Pirate Laureate of the High Desert Outback of the American Dream


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Barbwire Silver Anniversary 1988-2013 —>Now we go for gold
Barbwire by Barbano moved to Nevada's Daily Sparks Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988, and has originated in them parts ever since.
Whom to blame: How a hall-of-famer's hunch birthed the Barbwire in August of 1987
Tempus fugit.

   Everybody knows the dice are loaded.
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed.
   Everybody knows the war is over.
Everybody knows the good guys lost.
   Everybody knows the fight was fixed.
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich.
   That's how it goes. Everybody knows.

Everybody knows the scene is dead
   But there's gonna be a meter on your bed
That will disclose
   What everybody knows.

— Leonard Cohen

"If voting mattered, they wouldn't let us do it."Travus T. Hipp, 1982

Get ahead of the corporate news wave—>Subscribe to Barbwire Confidential

Education Dysfunction Part XLIV—>
Pots and Kettles: Can't we all get along?

BREAKING NEWS: WCSD Board of Trustees Vice-President Dave Aiazzi has announced that he has been diagnosed with leukemia and will be resigning by the end of September. Remember him with healing thoughts and prayers. [Pedro Martinez statement]
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the Sparks Tribune / 8-7-2014
Updated 8-8-2014

HAT TRICK: Barbwire wins 3rd straight Nevada Press Association First-Place Award


Don Dondero's nomination is now before NPA directors. Thanks to all who sent in affirmations.

We Don't Need No Education—> Neverending Barbwire Series


Watch for show times. Help us get the word out.

Support the project at

Updated 8-30-2011
Reruns on Carson-Dayton 226

Additional programs
on Boulder City cable. Go to and then
go to the BCTV link.

If Reform Fails: Health Care, Jobs and Unions — new power to the people on the public airwaves

The program premiers were available to every television set in the region because of a high-mileage media hybrid.

The shows appeared on both commercial and community stations. The non-corporate entity produced the events, commercial TV greatly expanded distribution.

Thus began an ongoing series of sane public interest programs which generate both entertaining heat and more than a little light.

Please spread the word and consider contributing to the cause online at ReSurge.TV.

You may also take the public option known as the U.S. Postal Service and send a check or money order to ReSurge.TV, P.O. Box 10034, Reno NV 89510.

Your contribution will help fund the distribution as well as ongoing efforts at developing new media, including a regional, non-corporate community radio station and the return of community television to Reno-Sparks-Washoe.

You are present at the creation of what I hope can become a new media model where the programming accurately reflects what's happening on the ground and the media impact is powerful enough to forcefully pass the message upward.


Be well. Raise hell.


Click here for selected on-demand re-runs from the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Barbwire.TV archives

15-year overnight success

Daily Sparks Tribune 2-10-2008

The Barbwire's Greatest Hits
Highlights from radio days
mp3 file

HAT TRICK: Barbwire wins 3rd straight Nevada Press Association First-Place Award


Support Dondero next

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If there was ever a teaching moment, we've got one. Right now.

On last Monday's Nevada Newsmakers on KRNV TV4-Reno/KENV TV10-Elko, Truckee Meadows Community College President Maria Sheehan stated "I cannot tell you that race is not a factor" with respect to the suspension of Washoe County School Superintendent Pedro Martinez.

Her statement came in response to a question from host Sam Shad.

He followed up by saying that she had just "accused the entire school board of racism."

She denied that, adding that with a growing Hispanic population, we need a uniquely qualified person like Mr. Martinez.

"Let's be careful," she added. "In terms of the necessity of having a leader to address these's time this community had an intelligent conversation about race."

In last week's Barbwire, I lamented that the race card had been played, especially since it's all supposition.

Mr. Martinez looks Latino and has a Latino last name, so the school board must be suffused with ethnic bias against La Raza, right?

When Martinez fired longtime school district police chief Mike Mieras, there was nary a whimper.

Mr. Mieras may have a Latino last name, but doesn't look like one.

Can we still be that simple?

Alas, yes.

I sent a letter to Mr. Martinez with a copy to Gov. Brian Sandoval.

"Mr. Martinez, only you and the governor are in position to dampen this smoldering tinder," I wrote.

"There is no evidence of ethnic or racial bias on behalf of the school board. Playing the race card can be toxic. Will you issue a statement that racial/ethnic bias are not part of the current situation between you and the board of trustees and that such unfounded allegations have no place in this discussion?"

Neither has responded.

I personally asked Gov. Sandoval on July 30.

He said "I'll think about it."

On KRNV TV-4's late news that night, he stated "I'm hoping that they can get this taken care of as soon as possible. I'm very proud of my wife and really she has my full support."

Mrs. Sandoval had spoken before the school board in support of Mr. Martinez on July 29.

I noted in my letter that Dr. Sheehan is African American.

I was going by appearances and I was wrong. I could not find pertinent personal information about her online. Sam Shad informed me that she is Hispanic of Panamanian heritage.

No one has been more critical of school district administration than me and it will continue.

Nevada children have long been victims of separate and unequal education. But the race card has no place in the Martinez situation.

