Taking the High Road with Pershing County

Pershing County Courthouse, Lovelock, NV, Photo by Nathan Aaron Heller

Last week, Burning Man filed a lawsuit against Pershing County, Nev., to stop the county’s attempt to impose drastic fee increases on our event.

Many of you have been very vocal about your support for the legal actions we’ve taken in response to Pershing County’s unreasonable fee hikes and attempts at regulating our event.  Others have generated lots of ideas and suggestions, which we appreciate and will continue to read and listen to.

We are tremendously grateful for your support and our intention is to work through the legal system to reach a satisfactory outcome for our event and our community. As we do, we’d like to remind our fellow Burners that while the actions taken by Pershing County officials might ignite passionate responses, and we’re grateful for your engagement in the community, it’s important to remain civil and respectful as this process plays out – this goes for online communications as well as participants right here at Burning Man.

Importantly, the Pershing County deputies patrolling the event are not party to this lawsuit, and are also completely independent and different from the BLM officers onsite. These are the same deputies who worked the event last year, and Black Rock City staff members are very pleased with the service and professionalism of the Pershing County Sheriff’s Office. We ask that you please treat these officers with the respect and kindness they’ve earned.  Pershing County deputies are a trusted and valuable component of our community – they contribute daily to the safety and well-being of all citzens of Black Rock City!

Just as your actions reflect on our entire community as you make your way through nearby towns en route to and from Black Rock City, your response to this situation reflects on Burning Man as well. Let’s keep to the high road as this lawsuit works its way through the judicial system. Please set the vitriol aside and help us demonstrate that Burning Man is home to a community of givers and doers, with the best of intentions and a lot to offer our neighbors in Pershing, Washoe and Humboldt Counties.

For more information about the Pershing lawsuit, please visit: http://www.brcvpc.com.

Thanks all, and if you’re en route to BRC, we’ll see you very soon!





About the author: Megan Miller

Megan Miller

Megan is an accomplished communications professional with experience in the private, public and nonprofit sectors. She’s a skilled leader, writer, editor, public speaker, and strategic adviser. Megan is passionate about the art of sharing information in creative and impactful ways, and believes in the power of ideas and authentic self-expression to change the world for the better. Before joining the year-round Burning Man staff in 2012, Megan spent ten years working for environmental protection, HIV/AIDS prevention, political campaigns, and the United States Senate. Born and raised in Juneau, Alaska, Megan earned a Bachelor’s degree in English & Art History from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec and is a 2007 graduate of the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs. She is also a certified yoga instructor who loves shaking it loose on the dance floor.

17 Comments on “Taking the High Road with Pershing County

  • HK says:

    Kindness….I didn’t come to the playa to make nice with cops.

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  • Bravo!
    A well thought-out reminder to everyone. High road is always the best road.
    Thank you.

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  • titto says:

    well, perhaps if BMorg refrained from filing the lawsuit until after then burn, we wouldn’t have to worry about retribution from Pershing County LEOs.

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  • badawg says:

    HK……respect and kindness work well together…..
    Patti…..agreed….though sometimes find it hard to not react…..
    Titto…..that might have been the prefered approach…..but since it wasnt…prolly should apply some integrity while on the playa…..actually, prolly should be applied at all times but what do I know…..

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  • Pershing 111 (former) says:

    I would like to say thank you for your kind words. I was a Deputy with Pershing County and had the privelige to work the burn for 4 years. I did see things I didn’t agree with, but I do believe in the constitutional freedoms that I have 10 years of my youth to defend. This will be the second year I won’t be making the trip to the playa as I have relocated and now work in the Midwest as an LEO. I always treat people how I would like to be treated an there was one time of the year where I received that more than any….Burning Man! So I all your residents, remain calm and have a great Burn!!

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  • JV says:

    It’s good to get this lawsuit in motion as soon as possible so as to minimize the impact to future burns. As for interactions with LEO’s, same advice as always applies. Don’t do anything stupid, illegal and/or obvious in public spaces and treat LEO’s with the same respect you would a fellow burner. We’re all just people.

