(Chuck Muth) – Here’s the Readers Digest version of the ongoing brouhaha at the old Badlands Golf Course in northwest Las Vegas…
The course’s owner, EHB Cos., was losing its shirt in trying to profitably operate the golf course. So they shut it down a few years ago and sought to use the land for a residential home development – which is what the land was originally zoned for.
But some wealthy and politically-connected adjacent home owners, who didn’t want to lose the golf course views they’d become accustomed to, pressured the Las Vegas City Council to stonewall and block the development, costing the developer a fortune.
The developer sued, alleging the city council’s actions amounted to a government “taking” of the developer’s land without appropriate compensation. The city’s taxpayers have since spent somewhere between $4 million and $10 million, depending on who you talk to, defending its land snatch.
Former Las Vegas City Councilman Bob Beers has long warned that the city was on the wrong side of this issue. He wrote back in 2019 that “both the city attorney and the Planning Department agreed that the land was still zoned residential” and that “zoning, once granted, doesn’t change.”
Last week, a district court judge issued a ruling that pretty much everybody involved in the dispute, especially Mr. Beers, saw coming a mile away…
Yep, the city screwed up.
“I think under the vast facts and circumstances,” District Judge Timothy Williams declared in his ruling, “it’s pretty clear that we had a taking.”
“Fighting the government and politically connected people who threatened to take our land early on is no easy feat,” Vickie DeHart, a principal with the developer said after the ruling. “It is wonderful to see justice prevail and the courts uphold our constitutional rights. A win for us is a win for all landowners.”
That ruling was the first in four separate “reverse condemnation” suits on four separate parcels that make up the old Badlands golf course. And odds are the city is going to lose the other three as well, which could end up costing city taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.
HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS!
Hundreds of millions of dollars the city doesn’t have. Which means city taxpayers will likely end up with some huge tax hikes to pay for it.
“The city may have an appeal in mind, but that would be a colossal waste,” editorialized the Las Vegas Review-Journal last weekend. “At this point, the City Council needs to minimize the damage and do what it should have done years ago: See what EHB will accept to make this whole fiasco go away.”
But rather than follow the RJ’s advice, cut its already substantial losses and settle up with the developer, the city council on Wednesday foolishly voted 6-1 to continue the legal fight and appeal the ruling, with Councilwoman Michele Fiore being the only sane vote.
“This has to stop,” Fiore said. “Unfortunately, past councils have made political mistakes and it has cost the taxpayers millions and it’s going to continue costing taxpayers millions. So I am not in support of continuing this battle.”
Lawyers I’ve spoken with who have been following the case essentially say you have a better chance of hitting the Powerball jackpot than the city has of winning its appeal.
But what the hell. It’s only taxpayer money, right?
This may be an issue specifically for Las Vegas, but the fight for private property rights against government abuse is EVERYBODY’S fight. We wish EHB continued success in this David vs. Goliath battle.
And in conclusion: Let’s go, Brandon!
I received this recorded phone message this week:
“Hey sorry we missed you. I’m with the Democratic Party of Virginia and we are in your neighborhood to see if you’d like a yard sign to support (gubernatorial candidate) Terry McAuliffe. If you’d like a free yard sign email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Since I’m pretty sure they weren’t in my Mt. Reagan, Nevada neighborhood, I’m guessing the Virginia Democrats have some VERY bad voter file data. Hope they keep it up!
ELECTION ’22 UPDATE
A recent survey by a Democrat pollster shows Republican gubernatorial candidates Joe Lombardo and Dean “Never Trump” Heller within the margin of error in a general election match-up against Democrat incumbent Governor-Emperor Steven von Sisolak.
None of the other GOP guv candidates were included in the poll, but a separate survey conducted by the Tarrance Group took a closer look at Lombardo and Heller and how they fare “among Republican primary voters and among the electorate as a whole.”
I’ve obtained a copy of the poll results. If interested, click here.
Last Night’s Campaign Boot Camp
At last night’s Campaign Boot Camp workshop on “Messaging 101: Copywriting Secrets,” I shared some new information I hadn’t shared with anyone else on how a half-dozen AI (artificial intelligence) programs can turn anyone – ANYONE – into a copywriting ninja, even if they think they stink on ice when it comes to writing.
If you missed it, the only way to learn about it is to subscribe right now to my Psephology Today newsletter so you’ll get the October issue (that went in the mail yesterday to current subscribers) and details all six of the tools. Click here
Attendees last night also got a surprise visit from Don Ahern, owner of the Ahern Freedom Hotel, who has generously donated the meeting room space for our boot camps.
He thanked everyone for their involvement in the political process and noted that participation in the boot camps would be taken into consideration when candidates come to him for campaign donations.
Which reminds me…
The next boot camp next Wednesday night will be on “High-Dollar Fundraising.” Unless you’re self-funding your campaign, you better be there for this one. You’re gonna to learn some “tricks of the trade” that most campaign fundraising consultants don’t even know about, let alone use.
And everyone who attends will get a free copy of my book: “The Ultimate Fundraising Guide to Reaching Mr. Big: Inside Secrets, Simple Tips and Proven Strategies for Getting in Front of the Most Hard-to-Reach Major Donors, CEO’s, Celebrities and Political Big Wigs.”
Seating is limited, so RSVP for this FREE workshop by clicking here
Thinking of running for office or know someone who is? Sign up for my FREE “Campaign Hot Tips” e-newsletter. Click here
FAMOUS LAST WORDS
“With each passing week it looks like World War III – between America and China – is coming sooner than we think. It’s not going to be fought with bullets or aircraft carriers. This will likely to be an all-out economic war for global supremacy. … This wasn’t a great time to exchange a president who put America first and recognized that China is a predator economy for a half-witted president who thinks that climate change is a bigger threat to the world than the Maoists in Beijing.” – Stephen Moore of Committee to Unleash Prosperity
Mr. Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, publisher of Nevada News & Views and blogs at MuthsTruths.com