We are all the sum of our experiences. We often don't realize when bias bites us.

Take the bigotry test at and see how you stack up.

Be well. Raise hell. / Esté bien. Haga infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)



And don't forget Pedro's greatest hits —> TOO LEGIT TO QUIT. The Barbwire's ongoing investigation of phony Nevada graduation rates, now in its third year, just got respectable (See Hiding in Plain Sight by Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review 3-27-2014)

Read it and weep, then review the series for yourself.

In several of his many recent media appearances, Mr. Martinez has repeatedly stated that Washoe will again show an uptick in graduation for 2013-14.

Didn't the bard Cohen long ago warn us that the fight is fixed?

TOAST ALERT. Teachers' union gross profits tax petition supporters and opponents would do well to review the Barbwire of Feb. 28, 2013.

Passage of the tax initiative could easily lead to a successful court challenge that would at the same time blow out not only the revenue hike, but also term limits and the state's worst anti-union laws. Something for everybody.

ANTE INTO THE GAME: Support the new season of Barbwire.TV by putting your money where my mouth is.

PayPal monthly subscription software is now operational at the website.

A thousand thanks to those who already responded and keep sending show suggestions. Current frontrunners include (pardon the pun) wild mustangs as canned goods, education and  i-Guns with César Chávez in Nevada recently surging.

Now come queries about ballot questions. The Jan. 30 column brought a surge of inquiries about the Nevada State Education Association corporate tax petition on this November's ballot.

Stay tuned.

"Media is the plural of mediocre."
                              — Jimmy Breslin

  Please forward additional ideas or vote on the above.

  I encourage you to donate to the cause at Barbwire.TV/

The medium that shapes public opinion needs at least one refuge where it is not filtered through the distorted green eye shades of prissy corporate accountants for whom profit is the only priority; where self-censorship is the journalist's normal work environment and where all sins of omission are tacitly encouraged and forgiven with the wave of a balance sheet.

This is important.

We've got work to do.

Get ahead of the corporate news wave. Subscribe to Barbwire Confidential

Be well. Raise hell. / Esté bien. Haga infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)


Andrew Barbano is a 45-year Nevadan, chair of the Nevada César Chávez Committee, producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration, first 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 and and As always, his opinions are strictly his own. Check local listings for other Nevada cable systems. E-mail Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks Tribune since 1988.

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Smoking Guns...
Get ahead of the corporate news wave—>Subscribe to Barbwire Confidential

Nevada education ranks dead last in nation for third year running
Dismal placements in children’s health, education, economic security, state of families & community
Las Vegas Review-Journal / 7-22-2014
OLD NEWS IS NEWS AGAIN: Nevada remains a hellhole for children
By Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review 8-7-2014

Statement from Superintendent Pedro Martinez
August 7, 2014

“I am truly sorry to hear the news about Trustee Dave Aiazzi’s diagnosis. I have always appreciated his commitment to public service. He has spent many yearsadvocating for our community and the arts programs that make this such a wonderful place to live.

“I join with the men and women of the Washoe County School District in sending our thoughts and best wishes to Dave, Delores, and their family.”

Education Dysfunction Part XLIII—>
Playing the race card for profit and peril

Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the Sparks Tribune / 8-7-2014

Marriage of convenience: Martinez return leaves some issues unsettled
By Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review 8-7-2014

Happy Un-birthday, Chief Mieras
Reno News & Review Editorial 8-7-2014

Education Dysfunction Part XLII—>
We don't need no education or Pedro, either
Reno-Sparks-Washoe school boss fired and unfired

Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the Sparks Tribune / 7-24-2014

UPDATE 7-26-2014 10:31 a.m. PDT / 17:31 GMT/SUT — Pedro Martinez filed a wrongful termination lawsuit on Friday, July 25. He also asked for a restraining order to prevent school district trustees from reviewing his tenure or firing at their July 29 meeting because his contract calls for 10 days' notice before anysuch may be convened.

At 6:00 p.m. PDT on July 25, WCSD Board of Trustees Chair Barbara Clark issued a statement that the Martinez affair has been pulled from the July 29 agenda and would be rescheduled for sometime in August. The Reno Gazette-Journal has filed an open meeting law complaint with the Nevada Attorney General.

A rally in support of Martinez is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. PDT / 18:00 GMT/SUT on Saturday, July 26, at the McKinley Park Recreational Center on Riverside Drive at Keystone Avenue in Reno. Martinez and Republican Washoe County School District Trustee Estela Levario Gutierrez will speak. The event is being supported by religion-based ACTIONN, the recently reconstituted Latino Chamber of Commerce and non-union developer Perry DiLoreto.

Closed meetings to review the performance of school superintendents banned by Nevada Open Meeting Law

Subscribe to Barbwire Confidential for updates not available via the mainstream media.


We Don't Need No Education
The continuing Barbwire series

Statement from the Washoe County School District board chair

Contact: Irene Payne (775) 224-6991
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 23:44:11 GMT (4:44:11 p.m PDT)

Statement from WCSD Board of Trustees President Barbara Clark Regarding Superintendent Martinez’s Employment Contract: “I have requested that our staff place an item on the next WCSD board meeting agenda, scheduled for Tuesday, July 29, so the Board can consider and take possible action regarding the future of the Superintendent’s employment contract with the school district. In the meantime, Mr. Martinez remains on leave with pay until further notice.”

