Friday, January 30, 2009

R-J: Democrats Offer a "Plan to Make a Plan"

Republican Gov. Jim Gibbons has challenged the Democrats, who hold the majority in both legislative houses, to come up with better ideas if they do not like Gibbons' proposed cuts to teacher salaries and higher education.

But Horsford said legislators want to make budget determinations through a transparent, deliberative process in which the public, the business community and other interests all can have a say. ...

Gibbons said he was pleased to see Democrats share his concern for renewable energy and long-term budgeting. But when it comes to this year's budget, he said, Democratic leaders have had months to consider the budget crisis but still have no specifics to offer.

"Our citizens expect us to find solutions to the economic crisis instead of making excuses as to why we have not found those solutions," Gibbons said. He termed the Democrats' budget process nothing more than a "plan to have a plan."
Let me clarify what is happening here: State revenues are drastically down, so things have to be cut, but nobody in the political arena wants to do the cutting, because the constituencies that are affected are going to be very, very unhappy. The governor has proposed his solution, and Democrats are bitching about it, but they are not offering an alternative.

Any solution that anyone comes up with is going to involve an unpalatable mix of cuts to important services and/or (Heaven forbid!) tax increases. The Democrats don't REALLY want to take the blame for cutting someone's pie; they'd rather have the governor take the heat. At the same time, politics require that they throw a tizzy fit about whatever the Governor is cutting. It's all just theatrics.

In a crisis like this, things will only get done by strong executive action. The Democrats can hold all the hearings they want, but they are not likely to come up with a coherent plan on their own, so the Governer's plan will probably be passed by default. —G.C.

Here is a Las Vegas Sun article on the same topic but with a lot more depth. (The Sun beats the R-J again!)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Tax Debate Begins

The serious debate on taxes has finally begun. This in-depth article in the Sun is an indication...

A tax system by default, not by plan
At first, Nevada expected little revenue from gaming. Here’s how that changed over time.
(Las Vegas Sun, 1/25)

Taxes in Nevada will have to rise. There is simply no choice, other than abandoning all functions of government (like child welfare and juvenile justice). I believe that the debate will end with a state income tax, but it will be a painful process getting there. There will be endless posturing and beating around the bush by politicians, but it has to happen.

Here is my newsletter on taxes a year ago.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Area Teen Up To Something

Area Teen Up To Something
(The Onion, 1/24)
GREENFIELD, OH—A local teenager, standing on the corner of Spring Street and Dunlap Lane, is clearly up to some kind of no good, neighborhood sources reported Thursday.

The teenager, spotted by Greenfield residents at approximately 4:36 p.m., has been described as tall, suspiciously quiet, and almost certainly looking for trouble. According to concerned sources, the teenager has absolutely no business being out there like that. ...

Friday, January 23, 2009

L.V. Sun: Judges Can Keep Judging

I don't really see the point of this article. It's just column filler...

Judges can leave the bench, keep judging
(by Jeff German, Las Vegas Sun, 1/23)
One of the perks of winning a seat on the District Court bench in Nevada is that you never really have to give up your judicial robes, even if you decide to leave in the middle of your term.
It briefly mentions former Family Court Judge Gerald Hardcastle.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

R-J: Teenager owns up to fatality

HENDERSON CRASH: Teenager owns up to fatality: Guilty pleas entered in death of Coronado High sophomore
(Las Vegas Review-Journal, 1/22)

Sounds like a standard teenage tragedy. Several such cases passed through Family Court while I was there.

See my photos from an earlier sentencing on similar charges.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ero Olerance for Omestic Violence

I took this photo in May in Cruz Bay in the Virgin Islands (album). It's the typical response by government to social problems like domestic violence: MAKE A SIGN! Of course the sign itself has virtually "ero" effects on actual violence rates -- with or without the missing letters.

This illustrates my thesis that "Words Don't Work". Education, slogans and treatment programs are ineffective in changing impulsive human behavior.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

R-J: Crisis Coming for Family Services

It's no secret DFS serves more clients with fewer dollars than many counties. Example: Allegheny County, Pa., with its 1.3 million population, sets a high standard nationally by spending $179 per citizen for its child welfare budget. Clark County, by contrast, spends about $50, Morton says.

Although the growth of the community has slowed, the local economy has foundered. And the rampant abuse of methamphetamine continues to devastate families and add stress to the DFS. As low-income families grow increasingly desperate, still more pressure is applied to the DFS net.

Now comes the really bad news: Without relief, DFS will take a devastating hit at the upcoming Legislature.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Head of Child Haven Sacked

KLAS-TV: Head of Child Haven Removed (1/6)

I have known Lou Palma for several years and regard him as decent and dedicated. To get fired by the County (vs. merely demoted), the offense has to be pretty significant. I can't imagine a mere accounting lapse would be enough. There must be something else going on (perhaps some other political issue or dissatisfaction with his work performance).

Here is the newspaper story the following day...

Review-Journal: Fired head of children's shelter critical of audit (1/8)