Monday, May 12, 2008

Our refuse is no one else's business

This first published May 8, 2008 in the Henderson Home News, a Community Newspapers of Nevada publication.

Setting the record straight.
A very astute reader sent me an e-mail pointing out an error in my column last week that needs to be corrected. The reader requested to be kept anonymous and I’ve agreed to his request.
He wrote, “I read your ‘One Man’s View’ in the Viewpoint section, May 1-7, 2008, Home News. Unfortunately, the information you gave concerning ‘interference with recycling containers’ was incorrect and a perpetuation of an urban myth. I would not normally be so familiar with this topic, but I witnessed a similar incident as your wife did, only it was 3 a.m. … I was cited the same incorrect information you printed. … However, in my case, they were not taking aluminum cans, but instead rifling through recycling and refuse looking for identity documents, as you foretold in your opinion piece.
“I phoned the Henderson Police the next day and was given the correct information and reference to City of Henderson, Ordinance 2545. … Apparently, many municipalities changed their city codes, pertaining to ‘refuse and recycling’ after Sept. 11 to heighten safety and security procedures. A Lexis/Nexis search will reveal thousands of such ordinances throughout the nation. A side note: Even the designated refuse collectors may not interfere with your trash. They are only authorized to transport it. Both my refuse and recycling handlers were aware of the law.”
So here is how the Henderson Municipal Code reads:
“5.17.080 Interference with containers prohibited.
“A. It is unlawful for any person other than the owner, the city or its franchisee, or their duly appointed agents, to interfere in any manner with any containers containing solid waste or recyclables or to remove any such container from the location where placed for pickup by the owner, the city or its franchisee.
“B. It is unlawful for any person, other than the operator of a drop-off center or his duly appointed agent, to interfere with or remove any recyclables from a drop-off center. (Ord. 2545 § 1 (part), 2006)”
There you have it. The recycle bins are off-limits in Henderson and probably in all of Clark County.
So what can you do if you see someone interfering with the trash? First, don’t call Republic Services, because they don’t care who gets the recyclables. Second, report it to the Police Department, especially if the interlopers are going through your trash.
Information is collected about you and sold to people who have less-than-honorable intentions.

Gibbons, do over

Reflecting back to last week’s column (if you missed it I posted it on my blog at
My good intentions of trying to keep the state’s first family in check blew up in my face. No sooner had my column published, the governor slapped the first lady with divorce papers, ending any chance of reconciliation by way of a warm fireplace and a blanket.
The governor also wants the first lady tossed out of the mansion and, to no one’s surprise, she isn’t going quietly.
The governor isn’t going to dance around this as easily as he did the Chrissy Mazzeo fiasco. In case you need a Gibbons/Mazzeo primer, it goes like this. The governor, then a candidate, was out having drinks with several campaign cronies at a popular Las Vegas drinking and dining establishment. After a few one-armed curls, he headed back to his hotel unattended. At the establishment’s exit, he happened across one of the damsels he had been working out at the table with.
The gentleman that he is, he offered to walk the woman to her car in the parking garage, where she slipped and he broke her fall by grabbing her arm, allegedly forcing her against the wall.
Her version of the story was completely different than the one I’ve strung together from news accounts. You get the idea, though.
The governor better pray he has better lawyers then he has advisers, because the first lady is a polished contender. His knee-jerk reactionary style often leaves him rethinking his decisions.
Just like the crazy idea of billing the widow of Steve Fossett, the millionaire pilot who vanished into thin air after taking off from the Hilton’s Flying M Ranch in Northern Nevada. That idea earned him a few dunce points for sure. He later restated his position to say he was asking her for a donation to defray the cost of the monthlong search.
That would be because he totally blew the state’s revenue projections. He promised no new taxes, and he is sticking by his word.
The beauty of all this is we only have 2 1/2 years before we can kick him out of the mansion. That is, if the first lady doesn’t do it first.

Tim O’Callaghan, co-publisher of the Home News, can be reached at 990-2656 or He writes a regular blog at

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