The Clark County Commission and District Attorney Steve Wolfson made a courageous decision recently, filing suit against opioid manufacturers and distributors amid the opioid crisis. Dozens of cities and counties around the country are attempting to recover the enormous resources they have had to expend in response to this epidemic.
In the late 1990s, the pharmaceutical manufacturers began a multi-prong campaign to dupe the public, as well as the medical community, into believing that these new “wonder pain pills” could be used to treat people with chronic pain. The goal was to mislead the general public and the prescribing doctors to believe that these new opioids were the “gold standard of pain medication and were not addictive.”
This strategy by the opioid manufacturers led to the largest drug addiction problem in U.S. history, while making the drug companies tens of billions of dollars in profits. Today, 2 million Americans are addicted to prescription opioids.
There has been a 400 percent increase in opioid prescriptions sales since 1999, without an overall change in reported pain. There were more 259 million prescriptions for opioids in 2012 — more than the number of adult Americans. Of the Americans addicted to heroin, 80 percent of them started with an addiction to prescription opioids.
The cycle is such that the patients are prescribed opioids and subsequently become addicted. Once those users’ prescriptions dry up, they turn to the streets to obtain black-market prescription opioids. Since heroin has the same chemical compound as prescription opioids and is much less expensive, they eventually turn to heroin.
This scourge has cost our country’s counties and cities hundreds of billions of dollars over the past two decades, overburdening their budgets and draining their resources. Our criminal justice system has been strained to the breaking point dealing with this epidemic. These valuable resources should be available to benefit the citizens of Nevada’s counties in many other productive ways rather than in response to the opioid epidemic.
Currently, 175 people die every day in America from a prescription opioid or heroin overdose. In November, the president’s economic council reported that this epidemic is costing our country more than $500 billion every year.
One of the biggest growth industries in our country is drug rehabilitation centers, and there are still not enough of them to treat all the addicts. The $100 million expended for 2015 opioid-related emergency room and inpatient charges in Clark County could have been used to treat 4,200 addicted individuals in a 28-day inpatient rehabilitation program.
Clark County has retained the national law firm Eglet Prince to sue the drug manufacturers on its behalf. The law firm is undertaking all the risk. These drug companies have been sued more than 100 times around the country already.
It has been suggested that individual municipalities could undermine lawsuits by ongoing state litigation. However, there is no pending state litigation. The state of Nevada has not filed a civil complaint against these manufacturers and distributors of opioids. There is no question that the state has exclusive jurisdiction over the Medicaid dollars expended, as well as the Nevada statutory Deceptive Trade Practices Act. However, cities and counties have their own separate claims for the costs expended by their criminal justice systems.
Upon receipt of a settlement or judgment favoring the cities and counties, the allocation of those funds will be up to the sole discretion of the individual counties and cities. We hope these governments will be able to provide the social services and access to rehabilitation to solve the problem and prevent future damages. Now is the time to take action to cure this problem.
Tom Letizia is a longtime Las Vegas political consultant and public relations executive who owns Letizia Agency. He is also a consultant for the Eglet Prince law firm.
The job is a heartbeat away from Governor of Nevada – you would think the Lt. Governor’s race would have folks in political circles talking, or you would see something in the local dailies. We do know Nevada GOP leader Michael Roberson is running and will be a heavy favorite, no matter who files against him. Has the strength of the Roberson name successfully scared off the entire Republican field? Are any known Democrats going to challenge the Republican favorite in this race?
In every campaign cycle, the Lt. Governor’s race gains attention and significant names usually enter the ring to fight it out. While the Governor’s race and the U.S. Senate race have been the main topic of conversation this past year, the Lt. Governor’s race has been relatively quiet.
Generally, the Lt. Governor is one of the least likely known government officials once elected. It is rare when more than 30 percent of Nevadan’s even know who their Lt. Governor is. Bet you couldn’t name the last five Lt. Governor’s before our current one Mark Hutchison?
They are: Brian Krolicki, Lorraine Hunt, Lonnie Hammargren, Sue Wagner and Bob Miller How many did you get right?
The biggest question is what does the Lt. Governor do?
The Lt. Governor presides as President over the Senate, he or she votes in the event of a tie vote. The Nevada Lt. Governor also presides as the Governor when the Governor is absent from the state or disabled. Or in the event of death, conviction, impeachment or resignation of the Governor, the Lt. Governor becomes governor for the remainder of the term. The Lieutenant Governor of Nevada is an elected constitutional officer, the second ranking officer of the executive branch. The Lt. Governor also serves as the chair of the Nevada Commission on Tourism and the Nevada Commission on Economic Development. The job pays $63,648 per year.
