Monday, April 23, 2012

URGENT: Help Rescind Mesquite's Wilderness Bill

Tuesday, April 25th, the NEW Mesquite City Council will discuss a resolution to RESCIND former mayor Susan Holecheck's (now a paid lobbyist) resolution to close off the entirety of Gold Butte, clear up to the outskirts of Bunkerville, from offroad use and make it the largest wilderness area in the state.

All interested offroaders should attend the 5pm meeting as we have been told that Susan, Nancy and their Sierra Club type contingents intend on bussing people up from Vegas and stuffing the meeting at City Hall. Naturally, as is probably their intent, the latest battle is occuring after the large number of senior offroaders have left for the summer.

Offroading Home has been trying to encourage a reconsideration of the former mayor and council's ill-concieved resolution which, unfortunately has become a monster escaped from Pandora's Box due to the efforts of the Sierra Club, and political fund-raising efforts of Harry Reid. Public outcry pretty much forced a "re-evaluation" of the matter last year; but, still in office, Susan was able to quash the effort.

Now that lobbyists are using the former mayor's resolution to claim that Mesquite still is in support, the current council is rightfully upset and is re-evaluating their support. Partners in Conservation has assured me that write in comments will help from those unable to attend.

Snowbirds, like us, should explain to the council and mayor that:

1) We enjoy the Gold Butte area; and,
2) Spend lots of money in Mesquite every year when we come to live in the city;
3) That most of us DO NOT COME merely to gamble and that we will need to re-consider our choices if that is the only thing that the city has to offer;
4) That there are very few places (almost none) in Clark County left without special designations, especially if this measure succeeds;
5) That we are all too aware that when Sloan Canyon became an NCA, OHV access was ‘promised’ but the management plan completely eliminated any OHV use or access;
6) That this (the closure proposal) issue is completely draconian in scope and being falsly promoted by lobbyist interests to the hurt of both the population and economic interests of Mesquite;
7) That if the "wilderness" efforts succeed it will do nothing but increase the city's dependance on the gambling industry;
8) That the 180,000 acres (an incomprehensible number) which is targeted is but the tip of the iceburg which is intended to be nearly doubled by another 120,000 acres of NPS managed lands which is intended to be requested once this controversial BLM land-grab is completed;

I am told that the recent elections in large part reflected public anger over this type of issue and the new elected officials are much more transparent in their dealings and loyal to the electorate rather than lobbyists. You should probably be aware of this one caveat, that Councilman Karl Gustaveson is known to be a close friend of the former mayor Holecheck who is now a paid employee of the wilderness coalition. That is not to say that we know how he will vote on this matter, or even if he is allowing such friendship to color his deliberation in this matter; but, he is probably one where discussion is needed.

Here is the contact information for Mesquite's elected officials. The mayor and council can be reached at phone number: 702-346-5295 (can leave message after hours), Fax number: 702-346-4469 [The same number for all officials]

Email contacts are:

Mark Wier, Mayor –
Kraig Hafen, Councilman –
Geno Withelder, Councilman –
George Rapson, Councilman –
Al Litman, Councilman –
Karl Gustaveson, Councilman -

If you can possibly attend you should, but at very least send an email to let them know how important this is to you. I'm told that the reason this is happening now is because some press releases the lobbyists put out a couple of weeks ago said that the city council still supports an NCA, and that really made a few of them angry. So they decided that they should revisit that old resolution and try and get it revoked, make their own—or not, but to try and pull that old resolution that supported the NCA/wilderness.

Additionally, I have just been informed that the other side (the dark side) is working their hardest to push it through in DC with money payoffs (i.e. "contributions") and lobbyist pressure. An email to congressman Joe Heck telling him not to introduce the legislation and sell out in the hopes of a sierra clubber vote is the best political move that can be done right now.


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