Sometimes a letter is just a letter
The county commissioners had a lively board time on Wednesday. Here’s five observations:
State Sen. Don Benton must really love fireworks. Commissioner Steve Stuart said he was approached by, as he said to Commissioner Marc Boldt, “your senator.” Boldt, who lives in the 17th Legislative District, laughed and said, “He’s not really my senator. He hardly ever shows up.”
Anyway, Stuart said he was asked about the decision to ban sales of fireworks on July 5. The senator and his family apparently loved hitting post-Fourth sales and stocking up for the following year. Or whatever. Commissioner Tom Mielke suggested that maybe Benton & Co. set them off on New Year’s Eve, which Stuart reminded him is illegal in unincorporated Clark County.
Boldt talks with food in his mouth. Boldt used the 1:30 p.m. meeting as time to eat his lunch. In addition to talking with food in his mouth, he also spilled crumbs on the table. Stuart called him out on both things. Very “The Odd Couple.”
Tim Likness is a valued employee. Likness started working in the county’s elections office in 1979 and was soon promoted to elections supervisor. Administrator Bill Barron was running down a list of vacant positions and mentioned what he called the “bus” position in the elections office. As in, in the event Likness gets hit by a bus, elections will go on.
Auditor Greg Kimsey later told me the formal title is Assistant Elections Superintendent. (“I always rephrase that ‘hit by a bus’ comment to ‘if Tim decides to move to Costa Rica’ – a much nicer image,” Kimsey wrote in an email. “I’m constantly trying to get him to buy a great big boat, not so he can go to Costa Rica in it, but because owning a boat is like owning a hole in the water that you keep throwing money in and he would never be able to retire; so far I’ve been unsuccessful, but I’m going to keep trying. :-)”
Sometimes a letter makes an impact. Boldt presented Mielke, the chairman of the board, with a letter from the Board of Equalization, saying, “Our appointees don’t like your assessor.” The letter was in objection to Assessor Peter Van Nortwick’s request to shorten the period within which people can appeal their assessed values, from 60 to 30 days. “I’m on the side of our appointees,” Boldt said. “Our appointees are usually right,” Stuart added.
Sometimes a letter is just a letter. The Bonneville Power Administration sent the commissioners a letter, asking them to be a “cooperating agency” as the BPA prepares a draft environmental impact statement for the I-5 Corridor Reinforcement Project. No thanks, Mielke said. “I have some grave concerns over picking a fight we’re not in,” said Mielke, who has heard plenty from county residents who don’t want a 500-kV transmission line running through their yards. Stuart talked him down by explaining that the term “cooperating agency” is just that, a term. (Kind of like how you can “like” something on Facebook but it doesn’t mean that you like it.) Being a “cooperating agency” doesn’t mean the county has to go all the way with BPA, Stuart said. “It’s just a NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) term,” he said. The status means the county will be kept in the loop with regard to BPA’s plans.
OK, Mielke said. “No problem. I love information.”
So do I, Commissioner. So do I.