This Is Reno Radio

The return of the lands bill, sort of

February 11, 2022 This Is Reno Season 2022 Episode 2
This Is Reno Radio
The return of the lands bill, sort of
Show Notes Transcript

The Truckee Meadows Public Lands Management Act is reportedly being drafted by U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen, and Sparks Mayor Ed Lawson says he’s pushing for the bill to get entered into Congress as early as this year. 

The bill was discussed in early 2020 with a public meeting. Reception, however, was widely negative. In this episode, I interview Lawson about what has been happening with the bill. 

Trustee reflects on school board service

A former school board trustee has a new book out, which has already received a best-seller status on Amazon. Kurt Thigpen’s book, “How to Win an Election: An Essential Guide to Campaigning During Adversity,” covers his electoral success in 2020. 

Thigpen reflects on his time serving as a trustee for the Washoe County School District in a climate of political belligerence and hostility.

Cares Campus crime

The Nevada Cares Campus opened under the city of Reno’s lead last year and has since been plagued with allegations of rampant crime and drug use. It is now overseen by Washoe County and operated by the Volunteers of America.

Ben West, the head of security for Washoe County, said a number of challenges persist at the campus. A lack of adequate staffing is among the biggest problems.

This episode also features a new song by Bryan McPherson. McPherson’s new release, “How to Draw Everything” comes out on Valentine's Day.

