NDOT meets with council to discuss possible roundabout

WINNEMUCCA — While everyone agreed something should be done with the intersection of Bridge and Haskell Streets, neither residents nor the Winnemucca City Council thought that “something” should be a roundabout.

Having met with representatives of the Nevada Department of Transportation on Tuesday (Jan. 10), at least members of the council are beginning to think it’s not such a bad idea.

Subject to accidents and congestion, the intersection has long been a problem.  The City of Winnemucca offered to install a traffic light, at its own expense, but the street is technically in the jurisdiction of the state, whose engineers preferred a roundabout.

Addressing the council was Randy Hesterlee, the assistant district engineer, who explained while the state’s analysis concluded action should be taken at the intersection – they weren’t convinced that meant the installation of a traffic light.

The goal of Nevada’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan was to reduce crashes, he pointed out, and to that end a roundabout was the better choice.

The council had multiple concerns with the roundabout including: pedestrian safety, high foot traffic from the nearby Winnemucca Jr. High School, concern the roundabout would be too small because it’s boxed in by private property, and has railroad tracks nearby.

Hesterlee addressed each concern.

The obvious benefit of a roundabout, he said, is that it slows traffic.  Even if there is a little fender bender, the folks exchange paint and go home.  That’s in stark contrast to at least three recent accidents in which passing cars on Bridge Street were T-boned by cars on Haskell Street crossing Bridge.

In places that have roundabouts, there are fewer and less-serious crashes.

Hesterlee showed photos to illustrate why roundabouts are actually safer for pedestrians.  He pointed out at a traditional crosswalk pedestrians have multiple lanes of traffic to cross, but a roundabout offers a single lane of travel to cross before a refuge then another lane of travel to cross before safety.

Plus, traffic is moving slower through the roundabout, which increases pedestrian safety, and motorists are more likely to see pedestrians they’re approaching at a curve, as opposed to those standing at a sharp 90 degree angle.

As an example, Hasterlee told the council of an intersection by a school in Vermont where there was a significant number of vehicle v’s pedestrian accidents a year.  They put in a roundabout at that intersection and there hasn’t been a single pedestrian accident in seven years.

While the council was concerned the roundabout would have to be small, as the intersection is boxed in by private property, and therefore could not handle the large trucks (sometimes with one or two trailers in tow), Hesterlee was able to demonstrate the roundabout would be a size appropriate for large trucks.

Trucks with trailers actually turn into a circle easier than some other vehicles, such as fire trucks.

Hasterlee showed a video clip of a fire truck maneuvering a roundabout by simply driving over the curb and up onto  the center circle.  The roundabout is actually designed to allow large public safety  vehicles to do just that, he said.

He also assured the council there would be space for vehicles to pull over for passing public safety vehicles.

One of the concerns NDOT had was the proximity of the railroad tracks to the intersection.  They didn’t want to a situation where a car was backed up onto the tracks with the possibility of a train coming along.

However, NDOT’s study of the intersection showed cars were only backed up an average 130 feet – even at peak hours.  The railroad track signal is 200 feet from the intersection.

While NDOT was able to demonstrate the safety of a roundabout, the cost was no advantage.

NDOT estimated the price at about $1.8 million over the estimated $359,000 a traffic light would cost.

Hasterlee explained the price was high because it was better to put everything in and estimate high as opposed to estimating low and finding themselves without enough money for the project.

The City of Winnemucca has $350,000 to put towards the project; the rest will be paid for by the state.

Hasterlee also said the roundabout would be cheaper to maintain in the long run than the traffic light.

The meeting between the Council and NDOT was informational only and no action was taken.

Councilman Rich Stone concluded the meeting by recommending a training session for locals who may not be used to roundabouts.

Hasterlee was joined at the meeting by Kevin Lee, District III Engineer, and Dave Lindeman, District III Assistant Engineer, of the Winnemucca Office.

