Sun City Anthem

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Another Crisis...It's Getting Old

Laughing at a Government that Can't Live Within Its Means

Like many of you, I've been following the news lately regarding the newest buzz word....SEQUESTER...

...which in layman's term are the cuts that will automatically take place in the next few days unless this latest "crisis" is solved.

The Las Vegas Sun's February 27, 2013 edition even spelled out the doom and gloom this represents to our very own Silver State.

The battle has begun....AGAIN... between Republicans and Democrats, and the latest is the release of undocumented criminals because....we can't afford to house and feed them.

Come on Mr. President, you're going to unleash criminals in the country ??? 

Oh, the frightening ramifications that face us all !

Sure....I believe that ! (he said sarcastically)

So, I jumped on the "google" machine and did a bit of homework about giving the president and congress a few ideas on WHAT to cut, rather than dooming us to all those criminals; and frankly, I couldn't believe what I uncovered in some of the ways our tax dollars are spent..

...and I would like these categorized for a new governmental agency called...

To our Congress and President, here are a few ways that you might "shave" a few bucks, rather than endangering the lives of the American people.

1. Every four years, the federal government spends $100 million to subsidize political party conventions...FOR EACH PARTY.
2. The Department of Agriculture spent $2 million to establish an intern program.  They hired ONE.
3. We're spending $2.6 million training Chinese prostitutes to drink more responsibly on the job.
4. Federal employees cost taxpayers $146 million each year when they upgrade to business class flights. 
Here are a few others I was able to uncover.

  1. A reality TV show in India. The Department of Agriculture’s Market Access Program spends $200 million a year to help U.S. agricultural trade associations and cooperatives advertise their products in foreign markets. In 2011, it funded a reality TV show in India that advertised U.S. cotton.
  2. Studying pig poop. The Environmental Protection Agency awarded a $141,450 grant under the Clean Air Act to fund a Chinese study on swine manure and a $1.2 million grant to the United Nations for clean fuel promotion.
  3. Amtrak snacks. Federally subsidized Amtrak lost $84.5 million on its food and beverage services in 2011 and $833.8 million over the past 10 years. It has never broken even on these services.
  4. Using military exercises to boost  biofuels. The U.S. Navy bought 450,000 gallons of biofuels for $12 million—or almost $27 per gallon—to conduct exercises to showcase the fuel and bring it closer toward commercialization. It is the largest biofuel purchase ever made by the government.
  5. Conferences for government employees. In 2008 and 2009 alone, the Department of Justice spent $121 million to host or participate in 1,832 conferences.
Some additional expenses that might be saved in order to avoid those nasty criminals running amuck !
  1. ROBOSQUIRREL”.... $325,000 was spent on a robotic squirrel named “ RoboSquirrel.” This National Science Foundation grant was used to create a realistic-looking robotic squirrel for the purpose of studying how a rattlesnake would react to it.
  2. Cupcakes. In Washington, D.C., and elsewhere across the country, cupcake shops are trending. The 10 cupcake shop owners who received $2 million in Small Business Administration loan guarantees.
  3. Food stamps for alcohol and junk food. Though they were intended to ensure hungry children received healthy meals, taxpayer-funded food stamps were instead spent on fast food at Taco Bell and Burger King; on non-nutritious foods such as candy, ice cream, and soft drinks; and on some 2,000 deceased persons in New York and Massachusetts. Food stamp recipients spent $2 billion on sugary drinks alone. Improper SNAP payments accounted for $2.5 billion in waste, including to one exotic dancer who was making $85,000 per year.
  4. Beer brewing in New Hampshire. Despite  Smuttynose Brewery’s financial success and popularity, it is still getting a $750,970 Community Development Block Grant to build a new brewery and restaurant facilities.
  5. A covered bridge to nowhere. What list of government waste would be complete without a notorious “bridge to nowhere”? In this case, it’s $520,000 to fix the Stevenson Road Covered Bridge in Green County, Ohio, which was last used in 2003.

OK, I did my part, anyone else have any others to add?