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Now is the appropriate time for me to announce that Nevada will rescind our mask mandate effective immediately. masks will no longer be required in public places. But there are still locations where you may be asked to wear a mask. And with that Nevada's massive mandate has been lifted. That's Governor Steve sisolak announcing the end to a nearly two year government restriction. Welcome to the this is Reno radio show and podcast. We are streaming on most all podcast platforms, and Reno's own kW NK community radio on 97.7 FM. I'm your host, Bob Conrad, but this is I'd like to equate it to slow torture, being sitting having to sit through that, you know, listening to such hatred and vitriol. A former school board trustee has a new book out and he reflects on his time serving in office. He described his time on the Washoe County School Board at slow torture. Also on today's show, Reno's massive homeless shelter is under fire again, for being understaffed and unsafe. Now I understand if somebody has a past, they were convicted, it's in the past. But if they're doing that crap in the building, they should not be allowed in there and they should be arrested. I've witnessed people shooting up heroin. I spoke with Washoe County's Head of Security about the difficulties and crime at the Nevada cares campus. But first, the Truckee Meadows Public Lands Management Act is being pushed again. And I think we're looking for language here and the next hoping month to two months at the most. And then we'll do our public meetings. And hopefully we'll have a bill submitted before January or December rather, during this Congress. Sparks may or Ed Lawson says he's been pushing for the public lands bill for Washoe County. The bill was discussed widely in early 2020. With a public meeting, reception, however, was widely negative. Here's the scene from that lands Bill meeting, as well as a comment from Kyle whirring from the Great Basin Water Network. Again, if it's included when your disposal boundary, nominated for disposal by the by the three entities, it would then be reviewed by the federal government and the agencies that manage that land. And they would kind of give you an upper down on whether or not they think that land is also appropriate for disposal. If they say no, we don't think it's appropriate for disposal. The process stops. You know, it's kind of a shame. I mean, there's not even bill language that is public right now. But I spoke with the mayor recently about what's been happening with the bill. Here's what he had to say, we have very close contact with Senator Rosen's office. And they we are working through right now the partial numbers of what will be in the landfill. And I think we're looking for language here and the next, I'm hoping month to two months at the most. And then we'll do our public meetings. And hopefully, we'll have a bill submitted before January or December rather, during this Congress. So I know that has been discussed for some time, but it was put on it seemed like it was put on hold for a couple years. So what what's transpired since then, well, it's it's being treated differently than it was in the past, in that in Las Vegas, you know, they did it by parcel numbers. We're doing it by parcel numbers also. So which makes it easier for all the interested party parties to say, I want this one included, and I don't want that parcel included. So it's I think going to be much clearer it's going to be cleaner for senator's office to get the language done. Okay, so what what specifically has been happening since the start of the pandemic in that last community meeting? Well, the kind of died obviously, because of the pandemic in the diet because the change of the Congress, but last March, I took up the reins basically and I've been giving a Mayor's vision speech for city of sparks in that region. I give that speech about phone time, three, four times a month to anybody will sit still and listen to me. And we talk about the land consumption. We talk about the predicament we're in. We talk about you know, the fact that we are in Sparks basically built out with you know, now it's all infill and when you do infill, it's more expensive, and you go vertical. So it In essence, if we don't get a lance bill, we're not able to expand. Then we become San Francisco and all this BLM land around us will be ocean. What can people expect to see in the proposed lantzville? As far as with this the land, I mean, we're gonna have parcel numbers, we'll have places that we want it. There's some strategic places, the US Forest Service wants to keep. BLM wants to keep a couple strategic places. There's an area of environmental concern to the east of sparks, it's roughly 10,000 acres. We were not going to touch that, you know, we're very much trying to make it a win win for everybody. And from from the tribe, to the environmentalists to the business community. Kurt Thigpen was a trustee for the Washoe County School District last year, he resigned, but then recently wrote a book about running for office, here's what he had to say, when I left I, you know, I had this feeling or a half had this feeling sense that I still wanted to contribute and kind of our win in the election. And, you know, being who I was on the board, I kind of didn't want to let that go to waste. So my thought was to try and help other people, you know, a lot more people just beyond Reno, who were interested in running, but may feel discouraged because of the pandemic or any other adversities they may face. So that's why I decided to write the book to share what worked for me and hopefully help other people. But good work for you. I think for me, it was a bit of a crowd recall, during the the early days of the pandemic, when this was happening, you know, everyone was so worried about even going to the grocery stores, or they were wiping their stuff down when they came home. So it was so taboo to go door knocking or things like that. So I really highly dependent on my knowledge of digital marketing, since that's my profession. But the things that I did aren't, they're not necessarily things that other people couldn't do themselves very easily. Okay. So in some ways, would you say this is a, a book that's a guidebook and a recommendation for folks as well as maybe a book that that sort of outlines your personal experience as well? Yes, it accomplishes both. It acts as a guide book of, you know, how, how to navigate the waters we're in right now, with a pandemic. It can be applied to any other adversities as well. As well, as, you know, my experience preparing for office because I had a good six months after the primary, when I went out right, to prepare. And then also, I talked about my experience once I was in the seat, you know, good and bad. Just so that people can be aware of things, you know, to do and not do things to look for and all of that when you're when you're finally in the seat. How long were you on the board before you decided that you had had to resign? I believe it was in I think it was towards the end of May, that I had decided I needed to do it for my own for my own mental health. And, you know, my physical health as well, because it was taking the stress was taking such an impact on me that I just had to so it was five months in and then I stayed until I think middle of July to make sure that the other seat that was emptied by trustee coddles of resignation when he moved away, just to make sure that the board wasn't left short handed, so I stuck it out a little bit longer as much as I could. Well, let's