The Mean Streak

Everywhere you go, there is a dark story. Every city and town has one. Mesquite, however, has several.

Over the past seven years that I have had a magnifying glass over this city, watching the moves of the chess pieces and seeing the constant roller coaster ride of success, there is one thing I have learned.

Mesquite has a wild hair that can be triggered at any given moment. And please note – it’s not just the powers that be on the city council. It’s also very much a part of the residents.

It’s with the current situation of the city targeting former Fire Chief Kash Christopher that broke the straw on this camel’s back. The following needs to be said, and it needs to be fixed now.

Christopher is just the latest victim in a long line of people, not just city employees, who have been canned because of their successes and ability to build one aspect of the city beyond others.

I won’t name names, but there are several people who are determined to get things done their way, no matter what the cost.

These people didn’t get their way with raising ‘Issue A’, so they moved on to ‘Issue B’ and again to ‘Issue C’ and finally got what they wanted.

But that’s not the main point here.

The main point is that in the past seven years that I have worked at the Mesquite Local News, there have been at least eight others who have been given the pink slip. Eight others who built up their various departments and began seeing progress and success, all gone.

Of course, no one would go on record saying as much, but you can bet they were given the same greeting that Christopher was given. “Resign or be fired.” And all while doing their job at making Mesquite one of the best cities in Nevada.

But this Mean Streak needs to end.

Every single one of us who call Mesquite home needs to realize something. We’re all in this together, regardless if you were born and raised here or if you decided to retire here. If we don’t learn to open our minds and compromise, then we might as well close off the access to the freeway and let Mesquite die right here and right now. By the way, the definition of compromise is not to throw a fit when you don’t get your way. The definition is to settle a dispute by mutual concession. To reach an agreement where both sides give a little to resolve a situation. To share a cost in a communal issue. Need I say more?

We, as a city, need to come together and stand up for what is right, and to speak out when we disagree. Then, we need to be a part of the solution to compromise to a point where all sides can live with the outcome.

Remember that saying, “One bad egg will ruin the whole carton?” That’s Mesquite.

Because of these people, Mesquite now has to go through another hiring process and find a fire chief. We can only hope the next one is half as good as Christopher. Keep in mind he was one of a dozen specialized chiefs in the country. He did far more than he was paid for.

Because of these people, your life might be at risk. Because of them, another quality employee has been terminated from the city.

Because of them, grant money that could save lives may have been lost.

And, because of them, you and I may be paying for this for many years to come.

Just think, this could have been avoided with a little bit of compromising.


  1. mikewilbur says:

    Sounds like Washington

  2. Very well said and accurate. Goes back to the mid 1990’s, too.

  3. I have over 27 years experience in the Fire service and worked for Chief Christopher in the Air Force and have known him for over a decade. Mesquite lost a very dedicated and talented Fire Chief by making this move. Seeing how much he had advanced that fire department since he took that job was simply amazing. Modernizing Mesquite Fire from a small city department to a department that was complying and exceeding national standards despite the small city limitations. No way Mesquite will be able to find a replacement of his caliber, but whoever takes his place will find a much stronger and modernized department because of what Chief Christopher’s work. It’s really a shame that the Mesquite city leaders chose the Boss Hogg Dukes of Hazzard model instead of serving, protecting and doing right by their citizens and tourists that visit the city. Hopefully nobody dies due to this selfish decision.

  4. Joey Martin says:

    Very well stated.

    Let’s also look at the service these local responders provide. Not only does the Fire Department respond to fires, swift water emergencies and whatever emergencies they are requested. Mesquite Fire is one of the few ground response agencies that provide Critical Care Paramedicine. This certification alone represents a step above and forward than most agencies provide. This critical care aspect not only provides a higher level of care for residents it’s also a huge cost savings to the patient and taxpayers of the community. Before Chief Christopher took on becoming critical care certified all of those type of critical care calls for service were required to be flown at a huge cost to the patient or were taken by ground at a high risk to the patient.

    The hard work and determination to achieve this level of care speaks volumes for the men and women of the Mesquite FD. to terminate this leadership is and will be a travesty that will forever haunt the citizens of Mesquite.

  5. Tony Lohrman says:

    I have known Chief Christopher for a while and know very well of his success, dedication to the job and service before self attitude and can not for the life of me understand why he was either terminated or forced to resign. What wasn’t published in the above article are his accomplishments. When public safety is jeopardized for political reasons, it not only hurts the individual but also the department and the community. I do not recall a vote of no confidence by the members ever being put out. I do not recall union grievances being put out. I would love for the city to state the main reason for his termination.

  6. Mesquite’s loss another city’s gain. What the chief did in his short time set the standard for others to follow. Just think where the fire department would be in the long term with him considering everything he accomplished in just a few years.Great leader and even greater loss

  7. Nicholas Bourchier says:

    As a Firefighter that worked for Chief Christopher for many years, I must say, you lost a great Chief and a great person. He was the most honest, helpful, and knowledgeable Chief that I worked for. I always appreciated how he stood up for his subordinates. He always knew the right thing to do, and instilled that in everyone that he trained. I would work for Chief Christopher again without question, and I guarantee that anyone who served with him before would say the same. You are going to be hard pressed to find someone else to run your Fire Department as well as Chief Christopher did. I hope for the sake of the men and women of Mesquite Fire that you find a quality replacement, but replacing a Chief of Christopher’s caliber will prove to be difficult!

