Thumbs - Our high country lowdown on the news

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By Optic Editorial Board

THUMBS DOWN! ANOTHER BAD AUDIT. What is it about the city of Las Vegas and its utilities? For the second year in a row, independent auditors gave the city a “disclaimer opinion” on its financial statements, which means they could not verify accuracy. And one of the worst offenders, they said, were the utility accounts.

Errors in billings (one in which a customer was overcharged by $6.2 million), inadequate oversight and the city not following its own ordinances topped the list of mistakes made in 2010, according to the audit. Sound familiar? In 2007, a state audit concluded that the city had overcharged its customers more than $1 million by not following its own rate schedule as outlined by ordinance.

It’s hard to be confident in our city bills when such mistakes are so regularly made. Here’s hoping for dramatic improvements in the way the city does business.

THUMBS DOWN! SOME PEOPLE NEVER LEARN. Leonard R. Montoya, 45, of Las Vegas is facing his seventh drunken driving charge after testing nearly three times the legal limit, according to court records. After state police pulled him over on Seventh Street near Meadow Crest, police said he admitted to consuming a 12-pack of beer.

THUMBS DOWN! WHAT BLIZZARD? After a couple of days of weather predictions that a blizzard of a storm was going to hit Las Vegas on Monday, only a few inches of snow fell (along with a fair amount of wind). Call us crazy but we’re kind of sorry — we were looking forward, with nervous anticipation, to surviving the Blizzard of 2011.

THUMBS DOWN! ROUGH ELSEWHERE. To the north and east of Vegas, and mainly in the Great Plains, heavy snows hampered or completely stopped travel as whiteout conditions and icy roadways closed highways and interstates. Thousands of drivers had to pull off where they could. Some were stranded for hours as the storm moved through the region. At least six deaths were blamed on the storm, and a family was stranded in their vehicle for more than a day near Springer. The family was clinging to each other for warmth when rescuers finally dug through four feet of snow to get to them.
THUMBS UP! CLEARLY ACCOMPLISHED. We would be remiss if we failed to mention something that has occurred in Las Vegas, something that advances local theater in a way that nothing else could. It started as an inspiration by and for young people, and it became their product, their contribution to the local arts scene.
Clearly Confused Productions, a youth offshoot of the Las Vegas Arts Council, wrote, directed, staged and performed an original work “Reflections of Alice” last weekend in the Robertson High School band room. And aside from one mishap (an actor was injured in a fight scene Friday, but he returned to his role on Saturday and Sunday), the show was a big success.

It was quite an accomplishment for this group of middle- and high-school students, who dedicated months of work to the performance. Well done. We’re looking forward to your next production.

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“We think the matter is so serious that we are going to bypass municipal court and take it directly to district court.”
— Las Vegas City Attorney Dave Romero, regarding the sandblasting of an historic building on Bridge Street without the city’s permission. The owner of the building, Robert Ortiz of Albuquerque, declined to discuss the matter with an Optic reporter.