Cesar Chavez, duct tape and cable bandidos

Expanded from the 3-30-2003 Daily Sparks, Nev., Tribune

The story of Cesar Chavez + links

CELEBRATE CESAR CHAVEZ. Two local TV stations and a host of prestigious sponsorswill kick off a month of celebration of the life of the great Latino labor leader at the Siena Hotel in downtown Reno from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. on March 31. Admission is free.

The highlight will come with the announcement of winners of an essay contest conducted in conjunction with the Washoe County School District. Winners will receive certificates of achievement and prizes from sponsors including scholarships.

Attendees will see a video presentation. People who knew or worked with Chavez will relate their experiences. KREN TV-27/KUVR TV-68 general manager Peter Padilla is looking for more people who knew the man. Call me if you can help.

A Cesar Chavez half-hour special will air at 6:30 p.m. and 11:30pm both Monday and Tuesday on KUVR TV-68, Charter Cable 24.

The event will feature entertainment and refreshments and a special presentation by a representative of the U.S. Postal Service about the issuance of a Cesar E. Chavez postage stamp (right) officially scheduled for national release on April 23, the 10th anniversary of his death. A ceremony will be held in Reno on April 24.

MERETRICIOUS CONDUCT AWARD. The best TV show I know was not done by Sam Shad last week. Alas, you will never get to see it if you missed the first broadcast. My fellow members of the City of Reno Citizens Cable Compliance Committee were understandably enthusiastic about our first televised meeting last Thursday evening. I should have brought an anemometer to properly measure the degree of animosity exhibited by Charter Cable and city staff. It got so bad that Charter's representative was acting like a third base coach sending in hand signals to city staffers.


City of Reno lifts censorship of cable panel TV program
Reno Gazette-Journal April 6, 2003

Cox Cable jacks up Las Vegas Valley consumer rates

Cable industry move to impose tax on satellite competitors revealed

Officials oppose public access channel
because Las Vegas community morality standard is too low

Las Vegas Review-Journal March 26, 2003

As I noted in last week's column, the purpose of the meeting was not the depredations of the Charter bandidos, it was about me. That's a very effective political technique to take the heat off the real problem.

My panel found itself under a wave of assault by city staff for ignorance of policies about which we had never been informed or had been cooked up just for us. We found that staff had consistently failed to inform us of some critical issues and not forwarded documents which even Charter wanted us to see. They also tried to unilaterally rip away our complaint function and convince us we can't do anything but sit still and shuffle paper.

What really set the company and the city over the edge was my revelation as to why the committee's most experienced member quit. Jackie Inman, who graciously offered to handle consumer complaints, was stonewalled so badly by Charter that she resigned. It's a tremendous loss. Because of her knowledge, Nevada businesses can now get high speed cable modem service from Charter for the first time.

Senior citizens who were anticipating viewing the rebroadcasts of our meeting were disappointed. The McNeely Administration ordered Sierra Nevada Community Access Television to kill the show.

"For most senior citizens on fixed incomes, television is their only source of information and entertainment. Any interruption is a both a disservice to them and a threat to citizen participation," said our panel's senior citizen advocate Barbara Stone.

Ratepayers engage the industry all across the nation

Citizens fight corporate power and disinformation

Municipal Pugilism — Local government vs. big business

Publicly owned systems provide inexpensive cable services

"Charter Communications rations democracy according to who can afford to pay the most. Actions like that of city staff further separate government from the people," she added.

I guess City Manager McNeely, who just got a raise and now knocks down about $200,000 a year in salary and benefits, feels he can stomp all over the public's right to know. After all, the boys in DC are doing an admirable job of it.

You will find a full report on this shabby little episode at, the website the McNeely administration wants me to kill. Don't think I will.

THE IDEAL WAR RIBBON. Don't do what other guys do. Marry a woman smarter than you. My wife always comes up with the best ideas. At her suggestion, I'm now wearing a new ribbon on my lapel which silently says all that's needed about the war. It's made of duct tape. Or should that be Dubya tape?

It works on so many levels. It takes a potshot at the war but supports the troops. I use gray, but yellow duct tape makes a fine bring 'em back alive ribbon. Without duct tape, the tanks couldn't roll and homeland insecurity director Tom Ridge wouldn't have a job. Martin Sheen couldn't have done that silent stations of the cross march last week without duct tape over his presidential kisser.

John Ashcroft could have made duct tape pasties for that topless statue of lady justice which he had covered with huge, expensive draperies. Duct tape yellow ribbons over those stone cold boobs would have been far less expensive and much more conservative of the public treasury. Doesn't Ashcroft know there's a war on? Who's the real stone cold boob at the justice department, anyway?

Most important, a duct tape lapel ribbon could save your life. In case of chemical or biological attack, just place it over your nostrils and you'll be immune. I know that for a fact. Tom Ridge told me. Or was it Dr. Jack Kevorkian?

Just remember we're at war and we've all got to play proper Yale preppie heads-up football. As a great philosopher (me) once said, the ostrich who sticks his head in the sand can't cover his ass. Which is another reason to keep a large stash of duct tape.

I think I'll bring a roll over to Reno City Hall.

Be well. Raise hell. | U-News | C.O.P. | Sen. Joe Neal
Guinn Watch | Deciding Factors

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Copyright © 2003 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 34-year Nevadan, a member Communications Workers of America Local 9413 and editor of and He hosts Deciding Factors on several Nevada television stations. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988.



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