Previous Nevada Journal articles

Harry Reid’s gifts to ‘greedy’
insurance companies were hidden
behind populist, anti-insurer rants

His ‘ACA’ law forces all Americans to buy industry products,
channels billions into company coffers, sets up taxpayer bailouts

LAS VEGAS — As Harry Reid in 2009 was assembling the liberal wish-list that would eventually be passed into law as Obamacare, he rarely missed any opportunity on the floor of the U.S. Senate to lambaste "greedy insurance companies."

Behind the scenes, however, the Senate majority leader, his committee chairmen and his aides were diligently stuffing into that legislation lucrative favors for that very same insurance industry.

Chief among those favors was the bill’s unconstitutional decree that every individual American — like it or not — must henceforth become customers of those very same insurance companies.

A second big favor in the bill for the industry was a provision requiring over $1 trillion in subsidies for such insurance purchases over the next decade alone.

And there were more such favors, some of which just now are getting full media attention.

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Transparency

CCSD police dispatcher transferred
from post as new details emerge in
Angela Peterson death case

Jail-house phone call: “My mom’s going to go to jail now.”

LAS VEGAS — A Clark County School District police dispatcher who’s been named a defendant in the Angela Peterson wrongful death lawsuit was transferred out of her police department post Friday.

According to multiple sources, employees of the department received an email notice — "effective immediately" — stating Tina Zuniga is "no longer an active employee of the Clark County School District Police Department," and "should be afforded the same access and courtesy to CCSDPD facilities as would be extended to a visitor."

While Zuniga will "continue to be an active member of the Clark County School District," sources say, employees were asked not to communicate with Zuniga in the future regarding any official matter considered confidential by the district's police department.

Zuniga's transfer comes after what appears to be a recording of a 2011 jail-house phone call was submitted to school police internal affairs.

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Fiscal

Mom-and-pop business worries
about indirect impacts of margin tax

Small business owner sees costs increasing if margin tax passes,
even through his business doesn’t meet $1 million threshold

LAS VEGAS — Randy and Kathalynn Thwing may have to pick up their lives and move out of the state they’ve called home since the ‘80s if voters approve the margin tax this November, even though their long-time business wouldn’t be directly subjected to the tax.

The pair owns and operates New Standard Manufacturing, a business that’s been building and selling padlocks in Nevada for over 25 years. Even though they’re one of the small, mom-and-pop businesses supporters of the tax claim will be unaffected, Randy says his business and other companies like them will be hit hard.

 “It’s the simplest economics,” Randy said, recognizing that those he does business with will pass on the tax to him, thereby upping his costs of operating in the Silver State. “My landlord is the biggest example. They’re a multi-million-dollar company. They’re going to raise my rent 2 percent.”

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Forest chief: Fed water policy a mess

Proposed USFS directive is latest fed effort to grab Western waters, say states

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. Forest Service's effort to establish a consistent policy for considering underground water resources when making decisions that affect national forest lands is confusing and misleading, the head of the agency acknowledged Wednesday.

U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell made the comments after testifying before a U.S. House subcommittee. Despite repeated references in the proposed directive to the management of groundwater, he said the agency has no intention of trampling on the authority of states to allocate water rights or manage water resources.

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Utah hotel settles immigration case with feds

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — An upscale hotel chain has agreed to pay about $2 million to settle allegations that 43 Utah employees working in the country illegally had returned to work after they were flagged by an immigration audit and fired, according to federal authorities.

The U.S. attorney's office in Utah and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced the settlement Wednesday.

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Elko County to message feds
cross-country by horseback

Cowboy Express theme: 'Regulation without representation is tyranny'

ELKO, Nev. (AP) — A rural Nevada county will send a message the old-fashioned way to Washington about what it calls federal overreach on public lands: by horseback.

Elko County Commissioner Grant Gerber said riders will begin the 2,800-mile ride at Point Reyes, California, around Sept. 26 and reach the U.S. Capitol about 20 days later.

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Work starts on $1 billion Nevada solar plant

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Construction has begun on a $1 billion solar power generating station in the Mojave Desert that officials say will produce enough electricity to power about 80,000 California homes when it is completed in 2016.

The 250-megawatt project, dubbed Silver State South, will capture solar energy with panels spread across almost 4 square miles of federal land south of Las Vegas, according to a fact sheet obtained Friday from a First Solar Inc. representative.

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Education, Transparency

Administrator on CCSD payroll working
for another state government?

District investigation underway

LAS VEGAS — Has one of the Clark County School District’s department honchos found a way to eat taxpayer cake in two separate states at the same time?

It appears so.

In Southern Nevada, for nearly 12 years, Bramby Tollen was the director of CCSD’s purchasing and warehouse department. Then this March, according to district officials, she was transferred to the CCSD human resources department as an “Administrator on Special Assignment” — while continuing to earn a base salary of $104,760 a year, plus $1,800 annually for longevity.

Tollen’s total pay and benefits for the 2013 calendar year were $140,663.82, according to CCSD information on Transparent Nevada.

However, as of June 13, Snohomish County, Washington, has had a new purchasing manager — also named Bramby Tollen.

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Labor

Once a prominent union member,
now he's a union target

Local sues former department PIO over health-benefit payments

For 30 years he represented the Clark County Fire Department as its public information officer.

Now Robert Leinbach is being sued in federal court by the department’s union. The complaint — by firefighter Local 1908 — accuses him of “breach of trust, breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing and unjust enrichment.”

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Judge: 'FBI, investigate yourself'
on witness tampering charge

Lawyer seeks answers to his brother's suspicious death in federal custody

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A federal judge has ordered the FBI to scrutinize allegations that the agency pressured a witness not to testify in a trial about videos related to the Oklahoma City bombing.

U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups said the agency needs to get to the bottom of the claims from Utah lawyer Jesse Trentadue, who said that the FBI threatened to cut off a former government operative's benefits if he appeared in court.

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