Newspaper column: Remember history, don’t erase it

Confederate memorials and statues all across the South are being torn down or moved out of sight. 

In dozens of states the Democratic fundraising dinners once called Jefferson-Jackson dinners have been renamed because Thomas Jefferson owned slaves and Andrew Jackson was an Indian fighter. 

There have even been demands that Washington’s face be removed from our coinage because he was a slaveholder. 

A gubernatorial candidate in Georgia has called for sandblasting the giant etching on Stone Mountain depicting Gens. Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson and Confederate President Jefferson Davis. 

There have been petitions to rename Jeff Davis Peak in Nevada’s Great Basin National Park. 

Books by Mark Twain — including “Roughing It,” which is about his tenure in Nevada — are being pulled from libraries and classrooms because they contain an ethnic slur common, nay, ubiquitous in his day.

This past week a statue erected in 1894 was taken down in San Francisco because it depicted a vaquero and a priest standing over an American Indian sitting on the ground.

Now, a committee at the University of California Berkeley School of Law is calling for the name of a one-time Nevada miner, lawyer and judge to be excised in all its many iterations because he was opposed to Chinese immigration. 

Up until 2008, what is now referred to as Berkeley Law was called Boalt Hall, after John and Elizabeth Boalt. After John Boalt’s death his widow gave the money that eventually led to the construction in 1911 of “Boalt Memorial Hall of Law.”

John Boalt

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, there is now a Boalt Hall instructional wing, Boalt Hall Alumni Association, Boalt Hall Fund, Boalt Hall Student Association, Boalt Environmental Law Society and even the Boalt Hall Committee on Human Rights. The school’s Facebook page is called “UC Berkeley School of Law, Boalt Hall.” Alumni call themselves “Boalties.”

The deed that warrants the proposed erasure of the Boalt name is that in 1877 he wrote a 16-page pamphlet titled, “The Chinese question: A paper read before the Berkeley Club.”

According to a Berkeley Law article about the school name, Boalt argued in the paper for restricting Chinese immigration, saying two “non-assimilating races” could not live harmoniously together because the two races were too physically and intellectually dissimilar. 

“The two races are further separated by fundamental differences in language, in dress, in customs, in habits, and social peculiarities and prejudices,” Boalt declared. “In all these respects, the Chinese differ from us more than any known race.”

It was not an uncommon position. In 1879 the voters of California approved an initiative to prohibit Chinese immigration, and in 1882 Congress passed The Chinese Exclusion Act. 

John Boalt may well have come by his animus for the Chinese while living in Nevada. He and his wife moved to Nevada to seek their fortune in the Comstock Lode, which also attracted a number of Chinese laborers. 

In many areas the Chinese were prohibited from staking mining claims or working in the underground mines. They were segregated into what was dubbed Chinatown.

Boalt Hall, dedicated in 1912

Dan De Quille, a staffer at the Territorial Enterprise in Virginia City during the mining days, wrote in his book “Big Bonanza,” “The Chinese are a curious people and have curious notions on all subjects. They are like Europeans in nothing.”

Twain, a contemporary of De Quille in Virginia City, wrote in “Roughing It” of the Chinese, “They are a harmless race when white men either let them alone or treat them no worse than dogs; in fact they are almost entirely harmless anyhow, for they seldom think of resenting the vilest insults or the cruelest injuries. … Any white man can swear a Chinaman’s life away in the courts, but no Chinaman can testify against a white man. … As I write, news comes that in broad daylight in San Francisco, some boys have stoned an inoffensive Chinaman to death, and that although a large crowd witnessed the shameful deed, no one interfered.”

We wonder how those who wish to eradicate the names of people who behaved contrary to modern standards would have comported themselves had they been born in another era and lived in a culture with a different way of thinking.

We should learn from past mistakes, not blot it from memory. I was once advised that when writing about someone that I should include warts and all, but not all warts either. Shortcomings, by current standards, are a part of the whole story. 

It seems paradoxical that these censors are effectively shouting: “We will not tolerate intolerance.”

A version of this column appeared this week in many of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel and the Lincoln County Record — and the Elko Daily Free Press.

 

Newspaper column: Parents need to weigh ‘social’ promotion options

Up until the third grade, students are learning to read. After that, they should be reading to learn.