So, while up and down the ballot candidates are stepping forward and throwing their hats in the ring, why does the Lt. Governor’s race remain quiet?
Look for that to change in the next few days as Democrats emerge to take on Roberson. Expect names like: Las Vegas philanthropist Susie Lee. Lee, who ran for Congressional District 4 in 2016, seems ripe for this role. Lee can raise a ton of money and if need be can finance her own campaign. Susie Lee may be considering another run for Congress, but don’t count her out for the Lt. Gov. race. Another big Democrat name would be University Regent JT Moran. Moran raised lots of money in his Regents race. Has excellent Clark County name ID and could bring considerable energy to the office. Also mentioned is former Assembly candidate Zach Conine. Conine has energy, is knowledgeable and smart. Question is can he raise the money he will need to knock off Roberson?
It’s still early, but keep your eyes on this one, as the race is about to begin.
Get ready for the silly season Nevada – Also known as the political season. Still 10 months away from the first votes being cast, Labor Day is a turning point for candidates and incumbents. By the time September rolls around, as summer winds down; the kids get back to school, candidates begin to get serious and start making important moves before the election year officially gets underway. This is the time candidates look to secure important commitments and make vital decisions, that often make the difference of winning and losing, as candidates and incumbents quietly work behind the scenes garnering support, hiring consultants and locking down important financial commitments and supporters.
The season kicks off with our judges when filing begins January 2 and ends January 12. County, state and federal candidates begin filing March 5 and conclude March 16. Unlike conventional candidate’s judges cannot raise money until after the filling period, which means they must wait until January 12 to see who they are running against before they can start fundraising – But, smart incumbents are making moves now that will keep potential competitors out of their race.
A great example of scaring off the competition was in the recent Las Vegas Municipal Court judge race this spring, when incumbent Judge Susan Roger got out a month before any of the other candidates or incumbents, with a massive display of signs throughout Las Vegas. Roger also showed potential challengers how serious she was by making a huge deposit in her campaign account. When her campaign disclosure report became public information, this brilliant tactic worked, nobody filed against her. Kudos to veteran Campaign Consultant Dave Thomas. This proved to be an extremely effective maneuver, scaring off challengers and allowing the judge to go unopposed and avoid a tough campaign, forcing would be candidates to select other races. It is likely other judicial candidates and incumbents will be making similar moves this this fall to get a head start before the silly season gets into full gear.
The top 2 races will be the U.S. Senate and Governor races. Incumbent Senator Dean Heller faces Republican primary opponent Danny Tarkanian. Democrat Congresswoman Jackie Rosen will most likely not get an opponent in her Senate bid and can build her war chest to take on the Republican winner. The other big race is the open seat for our next Nevada Governor, where moderate Democrat, Clark County Commission Chair, Steve Sisolak is the only announced candidate so far. Although, progressive Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani has said she is considering a run against Sisolak, which should make for a wild Democratic primary. Whoever comes out on top in the Democratic primary will most likely face Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, who should be announcing shortly.
So, while things seem relatively calm right now, get ready the silly season is right around the corner.
Seems like not a week goes by when I say, “this was a bad week for Donald Trump,” but last week may have topped them all. Politico rated his worst weeks, listing nine very bad weeks since his inauguration, with last week being the #1 worst – Trump started the week condemning the Ku Klux Klan and white supremacists for the fatal violence in Charlottesville, then changed direction and doubled down on his earlier argument that “many sides” were to blame for the weekend’s events.
#2 worst: August 7-13 In the first 24 hours of Charlottesville, Trump gave his first response, blaming “many sides” for the violence.
#3 worst: July 24-30, which some say may have been the worst – The Senate voted to kill the Republican bill to repeal Obamacare. The military was caught unprepared when Trump tweeted his plans to ban transgender troops. The Boy Scouts apologized after Trump gave a political speech at their annual jamboree. Trump publicly humiliated Attorney General Jeff Sessions. White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci gave a scathing, expletive-laden interview to the New Yorker. Priebus was fired and John Kelly was named as his replacement. Yes, that all happened in just one week.
Republican office holders and Republican candidates now must decide, if they will risk their political career’s by continuing to follow President Trump. Trump is clearly losing his support. Just look at states he won and the rapid decline in those poll numbers.
