The city of Las Vegas recently passed a revised water conservation Ordinance No. 09-18 that restricts water usage, that is, unless your have political connections.
The Water Shortage Conservation Stage III that we are presently under has restrictions for vehicle washing that clearly states, “Vehicle washing is only permitted at businesses that utilize recycled water.” This statement is unambiguous until you try to get violations enforced. I questioned my councilperson, who first said that the paint and body shop in question could not wash vehicles, and then he apparently personally gave that business permission to wash vehicles. The councilperson is obviously a man of principles — dubious principles. I question his authority to grant such a variance for a particular business.
Since this councilperson was instrumental in writing the present ordinance, the only word to describe his actions is hypocrisy. The abuse by elected officials by allowing one business to openly violate this or any ordinance while citizens are cited and fined trying to save a tree or wash pigeon excrement from their property is incomprehensible and should not be tolerated.
In addressing this same issue with the city utility department, they presented me with misinformation and the typical runaround.
After being subjected to nonsensical blabber, someone actually e-mailed me a part of the ordinance but left out Stage III. I concluded that the ordinance functionally reads that vehicle washing is only permitted at businesses that utilize recycled water unless the utility director, councilperson or mayor says so.
In spite of all the fine words and rhetoric in the ordinance, the present water rate structure of the city punishes conservation and rewards waste. Through August of this year, I was charged for 3,530 gallons of water that I did not use. I am billed for 2,000 gallons a month, even though I use less. In contrast, compare my water consumption to that from a few years back for the city’s little Lion’s Park at Lincoln and Grand. After seeing this very, very small park watered day and night for two years, and after calling the city to complain at least 20 times over a two-year period, I finally requested an accounting of the monthly water usage for the park. The highest monthly consumption (June 2001) was 47,630 gallons which is about what I use in two years. From June to September of that year, the city used (wasted) 113,920 gallons of water that is precious in word but apparently not in deed to the city.
The city ignores ordinances for some and enforces ordinances for others with no concept of equal justice under the law. The city needs to start treating its citizens with respect by enforcing the ordinances equally and not granting exemptions or ignoring violations.
In the long run, strict enforcement of all ordinances will make for a better community.
Shaun M. McEllin