That is why in 2015 Nevada lawmakers passed a bill dubbed Read by 3, requiring schools to have students who have not achieved a certain level of literacy to be retained in the third grade. It was modeled after a law passed in Florida in 2002 that quickly increased reading proficiency by catching deficiencies early and providing extra tutoring — greatly reducing third grade illiteracy in less than a decade.

Back in 2011 former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush wrote an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal explaining the purpose of the law and what it had accomplished already, “While preparing kids for college and careers starts on the first day of kindergarten, the first good indicator of their chances for success may come in fourth grade. That is when students transition from learning to read to reading to learn.”

Bush recounted, “Florida ended automatic, ‘social’ promotion for third-grade students who couldn’t read. Again, the opposition to this hard-edged policy was fierce. Holding back illiterate students seemed to generate a far greater outcry than did the disturbing reality that more than 25% of students couldn’t read by the time they entered fourth grade. But today? According to Florida state reading tests, illiteracy in the third grade is down to 16%.”

In order to give students, parents and teachers a chance to prepare, Nevada’s law does not go into effect until July 1, 2019.

If the law had been in effect a year ago, according to newspaper accounts, 55 percent of third graders statewide could have been eligible for retention, while this year the percentage is said to be 29 percent, though about half could qualify for what are called “good-cause” exemptions.

In 2017 Democratic lawmakers were unsuccessful in an attempt to repeal the law. At the time, Gov. Brain Sandoval, an ardent backer of the original bill, put out a statement saying, “The Read by Grade 3 initiative placed nearly $30 million directly in classrooms in more than 300 schools across Nevada with a clear line of accountability and singular focus on developmental reading. The Governor will not compromise on the goal of ensuring every student in Nevada is reading at grade level by third grade.”

Nevada’s State Board of Education may have just watered down the law with its recent policy determinations. The law requires the board to select a standard reading examination and set a cut-off score for promotion to the fourth grade.

According to a board press release, the test to be used under the law beginning in the 2020-2021 academic year will be the Smarter Balanced English Language Arts examination. The test ranks students in four different levels of reading achievement  — exceeds standards, meets standards, approaching standards or emerging/developing standards. Only those in the lowest level would be identified for possible retention in the third grade.

But, as allowed by law, the board adopted an alternative test for those who fail the Smarter Balanced one. That is the Northwest Evaluation Association reading test and the cut-off score on that test will be a rather law 30th percentile.

But then the board created, as the law allows, a number of other “good-cause” exemptions for those with disabilities, English learners, ones who demonstrate reading proficiency through a portfolio of school work and those who were retained in earlier grades.

“While initial data indicates a significant number of students may be retained in third grade, the good-cause exemptions ensure fairness in this process,” Steve Canavero, superintendent of public instruction, was quoted as saying in the press release. “I can’t emphasize enough, the goal of Read by Grade 3 is not to punish anyone, rather the goal of this program is to enhance a student’s ability to read successfully — thus ensuring success throughout his/her entire academic experience.”

But the law itself does require considerable input from pupils’ parents or legal guardians. Hopefully they will make sound judgments as to whether a good-cause exemption is better than retention. Social promotion often does not work out for the best.

A version of this column appeared this week in many of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel and the Lincoln County Record — and the Elko Daily Free Press.

Nevada Department of Education pix

Newspaper column: Bundy lawsuit addresses public land ownership

A civil lawsuit filed on behalf of Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy in state district court asks the court to declare that the public land on which Bundy grazes his cattle is owned by Nevada and Clark County, not the federal government.

The chances of success are most likely slim and none, but the suit raises some salient points about the power of the federal bureaucracy to hold sway over more than 85 percent of the land in Nevada.

Bundy and his sons are notorious for the 2014 armed standoff with Bureau of Land Management agents who attempted to confiscate his cattle for his failure to pay $1 million in grazing fees and fines over two decades. Federal criminal charges against the remaining defendants in that case were dismissed when the judge ruled the prosecution failed to turn over potentially exculpatory evidence to the defendants.

Cliven Bundy (R-J pix)

The civil lawsuit — drafted by Larry Klayman, often described as an activist right-wing lawyer and founder of Judicial Watch, and Craig Mueller, who earlier this year lost a primary bid for attorney general — cites court cases, U.S. and Nevada constitutional history, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in which Mexico ceded much of the West to the United States and legislative proclamations.

