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The bus strike's most important supporter

THE LEAST AMONG US SUPPORTING THE OPPRESSED — "Her name is Jo. She lives at the women's shelter and takes the bus to Record Street to eat. She has a heart condition that makes her legs swell so it is hard for her to walk. She is articulate and easy to talk to. She told me she takes the bus to go to her doctor. With the buses not running, she didn't know how she would get there." (Photo and caption by Teamsters Local 533 bus operator Mike Humes)
      Note of Concern: The Reno + Sparks Chamber of Commerce implores both sides of the transit strike to come together and engage in good-faith bargaining for the sake of our members and their employees, many of whom rely on public transportation to maintain their jobs and sustain their lives.
Ann Silver, Executive Director, Chamber Briefing 10/5/2021

Bus riders face disruptive schedule in strike's 2nd week
Negotiations scheduled to resume October 7
By Kristin Oh / 10-5-2021 / Reno Gazette-Journal front page lead item above the fold 10-6-2021

Jacob Marley's Freakers Ball @ City Hall
Barbwire by Andrew Quarantino Barbáno / Expanded from the Sparks Tribune 10-20-2021 / Updated 10-21 & 10-22 2021 / Expansions in blue

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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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Come on baby, paint your lips
Grab your hat and grease your hips
Don't forget to bring your whips
We're going to the freakers bal
— Shel Silverstein

Just in time for Hallowe'en, the spirits of Dickens' Ebenezer Scrooge and his chain-bound partner Jacob Marley came to 1 E. First Street.

Marley's chains of penurious penance remain OK but the Reno City Council banned possession of whips by the homeless, arguably including Mssrs. Scrooge and Marley.

THE CHAINS OF AMNESIA LANE. The gods of corporate welfare past visited me. Just as I was dusting off the Barbwire Crystal Ball, a tattered news clip fell on the floor.
"As funds dry up, so do redevelopment plans," the Reno Gazette-Journal's front page blared on August 25, 2009.

"Projections show need to cut back, most money to service debt," the full-page story continued.

At the height of the Wall Street Recession, Reno's corporate welfare chickens came home to roost. The denizens of the Black Tower had given away so many tax breaks that they couldn't even keep up with the millions in, baksheesh?, oh yeah, incentives... owed to the billionaire owners of the Reno Aceholes baseball team. (The $25 million fire station bulldozed for the casino-demanded downtown location has never been replaced. First responders were forced to work out of a couple of used Arctic Circle quonset huts which have long been falling apart.)

I am now well into my sixth sordid decade of observing how otherwise responsible, sensible, honest people soon approach abnormal on the bell curve of the Black Tower Asylum.

When I was new in town more than 50 years ago, a veteran ad agency competitor told me how to sell in Reno-Sparks: Have a private jet fly in an out of state guy wearing expensive clothes and Italian loafers.

Local hicks are suckers for displays of success and consider as gospel that someone from out of town must know more than they do. There you have the golden key to the public treasury anywhere in these parts or Gomorrah South to this very day.

All this is Black Tower business as usual. The only downside is that once these cats leave office, they will go on an instant downer when no one returns their phone calls anymore.

In 2009, City of Reno Community Development Director John Hester told the council that "new development will eventually fill the gaps."

They always promise that tapping the taxpayers will be repaid many times over. Beware.

Reno is also talking about "tax increment financing."


That's a fancy way of saying that property tax increases fueled by improved values of tax-break development areas will be earmarked to benefit the corporate welfare recipient. In this case, Jacob Marley et al.

Sparks started TI-Districts back in the 1970s, followed shortly by Reno. They spent probably a billion or more by now trying to revitalize dying downtowns. Go look at the rabbit warren apartments where "Victorian Square" used to be in front of the Sparks Nugget.

The 2009 RGJ piece totally ignored the huge financial burden the city undertook to build the $160 million Carano Corporate Welfare Railroad Trench, a debacle which still shackles city coffers. As in 2009, downtown still features boarded up buildings.

