Take my daughter, please:
City hall hicks are still easy to con
Expanded from the 6-27-2010 Daily Sparks Tribune
Barbwire wins second straight Nevada Press Association first-place award
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Be well. Raise hell.
Barbwire column on the depredations of Charter Communications and the Reno City Council wins 2009 Nevada Press Association first-place award
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I don't want to throw cold water on the latest Sparks puff story. I'm gonna throw ice cubes on it.
The Associated Press reported on Friday that some outfit is applying for a special use permit to build the long-delayed high rise hotel-casino at the publicly funded Sparks Marina corporate welfare project.
The Reno Gazette-Journal treated it like the second coming of Christ.
Tribunite Sarah Cooper's much better story also hit the front page, but not as a banner item presented like a sales brochure.
"Phase one of the proposed project includes a 60,000-square-foot facility that will feature gaming, dining and entertainment amenities," Ms. Cooper reported.
Interesting, except it can't be done. A veteran Marina project watcher pointed out to me that all new gambling projects must be accompanied by hotel rooms. Exceptions are those grandfathered in by pre-existing agreements such as lawyer Harvey Whittemore's controversial and still unbuilt casino north of Sparks.
"Due to the challenging economic conditions facing the industry as well as the tight credit markets, the gaming company said it plans to develop this project in phases, according to a written statement," the Tribune reported.
'Once the project is operating and achieving its financial objectives, it is our plan to move forward with future phases,' said DeCourcy Graham, chief marketing and development officer for Olympia Gaming, in a written statement," Ms. Cooper wrote.
Then the kicker: "Olympia refused any further comment on the issue."
The AP story noted that Dave Claflin, spokesman for the alarmingly named RED Development, said "it was premature to discuss a construction schedule for the hotel-casino.
"'It is completely up in the air right now,' Claflin said."
Yeah, up in the air like blue sky and bulls flying.
"This just gets it back in play," Claflin told AP.
The bottom line of this story is that nothing is happening other than paper shuffling and press releases. The refusal to take any more questions from the Tribune speaks volumes.
I smelled a bevy of rats and started making calls.
"It's all about selling STAR bonds," said one expert.
"They want the Sparks city council to fund the theater and ice arena."
"STAR" is shorthand for sales tax anticipated revenue bonds, debt instruments sold to subsidize construction and paid by the projected sales taxes on the new property. This comes at the expense of local schools, parks, roads, police and fire protection.
Demonstrating no sense of irony, the Sparks council is now considering a sales tax hike to fund the hiring of more police officers because the department's staff levels are dangerously low.
RED Development had the brass huevos to go before the council a few months ago to ask for public funding of the hockey rink. For once, the council said no.
This is just a way to change the game. RED and Olympia are banking on the standard boosterism overconfidence that has placed Sparks taxpayers in serious financial jeopardy by acting as co-signers on projects for wealthy out-of-state developers.
Reno is seeing those skinny chickens come home to roost. Thanks to city hall's seduction by the siren songs of out-of-state suede-shoe traveling salesman, Reno taxpayers are now sending good money after bad.
They are being forced to subsidize financially failing downtown redevelopment projects with general fund money, something I predicted many years ago and have often repeated since.
In four decades in these parts, I have seen over-the-hill syndrome afflict so many public decisions. As long as the hucksters are from out of town and wear expensive suits, local government bends over backwards to hand them public money. Detractors are dissed as Chicken Littles, complainers, whiners and gadflies.
When the stench begins to draw flies, the perps say "we couldn't have anticipated this." And the taxpayers get stuck with the bill.
CITY HALL ROLLS OVER AGAIN. Adding insult to injury, the City of Sparks has asked the state labor commissioner not to impose $332,000 in fines against IES Commercial, an electrical contractor on the Marina project. The company underpaid its workers almost $50,000 and probably much more.
State law says penalties can only be waived "for cause." Unless greed is good cause, they should pay.
The general contractor and the City of Sparks both had an obligation to review wage payments to make sure workers were paid properly.
They failed, as usual, and probably will again if the Marina hotel-casino is ever built.
The original study on the Marina project said that it would only be financially viable if a hotel-casino was included.
So far, so bad. The public pocketbook is thus in jeopardy, as Sparks taxpayers are on the hook if the bubble bursts.
City hall continues to roll over and play dead for the traveling salesmen.
How many cops and firefighters could be hired with $332,000?
How many more fines will be waived?
Stay tuned and watch your wallet.
HELP WANTED. Regular readers know that I have been raising money to help Sierra Nevada Community Access Television fully benefit from a matching foundation grant of $40,000.
If you can help with a tax-deductible donation, give me a holler at (775) 882-TALK or drop me a line.
Be well. Raise hell.
Andrew Barbano is a 41-year Nevadan, chair of the Nevada César Chávez Committee, producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration, second vice-president and political action chair of the Reno-Sparks NAACP, labor/consumer/civil rights advocate, member of Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO and editor of NevadaLabor.com. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. Check local listings for other Nevada cable systems. E-mail email@example.com. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks Tribune since 1988.
Barbwire Corporate Welfare Archive
From clear-cut forests to dirty Gulfstream waters, this land belongs to old BP
TOLJASO LONG TIME AGO
BP/ARCO: The greasy root of our evils
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune 9-10-2006
The awful truth Read it and weep, fellow suckers
Nevada Press Assn. annual award winners announced
State of Nevada
Secretary of State
City of Las Vegas
Reno City Council
Sparks City Council
Washoe County Commission
Washoe Registrar of Voters
The campaign against forcibly-paid newspaper obituaries
And they wonder why the newspaper business is dying?
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
The 2009 first-place Nevada Press Association award winners
Tony the Tiger & the flaky NFL
Barbwire / 11-30-2008
Deregulation is never having to say you're sorry
Barbwire / 8-3-2008
Nevada: A good place to visit, but do you want to live here?
Barbwire / 6-15-2008
The 2008 first-place Nevada Press Association award winners
The price of a piece / 6-17-2007
Boxing Pandora /9-23-2007
The Lady in the Red Dress
Labor Day 2009: Rise of the Vampire Corpobots
Expanded from the 9-6-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune
Angry Americans and Freudian fraud
Using war to market cigarettes
Expanded from the 8-23-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune
BARBWIRE Nevada Corporate Welfare Archive
Propaganda fuels gasoline price fixing
Donate to the cable ratepayer legal defense fund at our PayPal-enabled ReSurge.TV Consumer War Room
Phillips, Kevin; Numbers Racket: Why the economy is worse than we know
Harper's Magazine; May 2008; page 43
Phillips has authored numerous books on history and politics over the past 40 years. His most recent, Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism, was published by Viking on April 15, 2008.
NAOMI WOLF: Fascist America in 10 Easy Steps
There are some things common to every state that's made the transition to fascism. Author Naomi Wolf argues that all of them are present in America today.
Johnson, Chalmers; REPUBLIC OR EMPIRE? A National Intelligence Estimate on the United States; Harper's magazine; January, 2007. 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.
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
The sands of time do not cloud the long memories of the sheiks of Araby
Rinfret, Pierre A.; Peace is Bullish; Look magazine, 5-31-1966
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Copyright © 1982-2010 Andrew Barbano
Andrew Barbano is a 41-year Nevadan, editor of NevadaLabor.com and JoeNeal.org; 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 second vice-president, political action chair and webmaster of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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