Thursday, February 28, 2008

More about Water

Since we aired our story on water, and what our Las Vegas Valley Water District board members have been doing to save it in their own yards, we've been thinking about where our water comes from. Did you know 90% of the water the Southern Nevada Water Authority receives comes from the Colorado River? The other 10% comes from aquifers and wells. The SNWA only gets 300,000 acre feet from the river per year. Sounds like a lot huh? But look at this. Arizona gets 2.85 million acre feet. California gets 4.4 million acre feet. Colorado gets 3.9 million acre feet, Utah 1.7 million acre feet, Wyoming(!) (and all its 515,000 people) gets 1 million acre feet and New Mexico gets .85 million acre feet. Even the country of Mexico gets more than we do! 1.5 million acre feet.
The Colorado River Compact was signed back in 1922, long before the Las Vegas Valley was at 2 million people. Still ... seems like we aren't getting our fair share.
By the way, an acre foot of water is 326,000 gallons. That's roughly enough water for two families in Las Vegas for one year.

Just something to think about.

And if you didn't see our story on "Practice what they Preach" you can see it here:

The emails we got after the story aired, were all quite similar. If water is in such short supply, why don't the water experts get elected officials to stop approving new housing projects?

Here's what one woman emailed:

I wish you would have asked Pat Mulroy and the commissioners why they haven't pushed for a halt to growth in the valley to save water. They all have the ability to stop issuing building permits to developers.
It's all well and good to conserve water but more people means more water being used.
Stop the growth or at least slow it down and we will save water.

Here's another:
I wonder though, when we are in such a water 'conservation' mode that these Commissioners continue to embrace every developer that just 'has' to build another shopping center-housing development-parking lot- CASINOS and on and on. It isn't rocket science-that if you quit building-and halt growth to a degree, you alleviate some of the pressure.But no- that wouldn't be 'cost-effective' I suppose.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Practicing What They Preach??

February 26, 2008

We've all been told to use less water. In fact, for most of us, water rates are going up next month. Part of the increase is to provide incentive for people to use less. But what about the people who make the water rules? Who checks on them? We do! Tune in Wednesday for News 3 at 4pm and 11pm to see "Practicing what they Preach?". We look at the people who make the waters rules to see what they've done at their own homes. Do they have full lawns? Desert landscape? Fake grass? The Clark County Commissioners also act as board members for the Las Vegas Valley Water District. We took our cameras to see what these board members have done at their homes. We even had to employ Sky 3 to get us shots of homes that are in guard-gated communities. Do they pass or fail? Watch News 3 at 4pm & 11pm on Wednesday to see!

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Filthy House .. Viewers respond!

February 15, 2008

We've received a lot of feedback about our story on Sally, the landlord and her filthy house.
Sally called us when she saw the condition of her rental home after a mother and four children had lived in the home for about 5 years. For many of those years Sally depended on a property management company to keep an eye on the place, as Sally lived out of state. She ended firing the management company and is now expecting to spend 30-thousand dollars to get her rental home in decent condition. As you'll see in the story, the renters received section 8 assistance from the Housing Authority of Clark County. The renter paid about 380 dollars a month, housing assistance (federal tax dollars) made up the rest. About 780 dollars a month.

We got many emails about the story, most of them positive. A few questioned why Sally never inspected the place herself. Some wondered why the renter's information should be kept private. (The Housing Authority says client information is confidential, and they won't tell us if this person is still receiving assistance) One person assumed that Sally was somehow related to me ... otherwise, this person asked, why else would I do such a slanted story? (I'm guessing they didn't like it) For the record, Sally is not a relative. Never met her, but glad we were able to bring her circumstance to the airwaves. The story got a lot of people talking and just today I've heard from three people who have rented to clients of the Housing Authority of Clark County. All tell me they've encountered similar problems. One woman told me she asked the Housing Authority to come and inspect the condition the renters had left the home in. They wouldn't. She was told the agency used to do that, but stopped several years ago.
Anyway. Here are some of the comments we received.