Dick Arendt

Monday, February 25, 2013

Let Us Entertain You

First it was My Pants...Now...It's My Shirt !

A year ago, I walked out of most casinos looking like this...

But now...walking out...I'm starting to look more like this !

I suppose I could have used a different analogy since just about every shirt I own has a casino logo imprinted on it; and the truth is, if I did lose them, I'd have to go to Goodwill to buy new ones, the way gambling appears to be going lately...

...but seriously...

What's going on with the casino business the past few months ?

Just about everyone I've been talking to recently, says the same thing.

"It ain't fun no more"

Remember the days when you could walk into a place with a $20 bill, and sit at a machine for a couple of hours, have a few drinks, and then go home with at least SOME of that 20 bucks ?

Not anymore.

I'm not talking about's more like 2005 since that "Jackson" went anywhere. start with a "Ben Franklin"... and leave an hour later...still looking for the cocktail waitress with just a few "Washingtons" left in the now, skinny coffer.

Listen, I'm not trying to be a sore loser, and I don't really believe that I'm going to walk out of any of these places making a fortune, but come on.....

What's happened to APPRECIATION ?

Are we "consumers" or "suckers"?  Maybe it's a little bit of both, but within the past few months, the later word seems to be a lot more appropriate.

The TARGETED consumer seems to be the visitor, doesn't it?

Most of these places are beginning to remind me of a yo yo.  One month they seem to be "friendly" and then, WHAM, they seem to want it all back...ASAP.  Trouble is....the yo yo doesn't seem to want to sling back to the top much anymore.

Best SCAM all seem to employ....

...never telling you the rules of the road as they pertain to how much you have to gamble to get on one of their mailing lists.

Just why won't they tell you just what the rules of the road really are for those things? 

And the promotions....what a ruse !

Best ruse?   Station Casinos "drawing tickets".  This one should make anyone laugh.  The latest is getting "100 free tickets" every day you walk through the door of their establishment and swipe your "treasured" players card.

Wow...what a deal.  Go in, swipe it, and LIKE EVERYONE else, you get 100 tickets. 
Are any of you that dumb as to believe that there is a difference between everyone getting 1, 100, or 10000 ?  With everyone getting the same, it's MOOT.

...but just the same, the "something for nothing" crowd still jams the place, hoping they'll be the lucky one.

Me?  I'd rather have a V-8 !

Remember that swipe used to get you a buffet, points, something of actual value?  Not anymore, now its drawing tickets !

Can't stop at let's get to the M Resort.  The What?  The weekday graveyard? 

Gee, got to get the Hash House to spend $30 for breakfast ! Or take your sweetie out for a nice Friday night, and drop a HUNDRED bucks with tip on a BUFFET...after dropping the other HUNDRED on one of their "loose", or better said, LOSE machines.

Remember the lines that used to populate their buffet, the soft drink stations, or senior day, or the football pools, or the way so many of us used to see Mark O'Toole or Zowie Bowie?

GONE !!!

And with that "loyal" attitude toward those who paid his bills the first couple of the years, the owner shouldn't be shocked at the "sounds of silence"  that are now all that's left there during the week.

I don't think even Chris Milam would have an interest in buying that property, unless he's looking for a new source of foreign investment !

Next up...the South Point.

Ever go there on a weekend ?  No parking available, bumping into everyone because it's JAMMED wherever you go there...and then leaving BROKE after an hour.

I thought I would send them an idea for a new machine.

I spoke with a few of the people working there, and honestly I'M CONFUSED.  It appears that there is a "purge" of their employees, cutting back their hours, losing their medical benefits, and it's been obvious lately that the employee morale is sinking faster than the Titanic.

Yet...I've been told the owner OWNS THE PLACE WITHOUT ANY DEBT !

Well...LA DI DA ! 

How about spreading some of that solvency back to us?

On the positive least they still maintain some quality entertainment with Wes Winters on the weekends; Gregg Austin on Tuesday evenings; the buy one, get one free showroom bargains for Sun City Anthem residents; and of course, the Dennis Bono Show on Thursday afternoons.

