Letters to the Editor


Fresh architecture might attract younger homebuyers

I might be the only person in Boulder City who hasn’t developed a firm position on growth. As usual, both camps seem to have dug very deep trenches, leaving no room for waffling. Uh oh! I’m a waffler, and in Boulder City that’s a capital offense.

A recent Las Vegas Review-Journal article featured Storybook Home’s owner, Wayne Laska, standing in front of one of his Tuscany-style model homes — and my heart sank. The Tuscany style was designed during the Middle Ages as a fortress for feudal lords to protect their families from marauding enemies — not a friendly style.

We live in a city where our forefathers built the finest cement dam in the world, utilizing their best engineers and designers, who left us with beautiful art deco public buildings.

The beauty of Boulder City is our calling card. We need any new developers to double down on their styles. We live in the Mohave Desert, and not one of the new production homes are designed with eaves. Where is Frank Lloyd Wright when we need him?

The millennials in Las Vegas are flocking to the builders who are offering desert modern or midcentury modern designed homes.

I’m through with inappropriate architecture and have gone over to the dark side. I’m voting to delete the 30-home limit per developer in Boulder City. Competition is our only leverage to demand a better product.

Laska, I hope you will send your architect packing. If our goal is to attract younger families to keep our town diversified and healthy, the city and the builders need to slow down and look at the research on what is attracting millennials — then build accordingly. Additional planning and research could insure the outcome that you are intending. Less research will certainly result in another over age 55 neighborhood.

Karen Wilkes

Ads criticizing ‘slow-growth’ supporters offensive

I am 85 years old and a 56-year resident of Boulder City. I raised a family here. I have been a softball coach, Camp Fire leader, Park Service volunteer, Meals-on-Wheels driver and an Emergency Aid and library board member.

I am voting for Kiernan McManus and Warren Harhay for City Council and against Ballot Question No. 1 because I believe it’s the best choice for this town. I believe that only these candidates are truly committed to keeping Boulder City a distinct and livable small town, rather than letting it become a neglected old pocket in the midst of the urban sprawl that is the Las Vegas metropolitan area. However, reasonable people may disagree about how much and what kind of growth is right for Boulder City, and if another view prevails at the elections, so be it.

What I do find offensive are the ads being placed by Boulder City Solutions in this newspaper, characterizing those like myself who are for slow growth as a “rowdy band with pitchforks and torches.”

Douglas Haag

Restricting developers arbitrarily will only punish city, residents

As a former developer who’s lived here for over 30 years, I know about our growth ordinance and its impacts on construction. Limiting construction to 120 homes each year has been good for our town. But restricting each development to 30 annual permits causes hurdles for the developer.

It was difficult enough to make projects pencil when I was doing them 20-plus years ago. But now it’s almost impossible. Construction costs are astronomical today, so the average developer can’t afford to pay the costs of carrying vacant land over several years. That’s the problem with forcing developers into a box of 30 per year. It scares them away, which means reduced developer competition and either lower bids or major concessions requested from the city.

The recent bidding on the Boulder Creek and Adams (Boulevard)-Bristlecone (Drive) parcels is a prime example. Initially, no bids were received. Then, after bidding was extended, StoryBook Homes expressed interest in Adams-Bristlecone, but only if it could (1) narrow the streets and eliminate half of the sidewalks to squeeze more units in, (2) pay for the property in three phases over time, (3) delay installation of off-site improvements, and (4) reserve the right to back out if things don’t work out.

Demands like these make it a risky deal and have people seriously questioning the quality of the project. Meanwhile, we still haven’t received any bids on the Boulder Creek parcel.

When we restrict developers with arbitrary restrictions on land that voters have already approved for sale, we’re really only punishing ourselves. Let’s stop the self-inflicted punishment. Voting yes on Ballot Question No. 1 will eliminate the harmful 30-per-year rule.

