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Monday, February 8, 2010

Deep Cuts: Student Protest, Nevada State of the State Address and Rebuttal

Save Our Schools student movement to save education Facebook site on the state of the state, budget and potential cut sin K-12 and higher education.

From channel 8, law students react to the State of the State Address.

Tomorrow Morning (Tuesday) a student walk out and protest is planned by UNLV and CSN student bodies, along with a carvan to the state office buildings to protest proposed budget cuts and tutition hikes. The Las Vegas Review Journal reports "Adam Cronis, the student body president at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, said the higher ed system cannot suffer another round of cuts without seriously damaging students' educations....The goal, he said, is for the students to be heard."

"They hope that a member or two of the committee will come down and listen to what they have to say. Because the committee will be meeting to discuss issues unrelated to higher education, Cronis and others said they will not disrupt the meeting..."

"College of Southern Nevada student Justin McAffee said students hope to get the legislators to do more than listen..."We're hoping to send a message: 'Look, if you guys don't respect education, we're going to take this to the ballot and hold you accountable,"...

Nathaniel Waugh, the student president at CSN, said student government leaders there are not encouraging a walkout but are encouraging CSN students to participate in the rally at the committee meeting.


Governor Jim Gibbons gave his "State of the State" address this evening. The Review Journal provides copies of the advance transcripts for both the Governor's address and the Democratic Rebuttal (pdf's below). See also plans for a CSN/UNLV protest Tuesday at the Las Vegas state office building.

Follows is a summary of the speech as heard on KNPR radio, not from the transcripts.

The RJ reports that he "sharpened his anti-big-government rhetoric during a State of the State speech to address Nevada's nearly $900 million budget shortfall. Gibbons, a Republican, called for layoffs of "several hundred" state employees and eliminating programs that don't work. He asked state lawmakers to heed his call to debate major education reform."

Gibbons maintains cuts are needed in “non-essential” state services including social services such as hospitals, mental health and other area he says should be provided by business, churches and the community.

He says education has to be cut. He is firmly committed to improve k to 12 stating that parents and communities should be in control and not government funds or programs.

He says, “cut the fat and let private business and parents should run schools. “He blamed unions without stating any specifics to support his claims,

He said that local school can operate on less by making better use of funds available, but no specifics.

On higher education he says it must pay it's own way.

“The problem us our system” and we must “limit government.

In what sounded more like a campaign to gain right wing Republican votes and Libertarians, he used terms like “we must expand individual responsibility”, “expect less from government”, “cut jobs and programs for the greater good”, “reduce the size of state government and the services offered”, “only provide what Nevadans need…and what we as individuals and business cannot provide.”

Meanwhile Gibbons blaming Reid and Democrats for Nevada not getting federal bailout funds or assistance. In reality he did not file for funds or ask their help on deadline, was adversarial rather then cooperative with government programs and soundly complained of strings attached, which those who did get funds gladly more then met. Gibbons refused to find required matching or partial funds required to receive the federal cash, claiming out debt kept us from doing so. Matching funds were a good faith requirement to receive the funds Gibbons claims our federal legislators did not do enough to bring to Nevada.

In the Democratic response it was pointed out that medical care, education, colleges that excel are what we nee to build a future and attract the economic development Gibbons spend much of the speech promising. We need to make painful cuts, but we cannot afford to leave things worse off. Public health, safety, education, are what government has to ensure. It is part of the role of government; not some additional frosting that can be taken off.

The rebuttal pointed out that Governor Gibbons proposals and plans are not enough to balance budget, but will set back deceased of progress in public health, safety and education while leaving us in a short fall and negative economic position.

As an example he pointed to Gibbons plan for school vouchers, a system that will shore up private business but leave public school with even less funding and with the potential loss of student it needs to meet federal standards to receive needed federal funds.

Democrats did call for a look at tax structures so that as to insure mining and business pay their fair share, for the state to more aggressively collect funds due to the state instead of cutting the state employees who are in a position to seek those funds, to voluntarily cut hours and do what is needed.

The Democratic response pointed out that Nevada already ranks near the bottom of everything that matters, including education, and that the governor’s cuts will assure we stay that way for a long time to come.

We need to build not cut.

We need to invest in economic growth and investments, not cut our resources to the bone and have nothing with which to compete.

Photo credit:  Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons answers questions from reporters after delivering his state of the state speech in the Capitol building in Carson City on Monday. SCOTT SADY/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

A whole new Monopoly: Will it fly?

Hasbro's 75th Anniversary Anniversary of Monopoly will be round, not squared, and will use ATM's not paper money. Go will be worth two million dollars, not two hundred dollars. Properties will be valued closer to their real value (not sure if it is before or after the recession crash) and there are other changes.

It will be interesting to see how the change goes over, however I have to note that some close to me said "what happened to the board representing streets, which are not round" and "I do not want to think in millions, regular money is hard enough" and "I like having the money and paper in front of me, it helps me think."