HCSD nepotism policy passes 5-2

WINNEMUCCA — Having discussed the issue at three different meetings, the Humboldt County School District Board of Trustees voted to adopt an official nepotism policy on Tuesday (Oct. 11) after a short discussion.

Trustees Andrew Hillyer and Glenda Deputy voted against adopting the policy

In a second vote, the board voted unanimously to put the policy into effect next school year.  Anyone wishing to seek an exception must go before the school board by July 1, 2012 to discuss the matter.  Exceptions to the policy will be made on a majority vote.

The policy will prohibit a HCSD employee from being supervised and evaluated by a relative within the third degree of consanguinity.

Consanguinity is a blood relative; affinity is a relative by marriage.

Trustee Ann Miller, who was a former administrator, was in favor of the policy and discussed how difficult it would be to supervise and evaluate a close relative.

However, she felt the policy should not extend to sports, such as a parent coaching a son or daughter, and the board should retain the authority to make exceptions.

As he has before, Hillyer spoke out against  the policy.  Not only does there not appear to be a problem, he argued, but the policy was too far reaching.

He commented, “I don’t think it will do our district much good.”

Employees are responsible for reporting nepotism conflicts to the district office.

 

HUMBOLDT COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT

BOARD POLICY

REGULATION ON NEPOTISM

 

Except as hereinafter provided, no individual may be employed as an employee when the performance of such individual would be directly and immediately supervised and evaluated by any relative of such individual within the third degree of consanguinity or affinity, nor shall such related employees be assigned to positions which have a fiduciary responsibility to one another which could be compromised by such familial relationships.

 

A person so related, as specified in the above paragraph, may be hired or assigned when authorized by a majority vote of the Board of Trustees upon the written request of the supervisor seeking to hire or assign such individual where some special, substantial and convincing reason or such peculiar circumstances make such hiring or assignment reasonable and not otherwise detrimental to the Humboldt County School District.

Should a relationship change occur which would result in a violation of this regulation, it is both employees’ responsibility to report this change to Human Resources within thirty (30) calendar days.  The school district then reserves the right to transfer one of the employees to another department or assignment.

SELECTION COMMITTEES

Employees who feel they would have a conflict of interest by serving as a member of a selection committee, should not serve.  A conflict of interest is any circumstance which would improperly influence a person to depart from the objective and impartial discharge of his/her responsibilities as a member of a selection committee.  A conflict of interest may arise from any number of situations, such as a committee member being a relative  of a candidate, close personal friend, former business associate, etc.  If an individual is unsure if a conflict of interest might exist by serving as a member of a committee, s/he should consult with the Assistant Superintendent.

If another member of the selection committee or any other person who has knowledge of the composition of the committee believes there may exist a conflict of interest, that person should notify the chairperson of the committee or Assistant Superintendent as soon as possible.

Nothing herein shall be construed to authorize employment of any individual in violation of NRS 281.210.

Legal Reference

NRS 281.210:  Miscellaneous Provisions & Prohibitions – Officers of state political subdivisions and University and community college system of Nevada prohibited from employing relatives; exceptions; penalties.

Board votes to proceed with demolition of Double Duty Duds building

WINNEMUCCA — The Humboldt County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously on Monday (Oct. 3) to proceed with the demolition of the commercial building at Fourth and Baud Streets.

The building was formerly home to Double Duty Duds. It was donated to the county last year and was received with the intention it be used to benefit the Winnemucca Rural Fire District.

Addressing the commission were Fire Chief Ron Schrempp and Assistant Fire Chief Torrey Sheen.

Sheen said after much discussion the fire district board determined it would be cost prohibitive to bring the building up to current codes and/or convert it into something the fire department could use.  The floors in the building are wooden and would not support the weight of parking large trucks there.

Additionally, sitting vacant it represents something of a liability for the county.  For example, someone could get in, play with matches, and the place would burn up — maybe injuring the person playing with matches.