Their specialty restaurants, Don Vito's, Primarily Prime Rib, and Silverado Steakhouse are good, moderately priced, but yet, have you noticed THE PRICES have RECENTLY INCREASED, but the coupon value on their mailer (if you are fortunate to get one) hasn't ?

...and that buffet....other than a salad bar, I'm wondering what they're doing with all those horses in the arena after the shows !

Gaming lately at the South Point has been compared to getting robbed without a gun.

So what to do if you "get the urge" to get a little bang for that buck on those one armed bandits ?

Here's a suggestion...GO TO DOWNTOWN HENDERSON and patronize a few of the local joints that still seem to appreciate the business of a local.

It's OLD VEGAS, and it shows by the SERVICE.

Forget the should be renamed "Station Casino IMPROV"...and that buffet...well, I think I know where the South Point buffet leftovers are being deposited !

My suggestion:

Emerald Isle

...located at 120 Market Street near city hall (702) 567-9160.

This place is an all penny casino, no table games, and as they say, "every day is a promotion".

...and low overhead, means MORE FOR YOU.

OK, it's a little smoky, but if you can get past it, THEY SEEM to actually appreciate you showing up.

Play a few hundred points each month...especially between 5:00pm and 6:00pm and get 75 times points.  In addition, their mailer sends you coupons for a free lunch or breakfast for EACH WEEK OF THE MONTH; and during the day and evening, they pass out goodies like cookies, teriyaki chicken, hot dogs, if....they LIKE YOU !

They have a seniors day where entrees are half off, a Wednesday night all-you-can-eat RIB dinner for about $15.00 (which at 75x points can pretty much cover it), cocktail waitresses that are THERE every few moments, and serve QUALITY booze on top of it !

And the QUALITY as well.  Have their burger at lunch, and you'll probably won't have any room for dinner !

You might even meet the owner, Tim Brooks, who is usually around somewhere saying hi to people.

The day I introduced myself to him, he spent about 10 minutes with me, and as we closed our conversation, I told him, that if I have to lose my shirt, at least here at Emerald Isle, I'm having a good time doing it !

...and then I asked him why he was so different than the majors, and his answer was so simple....


Wake up Station, South Point, & M, we're consumers and you seem to be forgetting we count after the weekend warriors leave.

And though I haven't seen too many shirts with Emerald Isle logos lately, trust me, I have enough from the other places to keep me in "proper business attire" until the angels come a callin".

Dick Arendt

Saturday, February 23, 2013

What Excitement...Yawn !


Webster defines the term election as:

The act of choosing a person to fill an office, or to membership in a society, as by ballot, uplifted hands, or viva voce; as, the election of a president or a mayor.

Each year we have an election here at Sun City Anthem.  In case you did not know, we have 7 members of our Board of Directors. On alternate years we elect either 3 or 4 new members to serve a 2 year term.  The idea behind this process is to have new folks always coming to the board while the remaining members will have some experience as to how we have been running things.

 We have committees that are suppose to assist the board in the operations of our community.  Each committee has a leader or chairman.  The chairman role is a wonderful prelude to serving as a member of the board.

Shortly we will be ready to elect our new board members.  Elections are just around the corner.

Well, that will not happen this year. We have 4 new spots to fill and three of the 4 candidates are not new,  and all four of the existing board members would have likely run again, had one of them, Wade Terry, not decided to resign and relocate to Texas.  They are the same folks that were board members last year.

Last year, all three people who were on the board  for the 2 years prior to that, were reelected as well.

Where have all the other potential candidates gone?  

Only 2 new people have stepped up to the plate.  How disappointing! With 7,144 homes in our community and over 12,000 people, only 2 have decided to run.


This is not the type of election many of us had hoped for when we moved here.

 How sad, but is it something that we should have expected based on the past?

Why is it that only 40-50 residents out that 12,000 even attend a board meeting?

What atmosphere has evolved over the years to create so few having such little interest?

That should be the concern, not who wins or loses in our 2013 elections.

