Sunday, Feb. 1, 2009 | 2 a.m.
Beyond the Sun
Songs played by ice cream trucks can get stuck in your head — or your craw.
It might vary by neighborhood, but in downtown Las Vegas, the siren song of youngsters is “Music Box Dancer.” That instrumental was the third most popular song in the nation, according to Billboard magazine’s Hot 100 chart — in 1979.
It’s no longer popular with some downtown residents. In fact, the tune has become akin to aural torture.
What does that have to do with county government?
Residents have complained to their Clark County commissioners that the strains of tinkly jingles from ice cream trucks are blaring through their neighborhoods too late at night. An ordinance will be introduced at the Clark County Commission meeting Tuesday that will force ice cream trucks to stop their open-air musical broadcasts after 7 p.m., or a half-hour after sunset, whichever comes first. They can resume broadcasting the songs in the morning, but no earlier than 10 a.m. Las Vegas has a city ordinance that uses the same time restrictions.
Does the proposed county ordinance say anything about the decibel level?
Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani, who is introducing the ordinance, said the amendment of the county’s “portable audio equipment” ordinance will maintain current standards, that the song should not be audible from more than 75 feet away. Las Vegas’ city ordinance is more restrictive. It says the song should not be audible from more than 50 feet away.
What is the punishment to be for violations of the county ordinance?
Fines of $50 for a first offense, $100 for the second and $150 for the third.
With the start of the legislative session Monday, the county plans to keep a very close eye on Carson City. Trying to make sure the flow of information between county lobbyists/liaisons and county commissioners is smooth and complete, Commission Chairman Rory Reid wants to pass a resolution Tuesday that lays out the county’s basic legislative principles.
Reid said he wants everyone going up to Carson City to “be working from the same playbook.” Such a resolution hasn’t been passed by the commission before, he said, adding that he wants to reinforce the county’s mission. He also wants to be sure that the needs of commissioners are heard by the county’s lobbyists, and that the lobbyists’ reports are heard by commissioners.
What are those principles?
Everybody representing the county and communicating to state lawmakers and their staffs should: “Oppose state legislation that requires the county to provide a new service or benefit, or expand an existing service or benefit, without appropriate state funding or an appropriate funding source at the local level,” and “oppose state legislation that would result in revenue reallocations that would negatively (current or future) affect the county, including the redistribution of taxes or fees.”
Thalia Dondero’s argument for Clark County to fund higher education is a compelling one. In essence: Clark County contributed $505 million to Nevada’s higher education system in fiscal 2008-09, but higher education institutions in Clark County only received $336 million. At the same time, the governor wants to balance a state budget shortfall by severely slashing higher education funding, with those in Southern Nevada taking particularly hard hits.
In a Jan. 23 letter to University System Chancellor Jim Rogers, Dondero, a longtime member of the Board of Regents that oversees the state’s higher education system, suggests that higher education institutions in Clark County break off from the state and come under the purview of Clark County government, keeping that extra $169 million to fund UNLV, the College of Southern Nevada and Nevada State College.
Just how does she propose doing that?
The details would have to be worked out, she wrote.
And how likely is this to ever happen?
Realistically, about as likely as the Detroit Lions winning the Super Bowl next year. (Translation for readers who aren’t up on the National Football League: It won’t happen.)
Rogers has a friend on the Clark County Commission, with voters having in the fall elected former regent Steve Sisolak to the county’s governing board. Sisolak couldn’t be reached for comment, but the seemingly always available Giunchigliani said flatly: “We don’t do higher education.”