adam Laxalt is leading Treasurer Dan Schwartz in the polls.

On the Democrat side the current front runners appear to be Clark County Commissioners Chris Giunchigliani and Steve Sisolak.

The real issues nationally include the current hot buttons of immigration, border security, the budget, deficit and debt reduction, entitlement reform, earmarks, restoration of military might, trade agreements and tariffs, energy independence, health care and health insurance and so much more.

At the state level the issues will include taxation, Yucca Mountain, minimum wage, prevailing wages, voter ID, mental health, Medicaid eligibility, aid for veterans, tax abatements and more.

We wonder how many people have any clue as to just who Mitch McConnell is or that he took over the mantle of majority leader from Sen. Harry Reid.

This ignoble mascot endeavor by Nevada Democrats to ridicule a person’s physical appearance deserves a hearty horse laugh and a heaping ration of mockery, scorn, scoffing, taunts, jeers, lampooning and jibes. Let them begin and continue apace.

A version of this column appeared this week in many of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel and the Lincoln County Record — and the Elko Daily Free Press.

via Newspaper column: Democrats display disrespectful distraction — 4TH ST8

The case for a Republican governor in 2018 – California

(Photo above)Inspectors check the progress of the demolition of the storm-damaged Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge in Big Sur in March. The crumbling bridge along the California coast stranded residents in the area. California was unprepared for the drought, then, with the rainiest year on record, the inundation of water brought about failed roads, buckled bridges and a crater in the Lake Oroville spillway. Vern Fisher Monterey Herald
BY JIM BRULTE –  Special to The Bee  – APRIL 14, 2017 8:00 AM

One-party rule has ruined California.

California was once held up as the gold standard of progress and achievement. Previous generations built a great highway system connecting the coast to the Valley and the mountains beyond. Previous generations designed and built the State Water Project. This water infrastructure made cities in the desert flourish. Previous generations built a public education system that was the envy of the world.

When the political tide turned almost two decades ago and Democrats began their upward swing to the legislative supermajority they now enjoy, they were handed a California in great shape. The middle class was growing, student test scores were rising, and the welfare rate and crime rate were declining. But with each new election victory the Democrats claimed at the polls came a little less accountability and a little less transparency. California’s Capitol became an echo chamber filled with liberal elites who lost touch with the people and the many vital needs of our state.

Transportation funds got diverted away from roads, and water infrastructure was ignored regardless of our state’s growth. Felons were released from prisons, and we are now seeing the effects with a higher crime rate. Our educational system has become more focused on political correctness than student academic achievement.

We have 2.5 million children living in poverty while the Democrats have managed to take a balanced state budget and turn it into a deficit, even as they continue to raise taxes on all Californians. And this deficit exists in spite of the fact that we have taken most of the unfunded public pension and health care liability off budget!

The last two years have fully exposed the Democratic Party’s failures across California. Mother Nature ended a five-year drought, which California was completely unprepared for, with the rainiest year on record. This inundation of water brought about failed roads, buckled bridges and a crater in the Lake Oroville spillway. In addition to the failures in our transportation and water infrastructure, California state testing showed that not even half of our kids are ready for college.

The Democrats’ answer to these problems isn’t to assess and make changes; it’s to pickpocket the people of California for an even larger share of their paycheck. Rather than bringing much-needed reform to the state’s systematic problems, Democrats are just throwing money at the problems guaranteeing us much of the same. We need reform, we need changes, and we need accountability – none of which we are going to get with more of the same.

The Democrats broke it; they own it. Now is the time to shake up California’s downward decline, and the best way to do that is to elect a Republican governor in 2018.

Jim Brulte is the California Republican Party chairman. He can be contacted at senatorjimbrulte@cagop.org

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/soapbox/article144271104.html#storylink=cpy

Antioch Unified School District tables Burkholder Media proposal

The Antioch Unified School District Board has shelved a proposal by Superintendent Stephanie Anello, for Mike Burkholder, founder and publisher of the news website Eastcountytoday.net, to create a media platform, highlighting positive stories from the district. 

The idea, brought forth by Burkholder, an Oakley resident, called for the creation of a district news website and assistance with public outreach, as well as help with creating press releases and photography and implementing of a social-media strategy for $53,900 a year.

The board tabled the proposal last week after three of the district’s five board members expressed various concerns, and it became clear that the agreement wasn’t going to be approved. 

Anello said late last week she was unsure how she would proceed with the matter and didn’t know if another proposal would be brought forth in the future. 

The concerns of board members Walter Ruehlig, Debra Vinson and Crystal Sawyer-White centered on Burkholder’s conflict of interest as a local website publisher and former school-board candidate, lack of other bids for the work and the use of funds, which board members argued should be used for other purposes.

“I think a lot of us were stunned – I thought I had dirt in my eyes,” said Ruehlig, the board’s president. “Basically, my position is that the issue would have been problematic enough as is with all our other pressing district needs.”

Vinson declined to discuss the matter, because it is still ongoing, but said during the meeting that she had received phone calls expressing unease about the proposal.

“There is just a lot of concern,” she said. “A lot of people feel there is a conflict of interest.”

The three public speakers at the meeting all spoke against the proposal, touching on the perceived conflict of interest, Burkholder’s alleged verbal attack of one of his website’s readers and the desire to see the proposal’s funds go elsewhere.

Subsequent comments on social media reiterated public concerns.

“Glad to see Burkholder didn’t get the gig,” said Dave Roberts. “It was a crazy idea to spend so much money on such a negative person to put a positive face on a troubled district. Vinson is exactly right – it would do much more for the district’s image to spend that $53,900 to improve academic outcomes, rather than waste it on a flawed spin doctor.”

Anello said that the proposal had nothing to do with Burkholder’s website, Eastcountytoday.net, and that she didn’t seek other bids because the proposal was Burkholder’s own intellectual property, thus proprietary. She thought the proposal financially advantageous for the district, considering public-information officers in other districts usually cost about $125,000 a year when factoring in salary, benefits and a retirement package. 

“There are so many amazing students, employees and families in our district, doing fantastic things,” Anello said. “An AUSD media platform and an individual dedicated to highlighting their achievements would be a great benefit to the district and to the public at large.”

Burkholder said he was unsure if the district’s board or members of the public fully understood the proposal.

“If the proposal was better explained and they understood the benefits of all the components working together, I am confident it will move forward,” he said. “Following the decision, I’ve received a great deal of support from the community who could not understand why the board took no action. The comments were that they would like to see this type of service implemented by the school district and possibly by others, such as the City of Antioch.” 

According to the proposal, Burkholder would create a district website – using the EastCountytoday.net model – that would become ‘the single source for AUSD news and information.’ He would also work with the superintendent to identify positive stories or information that could be shared with the community, pitched to local media and shared on the district’s website and blog.

Burkholder said that undertaking such work wouldn’t be a conflict of interest.

“I do not see that there is a conflict of interest, because the content would be created by their stories, their photos and their comments,” he said. “They are not buying news, as some claim. They are creating their own and distributing information through platforms and processes created by Burkholder Media.”

Board member Diane Gibson-Gray, who believes the measure would have been approved if it had come from a different vendor or media outlet, said the district could benefit from increasing its online presence.

“I’ve often said that ‘absent information, people will make up their own,’ and this holds true for both positive and negative situations,” she said. “Building an AUSD community website, supported by social-media bundling, and building an audience will provide the opportunity to showcase positive stories, students, employees and more.”

view the complete proposal:

Burkholder Media Group Agreement

source