Traffic tied to childhood weight

Children living in homes surrounded by traffic hazards are at risk of unhealthy weight gain, according to a study performed by the University of California, Berkeley. The study's findings suggest that city planners should use traffic calming methods to make it safe for children to play outside.
The study found that multi-lane roads, speeding cars and other hazards in the Los Angeles area made it unsafe for children to play outside and walk or bike to school, reducing their physical activity and, therefore, leading to weight gain.

Cities should implement several methods for slowing traffic to address the problem, including narrowing lanes, installing roundabouts and reducing speed limits, according to the study. The study will be discussed at the seventh Active Living Research (ALR) Conference in San Diego. San Diego-based ALR is a national program of the Princeton, N.J.-based Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). "Research like this can help policy-makers, local leaders and even residents craft solutions like safe sidewalks, local fitness programs and even socially cohesive neighborhoods that will make walking, biking and being healthy easier for kids," said Celeste Torio, program officer at RWJF.
Download more information on Jerret's study and related studies.

Great jobs for students

48 Hour Film Project Paid PR and Adminstrative Assistant

The 48HFP is now looking for a new Las Vegas Producer. He or she will be responsible for getting the word out about the 48HFP; reserving theaters; running the kickoff, dropoff, and screenings; and making sure the filmmakers have a good time. Good organizational, communication, writing, Word, Excel, and email skills are essential. This is a paid position. The Las Vegas Producer cannot participate in the 48 Hour Film Project.

If you're interested, or know someone who is, please send a resume and a cover email to -- and be sure to include a phone number. Please don't email questions without attaching your resume.

The Court Jester

King Arthur is looking for a Jester! The medieval themed jousting show “Tournament of Kings” performing at the Excalibur Hotel and Casino has an immediate swing position opening for the comedic role of the Jester.

Applicants must possess strong physical comedic skills, improvisational abilities and be physically fit and able to work within a dirt arena. Role preference is for a little person (4’8” or under), but all sized performers will be considered. Talents with special skills or abilities are encouraged to apply.

Please submit a head shot, resume and/or supporting promotional materials to:

Royal Productions Inc
via email to:

Haiti continues to need your help

Dear Friend,
Flying into Port-au-Prince on Friday for the second time since the earthquake, I was pleased to see continued signs of an expanding relief effort.

During the trip, I helped my team deliver the emergency supplies we brought with us on our plane.

Donation by donation, it's the generosity of people like you that is keeping this relief effort going. And your continued dedication is what will make sure the Haitian people have the tools and supplies they need to rebuild.

As you read this, work is underway to deliver meals, set up temporary shelters, and restore access to health services for earthquake survivors. I’m proud that on Friday we were able to deliver laptops, generators, plastic sheeting, protein bars, and 1,900 lbs of medical supplies.

And it's not going to stop there.

Long after the television crews have gone and emergency response teams have returned to their home countries, I can promise you the Clinton Foundation will remain committed to Haiti's long-term rebuilding and recovery.

We will work with reputable organizations, the Haitian government, and most importantly the people of Haiti to ensure that they are empowered to create more opportunities for jobs, education, and health care than existed the day before this tragedy occurred.

There is a Haitian proverb, "Men anpil chay pa lou," which translates as "Many hands lighten the load."

It's going to take a lot of help and a long time, but I know that together you and I can lighten the load that the Haitian people have carried on their own for far too long.

I'll continue to be in touch as our work continues here in Port-au-Prince and beyond.

Bill Clinton

PS. Only with your continued generosity will we be able to sustain these efforts. Please make a donation of any size today:

New Champ: Most Watched TV Event in History

According to the Hollywood Reporter Television History was made last night:

"Super Bowl XLIV is the most-watched TV program in U.S. history.
Sunday's big game set a new all-time ratings high, overthrowing the 27-year-old record held by the final episode of "M*A*S*H."
The New Orleans Saints vs. Indianapolis Colts showdown drew 106.5 million viewers, smashing Super Bowl records and edging out 1983's "M*A*S*H" finale, which garnered 105.97 million viewers."

Of course we need to remember that there far fewer Americans back when "M*A*S*H" was king.

Then again...."M*A*S*H" viewers did not have the cable universe, TiVo and Netflix to compete.

SAVE OUR SCHOOL: Governor budget cuts in State of State Address

State of the State Address is tonight at 6 PM on television and on KNPR 88.9 FM. 
Rally set:  UNLV meet @ 9 or 10 am Tuesday February 9 for a rally, then down to the Grant Sawyer Office Building legislature office on Washington.

Date:    2/7/2010

From:    Cosgrove, Sondra

Subject:    Student Budget Facebook Page
CSN Capitol Club is sponsoring a Facebook page to help students keep up to date on pending budget issues; if you have a facebook page and are interested in joining the page is called;

SOS! Save Our School: Student movement to stop cuts to CSN's budget

Nevada could face a three billion dollar deficit by 2011.

Our current state deficit is between $880,000,000 and one billion dollars.

Yet the fat that so many people claim exists in government either no longer exists or not the things being proposed to be cut by the governor's budget or special interests groups and those who stand to gain politically by pointing fingers.