I guffawed when I read RGJ reporter Jason Hidalgo's excellent coverage that Jacobs Development (self-satire, that's its real name) with its grandiose "Neon Line" project seeks to move the downtown center of gravity from Virginia Street to West 4th.

Sorry guys, that ship has sailed. Eldorado/Silver Legacy founder Don Carano took care of that more than 30 years ago, publicly stating that he wanted to see government buildings rather than more gambling built along the Truckee River, the most attractive area of downtown. Try to find a slot machine on the riverfront these days.

"The Caranos and Harrah's have seen the downtown center of gravity shift from the river to the railroad tracks and they don't want it to go back," the late Reno City Councilman and Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jud Allen told me.

Pre-Artown, Jud advocated that an aquarium be built in WIngfield Park as a way to bring people back to the river. I went him one better.

On my TV show and in this newspaper, I advocated "A River Runs Through It," co-opting the name of the Brad Pitt movie. The "It" was a high rise hotel-casino built over the river which for the first time would take advantage of the most scenic part of downtown, improve it and make the Truckee River integral to the attraction. (Aquariums OK, definitely not a corporate welfare baseball park!)

For the first and only time in his life, Don Carano sent me a letter at the Tribune and asked for a meeting — which never happened. (I called his office as he requested but never heard back.)

The mucky Truckee never got much respect from old Reno. (Apologies to Norman Biltz who built a gorgeous riverfront dining room when he opened the Holiday Hotel, now the non-gambling Renaissance, in 1956. Ironically, it did not feature a casino, a situation which soon changed, then changed back decades later.)

Old Charlie Mapes blacked out the windows of his Mapes Hotel/Casino Coach Room restaurant facing the river and parked trucks and trash in the intervening alleyway.

Madcap Reno Mayor Jeff Griffin succeeded in getting the Mapes demolished after it closed in 1982. Local attempts to save it were run over by Griffin's ego. He made big promises but nothing has ever developed on the current "Believe Plaza" site. I believe — that we got nothing.

Carano got more than his desire when the City of Reno bought the Black Tower and remodeled it into the current city hall. Government buildings on the river. The Don had spoken.

Carano's heirs, now in control of Caesars, the world's largest gambling outfit, know they have little to fear from Jacob Marley. Their properties dominate 4th and Virginia and nearby freeway exits. They acquired, closed and sold off Harrah's which will be converted to rabbit warren apartments just like Sparks.

Marley's ghost owns mostly vacant lots where once stood motels housing now-homeless people.

Pass that roach please and pour the wine
I'll kiss yours if you'll kiss mine
I'm gonna boogie till I go blind
We're freakin' at the freakers' ball

A new community website just did a better job of investigative reporting than the legit media.

"Among those who voted yes to keep this wide ranging agreement for the gaming operator who has been buying up and destroying motels but still hasn’t built anything new, there was Oscar Delgado, the most reserved as usual, Mayor Hillary Schieve, who repeatedly requested civility, and Devon Reese, who called comments by Councilwoman Jenny Brekhus as bordering 'on being slanderous.' Brekhus was referring to meetings involving the Jacobs team and City Manager Doug Thornley," stated the new Our Town Reno Newsletter enterprised by UNR Journalism Prof. Nico Columbant.

"A quick look through the most recent contributions reports for our elected officials indicate Jacobs Entertainment is very generous with supporters of his plan: $2,500 from their Colorado address on May 1, 2020, for Oscar Delgado and the same amount for Neoma Jardon on April 21, 2020. On just one day, on December 3, 2018, Mayor Schieve received $7,500 from Gold Dust Reno, Elko and Carson City, all Jacobs-owned casinos," Our Town noted.

"The law firm speaking on behalf of Jacobs Entertainment at these marathon council sessions has also been generous to elected officials voting for their presented plans: $2,000 from Arizona-based Lewis Roca to Oscar Delgado in 2020 ($1,000 on 08/11/2020 and $1,000 on 12/16/2020), $2,000 for Neoma Jardon ($1,000 on 11/02/2020 and $1,000 on 07/29/2020) and $2,000 for Devon Reese ($1,000 on 07/13/2020 and $1,000 on 08/16/2019). From an address in California, a Jeffrey Jacobs directly contributed $250 to Bonnie Weber on May 29, 2019, while she also received $500 from Lewis Roca on August 19, 2019."
Councilmembers Brekhus and Naomi Duerr stood on the right side of a 5-2 loss.