let's also be clear to that. School boards, especially in very large districts, well, not even large districts. Elko County has seen this. School boards have become extremely politicized by basically far right contingents to the point where, you know, threats are being made people are yelling and screaming at school board meetings. I imagine it would have been very intense. It was it was like to equate it to slow torture, being sitting having to sit through that, you know, listening to such hatred and vitriol for hours on end. And there's nothing you can really do. So it does take a toll on you no matter how you may have thick skin you may you may think you have because I know going in I thought I've been called every name of the book. But this was just unreal. And we've seen it across the country. So I remember around that time I kept thinking like God, I just, you know, wasn't strong enough. But then someone told me like, this really isn't normal. And it may be kind of helped put these things into perspective for me believe the entire if it's not the entire most of the Elko County School Board also resigned about the same time. Yeah, there were foot five, I think. Yeah. So this is this has sort of been a a tricky issue. I mean, after Trump lost the election, and we researched this quite a bit that sort of, like I said, the far right, folks on that, you know, end of the political spectrum, were really trying to politicize things at the ground level. And you really saw this at school board meetings across the country. Yeah, I mean, yeah, I witnessed it up close. And it was so it was just really bizarre and unreal, I remember, you know, when they start talking about CRT, critical race theory, and all of that, I when we were discussing, you know, diversity initiatives, I just was like, I don't even know what that means. I had to go look it up, because I've never heard of it. And then it started becoming more and more clear across the country that this is some sort of, you know, playbook that. That's happening and unfolding. Right. Okay. Well, let's, let's step back to your book a little bit. You self published this yesterday, I self published it. It's actually kind of been out since January. But it was in kind of revision modes. I wanted to make sure everything was good. And I had proof sent to me, but I announced it on February 1, so it's been out for a few days. And now it's the Amazon bestseller how to how does that happen? I am just as surprised. I've been watching it over the last few days. And I've only been promoting it within my own networks, online through social media, and all my email newsletter, which isn't that large. But I think people were excited about it, people that supported me, maybe you know, with everything that happened, and they they've just been the it's just been tremendous. So I was kind of looking at the dashboard and seeing like, oh, like today, it's now in the top 100 per election and all that. So it's really ranking high for the niche categories that it's in. That's incredible. And I'm very, I guess, impressed and fascinated by in local politics is that you do have these moneyed interests, but you also have people who just like say, You know what, I think I can do better than what's happening now. Yeah. And that's how I approached it was like, with my school board, right. And I was like, I have a unique experience from like the student perspective of, you know, some adversities I faced in school. And basically, I just ran on, I want to prevent these things from happening on my watch. And it works. I was worried too, because I don't have kids yet. You know, things like that. But I thought we're going to be major disqualifiers ended up not mattering at the end of the day. Right. Okay. million dollar question. Last question. I promise. Are you going to run again? And if so, for what? I have no plans to run for anything. It is funny, though, I get asked that a lot. And then someone started a rumor, I guess that was gonna run for mayor and I was like, No, too soon. I haven't rolled it out. But I haven't made any decisions or I don't have a desire to anytime soon. So you won't see me in the 22 election cycle, that's for sure. The Nevada cares Campus opened under the city of Reno's lead last year and has since been plagued with allegations of rampant crime and drug use. Ben West is the head of security for Washoe County. He said a number of challenges persist at the campus. A lack of adequate staffing is among the biggest concerns. Yes, we are familiar with the, you know, reports, both formal and informal, from participants on on site. Regarding drug use. We're obviously familiar with incidents that have occurred on site with participants who have assaulted one another. You know, we have issues with for sure we know we have knives on campus, and I've had incidents involving that. So, you know, we get incident reports from Allied universal security, which is our security contractor. So, you know, we do take all of the allegations and report information seriously and investigate all of them to the extent that we can. There are challenges sometimes with people not wanting to be forthcoming with information. You know, a lot of people have had some negative interactions in the past with government entities. And so it's understandable that sometimes while they want to have their issue address, there's sometimes like said, hesitant to make formal reports to us. But we do look into everything as fully as we can. And what are you finding when you look into these complaints or reports. Now, some of the issues are criminal in nature. And we do have a policy for the cares campus, that, you know, in the event that a crime is reported to a staff member, whether it's security staff, or VA staff, or county staff who happened to be on campus, that depending on the severity of what is reported to them, either 911 will be called or non emergency dispatch at the sheriff's office. So, you know, when we find those allegations that rise to the level of a crime, we have said in appropriate circumstances, we call 911. For the sheriff's office to respond and conduct an investigation in lower level incidents that are reported to us, our policy is to facilitate getting the person in contact with law enforcement, whatever the appropriate law enforcement agency is, whether that's through making a phone call on their behalf, you know, calling the sheriff's office to have them respond to the campus and meet with the individual. And so those are how we respond to criminal allegations, as far as items that would might be found on campus that aren't supposed to be there, whether it be drugs, which are prohibited on campus, or weapons. Security will make contact with the person or VOA staff depending on the interaction and the person's having remind them of the policies and have them remove the prohibited item from campus, whether it's you know, you have to take your drugs off campus, they can't bring them back on. Or, in the case of weapons, either take them off campus, or we do allow for weapons to be checked in at security. And then those items are logged and then they're returned to the owner when they leave campus. Yes, I'm aware of one sexual assault that was reported as being associated with the campus that was alleged, I mean, apparently a valid complaint. But the actual sexual assault took place off campus, there was a little bit of confusion. And we do have a little bit of a rumor mill concern with, you know, like any other kind of community, something happens and a neighbor tell somebody that they heard something happened