The suit notes the state Legislature has never consented to allow the U.S. government to own more than 85 percent of the land within the state’s borders.

When the Constitution was being drafted James Madison raised concerns about giving Congress too much power to purchase land in the states, saying “that this power might be made use of to enslave any particular state by buying up its territory, and that the strongholds proposed would be a means of awing the state into an undue obedience to the general government.”

Constitutional Convention delegate Rufus King moved to add the phrase “by consent of the legislature of the state” to the section that mentioned the federal government owning forts, docks and “other needful Buildings.” It passed unanimously. With the exception of the Nevada Test Site, few of the federal land holdings in Nevada have been with the consent of the Legislature.

Bundy’s suit further explains the intent of a section of the Nevada Constitution known as the Disclaimer Clause that said the state does “forever disclaim all right and title to the unappropriated public lands lying within said territory, and that the same shall be and remain at the sole and entire disposition of the United States.”

Klayman and Mueller write, “The intent of the Territorial Legislature was not to ceed (sic) the land to the US Government ‘forever’, but to clear title of all unappropriated lands within the Territory so U.S. Congress could dispose of the lands to the State of Nevada.”

Which is probably why the admission document promised 5 percent of the proceeds to Nevada when land would be “sold by the United States subsequent to the admission of said state into the Union …”

In fact, though the suit doesn’t mention it, that so-called Disclaimer Clause was repealed by the voters in 1996, “effective on the date Congress consents to amendment or a legal determination is made that such consent is not necessary …” Might the court make such a legal determination? Doubtful.

The lawsuit also mentions a section of Nevada Revised Statutes 321 that declared, “The State of Nevada has a legal claim to the public land retained by the Federal Government within Nevada’s borders because: … The intent of the framers of the Constitution of the United States was to guarantee to each of the states sovereignty over all matters within its boundaries except for those powers specifically granted to the United States as agent of the states. … The purported right of ownership and control of the public lands within the State of Nevada by the United States is without foundation and violates the clear intent of the Constitution of the United States.”

Not only has the Legislature not consented, it has vehemently protested.

The lawsuit points out on four occasions that the Bundy ranch has been in existence for 141 years, during which it has held water, grazing and property rights, adding that Bundy “has suffered substantial injury, as his cattle are his only source of income … (and) is entitled to declaratory judgment that the lands upon which he and his family have conducted its ranching, The Bundy Ranch, for generations is property belonging to the People of Nevada and its subdivision, Clark County …”

The suit raises some serious questions.

A version of this column appeared this week in many of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel and the Lincoln County Record — and the Elko Daily Free Press.

Newspaper column: Judge confirms gun background check law unenforceable

A district court judge brought the hammer down on backers of a voter-approved initiative intended to require background checks prior to gun sales by private individuals, telling them the courts and the executive branch cannot fix the problem they themselves created.

The Background Check Act, Question 1 on the November 2016 ballot, passed by a whisker with only 50.45 percent of the statewide vote, failing in every county except Clark. Nevadans for Background Checks reportedly spent $19 million on the campaign for passage with $18 million coming from former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his political action committee Everytown for Gun Safety. The NRA reportedly spent $6.5 million in opposition.

As Judge Joe Hardy pointed out in his 22-page ruling this past week the Question 1 backers included in the law a requirement that background checks must be conducted by the FBI and not the Nevada Department of Public Safety (DPS), which does the background checks for licensed gun dealers under an arrangement with the FBI called a Point of Contact. This verbiage allowed supporters to argue in the obligatory fiscal note that “no Nevada tax dollars” would be used to conduct the background checks.

Judge Hardy concluded, “This framing and representation no doubt facilitated passage by the voting public,” which seems reasonable considering how narrow the vote margin turned out to be.

The initiative specifically spelled out that those involved in a private gun sale would have to contact a licensed gun dealer to conduct a background check and: “The licensed dealer must contact the National Instant Criminal Background Check System [NICS] … and not the Central Repository, to determine whether the buyer or transferee is eligible to purchase and possess firearms under state and federal law …”

The Central Repository is handled by DPS and uses NICS data as well as state and local data to run background checks required by federal law and those sought voluntarily by private gun sellers.

