Ethics questions remain for two Lyon County Commissioners

County logoThe link below will connect you to the content of last evening’s Channel 4 ‘Ask Joe’ segment in regards to ethics concerns with Commissioners Bob Hastings and Vida Keller relating to the Comstock Mining issue.  Hastings received $17,500 in campaign donation from Comstock Mining and related entities.  Keller’s husband has done contract work for Comstock Mining related to restoration and preservation of mining equipment and structures, and with the Comstock Foundation for History and Culture, a foundation that receives funding from Comstock Mining.  Comments made by Keller and Hastings in an article written by Keith Trout (December 25, 2013):

“Hastings said he spoke with Executive Director Caren Cafferata-Jenkins of the Nevada Ethics Commission and was told he didn’t have to abstain but he planned to disclose at the meeting”

“Cafferata –Jenkins recommended Keller disclose, due to the employer-employee relationship that exists……Keller said she has spoken  at length with the Ethics Commission and said she plans to disclose at the meeting.”

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15 comments on “Ethics questions remain for two Lyon County Commissioners
  1. politicalphd says:

    Theo McCormick,

    “Threats by Comstock Mining and anonymous posters such as yourself to sue the county if they are denied a master plan change are hollow.”

    Well, you seem to be a very ignorant person regarding what I actually said. I NEVER “threatened” that the COUNTY would be sued. Neither did I say I would sue the county over this decision, YOU said all that above, NOT ME. If you would have read the text, I said that no matter the outcome, there would be a law suit, NOT at the county, but, between the two parties, Comstock Mining and the whole population of Silver City against the mine.

    Now, PLEASE. show us all EXACTLY where I said the county was going to be sued, we all need to know. And, it doesn’t matter if Comstock Mining sues the county, that suit will NEVER get past the first salvo, it’ll get thrown right out of court.

    As far as I am concerned, I wouldn’t have changed the zoning, nor allowed the mining company to get that far, I would have supported the residents, as only Commissioner Arellano did, but, I don’t live anywhere near that area, and, I have my own version of this regarding Pumpkin Hollow.

    Please READ the entire text, and don’t write into it, what clearly ISN’T there.

    Also, would you PLEASE tell us just what part of the Lyon County Administrative Building you were in through all of this YESTERDAY, as I would like to know. I WAS IN THE FIRST ROW OF THE RIGHT SIDE CHAIRS, WHERE I ALWAYS SIT, THROUGH EVERY COMMISSIONER’S MEETING, ALL THE WAY THROUGH, not just for specific issues that persons want to misrepresent to everyone else, as you did about me.

    A couple of questions for you. Do YOU hold a Doctorate in Political Science? Do YOU hold a Master’s in Government? I DO, I DOUBT THAT YOU DO.

    Please get your facts straight, before you go off half baked, defame others, and, prove beyond a shadow of any doubt, that you know NOTHING about another poster here.

    • Theo McCormick says:

      “No matter the vote tomorrow, no matter if two commissioners divulge, recuse, whatever, this issue WILL end up in years of legal actions, and, bad feelings on ALL sides.”

    • Quest Lakes says:

      politicalphd I was looking for you at the meeting, but since you don’t post under your name, I didn’t know who to look for. I recall a woman, who is a lobbyist who I think lives in Fernley, a man with a dark beard, a light-haired man in a tan, leather-type sports coat, and another man in a dark suit jacket. The rest of the people I recall sitting in the front row were representing CMI.

  2. Are you Stupid? says:

    What was the Comstock founded on? Not gambling, not prostitution but MINING! Silver City, Gold Hill and Virginia City would not exist today if not for MINING. No developer in his right mind would have build homes in that area plus you would not have the tourism that you say sustains those areas. You move into an area that is based on mining and then you complain when the people who want to do what they have right to do. It is like moving next to an airport and then complaining about the noise. Come on people, how stupid are you?