Over the past few years, the Las Vegas valley has had numerous investigations and indictments from HOA problems, many resulting from people who were elected over and over again.

Why? Perhaps due to others who have taken the position that "you can't beat city hall".

And why Is it so difficult for some to look at the dangers of electing the same individuals again and again?

Is it so impossible to believe that what created problems elsewhere,  could easily subject us to those same ones here?

If anything, the shear amount of dues collected each year, now approximately $ 8 million should open the eyes of all us to examine our backyard even closer in choosing the same individuals over and over again.

We can only hope that others that may have great qualifications, think about throwing their hat in the ring for NEXT year.

Let’s all thank the current board and the old board members that are running AGAIN,  but then ask them to step aside for new blood for next year. Other than US Senator and US Congress, most elected positions are limited to two terms in Nevada, and perhaps that should be a consideration that we, as residents, should take into account, when we vote, despite CCR's allowing unlimited terms for reelection.

This article is a request for others to consider running in 2014. a request to GET INVOLVED in 2013 so they are better prepared for NEXT YEAR.

 WE SHOULD ALL BE DISAPPOINTED IN THIS NON-ELECTION...and even more disappointed that an atmosphere of apathy is so evident; that people have taken a "why should I run, nothing will change" attitude, not unlike a contagious disease, which spreads, if not cured at the earliest opportunity.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Man Who's Done it All !

February 20, 1962....."God Speed, John Glenn"

He's 91 years old, and his story is as American as Apple Pie.

Looking back 51 years to an historic day in American history.

Just click our "History & Holidays" Information Page for a memory of a day we couldn't have been prouder to be an American. 

(located to the right of the Welcome Screen)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Traveling Soon ? (Part Two)

Finding a Decent Hotel

Whether you travel here in the US, or a foreign country, finding a reasonably priced hotel isn't as difficult as you might think....if you do it right !

Today, we'll look at some of the more popular web sites that people use to obtain hotel reservations that fit their particular needs.

No one need call the hotel directly, because in all probability, INTERNET RATES will be VERY COMPETITIVE.

If you "want to play it safe", try TINGO.COM.
This site can give you ideas for both domestic and international travel.
What makes unique?

One you book through them, they keep tabs on the room rates on a daily basis; and if the price drops, THEY IMMEDIATELY do the legwork to get you the LOWER RATE.

Another popular site is BACKBID.COM.

Using, according to the USA Today, Travel Section, you become the "pursued", rather than the "pursuer".  You tell THEM what you want, and let competing hotels RESPOND to YOU.

This site works well whether or not you have an existing reservation that may be canceled without penalty.  It lets the "hotels" chase YOU for their business.

The third option is one that...if you are patient....and have a few months to plan....NEVER HAS FAILED ME.


Some out there won't agree with me, but before we go any further, I recommend this site for HOTELS ONLY, not other venues...especially FLIGHTS, or in combination with other needs; in example, a car rental.

...and "using it" correctly, can normally get you a great deal on a hotel.

And "using it correctly" means YOU HAVE A NUMBER OF MONTHS to prepare for your trip. 

If you're leaving tomorrow or next week, forget this site.

This needs some explanation by way of example.

Let's say you were going to take a trip to Phoenix in a few months.  You know the dates and you're ready to search.

The first thing you do after entering the site, is click on hotels. entering the location of the hotel as well as the dates.

Click "Search Now".

A number of choices will appear with various "Star Ratings" ranging from 1, being the lowest, to 5, being the highest.

Examine the hotel choices and ratings, and take note of the price being charged for the location and "Star Rating" BUT DON'T BOOK ANYTHING.

Once you have your location and Star Rating, re-enter the site, and click the "Name your own Price".

Now the fun and patience begins.

Enter your location and Star Rating requirements. Then, going back to the "Star Rating" on the hotels you have previously examined, enter 50% of that amount.

Go through the rest of the information, and CLICK to purchase. 

Within a few moments, you will get an answer as to whether or not the bid has been accepted. is where PATIENCE and some ADVANCE PLANNING can pay off !