and they pass on someone else. But that particular incident occurred off campus, it did allegedly involves some people who were on campus. So we cooperated with Reno Police Department on that investigation. I don't know what the outcome of it was. But the specific incident did not happen on campus. We've had a couple of other incidents that have been reported to sexual assaults, the sheriff's office has followed up on those is based on the records that I have from the sheriff's office, none of them were confirmed to be sexual assaults. But I know they were all investigated by the sheriff's office, or the person who was involved was given the information to contact the sheriff's office. You know, obviously, I can't speak on behalf of the sheriff's office on policy and things like that. But they do need the actual victim or someone to make a formal report for them to conduct the investigation. Yeah, so if it's the case where these folks might be not trusting of law enforcement, or people employed by the government, or whatever the case is, then it's possible some of these things could be happening and just not being dealt with. Yeah, it's challenging. You know, I had a prior career in law enforcement for about 15 years. And you know, it definitely could be frustrating to, you know, know something happened or have someone reports something to you. Sometimes people will, even when I was in law enforcement, someone make kind of an informal comment, you know, oh, this happened. And I'd be like, Oh, well, we should definitely make a report about that. And they're like, Ooh, I don't know if I want to get involved, you know, whether it's concerns for their personal safety or they may have concerns about how the investigation is going to be conducted. It definitely is challenging for anybody doing an investigation if it's difficult to get cooperation or witnesses. How many calls for service are you getting approximately each day there now? Hang on just a second. We have A bi weekly call with the sheriff's office just for kind of some background information. And that call involves Dana Sirsi. Myself staff member from human services because it's not just about cares campus, it's for cares campus, our place and the safe camp. So I'm going to look at our most recently because we get an actual report from the sheriff's office on a weekly basis with calls for service to the campuses. The most recent report I have, which is for the week of January 27. through February 2, calls for service at Keres campus that were on when we get to the one that's the law enforcement because they also send us their EMS calls. Non EMS calls for service for cares campus. And that's for a week and it's pretty consistent. I'm gonna give you an average here real quick because this is per day. Non EMS calls so that would be Sheriff's Office. Could be our PD are averaging about four calls a day. And what are the general nature of those calls? Pull up cares. There's EMS non EMS kind of calls that we I'm just looking at this list from that week, we have reports of people who are suicidal general disturbances, welfare check. Follow up for other cases, there's a burglary to a vehicle. I don't know if that occurred on campus or off. Mental health issues. There was a sexual assault reported during that week. But the disposition of it according to this record is unfounded. So I don't know the details on the what the deputies discovered. But you know, that's a pretty good example of it. You know, we do have calls for general disturbances and for unwanted subjects on campus. But like this week, we don't have any unwanted subject calls. But I know that that is a call that we get. They come across as unwanted subject calls to the sheriff's office. Generally, that is someone who has been expelled from the campus for rule violations. And, you know, either refuses to leave campus or may try to return to the campus before they're set out time period is expired. Well, I know, you know, at least from watching city and county meetings, a lot of the concern at the previous shelter was the number of calls for service. And it seems to me like maybe that's that's just been moved to a different location is that? I mean, sounds like you're still getting a Yeah, I would say that's pretty accurate. It's looking pretty consistent, that we're running around that for lawn toward us per days, who cares campus. So some of those incidents that are being reported in law enforcement responding to that address, may have occurred off campus just so happens that the person making the report is on campus. And you know, and it also could be follow up from somewhere else, you know, some of the things do occur on campus. But, you know, just anecdotally, I mean, I'm not getting contacted every single day by ally, and they report the serious incident that occurs on campus, to me by phone for my account manager, and I don't get daily calls. I know there was a stabbing I believe last fall. Have you had anything at that level? Since then? Not it's been reported now. Yeah. I would say as far as injuries that have occurred to staff or participants, and I know, kind of backup because I know you asked about that we have had security staff, you know, get punched by participants that got upset about incidents. So, but I can only think of two incidents where there was actually an assault on security staff. And in both of those circumstances the person well once one of those circles stances the person stayed on campus security was able to de escalate it to law enforcement that arrived, and the other person was actually restrained until law enforcement could arrive. Okay, offenders being led back on campus, I can refer you to the homeless services webpage with the county, it does have all of the county written policies in there. So it does explain that people are allowed back on campus after a certain period of time, depending on the nature of the infraction. If someone gets back on campus, who is supposed to be sat out for a certain period of time, you know, on every any given day, my manager reports that, you know, there's 50 People in the book that are at one stage or another have not being allowed back on campus. And right now, it's relying on officers, you know, kind of memory as well as the honesty of the person coming on campus to provide their name so that they can check them against the book. So we know occasionally people get back on campus, but when that's reported, we make contact with them and you know, they're escorted back off campus until the end of their kickout period. Drug use on campus, you know, it's the population there are, you know, substance abuse challenges for those folks. And so, it's not shocking to me that someone may you know, see someone using drugs on campus again the staff is made aware of it and can substantiate it though you know, make contact with people have removed the drugs from the campus and you know, it's certainly not condoned. Taking us out this week is a new song by Brian McPherson. Brian is no stranger to Reno and this song is from his latest release we are fine in the wind go around. Come back again. The Sunday the sky makes me great to be alive we go in Russia go around makes me crazy. Be alive. In the darkest corners in a phone with drag I've been rained on a tornado going down a tree we have to go around come back again. Because it's a bomb. Makes me great via right now by over river EO F ever stop trying to sit to go around. Comeback again this makes the great beat alive. He makes me crave for this is Reno I am Bob Conrad, please visit us online at this is Reno dot Calm