You don't say
Expanded from the 2-25-2007 Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune
Updated 4-29-2007, 4-3-2011 and 1-9-2019

My heart bleeds for poor mayors Martini and Cashell. Dastardly voters dwelling outside city limits were the deciding factor in rejecting last November's plea from city hall holy men that taxpayers should flog themselves like Shi'ites or extreme Catholics during the silly season.

Reno Mayor Bob Cashell has beseeched the biennial petting zoo known as the Nevada Legislature for a law allowing Reno to raise sales taxes on its citizens, again for the phony stalking horse of police and fire protection.

Cashell noted that he and his fellow councilcritters are willing to take the heat. As I told a group of local mortage bankers last week, willingness to pay the price comes at no cost. Cashell and Sparks Mayor Geno Martini will have long been out of office when their pyramid scheme crashes.

The cities of Sparks and Reno have been urinating tax dollars down the Truckee for decades and always cry crocodile tears when they can't pay for basic services. The only consistent criticism over the past two decades has come from this newspaper, largely by the late Ralph Heller, Ira Hansen and The Barbwire.

There is plenty of money flowing into government coffers in the little valley of the mucky Truckee. But you can only shunt so much water to Fallon before Pyramid and Winnemucca lakes start to dry up and blow away.

Recent BARBWIRE Media Hits
and Ego Trips

   The Dean of Reno Bloggers could very well be Andrew Barbano, self-described "fighter of public demons," who started putting his "Barbwire" columns online in 1996 and now runs 10 sites.
      RENO NEWS & REVIEW, 11-9-2006

"Our long national nightmare is over."
Did I say that a dozen years ago?
CORY FARLEY, RGJ, 11-10-2006

BARBANO: Nevada's newly-hiked minimum wage is nowhere near enough
Reno Gazette-Journal, 11-11-2006

Oregon State U. minimum wage deflator

NOTE: Many of the above Reno Kazoo-Journal links are now broken because Big Gannett in the Sky randomly nukes their affiliate archives as some cockamamie corporate bean counter cost-cutting gesture. Perhaps they see cutting their web traffic as a benefit to their advertisers. Go figger.

The dollar diversion has been done by corporate welfare programs, and it's far worse than you can imagine.

The most high profile corporate welfare contributors are the Sparks and Reno downtown redevelopment agencies (the city councils under other names) and the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority. Over the past half century, these entities alone have skimmed hundreds of millions from the general tax base largely to promote a gambling industry which has dwindled to a point that it now fortunately represents only about 16 percent of local jobs.

So why do our elected officials insist on supporting a profitable dinosaur? As with major religions, belief is based on "it was done that way when we got here."

Get out the whips, alleluia.

The less obvious welfare siphons are the earmarked empires: the regional transportation commission, the airport authority and lately the power-hungry water authority, a result of Sierra Pacific dumping an underperforming asset onto me and thee.

Before taxpayers agree to more regressive tax levies such as those proposed by Martini and Cashell, we should demand a complete review of all income and expenses of local governmental and quasi-governmental entities.

The most frequent criticism I hear was echoed by several of those mortgage bankers last week: If Reno and Sparks are hurting for cops, how come they are perpetrating such humongous giveaways to the likes of Cabela's and Red Development, the newest members of our ever-expanding welfare queens club.

I agree with Mayor Martini that public safety is in a state of crisis in these parts. I have told City Manager Shaun Carey and Sparks Police Chief John Dotson to their faces that I sympathize with their plights of not having enough money to do their jobs.

Nevada corporate welfare horror stories archive

I found it fascinating that in his state of the city speech last week, Hizzoner apparently failed to note the corporate welfare cash hemorrhages while he was praising sales tax increases generated by new big box stores. I howled when I saw that balancing growth and quality of life stand among Rail City priorities. Alas and alack, only on paper.

Talk is cheap.

Governing is difficult, especially if you plan to pass the buck (or lack of bucks) to the poor louts who will wield the gavel after you.

