Comeuppance for corporate welfare queens
Special Internet Edition 9-25-2007

Updated 9-26, 9-27-2007. 12-21-20097

ONE LAST CHANCE TO AVOID THE CABELA'S CON. The Reno City Council meets tomorrow to approve a massive amount of corporate welfare for the Cabela's sporting goods chain. The retailer has promised that the 150,000 square-foot store will generate three million tourists a year or more. [A]

The Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority included the Cabela's claim in its 2005-2006 marketing plan. [B] However, the RSCVA's own figures show that the entire 2006 visitor count for Reno-Sparks-Incline/Tahoe was only 5,180,692.

Cabela's has thus promised a marketing miracle — an increase of almost 60 percent for an area which has seen annual tourism shrink by half a million visitors since 2002. Almost half (46%) of existing visitors come from California, which Cabela's asserts will be the primary source of its new customer-tourists.

UPDATE 9-26-2007
Council plays lapdog for the mighty hunter

After a lot of tedious testimony, lip service to organized labor and morally obtuse rationalization, the Reno City Council voted 5-1 to begin the process of giving Cabela's tens of millions of tax dollars.

Only Councilmember Jessica Sferrazza criticized the welfare program as excessive. She also noted that the 250 new jobs Cabela's promised for opening day could disappear on day two. Despite her well-reasoned protest, no sanctions were ordered into the deal.

Councilmember Zadra was absent.

Stay tuned.

Reno Mayor Bob Cashell and City Councilman Dan Gustin are longtime marketing men, Cashell a casino owner and Gustin proprietor of a sports-oriented advertising agency. Councilman Dwight Dortch was general manager of the Reno Silver Sox baseball team. Councilwoman Sharon Zadra was for years a marketing exec with area casinos and still runs her own firm.

A majority of the Reno City Council thus possesses substantial marketing and tourism expertise. Councilman Pierre Hascheff is a CPA as well as an attorney.

Can it be possible that no one at city hall or the RSCVA questioned Cabela's extravagant claim? Eight NFL regular season home games would not generate one million people in Reno or anywhere else.

This has the makings of the biggest and most expensive fish story this area has ever seen but unlike tall tales, it's not harmless. Local schools, roads, parks, police and fire protection, already underfunded, will be shortchanged for decades to come unless the council refuses to buy this pie in the sky.

At minimum, the council needs to build penalties for underperformance into the deal.

Cabela's has shown that it runs a slipshod operation.

The Nevada State Contractors Board just penalized Layton Construction $22,000 for accepting bids from unlicensed contractors. Layton is the general contractor building the Cabela's store west of Reno at Boomtown.

Two out-of-state contractors, Bissonett Log and Longsdale Construction, were fined $5,000 each by the state panel for illegally bidding jobs without licenses. [Download the documents by clicking here.]

Call, fax or e-mail your councilcritter to shoot down this con job.

First of a long series of wage complaints filed against Sparks Marina STAR project
Labor commissioner gives City of Sparks 30 days to investigate

RENOWN WELFARE QUEEN FIGHTS ITS OWN WORKERS. Renown/Washoe Medical Center nurses begin voting today to stay unionized after management refused to recognize Service Employees International Union Local 1107 as successor to Operating Engineers Local 3.

UPDATE 9-26-2007
The debate comes to television

NevadaLabor.com editor Andrew Barbano, Washoe County D.A. Dick Gammick and longstanding health care and womens' rights activist Mylan Hawkins debated health care in general and Renown/Washoe Med in particular on the Sept. 25 edition of Nevada Newsmakers.

You may download it or view it online or on your IPod by accessing the Sept. 25 show at NevadaNewsmakers.com

It's worth viewing. Mr. Gammick admits he opposes Social Security, then gets his butt kicked by a girl in the ensuing debate.

Understaffing nurses while increasing their patient loads and thus endangering patients has been a chronic problem at the former county hospital since a corrupt Washoe County Commission gave it away for 30 pieces of silver in 1985.

The sordid history of the privatization, health and safety violations and two decades of union-busting may be accessed at the new health care war room at NevadaLabor.com.

The section includes the smoking-gun 1995 Washoe County Grand Jury Report, never available on the web until now.

A representative of SEIU Local 1107 told KOLO TV-8 news on Monday, Sept. 24, that the union will work toward organizing workers at St. Mary's Regional Medical Center in Reno if this week's election is successful.

They will have competition, as the California Nurses Association is already moving to organize St. Mary's nursing staff.