The most disappointing of all the above asylum inmates is Mr. Delgado, who scored $10,000 from the Teamsters Union for his latest re-election campaign. Along with Ms. Jardon, a fellow Regional Transportation Commission member, he hasn't lifted a finger to help the workers win the Teamsters strike against the exploitive local bus system.

STRIKE FUND. The union is collecting money to help the strikers. You may send checks to United Labor Agency of Nevada, 1201 N. Decatur Blvd. Suite 106, Las Vegas NV 89108; Attn: Teamsters Keolis Strike.

I am working to set up an online donation system. Monitor

Take care of each other and be careful out there.

¡ se puede!

Be well. Raise hell. / Esté bien. Haga infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)
être bien, élever l'enfer (Pardon my French.)
Stammi bene. Scatenare l'inferno. (And Italian.)

Andrew Quarantino Barbano is a 52-year Nevadan and editor of,, BallotBoxing.US,,, and among others. He is a longtime member of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his comments are entirely his own. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks Tribune since 1988. E-mail <

Barbwire Banned by Busted Bus System
Barbwire by Andrew Quarantino Barbáno / Expanded from the Sparks Tribune 10-13-2021 / Expansions in blueI have proudly received a low honor from the Washoe Regional Transportation Commission, the guys bringing you the local bus strike now well into its third week.

I needed some information from their substantial media apparat and e-mailed a request. I sent copies to the top-heavy administration and Commission Chair Neoma Jardon, a Reno City Councilmember. All the memos to staff bounced. I have been barred from Oh, the humanity!

Can't say as I blame them. I haven't found much nice to say about that tax-wasting quasi-public bureaucracy since its founding 39 years ago and don't intend to change.

These cats apparently don't watch any movies deeper than "The Sound of Music."

Don Corleone once advised his son to "keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer."

I do that all the time. Every time I fire a potshot at RTC, I send it to elected commissioners, administrators, their PR folks, catastrophic contractor Keolis-19 and its overpaid PR flax.

Like all Nevada government, they are on my lists and I subscribe to theirs. I want them to know what union members are doing. Alas, maybe they are again taking those addictive ostrich pills and can't stand reality anymore.

The corporate weasels from Paris, France, did everything possible to cause the walkout and continue to stonewall.

They suckered KTVN TV-2 into a story last Friday that the for-profit French management outfit offered a three percent pay raise IF the workers would end the strike AND if the union would withdraw almost 100 federal charges of illegal, unfair labor practices and employee abuses.

Come Monday, TV-2 had to eat their story, reporting that Keolis never made the offer to the union, depending instead on the media.

Did the dog eat their homework?

The blackguards damn well knew you can't negotiate over TV. An offer has to made at the bargaining table which is not Keolis-19's strong suit.

ZOOM TABOO. Beginning in 2020, they used demands for the physical presence of federal mediators as a delaying tactic.

When they finally found a pre-vaccine mediator willing to risk the plague, Keolis thugs insulted, intimidated and threatened him so viciously that he quit last year. Keolis of course blamed the union for delaying negotiations.

They insisted on face-to-face during the height of the pre-vaxx pandemic. Stonewall, then blame the other guy who refuses to risk people's lives.

They are living up to their Nazi railroad roots. (Their parent company transported Jews to the ovens during WorldWar2.)

They have operated a superspreader since day one. Keolis-19 took over the local bus system in July 2019 and pre-plague ridership immediately cratered for the next eight months. The plague hit in March, 2020, and the system never recovered.

A major factor was Keolis-19's refusal to enforce mask and safety mandates, which goes a long way toward explaining why they are more than 50 drivers short of their contractually mandated 174.

RTC boss Bill Thomas waived all cash penalties, so they don't care because they don't have to. The corporate vampires have come up with a solution, strike or no strike: Major route reductions starting in January. If we still have a bus system.