  8. Aaron Danielson says:

    The City of Mesquite has done it’s citizens a disservice. Chief Kash Christopher was one of my absolute best mentors as a young Airman during our time spent together in the United States Air Force. His leadership, ability to solve problems, and the care of his fellow man is outstanding. The City of Mesquite has broke the Cardinal Rule of keeping politics out of Public Safety.

  9. Amy Marshall says:

    I agree. The firing of our Fire Chief was totally uncalled for. But the mean streak doesn’t end with city positions. It continues in local businesses with ridiculous rules. People who are fired for ridiculous reasons, and then replaced with Las Vegas transplants who are lied to about how much money can be made here, only to find out they’ve been duped.
    When I moved here in 1992, this was a friendly, pretty awesome little town. I’ve watched it evolve into a successful city. Now, I’m afraid, the very people who made it a success will be lost. I call that a crying shame. People can moan about the ‘good ol’ boys club’ all they want, (remember that?) but they had it right in a lot of ways.

  10. Dawn Wynn says:

    I am absolutely floored with this news. The city had done a disservice to a remarkable & decorated VETERAN who was THE most qualified for the job. The fact a city and/or its officials can conduct improper services is beyond reproach & should be taken to a higher authority. What will be next? Who is the next target? Hopefully not another Vet who has served honorably with only the intent of bringing a city together with outstanding fellow firefighters.

  11. John Burrows says:

    So, someone(s) in Mesquite can’t stand the success of its public servants and therefore gets rid of them – according to this writer. All I really see here is hyperbole, assumptions and accusations against nameless/faceless people, without any substance or details. I can’t see how lobbing grenades like this, whereby fragments could hit almost anyone, can be helpful in addressing the “Mean Streak” alleged by the writer.

  12. Leonard Bowe says:

    Excellent article Stephanie it got to the meat of what’s going on in that god-forsaken town Chief Christopher’s a dear friend of mine and the way they treated him is awful keep up the good work and never stop digging

  13. Beth Whitney says:

    “We can only hope the next one is half as good as Christopher. Keep in mind he was one of a dozen specialized chiefs in the country. He did far more than he was paid for.”

    I don’t live in Mesquite but I know the kind of man Chief Christopher is. He is a leader of leaders. The kind of man you always want in your corner, on your side. Kash is the kind of man who put in the blood, sweat and tears to get where he is today. I’m proud to know him, and know without a shadow of a doubt Mesquite is a worse place without him.

  14. Steve McNally says:

    Dear Mayor Litman, we don’t usually see eye to eye, but now I can say I appreciate you for at least two reasons. 1. Your amazing Veterans Day parade and 2. Your letter regarding the dissmal of Chief Christopher.
    Dear Mr. Ballweg, Mr. Wursten and Mr. Raspson. I DO agree with you gentlemen on most city matters and I believe you are very intelligent and make informed decisions. So I ask of you to please offer the citizens more information. Certainly there HAS to be a “cause” for terminating the fire chief? Please don’t turn this into another easily won lawsuit against the city.
    That being said, I was there during the city council meeting when Chief Christopher turned to his subordinates and asked them to give him a cheer. The room was silent, I was embarrassed for him and in that moment wondered what his relationship was like with them. So I’m not surprised the rest of the fire department is staying pretty quiet on the matter, instead of standing up and speaking in favor of him- it raises the question: perhaps there is some merit to the unexplained firing?

  15. Think about this for a moment. Let’s imagine the Fire Chief provided a large sum of beer and brats to have all these folks speak highly of him. Each and every one of them would have nothing to lose and a belly of goodness in return. But what about the editor who may or may not have taken advantage of indulging in the bounty provided by Chief. What would drive a person who obviously has a job within the geographic reach of the folks who ended this man’s leadership position, to walk out into the light naked? I suspect she pays bills, has obligations requiring employment and likely enjoys what she does. In my estimation, the shiny thing that drives people to take an arrow for another person is usually this superpower we call leadership. This superpower normally has other attributes like integrity, honesty and a dash of humility. We all know at least one person who has done this in our life, and the only time we are at odds with this heroic action is because it wasn’t us who took the arrow. This speaks volumes to the character of both these individuals. Society in general is screaming for these types of humans to step forward. If you cannot or will not lead, then find the courage to stand up and start taking arrows for the ones who choose the burden of leadership. You’ll know when that moment appears. It’s that sensation when your heart immediately told you what to do, but your brain began protecting you from actions that would make you uncomfortable. Strangely enough, this is that moment where we add another layer of regret on our souls, because we chose the comfortable path over taking the arrow. The military likes to push leadership, and I am not suggesting it stop. At this point in our history, the number of meat shields is equally If not more important than the number of leaders we have. These folks are jewels and should be protected as such.

  16. Steve Clutterham says:

    Thank you Stephanie for pointing out the obvious. The ugliness of this town and some of it’s people is constantly hidden under a cloak of darkness, so that most never do understand the reason things happen the way they do. You continue to amaze me with your insightful thinking and reporting.

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