Cuts announced by the Governor would be less than half the amount needed to balance the budget, and for higher education less than half what the Regents were told to plan for. Still a ten percent cut on top of deep cuts made in January 2008, June 2008, January 2009, June 2009 and again in January 2010 will leave education decimated, understaffed and under funded. Meanwhile the much touted private options or charter schools may be behind the reach of parents and adults who face decreased buying power in a recession against the increased cost of attending school. Even those willing to attend find that there are no longer the classrooms or instructors to guarantee a timely education.

K-12 in Nevada has been rated 50 out of 51 states (only the District of Columbia scored lower) by Education Week Magazine and 39th to 47th by all other ratings and surveys,  before the previous budget cuts.

CSN and the entire college system were warned to prepare a budget with cuts of 22% overall, and drastic emergency measures if needed. That budget may still be put into effect for fall, if revenue does not increase (including the potential of the legislature ignoring the promised governor's veto by increasing taxes or creating new taxes). Citizens of the state, special interests groups and political based organizations all have their views, often without considering the changes that have occured in education or its long term impact on the state.

What is in the minds of educators is if the governor's budget cuts ten percent, and an antcipated 22 percent cut is needed to balance the budget, in a state where balancing is mandatory, how deep will future cuts be. Governor Gibbons has refused to consider and says he will veto and new taxes or tax increases to compensate for the deficit, despite the deepest recession since the Great Depression.

The following is from this morning's Las Vegas Review Journal:

Gibbons releases hit list, seeks to cut education by 10 percent


CARSON CITY -- Gov. Jim Gibbons proposes cutting the budgets of public schools and higher education by 10 percent in a list of reductions he released Wednesday to legislators and the news media.

But the cuts add up to only $418 million, according to Chief of Staff Robin Reedy, and the state needs to reduce spending by $881.4 million over the next 16 months to balance the budget.
"We are still working on it," Reedy said after she left a three-hour, closed-door meeting with legislators. "We are squeezing the bottom of the barrel."

The list calls for laying off 234 workers and eliminating 362 unfilled positions that previously were funded.

It proposes closing the 140-year-old Nevada State Prison in Carson City, closing the Summit View Youth Correctional Center in Las Vegas, reducing spending for mental health programs and care for disabled people and eliminating the Nevada Equal Rights Commission.

There are plans to scale back nuclear waste litigation.

Click here for the complete RJ coverage.

Schools superintendent says proposed cuts would cost 2,322 to 4,000 teacher jobs 


CARSON CITY - Clark County schools Superintendent Walt Ruffles told legislators today he would have to lay off 2,322 teachers and increase class sizes by six students if he must cut spending by 10 percent because of declining state tax revenue.
He said his district would have to shorten its school year by 17 days if legislators and Gov. Jim Gibbons choose that option as a way to reduce some of the $881 million shortfall facing state government.

Rulffes told members of the Legislature's Interim Finance Committee that he can lay off employees on his own, but reducing the school year means cutting salaries and that needs the approval of employee unions.

Before renegotiating contracts, superintendents need the Legislature to declare a "fiscal emergency" to give them "legislative cover" in these negotiations, he said.

Such negotiations could last months and if there is an impasse an arbitrator would be chosen. There is no guarantee the arbitrator would agree with the school districts, he added.

"We are just not doing right by our kids," Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley, D-Las Vegas, said after Rulffes spoke.

Buckley said the superintendent's estimates were based on a 10 percent reduction when the Legislature and Gibbons must make budget reductions of more than 20 percent to balance the budget between March and June 30, 2011.

"Desperate times call for desperate measures," she said. "If your cut level is doubled, that is 4,000 teachers (laid off)."

Click here for the remainder of this story and links to additional RJ coverage of the proposed cuts.

Posted January 20, 2009, February 3, 2009, February 8, 2009 updated each time

Budget Rally at NLV and Grant Sawyer State Office Building

SOS! Save Our School: Student movement to stop cuts to CSN's budget 


Interim Finance Committee Meeting
Time:11:00AM Tuesday, February 9th
Location:Grant Sawyer Building 

This is the second phase of the event. If you cannot make it to UNLV campus at 10, meet us at Grant Sawyer at 11am (Washington and Las Vegas Blvd). Come join CSN and UNLV students as we protest against budget cuts. 


Regardless of what happens, we need to let them know how we feel! 


Tell everyone you know about this.

5 Star Ritz Carlton to shutter May 2nd

The Ritz-Carlton Lake Las Vegas, a five-diamond hotel at the troubled resort community in Henderson, told its 340 employees today that the owner, Village Hospitality, has decided to close the property on May 2 because of the economic and tourism slump, said Vivian Deuschl, corporate vice president of Ritz-Carlton.

Transcontinental Corp. opened the 349-room hotel in 2003, but Deutsche Bank, which controls Village Hospitality, took over the resort community and has put Lake Las Vegas companies in Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Contact reporter John G. Edwards at or 702-383-0420