If the judges decide to uphold the state law (SB 358), then Red Rock gets to stay rural, and we can all breathe easier in our beautifully protected national conservation area. Even the developer wouldn’t lose any rights. He could still develop a nice small, rural village, just not a massive mountain metropolis.
If the judges decide that the law is unconstitutional, then we are still in the same boat, trying desperately to protect a canyon where local protections have been stripped away.
The Judges heard arguments by Jim Rhodes’ development company that the law was unconstitutional because it was given to only one county, and that it singled him out.
The state Attorney General argued that (1) there were no other counties in the state that were applicable (with a threatened national conservation area within 5 minutes of a booming city of millions), and (2) the timing was critical as Las Vegas was the fastest growing city bursting at the seams, and (3) Red Rock is a National (not just local) tourism and quality of life resource with more at stake than just local regulations and consequences, and (4) that every property owner in the area had to follow the same rules.
One of the judges asked, why the county couldn’t make it’s own laws to protect Red Rock Canyon? Unfortunately, recent history has already shown us this, as the developer’s lawyers were able to remove his property, and only his property, from the county’s rural protections.
I happened to be reading the bible this morning, when this passage jumped out at me:
Isaiah Chapter 5:
8: Wo unto them that join house to house, till there can be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth!
9: In mine ears, said the Lord of Hosts, of a truth many houses shall be desolate, and great and fair cities without inhabitant.
(With so many desolate homes in our fair city, and so few precious open spaces, do we really need to compete with the suffering housing market at the expense of our precious Red Rock?)
20: Wo unto them that call evil good, and good evil, that put darkness for light, and light for darkness, that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
(It’s simple, legislators, judges, and lawyers who represent the people, side with the people. Those who represent special interests, have to do all kinds of calling evil good and good evil to justify why they go against the people. Like the developer’s lawyer yesterday, who tried to prove that creating a special protection is evil and going against the people is good.)
30: And in that day they shall roar against them like the roaring of the sea; and if they look unto the land, behold, darkness and sorrow, and the light is darkened in the heavens thereof.
(Pollution? Noise? High density everywhere? Or can we set aside this one special area?)
I usually have a hard time with Isaiah, but today it struck me as artwork, true to interpretation and wise beyond its years. With the fate of Red Rock Canyon weighing so heavily, this is what it meant to me. If we only build house to house, don’t protect our precious Red Rock, cave into special interest greed, then of course we need to call evil good and good evil. Of course our laws are going to get confused and think that Red Rock is the same as a little unconstitutional building department in Pahrump (the absurd comparison quoted by the developer). If the county was unable to protect Red Rock and if the state doesn’t think Red Rock is a state (even national) treasure worthy of deference and protection for the people, what’s left?
Hopefully Isaiah wasn’t right about all that roaring darkness and sorrow stuff.
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