Canadian Club Med
Expanded from the 1-8-2006 Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune
Updated 12-2-2012

George Chanos, Nevada's newly-named attorney general, has quickly undistinguished himself as another in a long line of inept appointees afflicting us courtesy of Gov. Dudley Do-Right.

Mr. Chanos has made it his business to flout the will of the legislature with respect to importation of Canadian prescription drugs. A few days ago in a non-binding legal opinion requested by the state pharmacy board, Chanos ruled the legislatively authorized structure as unworkable.

Sponsoring lawmakers quickly responded that Chanos' interpretation is a country mile away from what they intended. Chanos' opinion follows the line of the drug industry that since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not oversee every step of the marketing process, Canadian drugs cannot be deemed safe. Lawmakers simply ordered that the drugs in question be the same as those domestically available, avoiding those manufactured in a third country. Since Canada controls and negotiates prices, Nevada consumers stand to save up to 50 percent.

"In 2005, Nevada's state legislature authorized the creation of a state-managed website to allow Nevada seniors and families to fill prescriptions online from authorized pharmacies in Canada where prescription drugs are available at a much lower cost" stated Nevada State AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Danny Thompson.

"This simple, common-sense bill is under attack from Attorney General George Chanos," Thompson added. "The Chanos assault must be stopped. The Nevada Legislature knew exactly what it intended: provide relief from the skyrocketing price of prescription drugs. The Nevada State Board of Pharmacy will take up the issue at its Jan. 12 meeting. The Nevada Alliance for Retired Americans has started a petition so Nevadans can lend their voices to this important cause. Our state's seniors and families deserve nothing less and we urge you to sign the petition today," Thompson said in a bulletin distributed to Nevada's almost 200,000 union members.

WATERWORLD, PART DEUX. Last week, I noted that Reno News & Review Editor D. Brian Burghart's article on the great flood of 1997 has great application today. Burghart documented how the flood may well have been largely man caused. He noted that Federal Watermaster Garry Stone was required by law to keep Lake Tahoe's floodgates open even with the river approaching flood stage.

"The Flood of 1997 happened at least in part because of archaic government water policies that favor Lake Tahoe over Reno, and because the Army Corps of Engineers' choice not to remove debris and sediment that was left in the Truckee as a result of the 1986 flood—thus choking the channel," Burghart wrote.

"If the small dam in Tahoe, Calif. that regulates the amount of water that flows into Reno could have kept its gates closed on and around Jan. 1 (1997), Reno would have seen far less flooding than it did," Burghart wrote.

"But the gates were open—wide open, in fact—because regulations mandated that they should be. U.S. government-approved rules mandate how high Lake Tahoe is allowed to go—regardless of the impacts on the Truckee Meadows. On Jan. 1, 1997, these rules demanded that the water master do something common sense dictated against: leaving the floodgates open on Reno.

"'To close the dam off last year and reduce the flow in the river would be a benefit down here [in Reno], but you can't do that to benefit the folks here and potentially damage somebody else,' says Garry Stone, water master for the U. S. District Court…

"'The time to make that decision is when we're not in danger, but it's kind of like you don't have to repair the roof because it ain't raining.'"
Apparently, the lessons of the last two big floods have gone unlearned.

KOLO TV-8's John Tyson updated the story last Friday.

"The storm brought the lake up a full foot. But there are some who believe those who supervise the dam itself went overboard during the height of the flood. Bob Buehler who has spent two decades monitoring the lake, says he doesn't understand why the flood gates have to be open at all when the Truckee is at flood stage.

"They should have closed those gates immediately upon seeing the circumstances," Buehler stated.

"But Garry Stone, the federal water master, says the numbers are misleading. The gauges that measure water flow out of the dam are down stream from the dam itself. It was the runoff that gave the false reading of 147 cubic feet per second. The dam itself was still turning out the mandatory 50 cubic feet per second.

"'So occasionally, even though our release from Tahoe is 50, it will actually show on that gauge 147 or 150 until the runoff goes down," Stone noted.

"Buehler is concerned that whoever monitors the lake level is asleep at the switch, especially when the rains and snows bring the potential of downstream flooding.

"'There was some flooding right there at the turn going into Squaw Valley. That flooding was definitely related to the Lake Tahoe dam,'" Buehler said.

"But Stone says decisions regarding water flow out of the lake are not arbitrary regardless of the season or weather," Tyson reported.

"'The flow out of Lake Tahoe is 50 cubic feet per second in winter time. I'm mandated to do that by agreement with the State of California, the United States government and other interested parties,'" Stone said.

Keep your waders ready. The hundred-year flood now threatens us about once a decade and not much has been done to avoid instant replay. [UPDATE: MORE]

Be well. Raise hell.

Special thanks to Newschannel 8 for the text of Mr. Tyson's story.

Smoking Guns

Massive 1997 flood caused by paperwork
D. Brian Burghart / Reno News & Review 12-25-1998

Flood Money: Pray for salvation from acts of God because governments, flush with money, remain all wet
D. Brian Burghart / Reno News & Review 2-23-2006

How they flushed millions down the river
Jeff DeLong / Reno Gazette-Journal 12-1-2012

More flood plane talk

Of floods and cows
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 1-1-2006 Daily Sparks Tribune

Welfare are us
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 1-15-2006 Daily Sparks Tribun
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Copyright © 1982-2006-2012 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 43-year Nevadan, editor of and; and former chair of the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee, He is producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration and serves as first vice-president, political action chair and webmaster of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. E-mail

Barbwire by Barbano premiered in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988, and has originated in those parts ever since. Tempus fugit.

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