Pedro Martinez unfired

RENO 7-23-2014 — Sources tell the Reno News & Review that Washoe schools superintendent Pedro Martinez has not been fired, but has been placed on administrative leave. They say no vote was taken last night. Rather, the board acted by consensus without a vote, whatever that means.

School district lawyer Randy Drake said he will be sending out messages to the press to clarify exactly what happened last night. To questions, he said “Again, this [forthcoming statement] will answer that question.”

Addendum/1:39 p.m. PDT: Sources say that when members of the school board raised an issue with Superintendent Martinez yesterday evening (presumably the dispute over his CPA credentials reported by [Las Vegas-based commentator] Jon Ralston), he became upset and irate. The board members themselves, in turn, became concerned about what they considered his unprofessional demeanor.

— Posted by Dennis Myers @ 2014-07-23 12:38 p.m. PDT

Washoe school boss Martinez should resign or get axed
Reno News & Review Editorial 7-10-2014


A cold shower for the NY Times Tesla gusher
40 years in the wilderness: Study says Silver State on downhill slide since 1970
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from
the 7-10-2014 Sparks Tribune

Ask Hobby Lobby to take in refugee kids
So five uptight old Catholic guys in grim reaper robes don't like contraception.
Wonder if they thought that way back in college?

Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from
the 7-3-2014 Sparks Tribune

The Status Quo Ante versus the Status Quo Uncle
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from
the 6-26-2014 Sparks Tribune

Tesla plants PR slants to get into the public's pants
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 6-19-2014 Sparks Tribune

...and more ammo...

      Nevada Revised Statutes 241.031 — Meeting to consider character, misconduct or competence of elected member of public body or certain public officers.
      1. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 2, a public body shall not hold a closed meeting to consider the character, alleged misconduct or professional competence of:
      (a) An elected member of a public body; or
      (b) A person who is an appointed public officer or who serves at the pleasure of a public body as a chief executive or administrative officer or in a comparable position, including, without limitation, a president of a university, state college or community college within the Nevada System of Higher Education, a superintendent of a county school district, a county manager and a city manager.
      2. The prohibition set forth in subsection 1 does not apply if the consideration of the character, alleged misconduct or professional competence of the person does not pertain to his or her role as an elected member of a public body or an appointed public officer or other officer described in paragraph (b) of subsection 1, as applicable.
      (Added to NRS by 1993, 2636; A 2005, 2245) [Emphasis added.]

The hardest and fairest questions yet asked of proponents of the teachers gross profits tax initiative
Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review 7-10-2014

We Don't Need No Education
The continuing Barbwire series

Barbwire: Nevada not really a state
No, we were not Battle Born in Kenya
Top 10 reasons Nevada lives in the 19th Century

Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 10-17-2013 Sparks Tribune

Low-income penalty: Nevada socks it to the working poor
BARBANO: Nevada is one big company town
Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review 10-10-2013

State of Health
National health care comes up against a very sick state. WHAT'S IN IT FOR US?
Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review 10-10-2013

USA at crossroads: New Deal or new Confederacy?
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 10-10-2013 Sparks Tribune
UPDATE—>Bill Moyers: Shutdown is simply secession by other means

...and more ammo yet

IMF Head Says Inequality Threatens Democracy. Here Are 7 Charts Proving She’s Right.
By Erika Eichelberger / Mother Jones/ 5-30-2014
“The behavior of the financial sector has not changed fundamentally…since the crisis.
The industry still prizes short-term profit.”

The Post-Dated Recession: Pay me now or pay me later
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 9-6-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune

The Post-dated Recession
By Joshua H. Silavent / Daily Sparks Tribune / 5-3-2011

Union decline and rising inequality in two charts
by Colin Gordon
Economic Policy Institute / 6-5-2012

Used in
journalist Mark Robison's extensive Hard Labor: Nevada unions tout role in helping workers, firms, economy (Sunday 2 Sept. 2012 Reno Gazette-Journal, page one, Reno Rebirth section of the print edition). Union men Jim Burrell, Paul McKenzie and Guy Louis Rocha did the movement proud. Not included in the RGJ online edition.

The Barbwire Labor Day column
Reno Gazette-Journal / 9-3-2012

Nevada Press Assn. Better Newspaper Contest
HAT TRICK: Barbwire takes first place three years in a row.

The winning entries
Suing for Schools: The 20-year shuck

Expanded from the 2-21-2010 Daily Sparks Tribune

Click here to view the show on your desktop

RED flags flying low over Sparks
Expanded from the 1-10-2010 Daily Sparks Tribune

The wrath of self-righteous racism
Expanded from the 11-8-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune

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

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Copyright © 1982-2014 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 45-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 moved to Nevada's Daily Sparks Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988, and has originated in them parts ever since.
Whom to blame: How a hall-of-famer's hunch birthed the Barbwire in August of 1987
Tempus fugit.

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