Press Talk: Stewart’s first big decision coming

By Lou Brancaccio, Columbian Editor



Dear Commissioner Stewart:

Welcome to the Board of Clark County Commissioners. Hope your first few weeks have treated you well.

As you work through this very important and impactful job, if you were to consider any advice from me — well, that advice would be pretty simple.

Don’t do stupid stuff.

And at 10 a.m. Tuesday at your commission meeting, you’ll have your first big opportunity to not do something stupid. Are you up for doing the right thing? I’ll get back to this Tuesday meeting in a moment.

Look, not doing stupid stuff sounds pretty easy, right? Well, it isn’t. Just ask your fellow Commissioners David Madore and Tom Mielke. The M&M boys. Their shenanigans — their stupid stuff — has resulted in voters’ changing the entire way the county government works. That’s right, the new charter voted in will do that, and we can thank the M&M boys for that.

But guess what? The bottom half of the M&M team — Mielke — didn’t much like what the voters said. So now he’s proposing a way to get around the vote of the people. It sounds too stupid to actually be happening, right? But you’ll get used to stupid stuff pretty quickly when you hang around the M&M boys.

So what’s going on? Let me explain.

The charter was approved by the voters to weaken the commissioners’ power. That means you, Commissioner Stewart. And the M&M boys.

The charter essentially says you commissioners have to quit sticking your noses into the inner workings of county government.

You’re more than welcome to set policy and govern. You’re more than welcome to vote taxes down. Stuff like that.

But you’re no longer welcome to run over to the IT department to show them how to fix the hard drive.


But Mielke — oh, my dear friend Mielke — had an idea. Well, he likely didn’t “have” the idea, because his ideas are mostly about lunch and increasing his county car allowance.

Nonetheless, there’s this idea he’s proposing to hang onto some of this power you all are losing.

He wants to tie the hands of the county manager who — under the charter — will be able to do things like combine county departments.

This combining concept would save taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Makes sense, right? Let the county manager — who actually knows how to run something like a county government — run the county government.

There’s also been a little chatter about Mielke’s doing this only because he wants to save state Sen. Don Benton’s $100,000-a-year county job. You know, the job he never should have had in the first place?

Mielke denies it all, of course. But really, who cares?

Take the Benton issue off the table, if that makes you feel better. Even if Benton didn’t exist (“Oh happy days. Oh happy days. When …”), the key point is, you simply can’t vote for an ordinance that would go against the will of the people.

The people have voted!

Frankly, Commissioner Stewart, even when commissioners had more power, why didn’t the M&M boys come up with this idea to save taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars?

Mielke keeps hanging his hat on the idea that the county hasn’t raised taxes, so why change anything?

Please tell my dear friend Commissioner Mielke he can still not raise taxes, and also save taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars by combining departments. Then you all can give money back to the taxpayers! Please tell Commissioner Mielke he can say this was his idea.

Finally, I hope this letter finds you well, Commissioner Stewart. Hope to see you Tuesday. I’ll bring my DDSS mug for you to peek at.