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Sheldon Donates Million$ to Oppose Medical Marijuana in Florida

   There he goes again!

   I can’t think of any person I disagree with more consistently than Sheldon Adelson. 

   From his callous treatment of the long-time employees of the Sands in the late 90’s  – to his current rabid opposition to allowing adults the opportunity to participate in regulated on-line poker – he has unfailingly been on the opposite side of my views and values.

   Thus, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised to read in the Tampa Tribune yesterday that Sheldon has given $2.5 million to a statewide campaign in Florida to defeat a proposal for regulated distribution of medical marijuana, known as Amendment 2, that will be on the November ballot.

   The amendment is tightly drawn and requires doctors and patients to be certified before receiving marijuana through authorized dispensaries. It includes nine eligible medical conditions: cancer; glaucoma; HIV; AIDS; hepatitis C, ALS; Crohn's Disease; Parkinson's Disease; and Multiple Sclerosis.

   Meanwhile, two statewide polls released Tuesday reaffirmed a familiar trend: medical marijuana legalization has overwhelming support across Florida.  A poll by United for Care, the group backing the proposal, found that about 70 percent of likely Florida voters support the proposal, while an independent  poll released by Public Policy Polling found about 66 percent support for Amendment 2.  Which goes to show what we in Nevada have known for years, the average citizen has a lot more common sense then Sheldon.

   I guess now that Congressman Eric Cantor, his best friend in Congress, has been defeated for reelection, Sheldon needs a new place to throwaway his billions from Macau.



Judging District Court Candidates –- 2014

For tomorrow’s Primary Election, I had to do far more homework than usual.  Most of the time was spent with due-diligence reviewing the multitude of candidates for Clark County District Court Judge.  As I have in past elections, I reached-out to a number of attorneys whose opinions I respect – as well as some court employees with a keen eye – for their for insight.

        Here are the conclusions I have reached – the candidates I personally endorse:



There are some things about Susan Johnson’s performance that need to improve.  However, the reckless words her aggressive opponent (Jacob Hafter) recently directed at another member of the bench, clearly demonstrate he does not have the temperament or basic sense of fairness to be a District Court Judge. What Bruce Gale would bring to this court is unknown.  Let’s stick with Susan Johnson.



Of the four candidates vying to succeed retiring District Judge James Bixler in Department 24, you just can’t beat the experience and reputation longtime personal injury lawyer Jim Crocket can bring to the bench.  He is one of most qualified candidates for judge on the ballot.



I know they are unopposed; but vote for Gloria Sturman and Nancy Allf anyway.  They have both proven to be the thoughtful, knowledgeable and even-handed judges I had hoped for in endorsing them the first time they ran. They deserve this “pat on the back.”



There are some very sharp people among the eight candidates vying for the spot on the bench being vacated by Judge Gloria O'Malley in Family Court Department B.  I think Shann Winesett deserves our support.  It is imperative that a judge possess a deep understanding of family law before calling his or her first case. And, because parties in family court are often going through one of the worst times of their life, a family court judge must also possess a fair, firm, and compassionate judicial temperament.  Shann is a proven family lawyer and dedicated family man; I believe that he possesses those qualities. He is ready to be a Judge.



Rebecca Burton has 21 years of legal experience devoted entirely to the practice of family law. She is one of the small handful of attorneys in Nevada recognized by the State Bar as a Certified Family Law Specialist.  She has been honored by being selected as a Mountain States Family Law Super Lawyer (2010-present).  By representing her clients with diligence and dedication, she has achieved an outstanding reputation in the legal community.  She has a strong work ethic and has sought to promote and advance people’s access to the courts and to fair resolutions.  Rebecca can be an outstanding addition to the family court.



In Department J, voters need to end the re-election bid of Kenneth Pollock, the lowest rated Family Court Judge in last year’s R/J judicial performance survey.  Rena Hughes is an excellent alternative.  She has been practicing Family Law in Las Vegas since 1989.  She is an experienced Pro Tem Judge in Family Court, which means that sitting judges trust her to preside over their courtroom when they are unavailable to do so themselves.  In addition, Rena currently serves on the Outsourced Mediation Committee and is a Settlement Hearing Master for Family Court.



Sandy Pomrenze’s record has been somewhat a disappointment.  However, I believe she has the potential to do much better and, considering the alternatives, I will vote to retain her.



Gayle Nathan has done a mediocre job as a Judge – with 52% of attorneys recommending she not be retained.  I do like to give the benefit of the doubt and was really uncertain how I vote on her reelection, until she imposed her own attitudes in a Family Court matter concerning parents having the legal right to use medicinal cannabis.  To her, it is not a concern to the court if a parent takes morphine or OxyContin (as long as it comes from CVS) -- but doctor-recommended cannabis can be grounds for losing custody.  This attitude is something I cannot get beyond.

