Harry Reid’s Ex-Staffer And BLM chief invited to County Commission Meeting

May 09, 2014 2:15 pm

ELKO — In light of ongoing land conflicts, county commissioners want newly confirmed Bureau of Land Management Director Neil Kornze, who grew up in Elko, back for a visit.

But members of the board seemed to disagree Wednesday with the tone the county should take in its invitation.

Commissioner Grant Gerber wrote a draft resolution that listed a number of contentious problems on public land and placed fault at the BLM. At the conclusion of the document, it invited and pleaded for Kornze’s participation at a future commission meeting.

Although commissioners agreed on the issues, three of them thought the resolution was a losing tactic.

“My contention is you don’t invite a guy to have dinner at your house right after you’ve poked him in the eye,” Commission Chairman Charlie Myers said. “I think that’s possibly where we’re going with that resolution.”

Commissioner Glen Guttry said if the invitation wasn’t inviting, the director would choose to stay away.

“I agree with everything that’s in the resolution,” he said. “It’s just that the way it’s worded might be a little bit strong. I don’t want (Kornze) to get a letter that’s to the point where he says, ‘Boy, I don’t know if I want to go to a gunfight with Elko County.’”

Instead of a resolution, the commissioners thought a concise letter would be more appropriate.

Commissioner Jeff Williams said he wanted to sign off on a copy of the letter before it was sent.

The concerned commissioners used the same word throughout the discussion: respect.

Commissioner Demar Dahl was discernibly annoyed at the insinuation the county has been anything other than respectful.

“What’s the deal about being respectful?” he asked. “Aren’t we respectful? We’re always respectful.”

Gerber said the resolution merely stated the county’s concerns regarding restrictions on sage grouse habitat, reduction of grazing on public lands, wild horse populations and fire management.

Waddie Mitchell, Nevada’s honorary sesquicentennial poet, advised the county not to cower behind political correctness.

Myers assured Mitchell that if Kornze agrees to come before the commission, the director would be asked tough, direct questions.

Gerber, who said four attorneys thought the language of the resolution was fine, said he supported writing a letter as long as it didn’t diminish the importance of the issues to northeastern Nevada.

“If you sugarcoat it, I’m not going to vote for it,” he said.

Former assemblyman John Carpenter said he first suggested inviting Kornze to the county because of his ability to influence change.

“He’s really the only one that can settle some of these issues,” Carpenter said. “And the reality, as I see it, this is his job. He needs to come here and listen to what’s happening here. … This is a serious, serious situation. People are losing their livelihoods.”

The county heard from members of the Tomera and Filippini families, both of whom run cattle ranches in Lander County and were recently asked by the BLM Battle Mountain district office to reduce grazing due to drought. Doug Furtado, manager of the Battle Mountain BLM district, was not informed of the meeting in time to attend, according to county staff. [MC – Furtado has closed cattle grazing to numerous ranches]

Elko District Manager Jill Silvey said her office has been working cooperatively with permittees, who agreed to “voluntary non-use” of grazing permits.

“I’m going to work as hard as I can within the scope of my authority and my ability to make sure that we are grazing and we’re grazing to sustain those families now, but also with a long-term goal in mind,” she said.


I’ll be surprised if Harry Reid’s ex-aide and BLM Director Kornze will attend the meeting. He has his lucrative job so what does he care about putting ranchers out of business if the alternative is to enrich the Reid Family who got him the job in the first place.


Tomera family

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