ON THE AIR. This Tuesday on Sam Shad's Nevada Newsmakers, I'll pontificate with fellow pundits Lisa Foster, former chief of staff to ex-Gov. Dudley Do-Right, and lawyer Leif Reid, one of Senator Harry's kids. Mr. Shad will begin airing presidential candidate interviews, starting Monday with Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., followed Tuesday by Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn.

The show originates Monday through Thursday on KRNV TV-4 and re-runs the same day on Charter cable channel 14 in Washoe-Carson-Douglas. (Click here for the complete statewide schedule.)

On last week's Shad soiree, newbie congresscrawler Dean Heller, R-Nev., commented on his new role as GOP hatchet man after trashing all visiting Democratic presidential candidates as hypocrites and worse. Heller looked like a little kid who got away with stealing cookies when he asserted that he had previously acted in a non-partisan manner as secretary of state.

Actually, he threw away an honorable record when in 2004 he and then-Atty. Gen. Brian Sandoval conspired to keep the minimum wage petition off the ballot. Heller used the subterfuge of being sworn to follow old Nevada laws, disregarding that they had been ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. Nevada courts quickly placed the issue on the ballot, but not before Sandoval and Heller had done Karl Rove's bidding to destroy an issue guaranteed to increase Democratic voter turnout by as much as five percent.

Sandoval was rewarded with a lifetime federal judgeship and now you know why Dubya showed up so often to campaign for Heller's congressional bid last year. (Heller is no relation to our late Tribune colleague in columny.)

OOPS DEPT. Last week, I gave two conflicting years for the election of the unlamented Robert List as governor. He was inflicted upon us in 1978 and was ousted by Richard Bryan in 1982.

TOMORROW'S NEWS TODAY: Liberals are fighting among themselves over Assembly Bill 171, which would revoke a state business license "for a violation of federal law prohibiting the hiring or employment of unauthorized aliens." Some of the legislature's most prominent Democrats are among its sponsors. Critics have been lighting up the web asking what happens to the state's gambling and construction industries if such a measure passes. All comments welcome. (UPDATE: See below.)

THE PRICE IS RIGHT. Sparks resident Bob Price, who served in the Nevada State Assembly from North Las Vegas for three decades, will have a southern Nevada park dedicated in his honor on March 3, which happens to be the 23rd anniversary of his marriage to former University Regent Nancy Price.

The park is located at the corner of Bonnie Lane and East Lake Blvd., just south of Nellis Air Force Base. The ceremony begins at 9:00 a.m.

Now we can start raising money for a statue of Bob in his legislative prime sporting gold chains, a full afro and serenading latenight assembly floor sessions with his guitar.

Old friend, all I can add is...

Be well. Raise hell.

UPDATE in Memoriam
Bob Price, hall of fame Nevada lawmaker, union man and lifelong critic of casino corporate welfare, died 4 Jan. 2019
Las Vegas assemblymember tried to stop casino campaign contributions and paid the price.
Guitarist and friend of Elvis was 82

Bob Price and Elvis

Bob Price inducted into the César Chávez Nevada Labor Hall of Fame
Barbwire 4-3-2011


AB 171 is an elephant trap

The following was sent on Feb. 25 to those participating in the sometimes heated exchange among Nevada liberals about this bill. Everyone seems to have missed the obvious. — AB

Dear Folks:

I printed a short item about this in Sunday's Tribune and invited comments. I had neither the space nor the research time to consider it extensively.

Looking at what you have written, I think there is an additional consideration that you may all be missing. Please note that the while the sponsors are bipartisan, they are mostly Democrats.

Introduced on: Feb 23, 2007

By: (Bolded name indicates primary sponsorship)
Koivisto, Claborn, Smith, Anderson, Bobzien, Buckley, Carpenter, Conklin, Gansert, Goicoechea, Grady, Hogan, Horne, Kirkpatrick, Leslie, McClain, Parks, Parnell, Womack

Provides for the revocation of a state business license for a violation of federal law prohibiting the hiring or employment of unauthorized aliens. (Bill Draft Request No. 32-537)

I think this is an inelegant subterfuge. Democratic incumbents can assert in next year's campaign literature that they tried their best to enact legislation to please even the most gung ho xenophobe. Then, those dastardly (fill in the blank: soft on immigration types, bigbiz Republicans in the assembly or senate, little green men from Mars, all of the above) whomevers stopped its passage. (We always need a place to foist blame.)