Lisa Brown has a stained, divisive record and has not always shown good judgment.

Instead, I think Maria Maskall who has practiced law for 20+ years, the past 15 in family law in Clark County, should be given a chance.  With Family Court cases involving minor children, I’m comfortable she will help the parties through the process for the ultimate benefit of the children.  This is definitely preferred over the out-of-date 'parents as adversaries' approach.  With substantial experience in Family Court cases, Maria will make a fine Judge.  Looking back, I wish we had chosen her over Steve Jones 4 years ago.


It ‘s time to go.

The American military involvement in the Iraq War has caused almost 4,500 American deaths and over 33,000 wounded -- and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi casualties. The war has cost American taxpayers over $780 billion at a time when domestic programs are being slashed.

Reps. Walter Jones (R-NC) and Barbara Lee (D-CA) are asking colleagues to sign a letter to the President urging all troops to leave by the end of the year.

They write: “Leaving troops and military contractors in Iraq beyond the deadline is not in our nation’s security interests, it is not in our nation’s strategic interests, and it is not in our nation’s economic interests.”

I hope both Reps. Shelley Berkley and Joe Heck will sign-on to their letter. 

Maintaining U.S. troops in a hostile environment when an overwhelming majority of the population is adamantly opposed to their presence is not only foolhardy but also counter-productive, especially when there is an agreement with the host nation government to withdraw them by a date certain.

It is evident that U.S. troops are not welcome in Iraq. Should the Iraqi government reluctantly agree to allow U.S. forces to remain in country despite the provision of the Status of Forces agreement to the contrary, its delicate political balance is likely to crumble, and a small contingent of American combat troops will be sitting ducks, subject to attack.  As an American Army infantryman who was in VietNam during the final stages of our involvement in that conflict, I know that only too well.

The time has come for all American combat troops and military contractors to withdraw from Iraq in accordance with Status of Forces agreement.


New GOP Governor wants casinos to pay more

   The recently-elected conservative Republican Governor said yesterday:  "Are these casino operators, who are going to make a lot of money off the state, are they willing to do a little bit to help us in the tough budget times? Are they willing to give us a little more money to help our schools? ...”

   And just what tax structure wasn’t high enough?  Casino operators pay $50 million each in state license fees and a 33% tax on gross revenue – PLUS the casinos pay the state’s regular business activities tax based on gross receipts - before paying out winnings.  However, this still isn’t adequate for the state’s pro-business Governor. 

    Gov. John Kasich (former Congressman & former Fox News Commentator) made those comments about the companies that are now establishing casinos in Columbus, Toledo, Cleveland and Cincinnati, Ohio. 

   How does Nevada’s recently-elected conservative Republican Governor feel about whether gaming is taxed adequately with a maximum tax of 6.75% on gross gaming revenue and no business activity tax?


Redistricting must be objective and make sense

Let’s try to ignore the foulness of this year’s election for a while, and think of something else:  like, the next election – 2012. 

Kyle Gillis, new investigative reporter at the Nevada Policy Research Institute, published an excellent article this week “What happened to One Person, One Vote? Nevada’s legislative district lines are constitutionally dubious.”  He tells the ugly history of Reapportionment-Past and shows that thoughtful folks of various political persuasions agree that something more rational should be done.  However, no specific proposals for Reapportionment-Future were presented.  In, 7 Steps to Reinventing Nevada, though, I have offered what seems to me to be a practical solution.

During the next two years, the redrawing of the lines of all the election districts in Nevada will take place.  For decades, we have had to live with incredibly gerrymandered maps drawn with one basic, overriding consideration:  preserving the status quo – keeping incumbents in office and making the overwhelming number of seats “safe” for one party or the other.  This removes the slightest possibility that an uprising of Nevada voters might actually have the power to affect or influence the results of major elections.  This process has resulted in many very oddly shaped districts that split neighborhoods and cities and diminish the voting power of many communities with shared interests.  Additionally, it leads to unnecessary confusion among voters.

Unfortunately, most people are unaware of the vast effect which redistricting has upon the political process, so they leave it up to the politicians to do themselves.  That must change – districts must be drawn objectively using principles of compactness, contiguity, competitiveness, and preserving communities.

I propose creating an independent, five-person commission to perform redistricting – with the Legislature then only having the option of a “yea” or “nay” vote on adopting a plan – no self-serving amendments allowed.  The four legislative leaders would each appoint a member and the Governor would appoint the fifth.  There would be a condition that districts be compact and, when possible, utilize existing city, county and geographical boundaries.  And, they must not be drawn to favor or disfavor incumbents or political parties.

          Note: I’m confident Kyle Gillis will continue to offer thoughtful analysis of Nevada’s political environment. While I’m also sure I won’t always be in agreement, he’ll make us think.  And, for a Michigan native & Albion College grad, I would expect no less.