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  • Bub Horne says:

    I am chained to my stove a slave to my passion and art. A widower who fears coming to such a great party and sleeping alone. As a chef I party for a living, every day, but as a hippy wannabe I know there are about 25 or 35 thousand better cooks than me out on the playa. I have planned my menu very carefully, (for the year I will get there) I am an experienced river camp cook and ex Dutch Oven Judge. I still haven’t managed to get to Burning Man, because of all the usual rationalizations. However as a professional party planner for over 43 years it seems to me it would be a win/win to have a spring burn and a fall burn? It would double the revenue for the county and double the number of folks who could go, duh? Maybe I would have two chance to find a date?

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  • DeclineToStateNameGivenTheSubject says:

    Very nice post. We should always be respectful of law enforcement and people with whom we disagree, no matter the actions of the other.

    But, BMOrg, we need more information. Given the change of permits from the 5 year permit, with most money to the law enforcement agencies being contained in the $4 per person per day fee to the BLM, to a one year permit with extra payments to law enforcement agencies, how much extra is being paid to which agencies and how many more LEOs from which agencies are on the playa this year?

    With 25 thousand virgins this year, it’ll be like shooting fish in a barrel at times. From the long range night scopes trying to find anyone who pops the top on a beer can in a back seat while waiting in the 4 hour long entry line (DUI for the driver), to having a tail light out or driving 1 mph over the speed limit resulting in tickets and pressure to allow search the vehicle, to tricks to get people to accidentally serve someone under 21, the virgins don’t know how to avoid these actions without more information.

    BMOrg, please be forthcoming in describing which agencies “push” the limits of the law as interpreted by court precedents in trying to “get” people. Please publish a very detailed summary of the law enforcement feedback forms which you receive, and which agencies are the subject of the forms. Please allow discussions on eplaya of law enforcement “pushing” the limits of the law instead of removing these discussions, while also allowing discussions of which agencies are very professional in their actions.

    In the past couple of years, I have been randomly physically threatened by a couple of undercover officers demanding to trade a bottle of Jack for an illegal substance, had to jump out of the way of a law enforcement vehicle screaming down a populated street without his red lights on, and bullied by an over-21 undercover officer into trying to have me let him serve himself a beer, which would have been a $1000 fine if I chickened out. And I’m a conservative middle-aged guy who doesn’t do anything illegal, many virgins this year don’t stand a chance.

    The vast majority of LEOs on the playa are very professional, and all LEOs deserve our respect. Law enforcement is a very tough job. But, BMOrg, please provide more information. Thanks, and I hope I wrote this comment in the most respectful manner possible while also accurately describing the subject matter.


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  • Hey fuck you! says:

    Freedom of speech is gone!

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  • KrazyKatMan says:

    Just a question. Seeing that legal action has been taken, if this matter is not stteled by next years burn, will Pershing county still take the action they’ve said?

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  • Robert G Brennan says:

    I have to laugh when I see a lawsuit has been filed. Lawsuits and Lawyers have
    ruined my life. I thought the burning man was designed as a refuge to get away from
    the traditional world of problems. Nobody can work anything out without filing a fricking lawsuit. Pretty Funny
    I think they should add lawsuits to the death and taxes saying.

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  • HK says:

    Not on LEO’s!

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  • Three Cents says:

    While it may seem like a lot of money, $400,000 divided by 60,000 attendees is only $7 per person. That doesn’t seem like much compared to the ticket price. And it seems like a relatively low price to pay for protection in case of trouble. Why the big deal? The ticket price has already jumped by $100 in the past few years. When BM explains why the ticket price has gone up so much, we might have a better understanding of why $7 for law enforcement is a big deal.

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  • Booker says:

    Should the URL be http://brcvpc.com/ instead?

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  • Vynce says:

    Link at bottom is busted; you appear to mean BRCvPC.com but typed prcvpc.com

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  • Epiphany Starlight says:

    @Three Cents- More fees mean less art, I expect. And Pershing County isn’t the only agency with their hand out to be filled to overflowing. Correct me if I’m wrong, but DPW doesn’t run on LOVE… though it takes passion to be out in the hot sun working your ass off for days and weeks… If you organized an event of this size that takes all year of full time work would you do it for free????… I’m just sayin”

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