Can't blame qualified drivers who want no part of Keolis-19's $2,000 hiring bonus. They can get the same from the Washoe and Carson school districts, both of which believe that the Coronavirus actually exists.

Why is Keolis-19 so adamant? The only explanation is that they want the scalp of the mighty Teamsters as a calling card to win new business, especially in anti-union states.

I am especially ticked at greenhorn reporters who reported Keolis-19's three percent "raise" without any context. The current consumer price index is 5.8 percent, so accepting a three percent raise is actually an almost 50 PERCENT PAY CUT adjusted for inflation.

To get my business degree at Fresno State, I took classes on statistics, economics and labor-management relations. Reporters today demonstrate no background. I called around UNR a year or two back to see if they teach classes on labor relations. Not only no, but hell no.

However, if you want instruction on becoming a corporate speculator, hedge fund manager and economy destroyer, Freshwater State* is ready to rock 'n' roll.

My 86ing by RTC doesn't even rank as my third-worst ban. That infamy belongs to the Nevada Legislature which kicked me out of the State Assembly Chamber for the crime of wearing a hat. Security said there was a policy that men must doff headwear but not women. I later found out that was a lie.

You perhaps expected the truth from Nevada's leading political den of iniquity?

I haven't been back since.

Guess I owe them one. My column about being banned in Carson ("Kicked off the Ledge" Barbwire 4-18-2017) scored a Nevada Press Association first place award. Speaking of which...

HIGH FIVES TIME. Congratulations to intrepid Tribune reporter Kayla Anderson for doing us proud and bringing home two major pieces of hardware from last month's NPA annual convention.

Keep up the good work, lady. All I can say is...

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

Take care of each other and be careful out there.

¡ se puede!

être bien, élever l'enfer
(Pardon my French.)

Stammi bene. Scatenare l'inferno. (And Italian.)

Andrew Quarantino Barbano is a 52-year Nevadan and editor of,, BallotBoxing.US,,, and among others. He is a longtime member of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his comments are entirely his own. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks Tribune since 1988. E-mail <

*Props to the great H.L. Mencken who once groused about "every freshwater college calling itself a university."

Busted bus system: High-paid pimps & thieves
Barbwire by Andrew Quarantino Barbáno / Expanded from the Sparks Tribune 10-6-2021 / Expansions in blue

STRIKE TWO. The third Teamsters Union strike against the local bus system is now into its second week.

The first came in 2002. The second, last month. We're on a roll!

The five elected officials who make up the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County (RTC) have pulled a Pontius Pilate, washing their hands, wiping off fingerprints and bleaching the stains they have left on worker and passenger lives — including lactating mothers.

The commissioners all cower behind lawyerly advice.

Reno City Councilmember Jenny Brekhus has been the lone advocate for the little people. She does not but should sit on RTC, as the the longtime solo voice for passengers and workers — all of whom have daily been exposed to unsafe COVID-19 conditions for the past 20 months.

WHITE FLAG SURRENDER. France-based mis-manager Keolis-19 doesn't have to care because RTC boss Bill Thomas, perhaps without authority to do so, waived all contractual penalties against them in March, 2020. And kept it secret until last month. (Smoking gun at

This week, Brekhus demanded an investigation.

"In a series of tweets posted Saturday, Brekhus, one of the only local leaders to publicly support Teamsters Local 533 at both strikes, asked Gov. Steve Sisolak and members of Nevada's congressional delegation to investigate Keolis," KRNV TV-4 journalist Ben Margiott reported on Oct. 4.

"Brekhus called for the investigation in light of a story showing that a former Keolis general manager 'authorized a contract with his wife's company,'...She tweeted that she expected to hear about charges against him for 'misuse of funds' but has not." (The Barbwire reported this last year. See for sordid details.)

"Brekhus also called on the five-member RTC board, which oversees RTC and Keolis, to take a more active leadership role," Margiott noted.