Because the building technically belongs to the county, the county will put out bids for the demolition.  However, the cost of demolition will be reimbursed by the WRFD.

Looking to save some money on the project, there was some discussion of approaching the Landfill Committee for a waiver of the fee for C&D waste into the landfill.

Nepotism policy before school board remains bogged down in discussion

WINNEMUCCA — The Humboldt County School Board has voted to table the adoption of a nepotism policy until for further consideration could take place. The matter has been before the board at least three times, but there has yet to be consensus among the board members.

Trustee Ann Miller was not at the Tuesday (Sept. 27) meeting, and the board felt it important she be there to voice any concerns she may have before the vote was taken.

Nepotism is the favoritism shown to friends or relatives and usually occurs in the workplace. Although there’s not much the board can do about favoritism among friends, which is usually the greater problem, members of the district staff noted, a nepotism policy would address the issue of one relative supervising another and conducting performance evaluations.

Superintendent Mike Bumgartner presented similar policies adopted by districts across northern Nevada; though, there was some disagreement about how closely those policies were followed. The superintendent noted the importance of the district protecting itself from legal liability in advance of an actual problem.

He added with the possibility of merit pay in discussion, the need for a nepotism policy was imminent.

Trustee Andrew Hillyer observed there have not been complaints about nepotism to date and there doesn’t appear to be a problem.

He thought a solution could be found that did not involve breaking up teams that appear to be working well together.  He added the policy should give the board some flexibility in handling matters where one relative was supervising another – such as exists at Grass Valley Elementary School where the principal is married to a teacher.

The board went back and forth on the issue of who should evaluate the performance of those employees who are technically being supervised by a spouse or close relative.

As was noted, it would be unfair to the supervisor to be held accountable for entire school – except one teacher who was being evaluated by someone brought in for that purpose.  Additionally, the site administrator would best know about the daily performance of his or her teachers.

On the other hand, if teachers receive pay raises based on merit, problems could arise if he or she were being evaluated by a spouse who would benefit financially from a potential merit increase in pay.

That scenario is a hypothetical one as the decisions on merit pay have not been determined and may not happen.

The issue of nepotism is especially challenging for those in small, rural districts where there are few chances for advancement and  as happens in small towns, everyone seems related to everyone else.

The meeting was attended by staff members from Grass Valley Elementary School – who may be the first to be impacted if the nepotism policy is adopted and other steps aren’t taken to protect those relatives/spouses already in a supervisory role.

In addition to the immediate concerns, long-term implications of the policy were expressed by GVES teacher Dawn Lucas (shown above, left), who has ambitions of becoming an administrator someday — ambitions that could be complicated by a nepotism policy due to her many connections in the district.

Chelsea Mendiola (shown above, right), who expressed her ambition to become athletic director at Lowry High School someday, worried that a restrictive nepotism policy would send teachers originally from Humboldt County to other districts. Her opinion was it would be better to have policies that encouraged Humboldt County young people to return home and teach after college.

Amodei wins special election

CARSON CITY — Secretary of State Ross Miller reported that Mark Amodei took the most votes during Tuesday’s (Sept. 13) special election.  Amodei received 57.93 percent of the vote and will be sworn as Nevada’s  representative in Congressional District 2 following the official canvass.

The election was decided on 32 percent voter turnout district-wide.

Kate Marshall received 36 percent of the vote; Independent candidate Tim Fasano receive 1. 87 percent; and Helmuth Lehmann received 4.14 percent of the vote.

In Humboldt County, 2,239 voters participated in the Special Election; that’s 42.35 percent of the registered voters.

Of those, Amodei received 1,471 (65.82 percent); Tim Fasano received 51 (2.28 percent); Helmuth Lehmann received 133 (5.95 percent); Kate Marshall received 580 votes (25.95 percent).

Amodei promotes his experience during campaign stop

WINNEMUCCA — The Republican candidate for Nevada’s Congressional District 2 Special Election was in town Tuesday (Aug. 9) to promote his campaign to local voters.  Mark Amodei outlined his background and promoted his strengths – to include his lengthy experience working with land-use issues and his legislative service.

