The B.S.:

Pat Mulroy always gets an audience’s attention

Bruce Spotleson

Bruce Spotleson

VEGAS INC Coverage

You can almost always count on Southern Nevada Water Authority General Manager Pat Mulroy for great quotes, and she delivered as expected at the Oct. 6 meeting of the Water Conservation Coalition at South Point.

Blunt as ever, Mulroy covered an array of angles related to the supply of our most precious resource, like growing regional pressures for river water; a few of the more unsettling reasons we need the third intake; and what she sees as dire consequences if we don’t take some of the measures her agency has been pushing, before we enter a supply shortage in which “emotions could be running high.”

“The West has run out of easy answers,” she told the crowd.

She called for serious adjustments and innovation before an audience of about 200 that included business folks Gwen Migita, Tom Warden, Shari Farkas, Bob Orgill, Peggy Maze Johnson, Lori Nelson, Sharon Allen and Paul Workman. WCC Chairwoman Carmen Gigar served as master of ceremonies.

“We’ve never had to worry about our water resources,” Mulroy said. “Our children will not enjoy that luxury.”

Mulroy noted that seven states tap the Colorado River supply, and that Southern Nevada is in decent shape only because the Upper Basin region isn’t using its full allotment — something that could change at any time, whacking our supply.

“It’s not a question of ‘if,’ it’s a question of ‘when,’ ” she said.

• • •

THE OCT. 7 SEMINAR presented by the Southern Nevada chapter of NAIOP drew some of the more studious members of the commercial real estate industry. People I spoke to couldn’t quit raving about the speakers and program, held at the Renaissance Las Vegas.

There was a veritable cross-section of the sales, construction and development community in attendance, including Tony Dazzio, Rod Martin, Michael Mixer, Lee Phelps, Ellie Shattuck and Ralph Murphy. Economic development dudes Bob Cooper, Jeff Leake and Somer Hollingsworth were there, as were banker Denette Corrales, attorney Andy Gabriel, shredding king Bob Linden, LV Chamber VP John Osborn, and NV Energy’s Arnold Lopez. Banker Sam Culotta and builder Bob Potter worked the display area in the back of the room.

Listeners heard solid presentations on education by a morning panel that included CCSD Superintendent Dwight Jones and Higher Ed Chancellor Dan Klaich. After lunch, it was back for a session that explained how companies choose sites for businesses and manufacturing. It was a reality check, but not a bad one.

By the way, back when it was created, the NAIOP acronym stood for “National Association of Industrial and Office Properties.” In case you missed it — and I guess I did — NAIOP is now simply known as “the Commercial Real Estate Development Association.” The organization apparently has kept its name, but the actual meaning of the initials is being downplayed now.

No matter. Anyone in the business knows what it is: the No. 1 gathering place for the commercial real estate, development and construction industries.

Note to calendars: Association manager Katrina Bruce told me NAIOP’s meetings will be moving back to the Orleans. They’d been held at UNLV.

• • •

LOCAL CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE generally offer a diverse selection of socializing opportunities for their members — things like networking events, speaker luncheons and breakfast roundtables. The Sin City Chamber of Commerce recently took this to a new level.

Through Oct. 30, the Sin City Chamber is partnering in a special promotion with the Love Ranch, a brothel owned by Dennis Hof just outside Pahrump. Sin City Chamber members who visit the Love Ranch are entitled to 30 percent discounts on “anything and everything the ranch has to offer.” The discounts cover souvenirs and memorabilia as well as the customary camaraderie and fellowship for which the Love Ranch is better known. Remember to bring the coupon, though.

• • •

ADD RIC ANDERSON to your contacts file. He’s now the guy in charge of business news here.

A newspaper reporter and editor for 25 years, Anderson most recently was with the Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal. We’re glad to have him on board, and he says the feeling is mutual.

“I’m excited to work with the award-winning news teams here, and to maintain the high standards that have been established at the Las Vegas Sun and VEGAS INC,” he told me.

Anderson can be reached at [email protected] or (702) 259-2309. He’s a graduate of the University of Kansas in Lawrence, which is sort of where my own career began, covering a Jayhawks football game on a sunny autumn Saturday. When they told me hot dogs were free to the press, I knew I’d found my calling.

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  1. It is unfortunate for Las Vegas' future that Nevada's establishment and its media (such as VegasINC) continue to take Pat Mulroy uncritically, much less seriously:

    Her entire rule as "Water Czar" is characterized by misrepresentations and outright lies from her rationalizations for the pipeline to the $5B debt she has amassed to her deceitful billing procedures. These are too numerous to mention here. However, her two basic untruths--that a prolonged drought on the Colorado River is the cause of dropping levels in Lake Mead and that her pipe dream is the ONLY solution--negatively impact everything and everyone else.

    The River is what it is, averaging about 7.5 million acre feet per year, but never less than 5 million. Las Vegas uses less than 5% of its flow to create 1 million jobs and an economic product of $100B+. Las Vegas has virtually zero impact on the River, contrary to the fear-mongering of Pat and her hacks. Lake Mead's dropping water levels are caused by rules created 100 years when 80% of the nation's population lived on farms. Not unexpectedly these rules permitted farmers nearly 5 million acre feet of free water to dump in the most reckless possible ways (up to 20 vertical feet in some cases) on their farms in the desert. It is long past time that the rules be updated to meet the demands of our urban society, increased population, and modern irrigation techniques.

    Even the Constitution is subject to change, so rules designed by and for a single special interest group in a democracy can hardly be immutable, even if the latest in humanity's 5000 year reign of Czars, Kings, and Popes declares it so. The rules can and will be changed long before Czar Mulroy has a chance to foist another $10B debt on the backs of her subjects (BTW she has a history of cost overruns) and charge them the $3000 per acre foot that the interest alone will cost them (3% X $10B/100,000 acre feet/year). And that, BTW, is just one of dozens of wholesale costs, which, I estimate will raise the retail cost to $10,000 per acre/foot. By comparison, the $4+ cost of tier 3 water to customers today is about $1300 per acre--and Ms. Mulroy pays zero dollars for the water itself, has to "purify" it and then transport it a mere 20 miles.

    The easiest and most equitable rule change that the rule makers could design has, ironically, been applied with great effectiveness by Ms. Mulroy in Clark County during the last 15 years: pricing for conservation. A mere $500 charge per acre foot would generate $2.5B to pay debt or reduce federal taxes, save Southern Nevadans billions in water and energy costs, and fill Lake Mead in 4-5 years. Yes, it would increase the price of hay in Imperial County, but that could be imported by rail from Montana farmers now paid by the Federal Government to grow nothing! Ed Uehling