Saturday, February 13, 2010

Rory Reid for Governor?

I just went to meet the candidate for Governor, Rory Reid. Yes, Harry Reid's son.

I really, really liked everything he had to say, almost.

Rory, like his father, is pushing for the development of renewable power here in Rural Nevada. This makes so much sense. Nevada has to import its oil and coal, and would have to import its uranium to. But Nevada can be an exporter of renewable energy.

Moreover, Rory Reid sounds far more reasonable about public education than our present Governor.

However, I didn't feel comfortable about his comments about the watergrab. When asked about it, Rory Reid exclaimed how glad he was that there would be some more time to reconsider SNWA's options now that the State Supreme Court made the ruling that will at least slow down SNWA. But this was Friday, the day after the Review Journal in Las Vegas reported that SNWA was trying to make an end run around the Supreme Court ruling. (Or at least the boss of the State Water Engineer was trying to squeeze in a water law amendment made to a water law amendment – during the Legislative special session on the State Budget.)

Now, because there is this effort that looks a whole lot like ramming through legislation to help SNWA not have to deal with the State Supreme Court ruling; what Rory Reid said didn't make sense. Conditions could be all back to the watergrab as usual in a matter of a few days. So I figured Rory Reid hadn't heard the news – and I later mentioned it. But he had... and had left it out when he had talked about having plenty of time.

Now, why would he do that? Maybe just an oversight. We all do it once in a while. But what if it wasn't? What if he didn't think we knew, and wanted to lull us into thinking we have plenty of time?

This concerned me enough to ask a more pointed question: “Right now, Governor Gibbons is being asked to decide whether to include water law legislation in the special session on the State budget. What would you decide, Mr. Reid?”

Now; this is a very simple question. Would you ram through pro-SNWA legislation that blatantly bypasses the State Supreme Court, or would you focus on the budget crisis and deal with water law later? This question was so simple, I may as well have asked; Are you with us or against us?

His answer; “I don't know.”

This is Rory Reid, former board member of SNWA. He knows. I admire him for not lying to us, but I don't feel comfortable that he told us the whole truth. Either way, he did tell us something. He effectively told us we couldn't trust him to help us on the watergrab.

This is Rory Reid, former board member of SNWA. If he weren't running for Governor, he'd probably still be on the board. It almost looks like SNWA just decided to run their own candidate for Governor. Rory Reid must have known we would suspect that. Yet he never once tried to distance himself from SNWA.

So, is allowing Rory Reid to Govern over SNWA pretty much the same thing as allowing Dick Cheney be Vice President over Haliburton? I'm not certain. But I'd give you 10 to 1 odds.

So, does SNWA have influence over any other candidates for Governor? I would sure think so. But it may just be that most of them are afraid to take on Las Vegas. Either way, we're still waiting for a champion.

The sad, sad, sad truth is that this may be the best option White Pine County will get from the two parties. I don't see any other candidates standing up to SNWA for Rural Nevada. At least this guy doesn't also want to build nuclear power plants to suck out the water from even further North.

I sure don't want to settle for having to choose between bad or worse... But it's still early. Maybe Rory Reid will take my advice.

Maybe Rory Reid will push for independent technical oversight of SNWA. They really need it. We're all starting to get suspicious. The price of desalination has dropped by about a factor of ten since the water applications were first made. At least in the short run, desalination is cheaper – because desalination facilities can be built incrementally (instead of the huge pipeline project, which will cost billions right up front). In fact, if SNWA had not bought the $70 million in Rural Nevada ranches, and instead invested in offshore desalination – and traded the water for more water from the Colorado River, Las Vegas would already have more water.

But SNWA did spend $70 million on ranches. And now SNWA's manager, Pat Mulroy, is committed to the pipeline for the rest of her career – whether she wants to be or not. Politically, she just can't say; “Sorry for spending the $70 million, desalination is a better deal now. So I've changed my mind.” It would be the end of Pat Mulroy's political career... Oh and by the way, Rory Reid was on the board of SNWA when the decision to spend the $70 million on ranches was made. It just might be that Rory Reid isn't really all that enthusiastic about finding out the truth either. In fact, he's already had the chance to find out. Rory Reid could have pushed for independent technical oversight of SNWA back when he was a board member of SNWA – and he didn't.

I want to support Rory Reid, but unfortunately his career is headed in the wrong direction because of one horrible decision that he can't go back on. Since the cost of desalination has dropped so much, the watergrab is looking more and more like a huge disaster. But neither he, nor anyone else who committed millions and millions of dollars to it is willing to admit that conditions have changed. So they just continue to speed towards environmental destruction, massive debt, economic devastation of Rural Nevada, and even further water scarcity.


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