    • Quest Lakes says:

      More than 40 years of smart Lyon County master planning and zoning upheld the residential land-use and zoning for the town site area of Silver City, Nevada until yesterday. Those included the 1971 Lyon County General Plan; the 1986 Nevex decision; the 1990 Lyon County Master Plan-Silver City; the 2002 West Central Lyon County Final Land Use Plan; and the 2010 Lyon County Comprehensive Master Plan. Although Silver City, Nevada was founded on historic, underground mining in the 1860’s, it has never been the site of modern large scale pit mining operations. In fact, very little surface mining has taken place in the long history of the town, and what little there was largely died off by the 1950’s. Since then, any mining activity has consisted of minor, short-lived, sporadic attempts and exploratory drilling projects. The area where Comstock Mining Inc seeks to change zoning in Silver City is not an appropriate location for heavy industrial uses of any sort, including modern day pit mining operations, because it is in and adjacent to Silver City’s town site boundaries. The town site boundaries were established in the 1860’s, and zoning and master plan decisions over many decades have established that this area is for residential use rather than industrial use.

  3. ssnvme says:

    We left the area after 30 years to find a better life and place. The politics in Lyon County stunk most of that entire time. People would only stand together when it concerned their personal lives. This is the Fernley Water Treatment Plant, the Silver Springs GID and the Mutual Water Company all over. Dayton and Yerington have also had issues that stood alone and were fought by the good fight of a few. I wish the best for the residents of Silver City. I am asking that when these ’causes’ become necessary, please support one another. Only together in LARGE numbers, can you prevail against the money grubbing, self-serving morons that buy their way into power.

    • ssnvme says:

      OK, I was wrong. Large numbers don’t work either. Only money buys happiness. I keep forgetting that. Silly me.

  4. politicalphd says:

    Quest, let me confirm, I live in Lyon County.

    Two things that really don’t come into play when things of this nature come about,

    Even if both parties do get together, and discuss the issues between them, IN A CALM, REASONABLE MANNER, arrogance, greed, and other issues usually tear those talks apart, leading to other worse issues, then, court to finally settle it.

    The other issue is, when a person purchases a property in a location, we should already have in place, full disclosure laws, NRS’s that ensure a purchaser is made aware of EVERY potential adverse issue surrounding, and regarding that property, good or adverse, and, for the future development of that area surrounding that property.

    I wonder just how many residents were made aware that there could be potential mining efforts literally occurring in their front yard, at a later date? I would think a realtor would already know what was possible within an area, and were legally made to disclose any and all adversity that might come about, to any and all potential purchasers.

    That said, same can be done to a company that purchases a property to “develop” within an area such as ‘residential’, which would never be able to be mined, just housing/residential developed.

    Realtors should have divulged the potential lands use changes for things like mining, when a potential property buyer first asked, and saw the property in question, but, they didn’t, and usually, don’t fully disclose issues and/or changes to buyers. Purchasers should also be aware to what the potential land use could end up being in an area’s future. Neither side did any of this in this issue.

    But, greedy and unscrupulous business people do not care about existing residents, they can only see the profit in a property they usually completely destroy. Contrarily, residents that haven’t been made aware that potential zoning changes to allow all sorts of development, should do exactly what the residents of Silver City are doing, fight to keep their residences livable, and unmolested.

    Too bad both sides have let this get so out of control, talking with each other could have alleviated all this mess in the first place.

    No matter the vote tomorrow, no matter if two commissioners divulge, recuse, whatever, this issue WILL end up in years of legal actions, and, bad feelings on ALL sides.

    We sometimes hear as the sales pitch, “this area could possibly have (fill in the blank) development, but, THAT IS YEARS, EVEN DECADES OFF FROM NOW”. Well, for residents of Silver City, “YEARS, EVEN DECADES OFF FROM NOW”, is……RIGHT NOW.

    • Theo McCormick says:


      Threats by Comstock Mining and anonymous posters such as yourself to sue the county if they are denied a master plan change are hollow. They have no ‘right’ to change long established zoning to mine in a residential area. This is a bunch of hot air. Nevix did not sue the county when they lost because they knew that their chance of winning was very slim. CMI would not have much chance to win in this case either.

      If the county changes the Master Plan to allow industrial uses in a residential area it will be much easier for the citizens to sue the county and prevail. They can demonstrate consistent master planning, a previous rejection of this change, a planning commission that voted against the change and a community that is against the change. Frankly the county would have very little chance in court defending this Master Plan change.