A reception for Amodei was hosted by the Northern Nevada Republican Women (shown right with the candidate).

Tracy Guinn, president of the NNRW, explained the purpose of the organization was to promote Republican candidates, and they were pleased to stand by their principles in promoting Amodei, whom she called “A true, blue Republican.”

Although Amodei was the former chairman of the GOP and the president of the Nevada Mining Association, many of the event attendees acknowledged they didn’t know much about him.

When Sharon McAllister was asked what she knew about the candidate she replied, “Nothing.  I’m here to learn.”

The same was true for Candace Puls, who acknowledged her attention has been on the national news.

After spending considerable time speaking with the candidate, Puls said, “I think he’s very genuine, personable, and down-to-earth.”

She asked him about the possibility for future town hall, similar to those hosted over the telephone by other representatives, but Amodei said it was his preference to spend time in the district talking face-to-face with the constituents.

Puls said she found his willingness to attend get-togethers, like the one held Tuesday, admirable.

Resident Norla Draper, on the other hand, came with a message for the candidate.

She said, “What I want is a candidate who can go to Congress and vote in the interest of the people and not party affiliations.”

This was supported by the folks sitting with her.

She said she was tired of smear campaigns and commented, “All I want to know is what they’re going to do in Congress — not all that other stuff about other campaigns.”

Amodei stopped by Draper’s table and promoted his military service, in which he was with the Army JAG Corps, his years of experience as an attorney in which he worked on land-use issues, and his 12 years in the Nevada Legislature.

His platform includes the following:

  • Amodei has campaigned on a tax-fairness platform in which he pledges to 1) make the Bush-era tax cuts permanent, 2) support the abolishment of the estate tax, 3) retain the mortgage interest deduction on primary and secondary homes, and 4) reduce the marginal tax rates on individuals and small businesses (the marginal tax rate is – in essence — the additional money owed in taxes as incomes increase, which some believes discourages people from working harder and earning more money).
  • Further, Amodei supports a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.
  • On the energy front, Amodei supports more US drilling (to include the Outer Continental Shelf and Arctic Coastal Plain in Alaska), more energy exploration in the US, and increased oil refinery capacity by rolling back certain EPA regulations currently in place that hinder the development of refineries.
  • Supports securing US borders as the first step in a comprehensive immigration policy.
  • On the national security front Amodei would place funding of US troops in the field as the top budgetary priority for the Pentagon; would focus defense spending on innovation and new technology.
  • A federal water policy that would, among other things, would require fair allocation of water from the Lower Colorado River.
  • Supports protection of 1872 Mining Law.

Amodei pointed out whoever is elected will only have 16 months to serve.  He promoted himself as the candidate who was most able to pick up quickly from where Dean Heller left off.

On hand to help promote his fellow legislator was Assemblyman Ira Hansen who said, “Mark will carry on the conservative pattern established by Dean Heller. They seem to be cut from the same cloth and they will be an excellent duo for our state.”

He concluded, “Mark will hit the ground running.”

NDOT updates commission on existing and future projects

WINNEMUCCA — There’s little that’s more frustrating than slow or stopped traffic due to road construction.  But eventually all roads must be repaired, and the same is true of bridges and other elements of the infrastructure.

Rudy Malfabon, Deputy Director for Southern Nevada Department of Transportation, was recently before the Humboldt County Commission to present a report on near future and long-range projects.

The good news was NDOT was able to work out a solution for some of the half-finished projects in town.  Readers may remember a shuffling of paperwork between the federal and state government was necessary to get the projects completed.

The half-finished projects include, but are not limited to,  Hanson St. in front of the Post Office and Jungo Rd.

ROADWAY SAFETY:  NDOT will continue efforts to make roadways safer through the addition of more rumble strips, median barriers, striping and additional signage as part of the Strategic Highway Safety Plan.