Michael Giroux

Large campaign fund doesn’t make best council candidate

Boulder City’s beautiful. I live here and want to keep it that way. That’s why I’m voting for Kiernan McManus and Warren Harhay. These two candidates will put the interests of Boulder City’s residents first. Having them on the City Council will give two seats to elected officials who will maintain the city’s present growth ordinance. That ordinance has served the city well.

Slow growth is good, as is maintaining our historic buildings. Both keep the quality of life and property values high. Does Boulder City want to become Henderson, full of cookie-cutter homes? (Interstate) 11 will alleviate traffic on (U.S. Highway) 93, but if we rapidly expand, the side roads will become as bad as the highway is now. Who’s going to pay for the infrastructure rapid construction requires?

The value of a product is usually inverse to its amount of advertising. Take Coke and Pepsi. Neither are healthy, but they are highly profitable due to their advertising. Advertising plants a vision in your brain to spend money on them.

It’s the same with political candidates. Much is spent on advertising a name in hopes you will vote based on name recognition.

Candidates that spend a large amount on advertising usually do so because they have received large contributions by those who have an expectation of influence.

Besides looking into a candidate’s platform, one should also see who is backing them. Should large campaign contributions and backing by large development interests decide who will be running our city? Or should we support Kiernan McManus and Warren Harhay, who lack large advertising funds but are supported by those that want to protect our historic growth pattern in Boulder City? Who would you rather our future elected officials be beholden to? Vote for McManus and Harhay.

Ainsworth “Ace” Hunt

Does alliance exist to unite or divide the community?

As the campaign season began for two City Council seats, I was excited to hear that a group of citizens formed a community alliance to create a forum for discussing the important issues facing our beloved community. In my mind, the mere name implied a community working together for a common goal of education and collective insights.

Boulder City has some critical issues facing us. This is an important time for us to unite and make the hard decisions that will help shape the future of the city we all love so much. Unfortunately, the community alliance was anything but that: rather than an “alliance” it created an “us” versus “them” civic approach, and only embraced those individuals who shared their very specific and narrow sighted beliefs. As a matter of fact, on the very first public meeting of this alliance, they requested the “candidates” sign a commitment letter to adhere to the alliance’s point of view on several key issues coming up for a vote, and many of the then-candidates signed that pledge.

I am proud to say that Cam Walker did not sign their pledge, as he has a clear and admirable vision for our city moving forward. And then, as if some magic wand was cast over this new alliance, somehow an overwhelmingly large number of the attendees all endorsed the same two candidates that either signed the pledge, or created documentation supporting the tenants of the “pledge.” (It) hardly seemed like a “community effort,” but they certainly had an aligned alliance.

My family is choosing to vote for Walker because of his experience on council, the real promises he has made and kept, and because during this election cycle, he alone has remained positive. He is proven leadership.

Kevin B. O’Keefe

Generosity of woman at eatery reason to live in Boulder City

Thanks to the lady that picked up my dinner tab last week. It’s nice to know there are such people around.

(It’s) another reason to live in Boulder City.

Ross Wright

How Fraser leaves city should determine compensation

David Fraser makes the decision to terminate his employment. He should be entitled to vacation pay, sick pay, any comp pay and an offer for COBRA insurance (at his expense). Since he chooses to terminate his employment, there should be no additional separation agreements.

If he is terminated by Boulder City, Boulder City should fulfill the terms of his contract. However, if Fraser received other compensation dependent on his completing his contract, he should be required to return such compensation and/or reimburse the citizens of Boulder City.

Dale Klabacha

McManus best for controlled growth, historic preservation

We have an important election for City Council and we should concentrate on the issues rather than innuendo and half-truths with no facts. Ask yourself, “Why so much negativity and who questions someone’s beloved deceased mother’s request?”

(Kiernan) McManus and (Warren) Harhay have been repeatedly attacked by a local developer. Developers, casinos and out-of-town special interests have contributed heavily to the campaigns of John Milburn and Cam Walker. The majority of McManus’ funding has come from his own pocket and from local residents.