You are allowed only ONE BID per star rating per day.

If your bid is NOT accepted, add $1-$2 to your offer, and try again the following day.

Sooner or later, YOU WILL HIT PAY DIRT and it will be accepted, normally at 50-60% of the initial rate.

One other way to "use" is for car rentals. 

Enter your information, and click away. You will receive a number of bids from various car rental agencies for different vehicles, but most importantly, DO NOT PURCHASE A CAR RENTAL from

Take the information, go to the car rental company that had the best price, and book directly with the company. By doing so, you will normally get the "best deal" and most importantly, you CAN CANCEL the reservation if you subsequently find a better price before you leave on your trip.

Priceline does the leg work, and booking a car from them also incurs a SERVICE FEE that would not be applicable if booked directly with the car agency.

Here's the one BIG negative with 

Once you book, YOU'RE BOOKED. No cancellations or refunds are allowed, under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.

If you can live by those rules, YOU WILL SAVE.

Our next article will cover Air Travel.

Dick Arendt

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Management Companies Sponsoring Bill to Curtail Bidding Opportunities

Pending Legislation a Concern as to Bidding of Large Contracts

Very few of our articles are political in nature. 

We try our best to avoid that subject; however, in the cause of attempting to preserve rights of homeowners, once in a while it is necessary to bring information to you that could have a detrimental affect on ALL homeowners in the Las Vegas valley who reside in a Homeowners Association.

NOW is one of those times.

Currently we have a bill before the Nevada legislature that has the ability to allow Homeowners Association Boards the opportunity to avoid placing major association contracts out to competitive bid.

Our current laws are flawed in that we have a provision referred to as "practicability" that our board here in Sun City Anthem claimed as a reason for not placing our management company out to competitive bid a few years ago.

For those of you who did not reside here at that time, this MAJOR ASSOCIATION contract was at the point of renewal.  It had been neglected for months and approximately three months prior to its renewal, then association president, Jack Troia, brought the matter to discussion.

As a result of waiting until the last minute to concern our association with the renewal of our contract with RMI, he claimed that it was "too late" to do so, under the guise of a provision in Nevada law referred to as "practicability".  In other words, there was not enough time to obtain the bids, and as a result, the contract was renewed.

Subsequent to that, the board at that time, voted to allow him to solely negotiate the terms of a three year contract that was to expire in 2012.

As the time approached for the renewal, our board then authorized an "ad hoc" committee to study various alternatives to RMI, and through time-consuming efforts of those individuals, brought recommendations to our board.

These recommendations were IGNORED at that time, and the RMI contract was continued without competitive bid on a month by month basis. 

Recently our board voted to place this contract out to competitive bid, but now we have a bill before the legislature which essentially allows any board to bypass the spirit of proper business competitive bidding.

This bill is AB34. (Assembly Bill 34)

Within the past couple of weeks, this bill was amended as follows as it pertained to bidding procedures for major association contracts, one of which is the management company.

It would allow "renewal of contracts where the contract is not changed and the term does not exceed one year."

In other words, this verbiage, undoubtedly placed in this bill by management companies, controlling boards,  and organizations who look for ways to avoid ANY BIDDING possibilities, would have the ability to renew ANY MAJOR CONTRACT for a one year period at their whim, and thus, possibly PERMANENTLY AVOID ANY BIDDING AT ALL.

Is this something that concerns you?  Should this bill pass?

If you have objection to the passage of such legislation, I would urge you to email your concerns to the following individuals at your earliest opportunity.  These individuals sit on the Nevada Judicial Committee, and will be hearing this proposed bill.

This legislation, if passed, in conjunction with a management technique known as "The Carver Method" that is currently being considered as an operating guide for the governance of our association, would essentially grant a free reign of authority to any management firm chosen by our board of directors.

This technique has been discussed in great detail on another of our community forums, and I would suggest you take a few moments of your time to digest the full impact of this controversial management method.

Though we have no intention of discussing the merits of board candidates on this blog, we do know that two members of our board, Jean  Capiluppo, and current president, Jim Long...who is running for reelection, HEAVILY FAVOR this option.

