"Our republic and its press will rise or fall together." Joseph Pulitzer
"The most painful state of being is remembering the future, particularly the one you'll never have." Kierkegaard
¡Viva huelga! Strike a blow for Nevada workers
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno / Expanded from the Wednesday 3-24-2021 Sparks Tribune / Expansions in blue
The High Desert Plantation is heating up early this year.
HOT AUGUST STRIKE IN JUNE? Washoe County's first transit strike in almost two decades might happen if local bus system overlords continue their union-busting tactics.
For the past 10 months, Teamsters Local 533 and the Reno-Sparks NAACP have been decrying non-enforcement of Gov. Sisolak's (and later, President Biden's) mask mandates by RTC Ride's for-profit France-based contractor, Keolis Transit.
The union has filed more than 70 health, safety and workplace actions before federal agencies and a case in U.S. District Court. Disregarding genuine human dangers, Keolis has instead paid lawyers to stonewall and delay, typical union busting.
The Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County spends tons of taxpayer money on puff TV and PR stating that the system is "99.9 percent" compliant with safety standards. Tell that to all the drivers who've contracted the plague, some relegated to ICU's. Las Vegas is worse off with two African American women drivers already in their graves.
Outsourcing operations must stop. Keolis got $5 million in federal money, part of more than $26 million received last year with more on the way. They spent about $340,000 on safety, according to RTC, and the rest was apparently shunted to company profit. So stated RTC ops manager Mark Maloney on a conference call I attended. (I anxiously await any clarification of numbers.)
Keolis has been subcontracting "permanent temps" thru a front company run by the wife of its former local boss, something he's been doing all over the country at great expense to the public and great benefit to family fortunes. (Conflict of interest? Not in Trumpland, sucker!)
Keolis' contract is up for renewal in June. The union busting playbook usually calls for provoking a strike in order to bring in expensive out-of-town anti-union replacements. A previous contractor brought in thugs and housed them at the Airport Plaza Hotel a few years ago without Regional Transportation Commission approval. The strike didn't happen and despite my testimony in opposition on behalf of the union, the five elected RTC commissioners decided to pay the strikebreakers anyway. Read the sordid details at NevadaLabor.com/ The Barbwire never forgets.
BTW: Here is the actual Keolis official policy which has turned local buses into Coronavirus superspreaders.
"Effective February 2, 2021, there will be a federal mandate for masks to be worn on public transportation...Although the mandate was (sic) been escalated, our operators are not to enforce this policy whatsoever." So ordered Mr. Taquan Jackson.
DEADLY COUNTERPOINT. Starting this week, RTC Ride buses will offer free rides to anyone going to get a COVID-19 vax jab.
The vaccine won't have time to become effective against the virus you may well contract on the bus.
SUICIDE IS PAINLESS because it leaves your assassins blameless. (Pardon my insensitive rewrite of the Theme from M*A*S*H.)
A serious assisted suicide bill is now before the Nevada Legislature. I don't care about its merits or demerits, America already has all the suicide assistance it needs. They are called guns, which already account for more than half of off-yourself offerings.
Suffocation is number two with a bullet on the auto-adios hit parade. Number crunchers must soon add a sub-category. Call it Spring Break Syndrome.
Florida, Texas and Arkansas lead the current test marketing for the new off-yourself obsession. Just get naked, especially in your facial orifi, party with the crowd and let Mother Nature in. COVID-19 beasties will shortly turn your lungs into wet Kleenex so you can join your ancestors at the big beach party in the sky.
I must genuflect to a bit of fiscal conservatism here. Doctor-assisted "death with dignity" is very probably cheaper than filling hospitals with uninsured twenty-somethings sporting great suntans.
SUICIDE IS PAINFUL. Miciah Lee was a depressed African American 18 year-old who wanted to end it all. So Sparks police ended it for him. (Read District Attorney Chris Hicks' exoneration of the officers involved at NevadaLabor.com/)
It need not have happened. It also became a macabre precursor to the current Coronavirus worldwide plague.
After the SARS-CoV bug broke out in China in 2002, the Chinese government put an elaborate plan in place to identify future microbeasties and stomp them out. When COVID-19 appeared in late 2019, the system was ready.
They chose not to use it. Woebetide any underling who bears bad news to Beijing. Kinda like the Trump White House.
Courageous Dr. Li Wenliang sent up red-flag warnings and was arrested for his trouble. Forced to read a public admission of error, he was shamed nationally and died a few months later of the disease he identified. The pandemic was on. Despite the most odious efforts of President Xi Xin Ping's to rewrite history, today, Dr. Li remains a national hero in China.
A shooting de-escalation apparatus has been available in Washoe County since 2003. On the night of January 5, 2020, Sparks cops chose not to call the Mobile Outreach Safety Team (aka MOST) and shot the kid instead. (Pardon my lack of nuance, but as Bill Maher once opined, Americans don't do nuance.)
The officers had been informed by the kid's mom that he was mentally unstable and suicidal. They might have called MOST but instead opted for less. It will cost the city a ton of taxpayer money.
Assemblymember Lisa Krasner, R-Reno, has introduced "Miciah's Law," Assembly Bill 268, which will mandate that every law enforcement entity in Nevada develop a detailed plan to deal with such situations with an emphasis on de-escalation before termination with extreme prejudice.
Major aspects of law enforcement statewide are supporting the bill which gets its first hearing this Friday morning before the Assembly Government Affairs Committee. Turn on, tune in, participate. Links at NevadaLabor.com/
A more questionable proposal lies in Assembly Bill 58 which would shroud police misconduct investigations in total secrecy until results are announced, a process which could take years.
Unlike Mrs. Krasner's bill, this one has no published sponsors but was introduced by a legislative committee, an old ploy to deflect accountability.
Mrs. Krasner's co-sponsor is Sen. Dina Neal, D-North Las Vegas. Joining them are Las Vegas Democrat Cameron C.H. Miller and LV Republican and Minority Floor Leader Tom Roberts.
TAKE THE CURE. Time for me to reiterate my simple cure for the complex problems plaguing the republic: End the war on drugs and start a war on war.
President Richard Nixon's War on Drugs will soon be old enough to collect Social Security. It acts as a price support system for drug cartels. Nixon knew treatment was the answer, not prisons. But prisons scored more votes.
We have plenty of money to fulfill the promise of America if we redirect toward production rather than destruction.
Illegal immigration will seriously diminish if oppressed citizens of south of the border banana republics are no longer ruled by drug lords.
During World War One, the great cowboy humorist Will Rogers announced a solution to stop German submarines from blowing allied shipping out of the water.
"Boil the ocean!" said Rogers. Make it so hot down there that U-Boats will have to surface where they could be easily picked off, he added.
When asked how he proposed to heat the seas, Rogers was ready: "That's a detail matter. I'm a policymaker."
In all of the above cases, simplicity oft gets subsumed by secrecy, egos and policymaker greed.
¡VIVA HUELGA! Monitor CesarChavezNevada.com for online César Chávez Day activities next week. The great labor leader was born on March 31, 1927.
¡Sí se puede!
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 Barbano is a 52-year Nevadan and editor of NevadaLabor.com, SenJoeNeal.org, BallotBoxing.US, ChantalCoalition.org, ConsumerCoalitionv.com and CesarChavezNevada.com among others. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks Tribune since 1988. E-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Remember St. Patrick for slaves, not snakes
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno / Expanded from the Wednesday 3-17-2021 Sparks Tribune / Expansions in green
"Don't yet rejoice in his defeat, you men! Although the world stood up and stopped the bastard, the bitch that bore him is in heat again." Bertolt Brecht