Malfabon said NDOT has adopted a zero-fatalities goal.

He commented, “Some people might say that’s not realistic … we’ll never have zero fatalities.  But if you ask someone on an individual basis how many of their family members  they would want to have a fatality, they’d say, “None.”  That’s the way we’re approaching it, too.”

He said there has been some success in years past.  NDOT saw fatals drop from 434 in 2006 to 256 in 2010. Lending itself to that success was a bad economy that saw less folks willing or able to take road trips, so there were simply less vehicles on the road.

Malfabon reported fatalities will probably increase this year.  Included in the 2011 statistic will be the semi v train accident in Churchill County earlier this year that left multiple people dead along with the driver of the truck.

Along those lines, Malfabon reported the 411system continues to be a success – allowing people to check on road conditions with their phone, or check the NDOT website, before they leave home, which is especially helpful in the winter.

ROAD PROJECTS: Despite a lackluster state economy, construction of/improvements to Nevada’s roadways goes on.

Malfabon said they were actually able to add a few more projects to the list because the bids coming in were good and resulted in cost savings..

In Humboldt County, the construction of an acceleration lane at the intersection of US 95 and SR 140 is a go, and it is anticipated the project could be completed by fall.

Projects that will be realized in near future include extensive work on SR 140, US 95, Airport Rd., and the mine road leading out of Golconda – a $15.8 million project.

Interstate 80 will also undergo extensive construction – including a nearly $30 million project from the Humboldt/Pershing county lines to the West Winnemucca interchange slated to begin next year.

Additionally,  a $15.7 million project will improve the Interstate from Button Pt. to Iron Pt..

However, the improvements aren’t all about the roads.

The rest stop at Button Point has been declared a substandard rest park and will be demolished and rebuilt.

Additionally, NDOT plans to replace the substandard bridge on Eden Valley Rd. at the Humboldt River.

Malfabon said they try to replace at least one substandard bridge a year to keep up with performance standards.  He noted bridges can be perfectly safe; yet, they may not be wide enough or the clearance isn’t tall enough..  Still other bridges are not up to current safety standards.

Included in NDOT’s long-range plans was the interchange on Interstate 80 at milemarker 173.  The overpass at the interchange would cost an estimated $10 million to correct.

Malfabon said NDOT did make some improvements there to include additional signing and striping.

He commented, “There are some major considerations on our long-range element of our work program to look at how we would address that.”

He added certain considerations would have to be undertaken – to include a determination of which part of the property is NDOT’s and what right-of-ways would have to be acquired.

Additionally, when construction involves the Interstate there also has to be input and approval from the Federal Highway Administration.

Commissioner Tom Fransway questioned the $10 million estimated price tag for the interchange improvement.

He said, “It just doesn’t seem to be that big of a project, and I would just hope that NDOT would do what it can to go through that, and make the improvements, without that type of expenditure.”

He took the opportunity to thank NDOT for the improvements already made at the interchange, but added, “In the long range I just have a hard time seeing $10 million out there.”

Malfabon noted the $10 million was just an estimate.

He commented, “Obviously a lot of scoping work has to be done.  There might be a solution that we come up with that’s substantially less that that.”

However, he noted NDOT has looked at the skew of the bridge, and if the bridge has to be redone the price tag would be more than $10 million.  He reiterated there might be a solution that costs less than that, as well.

Grass Valley couple before commission on roaming dog complaint

WINNEMUCCA — A couple frustrated with the lack of appropriate response from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office over the issue of roaming dogs in Grass Valley, took their complaint to a higher source and appeared before the Humboldt County Commissioners seeking tougher enforcement of county ordinances.  The couple appeared before the commission on Monday (June 6).

While the commission has no authority over the sheriff’s office, they did pass a resolution to ask Sheriff Ed Kilgore to take action to resolve some of the issues.

Sheriff Kilgore did not respond to the opportunity to comment on some of the issues raised by the couple.