The Background Check Act carried a penalty of up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine — if it were enforceable.

But the FBI refused to conduct the background checks, saying a state law could not compel a federal agency to engage in such a costly undertaking.

The backers’ lawsuit sought to have the court force the governor and the state attorney to get the FBI to conduct the background checks or to sever that section from the law. The judge wrote that the state constitution’s separation of powers clause prohibits him from ordering the executive branch to do something so long as their actions are not arbitrary and capricious, and the section could not be severed because that would destroy a central component of the law approved by the voters.

Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, whose office had declared the initiative unenforceable, welcomed the court decision agreeing with his office’s conclusion.

“The Court’s 22-page decision reaffirms what my office has been saying all along — that the Act ‘is unenforceable as written,’” Laxalt was quoted as saying in a press release. “This is not because of anything that I or other Nevada officials have failed to do; in the words of the Court, we have ‘undertaken a real and substantial effort to implement the law.’ Rather, it is a result of Question 1’s flawed drafting. It is unfortunate that the very same people who imposed this defective law on all Nevadans have gone to such lengths to use its brokenness as a reason to politically attack me and other Nevada’s elected officials through litigation. Hopefully, today’s careful decision puts an end to this practice.”

Laxalt is the Republican nominee for governor on this fall’s ballot.

The judge also noted that allegations by the plaintiffs that the attorney general and Gov. Brian Sandoval had failed to aggressively work to make the law enforceable we’re unfounded, detailing communications attempting to negotiate with the FBI, and saying the proponents made improper emotional appeals about public safety.

Gov. Sandoval’s office told The Nevada Independent, a web-based news site, “the Governor’s Office believes the order speaks for itself.”

Basically, the drafters of the initiative were too wily for their own good, opting for selling the law as tax-free and thus building in its own Catch-22.

A version of this column appeared this week in many of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel and the Lincoln County Record — and the Elko Daily Free Press.

 

Newspaper column: Stop wasting taxpayer money on secret UFO studies

Reid being interviewed on KLASA-TV

As they say on “The X-Files,” the truth is out there.

Apparently it is still out there, because no one has revealed it. Maybe that is because it is classified. Yeah, that’s the ticket. It’s classified.

In December, The New York Times revealed that former Nevada Sen. Harry Reid had secretly managed in 2007 to direct $22 million in taxpayer money to a secret UFO study, with much of the money going to Reid crony and contributor Robert Bigelow of Las Vegas.

The program was called the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP), apparently the linguistic avatar for UFO studies.

According to the Times, money was spent by Bigelow’s company, Bigelow Aerospace, to hire subcontractors and solicit research, as well as modifying buildings in Las Vegas for the storage of metal alloys and other materials “recovered from unidentified aerial phenomena.”

The Defense Department told the Times the funding dried up in 2012, but Reid told the newspaper that only he and Sens. Ted Stevens of Alaska and Daniel Inouye of Hawaii knew about the funding to begin with. So how do we know it ended?

“This was so-called black money,” Reid was quoted as saying. “Stevens knows about it, Inouye knows about it. But that was it, and that’s how we wanted it.” And you thought it took a majority vote.

Both Stevens and Inouye have since died. Reid retired from office this past year.

The Times further noted that in 2009 Reid wrote a letter to William Lynn III, a deputy defense secretary at the time, requesting the creation of a highly secret, severely limited access program, because “much progress has been made with the identification of several highly sensitive, unconventional aerospace-related findings.”

The paper also reported that a 2009 Pentagon briefing on the study claimed “what was considered science fiction is now science fact” — without explanation as to what that might be — but Reid’s request for the super secret squad reportedly was denied.

Recently a Las Vegas television station got its hands on that 2009 letter and posted a copy online.

The letter is a buzzword- and jargon-filled screed claiming extraordinary findings without a shred of supporting documentation or evidence. It never mentions unidentified flying objects or UFOs. Instead it talks about “emerging disruptive aerospace technologies … in regard to advanced lift, propulsion, the use of unconventional materials and controls, signature reduction, weaponry, human interface and human effects.”

The second paragraph, which was partially quoted by the Times, reads: “Since the Advanced Aerospace Threat and Identification Program (AAITP [sic]) and study were first commissioned, much progress has been made with the identification of several highly sensitive, unconventional aerospace-related findings. Given the current rate of success, the continued study of these subjects will likely lead to technology advancements that in the immediate near-term will require extraordinary protection.”