" ' This latest collapse here with the transit system strike is a story that's been written for a while and there just has not been leadership at the RTC level to come forward and say 'We need to fix the system. We need to invest in the system,' Brekhus said. 'They are hiding at arms length from this relationship with Keolis which was always set up to fail....

" ' If you're a community of our size, approaching about a half million, and you don't have a decent, workable transit system, you're going to fail. And the people you're going to fail are the most vulnerable. They're going to be those on the economic margins. They're going to be the disabled and they're going to be the elderly.'

"RTC chair
Neoma Jardon last week said the French-based company has met its contract parameters since taking over bus operations in July 2019," Margiott stated.

Of course, Neoma, your pal Bill Thomas removed all performance mandates so there are no contract parameters. Let's go to lunch.

Rumor has it that Jardon and her fellow term-limited Reno councilmember Oscar Delgado have their sights set on running for Washoe County Commission next year in order to stay on the highly-paid public dole.

"Union leaders have publicly urged the RTC board to 'Fire Keolis,' citing unfair labor practices, regressive bargaining tactics and safety issues during the COVID-19 pandemic," Margiott noted.

Other RTC members are Sparks Mayor Ed Lawson along with county commissioners Bob Lucey and Vaughn Hartung. [CONTACT]

STRIKE TOO. At press time came word that members of the union representing roughly 60,000 TV and film production workers voted nearly unanimously to authorize a strike in Hollywood. That will ripple through the economy, as the transit strike has done here. Stay tuned.

SUE THOMPSON, 1925-2021. Sixty years after her first hits, sweet sounding Sue Thompson died in Pahrump, Nevada, on Sept. 23. She was 96.

"Sad Movies (Make Me Cry)", a top-10 hit in 1961, was followed by "Norman", "James (Hold the Ladder Steady)" (1962), and "Paper Tiger." (1964)

She followed "James" with "Have a Good Time," which Tony Bennett had recorded in 1952. She left her teenage little girl sound behind and turned to country music the rest of her life.

She may have been the first early rock star to score air play with a new recording while in her 80s. Her cut of the standard "You Belong to Me," her all-time favorite, got picked up in 2010, "Ms. Thompson still sounding sweet and clear," the New York Times noted.

She played Las Vegas, Tahoe and Reno. Whadya expect from a native of Nevada — Nevada, Missouri.

"Most popular songs actually are country-and-western songs with a modern instrumental background," she told the Reno Gazette-Journal in 1963, noted in her New York Times obituary last week.

She was no ditz. In 1966, she came under fire while on tour entertaining U.S. troops in Vietnam.

She once sat for hours with a severely wounded soldier, "helping him conjure up good memories," the Times reported.

"She came back shaken," the Times stated.

"I will never be the same I saw and learned unbelievable things."

She was ill for weeks afterward and long suspected that she had been exposed to Agent Orange, which has deformed, debilitated and killed untold tens of thousands of Americans and Vietnamese to this very day.

Nonetheless, she volunteered to return to the soldiers in 'Nam but her second tour got cancelled as too dangerous.

Rock stars have been dying since the Buddy Holly/Ritchie Valens/Big Bopper plane crash of 1959. I don't know why this one got to me.

Maybe it's because in my mind, the former Eva Sue McKee (she selected her stage name from a phone book) will look and sound 17-cute forever.

Looking forward should dominate your psyche at any age. We need to often remind ourselves of that. Thus with her passing.

Requiescata in pace, pretty girl. Hold the ladder steady for us. We won't be taking the bus.

Take care of each other and be careful out there.

Be well. Raise hell. Esté bien. Haga infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)
être bien, élever l'enfer
(And my French.)

Stammi bene. Scatenare l'inferno. (And Italian.)

Andrew Quarantino Barbano is a 52-year Nevadan and editor of,, BallotBoxing.US,,, and among others. He is a longtime member of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his comments are entirely his own. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks Tribune since 1988. E-mail <

Striking blows for justice
Barbwire by Andrew Quarantino Barbáno / Expanded from the Sparks Tribune 9-29-2021 / Expansions in blue

Just when I thought I was going to have a mellow week, my Teamsters sisters and brothers struck the local bus system.