The cries for impeachment will now be heard with regularity and the chances of the impeachment process beginning are greater than ever. Remember Trump has publicly lost 3 Senate Republicans (recent healthcare vote). He is being criticized in the press by additional Republicans every day and privately (the silent ones worried about the political fallout) could be far more. He does not have one Senate Democrat he can count on. So, a super majority in the Senate is not out of reach to successfully impeach this President.
Democrats need to be careful what they wish for. A President Pence will bring more conservative legislation, a further right leaning court system and extreme far right social legislation. It could also put Pence in the position of being the favorite and frontrunner in 2020 and allow the Republicans to retain control of the White House.
While things look bad for Republicans today, a word to the wise for Democrats who may be prematurely celebrating the fall of Donald Trump – BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR.
Nevada has eleven judicial districts making up the state’s general jurisdiction courts. These district courts serve Nevada’s 17 counties. The 11 Judicial Districts are served by 82 District Court judges who serve their elected counties but have jurisdiction to serve in any district court in the state. The Supreme Court of Nevada is the highest court in Nevada.
It is rare when our Supreme Court Justices draw opponents when running for re-election, but 2018 may be different. Two Justices plan to retire – Chief Justice Michael Cherry and Justice Michael Douglas – while newly appointed Justice Lidia Stiglich is up for her first election. This creates the possibility of three contested elections for the first time in many years.
Supreme Court races, being state-wide races require far more money than state court races, which generally average between $200,000 – $300,000 for a contested race. A Supreme Court race can easily cost more than a million dollars, requiring candidates to purchase expensive TV advertising in both Reno and Las Vegas. Plus, the need to make an impact in rural Nevada could often-times be the difference of winning and losing in a close race.
There are seven Nevada Supreme Court Justices who are elected to six-year terms in officially nonpartisan elections. Justices are not subject to term-limits.
The early favorites include Appellate Court Chief Judge Abbi Silver, who was appointed to the Court of Appeals, Department 3, by Governor Brian Sandoval in December 2014. In January of 2017, Governor Sandoval swore Judge Silver in as the first female Chief Judge of Nevada Court of Appeals. Judge Silver is not likely to draw stiff opposition, having grown up in Boulder City and graduating from Clark High School, Silver should raise the necessary funds to scare off any likely opponents.
The other likely open seat favors Judge Elissa Cadish, who was appointed to the court in 2007 by Governor Jim Gibbons. She ran unopposed for re-election in 2014, winning a new term that expires in January 2021. Cadish was nominated on February 16, 2012 by President Barack Obama to a seat on the United States District Court for the District of Nevada. Amid controversy, Cadish withdrew her nomination in March 2013.
Justice Lidia S. Stiglich was appointed to the Supreme Court of Nevada by Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval in November 2016. Prior to her appointment to the Supreme Court, Justice Stiglich was appointed District Court Judge of the Second Judicial District Court by Sandoval in 2012 and was subsequently retained by voters in 2014.
Will any other names surface this summer for the Nevada Supreme Court? Will this next election be any different than past Supreme Court cycles? Stay tuned, 2018 Supreme Court races could soon get very interesting.
It seems like after each municipal election there is talk about moving these races to even number years when more people vote. With only 8 1/2 percent of eligible voters showing up Tuesday, it’s no wonder that outcry is getting louder.
Why is it that people don’t vote in municipals? When you really think about it, municipal elections have more of an effect on your daily life than what’s happening in Washington D.C. Potholes in your neighborhood, zoning laws and regulating building permits are a lot closer to home than fixing healthcare or funding wars 10,000 miles away. But, when you analyze it, voters are not motivated to turnout in city races for a variety of reasons:
#1. Voters are tired – After going through the most contentious election in our history in 2016, the average person was simply worn out by June of this year. To think of more politics was unthinkable for most people.
#2. City elections always take place when the legislature is in session. So, a lot of the media is more focused on new laws being passed, than muni elections, except for mayoral election years.
#3. Municipal election candidate budgets are far less than those who run for county offices. For example, in their last County Commission races:
- Steve Sisolak raised $1.5 million
- Chris Giunchigliani raised almost $800,000
- Marilyn Kirkpatrick nearly $800,000.
Comparing those numbers to the recent City Council races in 2017:
- Michelle Fiore raised $474,000
- Bob Beers $399,000
- Steve Seroka $272,000.
And, when you take judge races going back to the last big District Court races:
- Douglas Herndon raised almost $400,000
- Rob Bare $355,000
- Eric Johnson raised a whopping $402,000 (2016)
When you compare those numbers with the recent Municipal Court Races:
- Cara Campbell led the pack with $177
- Cedric Kerns, who only had a primary $145
- Susan Roger who did not have an opponent raised $77,000.