What progress? What rate of success? Extraordinary protection from whom? The taxpayers?

In fact, Reid’s letter specifically states that it is critical for industry partners to be protected, lest public awareness of such folly discourage industry participation.

Reid’s letter further states, “Associated exotic technologies likely involve extremely sophisticated concepts with the world of quantum mechanics, nuclear science, electromagnetic theory, gravitics, and thermodynamics. Given that all of these have the potential to be used with catastrophic effects by adversaries, an unusually high degree of operational security and read-on discretion is required.”

Gravitics? That’s not science. It is science fiction.

The Las Vegas television station also posted what is reportedly a list of studies funded by Reid’s largesse with our money. Titles include “Wormholes in SpaceTime,” “Antigravity Studies,” “Vacuum Energy Applications,” “Warp Drives, Dark Energy, and Dimensions,” “Quantum Entanglement Communications,” “Brain-Machine Interfaces” and “Quantum Tomography of Negative Energy States in the Vacuum.”

The word quantum merely means a specified quantity.

At least two people who have been identified as working without Bigelow on the materials “recovered from unidentified aerial phenomena” have declared they could not talk about their “findings” because they are classified.

Precisely how is the public ever to find out if their money — being spent in secret and producing only secret findings — has been well spent? That is the definition of unaccountability with the potential for chicanery and tomfoolery.

The truth may be out there, but how are we to know?

A version of this column appeared this week in many of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel and the Lincoln County Record — and the Elko Daily Free Press.

Newspaper column: Too many willing to forgo First Amendment rights

Here is proof positive that ignorance is hazardous to freedom.

The Freedom Forum’s 2018 First Amendment survey, conducted in May and June, asked 1,009 Americans to name the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment. Only one person could name all five. One out of more than 1,000.

But perhaps the most telling aspect of the survey was when knowledge of the First Amendment was compared to a willingness to have the government censor social media online. Fully 63 percent of those who could name not a single First Amendment right agreed the government should censor speech, while 87 percent of those who could name four freedoms disagreed.

The more rights one could name, the more those people balked at government censorship. The curve of ignorance runs counter to the curve of freedom.

Knowledge is power and ignorance is hazardous.

Even more scary is the fact that ignorance is rampant. Fully 76 percent of those surveyed could name none or only one First Amendment right — meaning that if such a censorship scheme were put to a vote it just might win.

As for political party affiliation, 54 percent of Democrats agreed with government censorship compared with 47 percent of Republicans.

For the record, the First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

We’ve been writing about this annual survey with considerable angst for two decades and things have gone downhill since. In 1997, the first year of the survey, 2 percent of those questioned could name all five rights.

Somewhat ironically, considering the considerable willingness to renege on it, the one First Amendment right a simple majority, 56 percent, could name was freedom of speech. Only 15 percent could recall freedom of religion. A mere 13 percent could think of freedom of the press, while right of assembly garnered only 12 percent and right of petition a paltry 2 percent. Fully 9 percent thought the Second Amendment right to bear arms was in the First.

Another disturbing finding in the survey is the willingness of Americans to silence someone merely because someone might be offended. When asked whether public universities should be able to retract invitations to controversial speakers if their remarks would offend some groups or even individuals, 42 percent agreed. If the appearance might provoke protests, 51 percent would withdraw the invitation. And if it might incite violence, 70 would cancel — the hooligan’s veto.

“It’s a little disquieting that 4 in 10 believe that public universities should be able to cancel a speaker if he or she might offend ‘individuals.’ In these polarized times, it’s difficult to conceive of anyone speaking on any topic without offending someone,” commented Ken Paulson, president of the Freedom Forum Institute’s First Amendment Center and dean of the College of Media and Entertainment at Middle Tennessee State University.

“That finding — along with majority support for cancelling speakers if a protest is likely — suggests there is significant public support for keeping controversial ideas off college campuses,” Paulson continues. “This begs the question: If a public institution dedicated to the sharing of knowledge and ideas is the wrong place for controversial thoughts, what is the appropriate venue?”

On a more positive note, 74 percent of survey respondents agreed that it is important that the news media act as a watchdog on the government, up from only 68 percent in 2017.