A service that recorded just one work stoppage since its 1982 founding (Hot August Strike 1.0 in 2002) has now had two in just the past two months. Strike 3.0 hit the streets at noon last Monday, Sept. 27.

Our elected officials on the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County are now giving taxpayer money to Uber and Lyft to carry some of the RTCRide system's weight.

They will never handle it all — more than 20,000 passengers a day on average.

At this month's meeting of the commission, RTC mis-managers presented their annual report. While they tried to gloss over the awful truth, they apparently submitted some actual facts

The stats (available with this column at, showed that after for-profit contractor Keolis-19 scored a heretofore unheard-of 10-year (!) contract beginning in July of 2019, ridership immediately nosedived and cratered for eight months before the pandemic hit.

Then, of course, matters worsened when the French pirates refused to impose federal and state mask mandates. Matters have not improved.

Kept from the public until a few weeks ago, RTC Executive Director Bill Thomas used or abused his authority to waive all performance penalties, as much as $1,000 a day per lost route, among other things.

So the Paris-based outfit can provide miserable service with impunity. Can you imagine a ballgame without officials?

I want to know if Mr. Thomas had the authority to do what he did and why it was kept secret for well over a year.

Keolis is free to cancel routes, slow down service and shift transit away from seniors and the disabled — which they are now again doing as they did in last month's strike.

On August 30, Mr. Thomas announced that the bus system would at long last comply with federal and state COVID-19 safety mandates. An hour later, the new Keolis-19 manager told the union that masks would not be enforced.

Not surprisingly, the system has been running about 50 drivers short.

I wouldn't want to work for a superspreader and thus admire my courageous union colleagues who daily risk their lives to serve the young, the elderly, the disabled, the homeless, minorities and the poor, among others. (Go to the front page of to look at a photo that will break your heart.)

It didn't have to be this way. Reno Councilmember Jenny Brekhus told the commission that Keolis-19's despicable conduct is unique among all the public employee unions she has dealt with in her three terms at city hall. (She does not sit on RTC, dammit.)

RTC is comprised of Sparks Mayor Ed Lawson (R), Washoe County Commissioners Vaughn Hartung (R), and Bob Lucey (R); Reno City Councilmembers Oscar Delgado (D) and Neoma Jardon, (R) board chair. Board e-mail <>

To his credit, at the Sept. 17 RTC meeting, Mayor Lawson asked Mr. Thomas for complete information on Keolis-19 performance. Mr. Thomas said it was all in the written report. I hope Hizzoner didn't take that assertion at face value.

Some blackguard has been spreading the lie that the union agreed not to strike again in exchange for the health care deal they pried from the bandidos last month. (Keolis wanted to dump the excellent Teamsters insurance for something vastly inferior.)

No union worthy of the name would surrender its most powerful weapon when dealing with such an underhanded multinational.

If you're a bus patron, my heart goes out to you, as it does to those losing pay picketing the downtown Sparks and Reno bus terminals.


THE ENVELOPES, PLEASE. Mayor Lawson submitted Sparks Police Chief Chris Crawforth's recommendations to sit on the newly created Citizen Police Advisory Committee. (Barbwire 9-8-2021) The council approved the following.

Diversity/multicultural representatives, three year terms: Probation case manager Emily Miranda-Adams, ACLU program assistant and Black Lives Matter activist Lilith Baran and Dr. Terrell Foster, a distinguished retired educator who serves on the Reno-Sparks NAACP executive committee with me.

Two-year terms: business owner Kathleen Hanley, telecommunications manager Damon Harrell, administrative assistant Rikki Melanaphy, and homemaker/consultant John Frey.

Best wishes and godspeed, folks. Please keep me in the loop.

ADIOS DEPT. I've been doing too many of these lately.

DAVID RALPH HOY (1938-2021), native Nevadan and top gun lawyer, born in Ely. His father, longtime Democratic Party activist Ralph Hoy, moved the family to Sparks in 1950. Dave attended Sparks Middle School and Sparks High. His law partners were a who's who of Silver State legal talent. His brother, Dick, owned mobile home dealerships in Reno and Carson City and served as president of the state dealers association.