So the Dems get on record as being tough on immigration by sponsoring a bill which will never go anywhere, especially if the bigbiz types in the senate get their hands on it.

The Donkeykong players have thus built political cover from those who can damage them (all of whom think Bill O'Reilly and Lou Dobbs were separated at birth) while taking a little harmless heat from us commies who will always love them despite their faults.

Demonstrating once again why Democrats lose, they apparently never bothered to inform their ever-forgiving base that this was the deal.

With this bill, our practical D's have shown us what it feels like to be black and taken for granted.

Maybe our friends thought we'd figure it out since it is both out of character and quite transparent. Or maybe we are as dumb as some take us for.

I could be wrong, but I don't think so.

Be well. Raise hell.


ps: I wonder if they have considered what will happen if the Republicans call their bluff?

The Molly Ivins Hall of Flames
BARBWIRE 2-4-2007

Some of Molly Ivins' greatest hits

Reno war protestors march in memory of Molly
February 7, 2007

    A group of Reno anti-war activists took the late newspaper columnist Molly Ivins' final words to heart and put them into action Tuesday.
    "We're doing this for Molly," said Paula McDonough, who organized the Molly Ivins Pots 'n' Pan Brigade that protested the war in Iraq outside the Bruce Thompson Federal Building in downtown Reno. "We're doing this because Molly asked us to."...


Johnson, Chalmers; REPUBLIC OR EMPIRE? A National Intelligence Estimate on the United States; Harper's magazine; January, 2007; (not available online for several months, if at all). I love it when heavy hitters validate what I've been saying for years in the tiny Sparks Tribune.

Barlett, Donald L. and Steele, James B.; America: What Went Wrong? (1992); America: Who Really Pays the Taxes? (1994); America: Who Stole the Dream? (1996) ; Andrews & McMeel/Universal Press Syndicate. For additional comments on the work of the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning team, use the NevadaLabor.com search engine and sweep for "Barlett."

Review of Alex Carey's Taking the Risk Out of Democracy:
Propaganda in the US and Australia

The Orwell Diversion by Alex Carey
Excerpted from the book available below

ORDER Taking the Risk Out of Democracy
Corporate Propaganda versus Freedom and Liberty
By Alex Carey
Edited by Andrew Lohrey
Foreword by Noam Chomsky
University of Illinois Press

     SEE ALSO: Lapham, Lewis H.; Tentacles of Rage: The Republican Propaganda Mill, A Brief History; Harper's Magazine cover article; September, 2004, page 32.

     By one conservative estimate, the corporate right has spent about $3 billion over the past three decades manufacturing public opinion to suit big business goals. Lapham's number covered the early 1970's to the present day. Alex Carey noted that by 1948, anti- New Deal corporate propaganda expenditures had already reached $100 million per year, not adjusted for inflation, for advertising alone. (Carey, ibid; page 79)

     Adjusted for inflation, that 1948 $100 million becomes $801,659,751.04 in 2005 dollars.

Conservatives Help Wal-Mart, and Vice Versa
As Wal-Mart struggles to rebut growing criticism, it has discovered a reliable ally: conservative research groups.
New York Times 9-8-2006; Free registration may be required

      BARBWIRE: Labor Day '94: People vs. corporate con job, 9-4-94
Chilling forecasts from Alex Carey

      BARBWIRE: The Nevada Republican Party Becomes Communist, 3-30-97
A prescient Plato on the dangers of oligarchy

...and more ammo

The sands of time do not cloud the long memories of the sheiks of Araby
Barbwire 9-10-2006

      Rinfret, Pierre A.; Peace is Bullish; Look magazine, 5-31-1966


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Copyright © 2007, 2019 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 38-year Nevadan, editor of NevadaLabor.com and SenJoeNeal.org, and a member of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988.

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