David L. Hudson, Jr. — author, co-author or co-editor of more than 40 books, including “First Amendment: Freedom of Speech” — noted that politicians have long extolled and excoriated the role of the press.

Though President Obama praised “a tough and vibrant media,” President Trump has called some members of the press “enemies of the people” and purveyors of “fake news.”

“The most encouraging part of the 2018 State of the First Amendment survey is the public’s embrace of the ideal of the media serving as the watchdog of a free society,” Hudson writes. “The American public recognizes the essential importance of a vibrant and free press to serve the interests of the public as a check against government.”

But for how long?

A version of this column appeared this week in many of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel and the Lincoln County Record — and the Elko Daily Free Press.

Newspaper column: Could Nevada benefit from plans for Hoover Dam electricity?

What’s in it for us?

A recent New York Times story outlines a proposal by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to use Hoover Dam and Colorado River water to smooth out its flow of electricity. The utility has so much intermittent solar and wind power that sometimes it must pay others to take it off its hands lest it overload the grid and result in blackouts.

The plan is to build a $3 billion system of pipes and pump stations by 2028 that would use that excess solar and wind electricity to pump water from downstream of the dam back into Lake Mead. When the utility needs power — when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow — water would be released through the dam’s turbines to generate power.

Turbines inside Hoover Dam (NYT pix)

The Times article compared the scheme to using the dam as a sort of storage battery, noting that utility-scale lithium-ion batteries cost 26 cents a kilowatt-hour, compared with 15 cents for a pumped-storage hydroelectric project.

The utility already operates a hydroelectric plant at Pyramid Lake, northwest of Los Angeles, that uses the electric grid to spin a turbine backward to pump water back into the lake.

“I think we have to look at this as a once-in-a-century moment,” the newspaper quoted Los Angeles Mayor Eric M. Garcetti as saying. “So far, it looks really possible. It looks sustainable, and it looks clean.”

Of course, the scheme is rife with potential problems. How would it affect water availability downstream? What would be the environmental impact in general and specifically for the herds of bighorn sheep? How would it impact recreational uses?

The concept is not new, though the scale of this proposition is rather audacious. The technology has been around since the late 19th century and there are several working pumped storage facilities around the world. Back in 2011 a proposal was floated to build what is called a pumped storage project in Eldorado Valley south of Las Vegas.

Though it sounded vaguely like a perpetual motion machine, it was based on the principle of supply and demand. Like in the stock or currency market — buy low, sell high.

Eldorado Pumped Storage filed an application for permission to study the feasibility of building a closed-loop hydropower facility. The idea was to build a 10,000 acre-foot reservoir at an elevation of 3,570 feet and another at 1,500 feet. During the day, when power is expensive, the water would flow through turbines and the electricity could be sold on the grid. At night, when power is cheaper, the water would be pumped back to the top of the hill.

A similar plan was once proposed for the gypsum mining property across from Blue Diamond.

Nothing has been heard since about either proposal.

As for the Hoover Dam proposal, what’s in it for Nevada? Nevada would bear the brunt of the impact of disturbances to build pipelines and pump stations. Nevada recreational uses of Lake Mohave and the Colorado River near Laughlin could be hurt by lower water levels.

Nevada gets only a quarter of the power generated by Hoover Dam, while Arizona gets less than 20 percent and the rest flows to California.

As for Lake Mead water, California gets 4.4 million acre-feet a year, Arizona 2.8 million acre-feet and Nevada a mere 300,000 acre-feet.

At the end of the lengthy Times report, Nevada state Sen. Joe Hardy of Boulder City is quoted as suggesting that Nevada would be willing to negotiate.

“The hurdles are minimal and the negotiations simple, as long as everybody agrees with Nevada,” Hardy told the newspaper. “It would be nice if there was a table that they would come to. I’ll provide the table.”

Perhaps Nevada could bargain for a greater share of water and further delay plans for that $15 billion dollar scheme to siphon groundwater from Lincoln and Nye counties.

Additionally, Nevada might bargain for more power for rural electric cooperatives.

What’s in it for Nevada?

A version of this column appeared this week in many of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel and the Lincoln County Record — and the Elko Daily Free Press.

Hoover Dam (NYT video)