Dave was never so busy that he didn't have time to help an occasional confused researcher (aka me) he might run across in the Washoe County Law Library. His reputation was that of a man you could trust.

DON "SNOSHU" THOMPSON, 91, very extroverted businessman, athlete and hot dog promoter of Nevada skiing and golfing.

Don enjoyed the dubious distinction of having played "Conan the Barbano" at the 1985 Sheep Dip satirical review at John Ascuaga's Nugget.

He was dressed in a bear skin cape and Viking warrior togs complete with a bull's horns head-dress foreshadowing the Q-Anon superstar who walked thru the US Capitol mostly naked last Jan. 6. (Sheep Dip costumers at least kept it G-rated.)

Don ended his Conan song-and-dance with a magnificent front- or back-flip. I can't quite remember the direction but it was damned impressive. I was rather flattered to see that someone considered me athletic for the first —and last — time in my life.

We were both spared the mutual indignity of sharing the Nugget stage together because the always-efficient Sheep Dip staff had erroneously given out my Shaft Award the night before. They always tried to give out the ultimate insult with the insultee in house but in my case, they made an exception. It avoided proper treatment by the Nugget janitorial staff only because somebody found it backstage and a radio station manager retrieved it for me.

That most prestigious memento of dubious achievement
still abides on my mantel just as the memories of the very extroverted Mr. Thompson will stay with me for my duration and beyond.

Requiescant in pace, my friends.

You done real good.

Take care of each other and be careful out there.

Be well. Raise hell. Esté bien. Haga infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)
être bien, élever l'enfer
(And my French.)

Stammi bene. Scatenare l'inferno. (And Italian.)

Andrew Quarantino Barbano is a 52-year Nevadan and editor of,, BallotBoxing.US,,, and among others. He is a longtime member of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his comments are entirely his own. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks Tribune since 1988. E-mail <

Web Xtras & Smoking Guns—>

SEE, HEAR & SPEAK NO EVIL DEPT. The current unaccountable politicians who seemed content to provoke a strike are Sparks Mayor Ed Lawson (R), Washoe County Commissioners Vaughn Hartung (R), and Bob Lucey (R); Reno City Councilmembers Oscar Delgado (D) and Neoma Jardon, (R) board chair. Mr. Delgado and his wife both tested positive for COVID-19 in December. He is currently CEO of the (for real) Community Health Alliance of Washoe County. Go figger.

Regional Transportation Commission board e-mail <> / RTC Executive Director Bill Thomas who gets paid $220,000 a year to look out the window while waiting to go to lunch.


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$75 dead or alive: Still crazy after all these years
A mass murderer becomes famous on TV a century later

How come nobody noticed 'til now?
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno
/ Expanded from the 2-21-2018 Sparks Tribune

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory owners Max Blank and Isaac Harris. Is not Mr. Harris eerily familiar to television junkies?

From the Emmy-winning opening slate of the blockbuster "Cheers" television series. Combined with its "Frasier" spinoff, it lasted 20 years.
The "shirtwaist kings" immigrated from Russia and made a fortune manufacturing "Gibson Girl"-style blouses. (Photo, "The American Experience"/PBS)
The Emmy-winning opening slate of the "Cheers" television series before the "slate" of creators is superimposed. Looks like Mr. Harris' dead ringer (at left) is having a bloody good time.

"Who ya gonna believe, me or your own eyes?" Chico Marx disguised as Groucho Marx in "Duck Soup" (1933)
Back to the story of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist holocaust

Triangle tragedy recalled as requiem
"The Fire in My Mouth," a new oratorio by Pulitzer honoree Julia Wolfe, premiered with the New York Philharmonic Jan. 24

By Michael Cooper / The New York Times 1-23-2019

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Copyright © 1982-2021 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 52-year Nevadan, editor of and; and former chair of the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee. He is the executive producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration and a longtime member 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.

Betty J. Barbano
2-7-1941 / 12-27-2005

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