I for one do not feel sorry for the land lord in your story about section 8. I have section 8 home in my area and the people are filthy too. If the owner cared about the home she would have checked on the condition of it on a regular basis. So for her to be surprised shows she did not care since we was getting payed. Now that it is going to cost her so much money is good, hopefully other landlords (slum lords) will take an interest in there homes and check on the section 8 people to ensure they are maintaining the property.
(This is the one asking if I'm a relative of Sally's. This person also says Sally is "playing the system" . I think most people would assume the renters "played the system" as they messed up Sally's house and didn't have to pay a thing to fix it!)
In the real estate boom of the last 5-6 years, people were greedy and would have sold their souls to the devil to squeeze an extra dollar out of a deal. The mere fact that woman was qualified for Section 8 tells me she was a savvy investor. Section 8 is very hard to get and they are limited. Some investors had to do deals to get them transferred from property they owned in California. Long story. People that do this are savvy...they do it for the guaranteed rent from the Housing Authority and take the risk for the guaranteed rent. Everyone in the world assumes a Section 8 renter will destroy their home. This is no surprise to anyone.
I would understand you doing this story for her if she is a relative or friend and you want to help her, but otherwise, remember, there are three sides to every story, his side, her side and the truth. You only showed one side. I would like you to show the other side. She is not a poor woman against the government and I hate to be rude but your story sort of displayed ignorance on your part for not realizing she is playing the system as a savvy investor and may have used you to get help when in fact, she is part of the "investor" system that screwed many other in the real estate boom of late.
Except for you, I am not sure anyone feels sorry for her.
I apologize for saying that, but I do not think you looked very smart doing that story :)
She was a savvy investor and I think she played you.
After reading the article on the landlord/nasty tenant situation, it just raises more questions about the whole "government assistance" programs. Why aren't recipients of such programs held accountable or, better yet, held at a higher standard? Now, this homeowner is burdened with cleaning up after an adult who has no respect for others or their property. And this is teaching the kids what? That it's ok to behave this way? Without regard to other people?
I read the story on "filthy renters". I know the feeling. My partner and I owned rental properties in LV for yeras. We were out of state owners. Moved to LV 7/2006. Looked at one property. Found out tenant was a sec 8. Tenant had 12 natural children, 5-6 dogs. No doors on bedrooms. Cupboard doors torn off. DW full of garbage. 2nd Bath plumbing broken off wall. Outside backyard full of dog feces. Front yard full of garbage. We learned police had been called many times in four years. Neighbors in cul-de-sac fearful because tenants had gang affiliation. Tenants did mid-night move after I sent a letter to raise rent and charge $200.00 per animal. Cost to repair $26,000. ... just to put in shape to sell. By the way house a formal model .. in prestine condition when we purchased.
I watched with interest your Section 8 story regarding the home that was left filthy and in shambles. I too rented to a Section 8 renter about seven years ago and found the agency difficult, at best, to work with. I did have some questions as to why the owner did not do random walk through, which is allowed but not always encouraged. With an investment as large as what she had it only makes sense to check on it and not just occasionally. While it is possible to work with the Housing Authority I do feel that my rental experience as an eye opener. The filth and destruction left our rental vacant for two months while we redid the entire interior and exterior. Even though I checked on it each and every month and advised the renter when and how it needed to be cared for the lack of concern for others property was incredible. When I contacted the Housing Authority regarding some concerns I was informed of the renters rights never mine. It was a total learning experience for us. I do think that the Section 8 Housing Authority needs to do a better job of "partnering up" with the owners, as well as the receivers of Section 8. I think that more people within the valley would be willing to allow Section 8 renters if the Housing Authority was more direct on what the owners rights are and how to enforce them. Also, when we did the repairs on our home I turned in an itemized bill for the amounts spent, including our labor. It took three months to get reimbursed from them and then we had to apply pressure. It is indeed a government abyss.

It turns out we heard from several other Section 8 landlords who've encountered similar problems. Some plan to take their complaints striaght to the top, when the Director of HUD comes to Las Vegas!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Announcing the Please Don't Call Me list

February 6, 2007

So .. here it is! A link to the Secretary of State's site to try and cut down on campaign phone calls.
Even the Secretary of State, Ross Miller, admits this won't stop ALL campaign calls, but hey, it's worth a try. You can place yourself on the "Please Don't Call List" by going to this site:
Keep in mind, this list is voluntary. That means it's up to the campaigns on whether they honor this list, or not. When the popular "Do Not Call List" was introduced back in 2003, political groups were exempted from it!! (You knew politicians would keep for themselves the option of calling you at home!)
Here's something else you may want to try. The Clark County Election Department allows you to permanently withhold your address and telephone number from voter registration records ..(although any prior address and phone number may still be available). Print the form, fill it out, and then mail it, fax it or drop it off.
Go to this site:
Under the confidentiality header, click on one of the two options (do you have a printer, or not?) and fill out the required information and send it in.