So, when you look at the money of county vs. city elections, you can see that the expenditures are double in country races and even as much as three times more in some cases.
Here is why I believe we should keep the county and city races separate. Of the 44,835 voters who showed up on Tuesday, I can guarantee you, those voters knew who they were going to vote for and why they were voting for that person. City elections bring out a much more informed voter.
I also believe, if the Municipals compete with the County elections, they will be at the bottom of the ballot and because of all the fundraising that takes place during an even year election, city races will not be able to raise enough money to stand out and get their message out. It takes money to run elections and city races need to stand out. Keep municipal elections in odd years.
Kim Jong-un has gained close to 100 pounds since becoming North Korea’s leader. He is a binge eater and drinker and worries around the clock about being assassinated. The man suffers from insomnia and is not only sick in the head but likely to develop adult lifestyle diseases from his poor health and lifestyle.
While the fat man gets fatter, his nation starves and could face a new famine. For decades, North Koreans have lived in poor conditions, while their government has poured huge sums into weapons development. Today, North Koreans starve to death by the dozens every day. In the great famine of the 1990’s, between 600,000 and 2.5 million people died of hunger in North Korea. Cannibalism has risen as this current crisis reaches a critical stage.
The United States and its allies and China are working together on a wide range of responses to North Korea’s latest heightened rhetoric and continued missile tests. While a military response is a strong possibility, economic sanctions or covert actions are also all on the table.
A pre-emptive strike to take out missile and nuclear capabilities would bring an immediate catastrophic response, forcing the evacuation of a large portion of South Korea and require a deployment of American forces in preparation for a ground war, which will cost the lives of thousands of Americans.
There are no good solutions to solve this problem, which has faced presidents for decades. But, we cannot let North Korea continue to develop missiles with greater ranges and nuclear bombs with higher explosive yields.
Kim Jong-un reportedly ordered more than 600,000 residents evacuate Pyongyang in preparation for a U.S. attack. Satellite images appear to show that Kim Jong-un is preparing to launch a nuclear test at North Korea’s Punggye-ri test site.
53 percent of Americans favor a military strike – a military response is imminent. Maybe he could play these games before with previous presidents, but Donald Trump is determined to end Kim’s reign of terror. Mr. Kim enjoys little personal legitimacy in North Korea, while his people starve to death and the country’s economy continues to erode. This is a failed communist regime that must be stopped. It’s like having a crazy person inside a bank threatening to shoot hostages if you don’t give him a million dollars. Enough is enough. Are we nearing the end of this nearly 100-year old regime? Brace yourselves America, the only fat person in the entire country’s binge could be nearing the end.
Since moving here in 1971, I’ve been a pro-growth Las Vegas cheerleader. Even back then, with just 250,000 residents, Las Vegas had that WE-CAN-DO attitude. That’s why Entrepreneurs always looked to Vegas as a place that would provide a good ROI. Generally, investors look at cities that offer strong tax advantages. As our great entrepreneurs have done going back to the 40’s – Bugsy Siegel, Howard Hughes, Benny Binion, Sam Boyd, Bill Bennett, Jackie Gaughan and Kirk Kerkorian. As well as our two greatest entrepreneurs of today Steve Wynn and Sheldon Adelson they were all willing to put it all on the line and wager on Las Vegas, which in turn has created thousands of jobs and the foundation to allow us all to grow.
The foremost justification that motivated these great minds to invest in Las Vegas has always been spurred by our advantageous tax climate. With the absence of several taxes, which has made Las Vegas one of the best places in the country to do business.
Las Vegas tax breaks include:
- No business income tax
- No personal income tax
- No franchise tax
- No gift tax
- Low property tax rates – paying only $1.15 per every $100 of assessed property value, a rate lower than most U.S. cities. Entrepreneurs love to invest in tax friendly cities.
Growth is good for all of us. It’s the driving force that has elevated Las Vegas to where it is today, making us one of the fastest growing cities in the nation once again.
When I was a young TV advertising salesman back in the 70s, I always jumped for joy when I saw a new business open. That always meant another potential prospect. That spirit of growth is back once again, giving all our families a chance to live the American Dream.
Entrepreneurs are fueling the growth from startups and new major strip projects, like Resorts World on the former Echelon site by Genting. Alon, being developed across from the Wynn by a group of developers. And Paradise Park, a Wynn project planned for the golf course behind the Encore. Not to mention the unprecedented growth North Las Vegas is enjoying in the Apex Industrial Park with major players like Faraday Future and Hyperloop technologies currently under construction.