Operating Engineers Local 3 came close to winning an election at St. Mary's in 1999, the same year they won at Washoe Med, but having several elections throughout the west in close succession strained the union's resources.

St. Mary's hired a cadre of exorbitantly expensive and quite un-Christian union busters who defeated the organizing drive.

As at Renown/Washoe, the increasing stress caused by understaffing has not abated.

AND THE BIGGEST WELFARE QUEEN OF ALL – just had most its workforce go on strike. General Motors has been grinding concessions out of its workers for three decades while exporting their jobs to foreign countries. The United Auto Workers finally found their cojones and walked off the job yesterday.

This includes the workforce at the gigantic General Motors warehouse in Stead, north of downtown Reno. As of late Monday afternoon, no workers had crossed the picket line and almost all delivery trucks had turned away (with occasional exceptions, such as anti-union Federal Express).

UAW members or those of other unions, retirees, family and friends of the movement are encouraged to call and sign up for shifts on the picket line. Call UAW Local 2162 at (775) 786-8530. They can probably also use logistics support, such as transportation of food and drink.

This is important. The American worker hasn't had an inflation-adjusted raise since 1973. A major reason is that U.S. workers suffer under the most repressive labor laws in the industrialized world.

Labor unions have fallen below critical mass after three decades of government sponsored oppression on the one hand, while that same government has been encouraging and subsidizing the export of high-paying U.S. manufacturing jobs.

As the 1996 Hot August Strike at Hot August Nights proved, even a small group of workers — like Security, Police and Fire Professionals Local 1010 — can topple a giant like the Hilton Hotel chain if the workers maintain solidarity. All of the above can take heart from the Little Union that Could and go forth and conquer.

It's time to take a stand for the future of all of us.

Be well. Raise hell.

Smoking Guns...

NEW! Health Care War Room
NevadaLabor.com Exclusive: 1995 Washoe County Grand Jury Report detailing the scandals and skullduggery which resulted in the theft of Reno's public hospital
AFL-CIO leader asks affiliates to pressure management
Statewide 16,000-member seniors group endorses union drive

(1) Boxing Pandora / BARBWIRE 9-23-2007

(2) Striking blows for justice / BARBWIRE 9-16-2007

(3) Party like it's 1929Union-busting Reno hospital offers excuses for rape and pillage
   BARBWIRE 8-12-2007

(4) Washoe Med renown for toxic sludge / BARBWIRE 8-5-2007

(5) Washoe Med antes into the game to put Medicare into a death spiral; Barbwire by Barbano; Daily Sparks Tribune, 6-12-2005.

(6) Like Washoe Med, Carson-Tahoe Hospital commits suicide and the taxpayers will pay — He who ignores the doofusses is bound to become one, Barbwire by Barbano; Daily Sparks Tribune, 8-5-2001; Carson City Nevada Appeal, 8-8-2001.

(7) Getting down and dirty / BARBWIRE 4-8-2001

(8) Washoe Med: Get Rich Quick at No Money Down; Barbwire by Barbano; Daily Sparks Tribune, 5 November 1995 et seq.

NEW 1995 BARBWIRE ARCHIVE — Analysis of the Grand Jury Report
Additional columns uploaded just in time for the nurses' union vote

NEW NevadaLabor.com Exclusive
Grand Jury Report downloadable in Adobe Acrobat Reader .pdf format
Title page, also in Acrobat Reader

...and more ammo


[A] Cabela's eyes Washington for retail location
        Puget Sound Business Journal (Seattle); January 25, 2006.

    "(Company spokesman James) Powell said that by tracking catalog purchases, Cabela's knows the Pacific Northwest is a 'loyal' market. The average Cabela's retail store, he said, attracts an average of 3.5 million visitors per year."

[B] Reno-Tahoe Marketing and Sales Plan for 2005-2006; page 9; Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority.

    "The destination has begun to receive tourism investment projects. Cabela's incorporated, the World's Foremost Outfitter of hunting and outdoor gear, announced Reno as the site of a 150,000 square foot superstore to open in early 2007. Cabela's is more than a retail store – it’s a visitors destination and is anticipated to bring more than an estimated 3 million visitors annually."

[C] 2006 Reno-Sparks Visitor Profile Study; page 7; Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority.

The Dean's List

   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



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Copyright © 1982-2007 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 38-year Nevadan, editor of NevadaLabor.com and a member of Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO. 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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