...and if you have the opportunity of meeting any of those who are currently seeking board election, my suggestion is to ask them IF they would vote in favor of the Carver Method, or if they would vote against it.

We're trying to refrain from political matters as much as possible, but in this instance, we find that these two issues should be of great concern to any homeowners association.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Thank You....Dennis Bono

Welcome to those at the February 14th 
Dennis Bono Show    

 Wow !  We never expected such a warm reception, and if you are one of our new subscribers who attended yesterday's Dennis Bono Show, we WELCOME you to Anthem Opinions.

We want to personally thank Dennis Bono for his enthusiastic support by allowing us to pass out Anthem Opinions pamphlets to those who attended his show.

...and Dennis, if you're out there, meeting  the warm and kind Crystal Gayle....made my day !  (See her show this weekend at the South Point)

Over 400 of you loyal Dennis Bono fans took our flyer home with you !

We've just begun.

Look for our ad in the March, 2013 edition of the Vegas Voice newspaper, with a growing circulation now in excess of 44,000 people in the Las Vegas valley.

We hope you'll pass us on to your friends and neighbors, and send us a note or two if there is a topic you'd like us to explore.

We'd like to hear from you about that little restaurant no one seems to know about, or a show you saw that was just great. 

Our only goal is to make Las Vegas a happy place for all who reside in this fabulous fun filled town...The Entertainment Capital of the World.

Until then....

Welcome !

Dick Arendt & Allen Weintraub
Anthem Opinions

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Spousal Holiday Wishes

A Message from Dick & Allen to Our Wives

Happy Valentine's Day !
...for all we put you through each and every day....


A Message to Dick & Allen from their Wives

Happy Ballantine's Day
...for what we need to consume by putting up with you every day of ours !

Love is being honest with the one you love.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Traveling Soon ? (Part One)

Knowing your Money...and...Getting the Most out of It When Traveling to Foreign Countries  


It's that time of the year when people begin to plan their travel "ventures", and a GOOD traveler, is a KNOWLEDGEABLE traveler.

No, I am not suggesting any specific travel a matter of fact, I don't use them.  I have nothing against travel agents, but after years of extensive travel.... my opinion, planning a trip yourself, is half the fun...and...can save you a bunch of money as well.

... and this tool we call "the internet" makes it easier than you can imagine.
We're going to do a few articles on "Travel" to give you some ideas as  you make your plans, and first on our agenda is.....


Going abroad ?

If Europe is on your destination chart, that American dollar just won't help you out in most European countries, In all likelihood, you are going to use the European currency referred to as the Euro.

Its value fluctuates daily and you should be aware of the proper exchange rate between the Euro and the American Dollar.

Most people will use a credit card for purchases; however, when doing so, normally there is a 3% charge for the transaction.

Want to avoid that fee?

There are credit cards available that DO NOT IMPOSE a FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEE.

As the commercial goes....

"What's in your wallet"?

Here's a good list to examine...a number of which HAVE NO ANNUAL FEE.

...and know the conversion rate !  

Here's a handy tool which performs the conversion for you.

In addition to the proper credit card, you're going to need some spending money while you're there, so purchasing some of this currency to have a bit of cash on hand is also a pretty good idea as well.

But...WHERE do you purchase it ?

Here, there....where?

...and thanks to one of our readers, and I might add, a good friend, Sun City Anthem former Chief of the Security Patrol, Joe Mihalich...

...we have an answer, due to his experience and research.

Joe suggested that BEFORE you go, you visit this organization:

Foreign Money Exchange, Inc.
101 Convention Center Drive
Las Vegas
(702) 791-2201

We too, did a bit of research of our own, and Joe, if you're out there, let's just say "You were right on the money".  If a better deal out there exists, we couldn't find it.

Thanks Joe.

So...there's your starting point...knowing your money, its worth, where to get it, and how best to spend it.

Next TRAVEL article will cover a few web sites that have proven invaluable in planning that "dream vacation".  Stay tuned.

Dick Arendt