The current City Council plan to move forward with developing large areas of Boulder City land beyond the current city structure which will require millions of tax dollars to extend utilities. See a map of proposed changes on the City website, http://www.bcnv.org/DocumentCenter/View/2264. Is it any wonder why the City Council voted recently for large increases to our utility rates?

McManus does not have ties to the special interests. He is a problem solver and has taken on the challenge of improving the preservation of our historic district by serving on the city Historic Preservation Committee.

Conservative growth has maintained the beauty and safety of our town for 40 years. As a native of Boulder City, McManus has never wavered on conservative growth, laws that protected Boulder City and believes we can grow wisely to benefit the community, not some developers and Realtors.

Candidate Walker voted to challenge our laws with Ballot Question No. 1 and proposing hundreds of acres for development. Milburn endorsed the building of hundreds of new homes on an accelerated schedule. He wrote in Boulder City Review that our laws were obsolete and needed to be discarded to allow for rapid growth.

Vote Tuesday for McManus and Harhay. They have conducted an honest and positive campaign, even when the special interests and other candidates have falsely attacked them.

Judith Hoskins

Editor’s note: Adding parcels to the city’s Land Management Plan does not guarantee that they will ever be developed. All four candidates have said they will vote against Ballot Question No. 1.

Passing ballot question will preserve city’s quality of life

Over the last 10 years, we’ve been privileged to serve as your mayors. With others, we’ve worked hard to maintain Boulder City’s small-town quality of life, including fiscally responsible measures that have paid off three debts totaling over $25 million in principal and interest, protecting 5,000-plus acres of our greatest asset with revenue-generating solar leases, and honoring our controlled-growth ordinance by obtaining voter approval for the sale of select land parcels.

Our fathers did the same before us, with Heber Tobler serving as mayor when the growth ordinance was passed in 1979, and Bruce Woodbury fighting hard for our small-town way of life as Boulder City’s county commissioner from 1981 to 2009. Nobody loves Boulder City’s small-town charm more than the Toblers and Woodburys. It’s why we moved here when the city was still in it’s infancy, and it’s why we’ve stayed here to raise our own families.

But as stewards of our city, we’re very concerned about recent trends. What started as a healthy trend of only 31 percent growth in the ’80s and even 19 percent in the ’90s has taken a nose dive to effectively 0 percent growth since the year 2000. School-aged children (5-17 years old) comprise our fastest shrinking group by far. And our schools have lost 629 students since 2005, more than the entire current student population at Boulder City High School.

If nothing changes, these negative-growth trends are projected to continue, resulting in a vicious cycle of housing demand always outstripping supply, inflated prices, unaffordable housing, young families moving elsewhere, even more negative growth, and on and on.

We both strongly believe that approving Question 1 will help to reverse these unhealthy trends by allowing modest development of voter-approved land within the existing 120 per year cap. Please join is in voting yes on 1 to preserve our small-town quality of life.

Roger Tobler

Rod Woodbury

Public input, conversations needed before changing ordinance

Did you know that all four of the candidates running for council have stated publicly that they are voting no on Ballot Question No. 1? From reading the paper last week, you might have thought it was only a small socialist cabal … who wanted our controlled-growth ordinance to remain unchanged. Most of us moved here because we love our slow-growth town. Growth rates have been sluggish over the past few years everywhere, probably because we have just been through the worst recession since the Great Depression.

The (Boulder City) Community Alliance was started by two amazing young mothers who were concerned about the large housing and commercial development proposals that challenged our growth ordinance. One of the things I enjoy about the group is the broad spectrum of political opinions. After our toxic national political debate it is good to see Republicans, Democrats and independents working together for the town they love. Contrary to a mailing you may have received, this is not a partisan race; (Warren) Harhay is a registered independent.

I agree with Cam Walker that we should have much more public input before making changes to an ordinance that was so carefully crafted and has served us well. We already have provisions to build affordable housing for young families, and maybe we need to have a conversation as to how best to implement them.

