Monday, April 20

Failing To Plan Is Planning To Fail: Nevada Needs A Plan

On April 7, I wrote a well-reasoned letter to Nevada State Governor Sisolak and shared that letter with several elected officials and representatives. All of them, except Governor Sisolak, responded.

All of them, except Governor Sisolak, acknowledged its merits.

In sharing this letter, An Open Letter To Governor Sisolak Regarding COVID-19, almost 2,000 Nevadans also took the time to read it. Many of them also acknowledged its merits while several asked that I might write a letter for them. I am sharing a second letter (below), one that outlines what has gone wrong and why Nevada needs a plan.

 While some might say this is a heavy-handed letter, it's purpose is far simpler. I would encourage anyone who wants to write the Governor to copy this letter as their own and remove or add any points they would perfect over those I've included below. Email the letter to the Governor (email here) and make sure you also send a copy to your State Assemblyman/woman, State Senator, Country Commissioner, and City Council member (find them here). These representatives want to help, but they need to know you stand by them and want them to help. God bless and good luck.

Dear Governor,

A crisis is like a glass of water. The longer you hold it, the heavier it gets. While you claim to be the only person who can hold it up, all Nevadans now feel the full weight of it. It is crushing us.

The time for you to relinquish exclusive oversight and allow local leaders to step up and hold up the weight is now. The time to acknowledge the following errors in judgment is now.

• You have refused to protect civil rights as afforded to all citizens of the United States, calling for the State of Emergency but failing to set reasonable parameters that define the end of that emergency. *

• You have failed to provide equal representation and have neglected to call the Nevada State Legislature to meet for a special session during an emergency. *

• You have created new offices and task forces, hoisting up unelected decision makers who meet in forums devoid of any public record. *

• You have disavowed the good faith efforts of local leadership to alleviate the mounting pressures of uneven, unfair, and arbitrary state mandates. *

• You have closed businesses that are capable of meeting CDC guidelines and cut off our trade, thereby disrupting supply lines and sending people into poverty. * * *

• You have encouraged residents not to pay their rent or mortgage, but failed to provide them a remedy to pay back deferred payments and/or be protected from future rent spikes. * *

• You have turned local police departments against us, putting them into a position to release criminals while seeking out and fining otherwise law-abiding citizens. * *

• You have encouraged the closure of public parks and lands, denying all access, which negates the purpose of those public assets. *

• You have disrupted the court system, thereby denying the proper pursuit of civil and criminal justice. *

• You have failed to recognize that while at-risk people are dying in Nevada, so too are those who are losing their savings, businesses, fitness, and mental health. *

• You have turned neighbor against neighbor by further polarizing and politicizing the pandemic — claiming it to be a choice between money or lives when it the fact is the unfortunate choice between lives or lives. *

• You have closed schools but failed to provide remedies for all children to have equal access to a complete education. *

• You have inadequately provided for the mental health of citizens who are forced to live in relative isolation. *

• You have failed to provide responsive unemployment for those who are forced out of work by your mandates, largely because you did not plan to accommodate for the tens of thousands you put out of work before putting them out of work. *

• You have resisted any semblance of a recovery plan that would provide citizens hope, business owners the ability to survive, and students an opportunity to enjoy their best years. *

• You have conspired to rewrite voting laws, making it easier to fake and defraud upcoming elections.    *

• You mocked Nevadans by posting pictures of yourself getting a haircut while people go hungry in their homes and fear for their future. *

• Your inaction has resulted in a growing number of protests, which further puts Nevada in jeopardy as protestors express their right to peacefully assemble out of frustration for your inadequate leadership. *

• You have not demonstrated any agility in mitigating the medical crisis, forcing members of our medical community to be furloughed. *

In every stage of your oppressive actions, myself and many Nevadans have petitioned for redress and your response has only been that failure to comply will result in more punishment and greater injury with harsher mandates. Such actions can only be characterized as the definition of a tyrant, one who is unfit to lead the free citizens of Nevada alone.

Governor, I and my fellow Nevadans call on you today to release the reins of oppression and begin to move in a manner becoming of the office.

We call on you to restore our representative government. We call on you to develop a recovery plan that minimizes the risk to at-risk people (not just a testing plan) while also affording healthy people the ability to resume their lives. We need a plan that recognizes that there are businesses beyond our resort corridor (although many resorts are stepping up too). We call on you to allow local leaders — counties and cities — to better manage our recovery starting today. We call on you to adopt the guidelines set forth by the White House and being enacted by many states across our great nation.

Governor, set down the crisis. Nevada needs a plan.

Respectfully, [Your Name]

Tuesday, April 7

Writing: An Open Letter To Governor Sisolak Regarding COVID-19

Red Rock by Richard Becker


Dear Governor Sisolak,

As the parent of a softball player, the story of Jo’VInni “Jo” Smith really hit me today. Jo Smith was a young softball player who died from stress issues related to COVID-19 in California. She committed suicide.

Her story truly underscores the mental health issues taking hold in our communities as everybody handles isolation differently. It’s also the reason I decided to write to you today.

I appreciate the stay-at-home order and several things you are doing in the face of the coronavirus, including the COVID-19 Task Force, BattleBorn Medical Corps, and request for the National Guard to assist our state with logistics. I have even promoted these initiatives and plan to lend more support in those areas. So yes, I understand the seriousness of the situation and can appreciate, if not imagine, the challenges you face as Governor.

However, the time for our state to have a plan for recovery based on clearly defined parameters is NOW if for no other reason than to give people hope. Yes, I know there are many variables, but an “if this, then that” plan could provide people with a light at the end of this tunnel, which is so badly needed for so many Nevadans, especially those with mental health issues.

I also believe this plan should be created before any budget cuts as it could provide insight into possible revenue projections before they are necessary, especially with the consideration of something like a state lottery. In addition, a plan before cuts would allow Nevadans a breath between what has been a constant barrage of negative "not-good-enough" announcements.

Once the plan is announced and the defined parameters are met, the state could begin to loosen the stay-at-home order, in stages, for manufacturing, limited store visits beyond groceries, limited seating in restaurants, etc. This creates a positive, forward motion that people can get behind and will alleviate some stress and mental health issues.

Likewise, in the interim, I think talking more about how well Nevadans are doing great would be more effective than highlighting only the ones breaking the order with threats of increased punishing restrictions, which only amplifies the growing tension and mental stress of the crisis. Evidence suggests Nevadans are following the order better than most states. I respectfully encourage you to talk about what we are doing well, as most people are staying home for Nevada.

Please also know, while I appear critical of your performance during the crisis, my criticism of your performance (or the performance of any previous Governor for that matter) has never outweighed my love for Nevada. This has been my home since the 1970s, and I have served in many public and private leadership positions within our state for more than 30 years, in addition to teaching and building a small business.

That said, please do take care, keeping in mind that the best messages transform “you” and “them” into “we” for Nevada. Nobody wants to see people die of COVID-19 in Nevada, but neither do we want to see children commit suicide because of stress related to COVID-19.

Please do the right thing. I know you will.

 Sincerely,
 Richard Becker
 

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