Charles and Cindy White told the commissioners some of their neighbors simply do not contain their dogs, which roam the neighborhood and enter the White’s property where they dig up the flower beds and dig through the trash.

Additionally, they can’t take a walk, walk their own dog, or ride their horses off their property without being chased by dogs.

The couple attempted to resolve the problems with their neighbors, but the situation became volatile.  The couple alleged they have been screamed at, their pets threatened, and Charles White, who is black, was allegedly subjected to racial slurs.

The couple taped at least one of the encounters, which showed just how aggressive at least one of the neighbors was.  On another occasion a neighbor allegedly threatened to kill the couple’s horse right in front of the animal control officer.

On another occasion,  the couple found an arrow had been shot through their shed wall, and Cindy White said it was her belief the neighbor shot at the White’s dog that was in its own yard and contained.

The couple tried to work with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Animal Control officer, but that intervention did not result in change.

Cindy White said the animal control officer was being too nice and not enforcing ordinances that should be enforced through the citation process.

Charles White added, “It shows nothing’s going to happen.  That sends the wrong message.”

White commented, “We have to get some restrictions. My neighborhood’s not safe enough for me to take a walk with my dog.”

Commissioner Tom Fransway said, “These folks have the right to enjoy a peaceful life and so does everybody else in that area.  I think it would be appropriate for this body to request Sheriff Kilgore to ask animal control to investigate the situation.”

Lippold stumps in Humboldt County

WINNEMUCCA — Hoping to represent his party in September’s Special Election, Kirk Lippold went before Humboldt County GOP faithfuls to make the case he’s the best conservative candidate.

Lippold spoke at a reception held for him by the Humboldt County Republican Central Committee on Thursday (June 2).

Lippold is a graduate of the US Naval Academy who retired from the Navy in 2007 after 26 years of service.  He has since written a book (not yet out in print) and worked with Military Families United.

Lippold is perhaps best known as the man in command of the USS Cole on October 12, 2000 when the ship was attacked by Al Qaeda suicide bombers.  He praised the response of his crew following the bombing and credited their actions with saving the lives of US service personnel.

What is less well-known is following the attack on the Cole, Lippold went to work for the Joint Chiefs of Staff  – War on Terrorism Division and helped craft the policy governing the US detention center at Guantanamo Bay.

Lippold has been an outspoken advocate for the detention center as the means of acquiring information from terrorists to help the US understand how Al-Qaeda operates, which he sees as instrumental to fighting  the war on terrorism.

Lippold told those assembled when he heard the news the Obama administration planned to close the detention center his reaction was disbelief.

He commented, “We’re going to give this up because European allies thought we were violating human rights?”

He later added, “What about the rights of the Americans killed on 9/11?”

Lippold said he personally opposed the Obama administration’s plan to close the detention center, and he counts it as a personal victory the center remains in place.

Lippold was also critical of Attorney General Eric Holder, whom he calls the most dangerous man in America and alleged the AG picks and chooses the laws he’s going to follow.

Holder had attempted to halt military commissions at Guantanamo Bay in an effort to have five suspected terrorists involved in 9/11moved to the US for trial in federal courts.  That move faced widespread criticism, and Holder announced in April the five will be tried by military commissions.

Lippold championed such a move and was opposed to civilian trials on US soil.

While Lippold’s national security experience may be stellar, he acknowledged he has no legislative experience.

Lippold pointed out for attendees he does have executive leadership experience and a sense of service “a mile wide”.  Additionally, he noted he brings integrity and needed ethics to the position.

He pointed out representing the State of Nevada in Congress was a 24-hour/7-day a week job,  much like his military service, and intends to devote himself to the work.

Promoting conservative values, Lippold expressed his concern over the 14 trillion debt and listed the reduction of that debt as one of his top priorities.

He said there were ways to reduce the budget without raising taxes and pointed to the thousands and thousands of dollars that are lost every year in deductions from taxes.

