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Pahrump Mirror
Pahrump, Nevada
August 28, 1997     Pahrump Mirror
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August 28, 1997

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Pahrump Valley Gazette,Thursday, August 28, 199"7"9 Commission to Nye Seniorsf Up yours, Matey! THis MAN&apos;S OPINION by Brent Mathewson To say that Pahrump Senior Citizens left the Nye County Commission meeting, held in Pahrump on August 19, 1997, livid with rage would be an understatement. Their anger became focused as the commission proved once again that they are quite adept at driving a square peg through a round hole as they slammed the door for the third time on the seniors' request to rescind action taken by the commission on May 6, 1997. The action taken on that date was approval of an operational plan and by-laws, specific to the Pahrump Senior Center, that deprives the Pahrump seniors of the right to participate and vote on the selection of members to serve on the center's project ad- visory council. Project advisory councils are the bodies by which se- nior center activities are: run and organized throughout the state of Nevada. They are put in place in order to comply with federal law as laid out in the "Older Americans 11 ' Act" passed by the United States Senate andCongress. Nevada's version of the law is called Title 11I C and was put in place in January 1985. Both the Federal Act and Title 1/I C are replete with guidelines meant to insure that senior citizens participate in the manner in which the various organizations are run and gov- erned. Title HI C, Chapter 7, Subchapter HI-A- l-b, specifically states that the members of the project advisory council shall be elected by the peers of the senior citizens involved. All of this quite obviously means nothing to the members of the Nye County Commission. The omnipotent attitude of the present commission clearly indicates a governing body that feels itself above and superior to all law but its own. A favorite tactic that is utilized by the Nye County Commis- sion and administrative staff when enacting ordinances or taking actions in violation of state or federal laws - not infrequently blatantly unconstitutional action - is to state from the start that the action being taken is being done for the sole purpose of "complying with state or federal law and regula- tions." A Nye County citizen would be well advised to be on "full alert" when he or she hears that phrase expressed vocally or in print by a member of the Nye County Commission or the Nye County Manager, Les Bradshaw, or his assistant, Rachel Nicholson. It's like watching black turn to white right in front of your eyes. Sometimes they don't even bother with this charade. I have been in attendance at Nye County Commission meetings when the commission's most powerful member, Cameron McRae, has stated that, "This will do until someone takes us to court and sues us for it." Such comments are usually accompanied by a hearty chuckle by fellow commission members. The problem is that such humor is always at the expense of an individual or minority group of individuals. The laws that are being violated are frequently those that were put in place to restrict and limit the authority of a governing body. Each and every time that one of these laws are trashed or ignored an individual or group of individuals' rights are stripped from them,and each and every citizen of Nye County becomes less free to, a measurable degree. Some interesting things happened prior to and during the May 6 Nye'County Commission meeting when the commis- sion impeded the Pahrump seniors of their right of suffrage. The meeting, which was held in Tonopah, was heavily attended by Pahrump senior citizens. The agendized item of their concern was the implementation of the operations plan and bylaws for the Pahrump Senior Center that had been written by the Nye County Manager, Les Bradshaw, and his special assistant, Rachel Nicholson. One hundred percent of the large contingent of the Pahrump seniors nresent was in opposition of the implementation of this plan. The item came up in the morning and the Pahrump seniors, led by spokesperson Ruth Weidenheimer, spoke elo- quently and with passion as they expressed the depth of their displeasure of being denied the right to vote. Any unknowing observer would have felt that the commissioners showed interest and concern as they listened to the Pahrump seniors' pleas. As the discussion wound down the commission decided to delay a decision on the matter. The Pahrump seniors packed up and began their long journey home, relieved that they had at least won a temporary reprieve. The once splintered group, which had previously consisted of sev- eral factions with viewpoints at times opposed to one another, had united and bonded together against the common threat of the proposed commission ac- tion that presented such a serious chal- lenge to the sanctity of their organiza- tion. Hours later, late in the afternoon, with the Pahrump seniors safely out of their hair, the commission brought the agendized item back on the table and voted unanimously to approve the implementation of the operational plan and by-laws for the Pahrump Senior Center. What the Pahrump seniors did not realize as they left Tonopah that day, and may not realize until this day, is that they were going up against a rigged vote from the start. This is because several weeks prior to the May 6, 1997 meeting, during an unagendized discussion that took place during an earlier commission meeting in Tonopah, Commis- sioner Cameron McRae alerted his fellow commissioners that when the "operational plan and by-laws" that was then being put together by Nye County Administrative Staff, was brought before the commission for its approval, he expected to re- ceive intense opposition from the Pahrump seniors. Anticipating this opposi- tion, McRae said he did not want to see the plan agendized without first receivingpledged support from his fellow com- missioners in support of the plan. Commissioner Red Copass agreed that there would be a lot of opposition, that the Pdarump seniors couldn't agree on anything, and that he backed McRae's stance on the issue. After listening to McRae and Copass, Commissioners Re- vert, Carver and Davis said that if that was the way the Pahrump Commissioners wanted it handled, then they would back them up. Although the operational plan and by-laws are in effect only in Pahrump, there is known to be widespread and heavy opposition to it across Nye County. Everyone is won- dering, "Who's next?" Irene Osterhoudt, the site director at the Amargosa Senior Cen- ter, flatly states, "If I were forced to work under the con- ditions of the operational plan and by-laws that are in place OALLL=Y ROCK & 7200-1490 NORTH END PIT REOPENEDI PIt Fill Pklntln 9 Mixes in Pahrump, I would resign immediately." Osterhoudt felt that there was no way she could see that the plan could be legal in that it did not comply with major provisions of the Older Americans Act. How any sitting commis- sion could expect to be re- elected to a seat on the Nye County Commission after be- ing party to an action that has caused this much furor, let alone the furor it will cause to be released in the future, es- capes me. I do wish to commend the commission for accomplish- ing one thing. They have man- aged to unite Pahrump seniors. It was a foolish act they may live to regret. That is this man's opinion. copyright 1997 by Brent Mathewson ldcend & BONDED #30880 100MCGmCULrO I am EXPLORATORY. ' l PUMPSALES, SERV/CE I ' & INSTALLATION ilrl "COMPLETE SYSTMS Il INSTAIAY WITH 5 YEAR Illllql I WARRANTYAVAILABLE...J mE] lolsAm !11 r days a week,eice ill 1220 E. Man. I!i1' E. o# i'V lll ill !11 PAHRUMP COUSl LIBY 727-5930 New Hours Tues, Wed. & Thurs .... 9a.m. to 7p.m. * Friday ................ 9a.m. to 5p.m. . Saturday .............. 11a.m. to 5p.m. Closed Sunday & Mon, m We honor moet i'll I 1 Day Sentce Most Cars I Nationwide Specialist Foreign Domestic Standard * 4x4 Irront Wheel Light Trucks Purchase any Sofa/Loveseat or Sectional and get a FREE $75 store credit with ad Ep. 913/97 Inome, Om<00l [ Dinettes ! The Galle,.y of Home Furnishings Hwy 160 just South of Hwy 372 and Terrlble's Town Bedroom and Mattress Store. 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