High slimes and misdemeanors
Expanded from the 12-18-2005 Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune
Updated 4-13-2006

Apparently that dirty commie-liberal-pinko New York Times has the president of the United States admitting to impeachable offenses. So what?

Dubya's been doing that since day one. If he's convicted of high crimes and misdemeanors, it makes Dick Cheney president. If Cheney goes down for the crime of outing a CIA spy, Rep. Dennis Hastert, R-Illinois, takes the reigns.

We, the people, must suffer through all of this under the looming specter of the election of another conservative Republican in 2008. Neo-con Hillary vs. John "flexible principles" McCain? What a pathetic choice.

PRETTY PAUL STILL HAUNTS US. On Dec. 9, Tribune reporter Tom Darby scored a legit national front page scoop. Investigating a local company accused of "illegally kidnapping a Muslim German citizen and subjecting him to torture in a secret prison overseas," Darby found that the company's attorneys are a story all by themselves. (Read Darby's original story and major followup at BallotBoxing.US.)

The local agents for Keeler and Tate Management Group LLC are none other than Paul and Mickey Laxalt. Paul Laxalt was a Nevada light-guv, governor and two-term U.S. senator (1975-87). As I've noted many times, Paul Laxalt bears principal responsibility for Nevada being targeted for high level nuclear waste dumping, among other depredations.

The death of Pulitzer Prize-winning muckraker Jack Anderson last week brought back a lot of memories. In 1970, Anderson published a damning story about Colorado River land deals which doomed the candidacy of GOP gubernatorial nominee Ed Fike. Insiders have long felt that Las Vegas Sun publisher Hank Greenspun fed the story to Anderson so that it would first appear in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, providing plausible deniability of the logical conclusion that this was just another Greenspun hatchet job. Which it was, and very effective at that. Greenspun's candidate, underdog Democrat Mike O'Callaghan, won the governorship in a huge upset. (No wonder Nixon's Watergate plumbers broke into Greenspun's safe a couple of years later. Many were fearful of what ole Hank had in his stash.)

Gov. Laxalt came to Lt. Gov. Fike's defense and foolishly accepted an offer to debate Anderson on statewide TV. Anderson cleaned pretty Paul's clock. Laxalt staffers had failed to uncover that Jack Anderson had been a collegiate debate champion. Laxalt lost during opening statements when Anderson invoked the honesty taught him by his Mormon ancestors. The rest is history.

KUDOS TO THE COUNTY COMMISSION for unanimously renaming South Hills Park as "Ellen's Park" in honor of longtime community activist Ellen Steiner who died of pancreatic cancer on Dec. 7. The park was one of the many improvements Ellen helped bring to this valley.

UPDATE 4-13-2006 The southwest Reno park named for Ellen Steiner will host a memorial service and park dedication for the late open space advocate at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 23, 2006. All who enjoy northwestern Nevada's quality of life are welcome to celebrate with Ellen's many friends and associates. Click here for a map and complete details.

Local governments have traditionally reserved the high honor of naming parks only for individuals who have rendered exceptional service. Pat Baker Park in northeast Reno was built as a monument to the civil rights movement and named for the woman who sparked its construction. Miguel Ribera Park in southeast Reno was named after the unforgettable and ever-generous restaurateur and community leader. Carl Shelly Park in Sparks was named for the former county commissioner, legislator and longtime businessman who once owned and published this newspaper. (Shelly's Hardware in the Greenbrae Shopping Center is still a going concern.)

In her four decades walking among us, Ellen Steiner's tireless devotion to building a better community earned her recognition among that admirable company.

Commissioner David Humke introduced last Tuesday's resolution, stating that "we regret that it wasn't done sooner or that she would have lived to see this a reality."

County Commission Chair Bonnie Weber said "I believe Ellen was looking down with a smile, knowing that those folks in the community that knew her were honored to be asking and supporting this resolution."

Ellen Steiner was a born leader. She served as president of the Southwest Truckee Meadows Citizen Advisory Board and worked tirelessly as part of the State of Nevada Employees Association executive board, the Washoe County Senior Advisory Board, the South Hills Homeowners Assn. and so many others.

I've known Ellen and her family for 30 years. Her work lives on.

IN A HAPPIER TIME —Kiko Reyes, at front in white, celebrates the signing of union contracts with the Reno Hilton and the Flamingo Hilton-Reno at a picnic in Reno's Idlewild Park on July 23, 2001. Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees Union Local 86 Secretary-Treasurer Scott MacKenzie stands at back left. At back right is D. Taylor, who has since been elevated to executive secretary-treasurer of the now-merged locals. MacKenzie is now executive director of the State of Nevada Employees Association. ( photo)

ADIOS, KIKO. Federico "Kiko" Reyes left a lot of friends. His memorial service last Monday packed the spacious St. Therese the Little Flower Church. The longtime Culinary Union organizer, 46, died on Dec. 6 after a fall from his roof.

SHAD SHENANIGANS. I'll be doing the Sam Shad Soiree on KRNV TV-4 tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. The principal victim will be Joe Schillaci, President and CEO of the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Gomorrah South. (If Herb Caen were still alive, he would have long ago added Mr. Schillaci to his namephreakery philes. A gentleman with shill in his name promoting gambling. Perfect fit for the job.)

The Fremont Street debacle is similar to the downtown Reno and Sparks corporate welfare programs whereby hundreds of millions have been urinated down the river in order to pad the purses of zoot-suited pickpockets. At least the northern welfare queens didn't have to get their downtown districts declared a public park in order to keep pouring tax dollars down the Jurassic parking place of dinosaur casinos.

Joining me on Mr. Shad's "now we can talk about you after you've gone" pundit panel will be former Nevada Assembly Speaker Bill Bilyeu, R-Elko, and Mike Hackett who works for top gun lobbyist Scott Craigie.

The show reruns at 9:30 p.m. on Charter cable channel 12 in Washoe-Carson-Douglas. The full statewide broadcast schedule will be linked to the web edition of this column.

THE FIRE NEXT TIME. Watch for more dark rumblings alleging mishandling of the recent Reno firefighter entry test. "The physical agility test is arbitrary, unsafe and not job related," said one insider. So what else is new? Regular readers will recall that I have long documented the history of such unfairness in local firefighter ranks. See the June 29, 2001, edition of this column.

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Copyright © 2005, 2006 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 37-year Nevadan and editor of Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988.


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