This is a great time to be living in Southern Nevada – there’s no stopping us now. But, let’s also keep “the “goose that’s laying the golden eggs” LOW TAXES. And, let’s continue our economic diversity in growth sectors like water technology renewable energy and information technology. Couple that with our main industry gaming and hospitality and that bright light will continue to shine on Las Vegas.
If I were a gambling man, I’d be betting on Vegas right now. As we are about to experience unprecedented growth. Las Vegas has finally made it into the big leagues. Many of us old timers, who grew up in a major market, always felt the only thing missing in Las Vegas was a major-league sports team and now we’ve got 2 – NHL and NFL and this is only the beginning.
This is big folks! Las Vegas is about to explode and grow to the next level. Just watch and see this gigantic transformation develop in and around our city. I expect NBA and MLB to follow the Raiders within the next 5 years. We came close to getting a major-league team a few times. Back in the early 2000’s, the Oakland A’s were looking for a home and Vegas was at the top of the list. Then, in 2004 when the Montreal Expos were facing bankruptcy seeking a city, Las Vegas was in the top 3, losing to Washington and the now Washington Nationals, because Washington, D.C. was willing to provide public financing. Many of you may remember in ’83-’84 when the Utah Jazz played 11 home games here at Thomas and Mack and they even considered leaving Utah at that time. That was then, we’ve grown up and we can handle MLB and NBA today.
Having a team is great for our city in so many ways, including what it will do for our economy. The jobs will be plentiful, ancillary businesses will benefit, including restaurants, lodging facilities, and most important CONSTRUCTION.
Growth brings more growth and Las Vegas is back on the upswing. The dark days of the national recession are now behind us and Las Vegas will again emerge as the big winner. This is an exciting time to be here in this great town and the best is yet to come. Recent Census data tells us that we are at a 5-year high in people moving to Nevada. We are entering a new era in Las Vegas as our population nears the 2.2 million mark, I expect that to skyrocket and hit 3 million in the next 10 years. Good for jobs and our economy.
What makes our city great is our entrepreneurs – We are fortunate to have some of the greatest minds in the world here in Las Vegas and here’s the good news, they are ready to ready to double down and bet on Vegas.
Mark Hutchison has introduced legislation in the State Senate that could haves a dramatic effect on our economy. The bill SB-26 directly combats the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement and its global network of individuals and organizations who aim to isolate Israel politically, economically and culturally. The vitriol of those who support BDS goes beyond simply severing business ties. It also calls for the boycott of Israeli academics, cultural figures, and businesses, based solely on the criterion that they are Israeli. As such, it is widely seen as being discriminatory. Furthermore, as the BDS singles out and demonizes the world’s only Jewish state, and in practice often targets Jewish supporters of Israel, it has also frequently been described as anti-Semitic.
For that reason, sixteen U.S. states, as well as Congress, have passed legislation aimed at combating BDS.
This Legislation, SB26, seeks to ensure the State of Nevada is not a party, with taxpayer funds, to any discrimination in a state-awarded contract. SB26 also seeks to further Nevada’s longstanding, deep, and broad economic and business partnerships with Israel, something that BDS would directly harm. THIS IS about opposing discrimination and encouraging job creation, investment, and economic opportunity.
To be clear, this bill does not affect anyone’s First Amendment Rights.
It also doesn’t increase any kind of burden on the state in either administration or enforcement. Nor does it impinge on American foreign policy, any potential peace negotiation, or federal prerogatives. SB26 is very simply this: a statement that Nevada will not be a party to, discrimination in state contracts.
It says Nevada won’t use public dollars to fund discriminatory action that discriminates on national origin.
In addition, SB26 aims to cement – and even strengthen – Nevada’s business and commercial partnerships with Israel.
Nevada is the first State to sign an MOU with Israel specifically on Water-Tech. Israel has solved their water problems and Israel is now water positive. Nevada is the only state to sign an MOU with Israel with the Governor’s WaterStart program. Nevada someday hopes to be water positive.
Just this year the Ashalim Solar Power Plant, the world’s 5th largest, went online in Southern Israel. That plant was developed in partnership with BrightSource Energy – the very same firm that was instrumental in the development of the Ivanapah Solar Plant.
BDS will simply cause Israelis and their businesses to take their business elsewhere.
Conversely, by denying state contracts to any business or entity that engages in BDS against Israel or Israelis, SB26 will send a strong message to Israeli companies, researchers, academics, and businesses that Nevada is open for business.