      Why would a real-estate agent disclose the possibility of a use that is not allowed by current zoning? As far as I know it is not required to disclose to a residential buyer that a mining company could petition to change the town master plan and zoning so they can strip mine in your neighborhood. The idea is ridiculous. Think of the precedence that this would set for our county if CMI prevails. Any residential neighborhood could be rezoned to allow industrial uses such as mining against any previous master plan.

      On the other hand if you are buying property to mine on it seems like you would research any existing restrictions on the property that would prevent that use. Particularly if you were in a residential neighborhood and a historic district. Comstock Mining thought they could steam roll Lyon County like they did Storey and get this change rammed through. Lyon County has a history of standing by it’s planning process and honoring it’s promises to the residents.

      Talking with Comstock Mining is fruitless, they are sociopath’s who actually believe a community is going to welcome them strip mining within hundreds of feet from houses in a residential area. How is a reasonable person supposed to communicate with someone who thinks anyone is going to welcome a strip mine in their neighborhood? CMI also tells its investors one thing and then tells the community another. This is called Lying and is not a good way to build relationships and respect.

      This zoning change is wrong and we will have to live with it long after CMI is gone. It opens our town up to all kinds of industrial uses that are not compatible with a residential area. It’s not just about mining.

  5. politicalphd says:

    OK, everyone with stones to cast, stand in a straight line, and get ready to pitch ’em. I hope the glass in your house is the type with the steel mesh imbedded in it, if not, it’ll shatter, real bad.

    For all of you that are posting on this, and other Comstock stories, I will see you Thursday morning, at the Commissioner’s Meeting, if you have the integrity to attend.

    For the record, I am NOT in favor of the Comstock Mine agenda action, I don’t like to see communities ruined by greedy, obstructionist, misleading people that only have personal profits at heart.

    All of you do realize, that even if Keller AND Hastings recuse themselves, and, set themselves aside from voting, there will still e a quorum of commissioners present, and a majority is all that is needed to pass the agenda, that would be 3 of 5, or, 2 of the remaining 3. If that were to occur, will all of you then INSIST the two, or three remaining commissioners voting yea, would have direct, illegal, unethical ties to Comstock Mining, or, simply abide with the ‘will’ of the remaining commissioners?

    OK, everybody ready…throw them stones, now.

    • Quest Lakes says:

      You’ll have to forgive us for being emotional in defense of our community, which we love fiercely. One of the things that never ceases to amaze me is how cavalier some people from other counties, states and nations are when I’ve had conversations with them about this attack on our town. They often say things like, “Just buy another house somewhere else.” Maybe that response shows what is at the heart of this whole thing – most Silver City residents don’t consider the town just the place where they sleep. We love this place for a thousand different reasons, and maybe people who’ve never experienced a sense of community in their own towns cannot understand that feeling. All of this may seem irrelevant to this fight, but on the contrary, it is at the heart of this battle. It is why we will eventually prevail.

  6. Disgusted says:

    Ethics? These two have no ethics. I’ve smelled pig farms that smell better than these two Commissioners.

  7. Sandy Marshall says:

    According to NRS 281A.440(1), the Ethics Commission, if requested to give an opinion, must issue its opinion as soon as practicable or with 45 days after receiving a request. It appears neither Hastings or Keller have requested an opinion from the Ethics Commission. Since the vote is Thursday, they have now left themselves open for an ethics complaint, if they don’t recuse themselves, because they did not request on opinion from the Ethics Commission. CMIs application has been in the works for greater than 45 days, so there is no excuse for not requesting an opinion.

  8. Roland Adams says:

    To Keller and hastings, you should be very glad You got this far in politics if you actually believe talking to someone at State ethic, somehow removes the element of conflict.
    “If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck”, and a husbands livelihood, and seventeen thousand dollar political gift from an applicant ain’t more than a “declaration”, I or so many like me, would have you quickly going back to where you came from, without the title of Commissioner. Nobody, but nobody should place themselves, above the intent of a law, and ethics in public office these days are being trampled to death by the likes of this “abhorrent behavior”.

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