He also listed reducing government as an important step in reducing budget expenditures that would lead to a reduction in debt.

To that end, he said reductions in military spending was not off the table, and he argued the military budget could be examined for reductions along with the money being spent on the war on terrorism.

He commented, “We’re throwing money at the problem.  We need to understand it to fight it.”

Lippold stumbled a bit on the topic of entitlement programs, which he listed as Social Security, Medicaide and Medicare.

Those in attendance were primarily retirees, one of whom balked at calling Social Security an entitlement program since participants pay into it their entire lives, so the benefits they receive are really the benefits they earned.

Lippold agreed and later said it was Congress who saw the program as their entitelment to raid for extra funding whenever needed.

Lippold now makes his home in Carson City where he grew up.  He said as someone who grew up here he understands the land-use issues faced by Nevadans.

A  1st Judicial District Court decision determined each major party will nominate a candidate for the Special Election, as opposed to a free-for-all ballot, though that decision is on appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court.

TG Sheppard goes to bat for First Amendment as Free Speech is kicked to the curb in Winnemucca

WINNEMUCCA — Two young political organizers from California with no place to exercise their First Amendment right to Free Speech were given sanctuary on the private property of local businessman TG Sheppard Wednesday (Aug. 4) afternoon.

The young men started out campaigning under the trees in front of the US Post Office but were told they had to leave – reportedly by the Postmaster herself. The young man in the photo said they were informed they could not campaign on federal property.

The two organizers moved their operation to the sidewalk at the corner of Grass Valley Rd. and Hanson St.– where they were confronted by a Winnemucca Police Department officer in the afternoon.

The officer told them they would have to move because they were creating a traffic hazard as people slowed down to look at their signs. Fair enough.

However, the officer went on to say the organizers would not be allowed to campaign on public property anywhere within the city limits. He said they would have to find a private property owner and get permission to campaign on his or her property.

This caused the young man shown in the photo to observe, “If you’re not a private property owner you don’t have Freedom of Speech in Winnemucca.”

The two young men were Democrats with the Summer Shields campaign. Mr. Shields is the Democratic write-in candidate running against Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in California’s 8th District. The two organizers were in rural Nevada raising money for the candidate.

The young men were advised by the officer to seek permission from TG Sheppard to campaign on his private property. Sheppard’s offices are directly across from the corner they were being shooed away from. The officer did not say how they would be less of a traffic hazard across the street.

Mr. Sheppard, who’s not generally known for being a friend of Democratic Party candidates, stood up for Free Speech and the First Amendment and gave his permission for the two men to continue campaigning on his private property.

SPJ was on present during a part of the exchange between the organizers and the WPD officer. On Wednesday (Aug. 4) SPJ requested a copy of the city ordinance that prohibits campaigning on public property, but have not yet received it. The request was made to City Manager Steve West who said he would contact City Attorney Kent Maher.

If, in fact, it’s against city ordinance to campaign on public property law enforcement should be aware of several law breakers. On the Fourth of July, in Paul Vesco Park, which is city property, Humboldt County District Attorney Russell Smith and Humboldt County Sheriff Ed Kilgore were each campaigning – apparently in violation of city ordinance.

Also, in 2008 the candidates for district court judge campaigned in the same location and Judge Michael Montero was present and campaigning. Come to think of it, Winnemucca City Councilman Paige Brooks was campaigning there, as well.

There were many witnesses to this apparent criminal activity.

The young man in the photo said when they arrived in town they checked in with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office and the Sheriff’s Office Dispatch and advised them of their purpose in town. They also met with a WPD officer earlier in the day, he continued, and advised the officer of their purpose.

That officer must not have been aware of the city ordinance against Free Speech on public property because he did not advise them to find private property. Or, in the alternative, perhaps the ordinance didn’t become law until later in the afternoon.

Perhaps the actual ordinance prohibiting Free Speech on public property within the city limits can shine some light on this issue. If it ever arrives.