We also need more information as to how city property, already slated for sale, is being marketed and how to improve the process. Building more houses has not solved Clark County School District’s problems in Las Vegas. I think having more local control over our schools might be a better strategy to pursue.

I’ll be voting no on question 1. … Do get out and vote.

Nicola Collins

Facts point to need to change 30-home restriction for developers

“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” — Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Fact: The 30 per development limit has kept new residential permits to an average of 10 new homes per year. Why? Because 30 units per year does not make economic sense for builders of quality homes that Boulder City deserves. They can’t make a profit at that level. Result: virtually no growth.

Read an analysis by Klif Andrews, division president of Pardee Homes, one of the premier builders in Las Vegas:

“Homebuilders in the Las Vegas market average .9 to 1.0 sales per development per week. If we were limited to 30 permits per year, this would be well below our average sales of 50 homes per development per year. If we purchased 100 lots in Boulder City, and were limited to 30 construction starts per year, we would take over three years to complete the project. If we were to buy 100 lots in Henderson, we would expect to build 50 per year, and thus we would complete the project in only two years. Three years versus two is a very large economic difference, and the increase in operating costs and interest would make such a project unfeasible. Our company would not be allowed to purchase land with such a restriction.”

Fact: A yes vote on Ballot Question No. 1 will not change the limit of 120 new homes per year.

Fact: A yes vote on Question No. 1 keeps in place the requirement that all city-owned land over one acre must be approved by a vote of the people.

Fact: Without attainable homes, the percentage of young families declines, and so does enrollment in Boulder City schools. Fewer students equals fewer teachers. Classes double up or are eliminated.

Check your facts. Vote yes on Question No. 1.

Jim Amstutz

Empty business, weeds point to need for growth

It’s ironic to see a vote no on growth sign posted on a chain link fence surrounding a piece of property overgrown with weeds at the entrance to our city at Buchanan Boulevard and U.S. Highway 93. The property, which has been for sale for several years, serves as a daily reminder that Boulder City is not attracting new business.

Clearly, Boulder City is losing businesses. The same shopping center includes the boarded up grocery store that once offered an alternative to Albertsons. The Radio Shack next to the abandoned property has also closed. The only activity you see on that corner is the Goodwill donation truck.

Vote no is not a good sign for Boulder City. I voted yes on Ballot Question No. 1 , and I hope the majority of my friends and neighbors will do the same.

Sandy Christiansen

Yes vote on ballot question will line politicians’ pockets

This has been bothering me for some time. It’s time to speak up or forever remain silent. The bigs in the vote yes crowd indicate that city hall needs more money. They don’t say why.

Seems like only yesterday the city hall critters were doing self-inflicted back patting over the revenue generated by the solar leases. That bonanza was supposed to be a budget cure-all. They spent it. They need more.

The vacant land at the golf course is a potential cash cow. If memory serves me (a debatable subject), city hall has tried twice to modify the limited growth restrictions; both times rejected by the voters. But, true to form, the critters refuse to admit defeat. They wait a few years, then try again. If/when they win, we will never get an opportunity to vote again.

We the people must never forget two basic rules of a representative democracy:

Rule No. 1: Bureaucrats and politicians are joined at the hip. Upon closer inspection, it’s at the wallet. The bureaucrats need the politicians to keep their gravy train rolling. The pols need the bureaucrats to implement their dreams and schemes. Then, do the creative accounting to bury costs over runs and unexpected revenue shortfall.

Rule No. 2: Seventy-five percent of every tax dollar goes into a dedicated public servant’s bank account. We the people are lucky to see 25 percent returned as improved services. City hall will spend every dollar they can grab, spend it on themselves, and then beg for more.

The only way to break this cycle is to starve the beast. We the people must tell the politicians they are supposed to represent the voters. We must tell the bureaucrats taxpayers don’t work for city hall.

Vote no on Ballot Question No. 1.

And vote for the candidates who did not receive contributions from the bigs.

Curtis Clark