From the 11-16-97 Daily Sparks Tribune
Many transplants may not be aware of the Silver State's status as the only place in the nation where "none of these candidates" actually appears on the ballot.
The provision was placed into law in 1975 by former Assemblyman Don Mello (D-Sparks) and current Assembly Speaker Joe Dini (D-Yerington), who is currently testing the gubernatorial waters himself. It was not the most forthright bill the Dondini clique ever worked on. Legislative and other non-statewide races were pointedly excluded.
At the time, many felt that Mello pushed it just to push his weight around as assembly ways and means chairman. Personal pique probably played a part as well. During the '75 session, Mello raked Nevada Supreme Court Chief Justice Al Gunderson over the coals to the point of personal insult. The judge happened to be up for re-election the following year.
The weird new law put even unopposed candidates in the position of raising and spending money to keep the "None" vote to less-than-embarrassing proportions. Not surprisingly, Gunderson was its first victim. He drew no opponent, but "None" scored 21.5% in the November '76 election.
"None" had actually claimed its first victory in the September primary, winning the Republican congressional nomination. (Back then, Nevada had only one statewide seat.)
By the time I chaired NAGPAC in 1982, many people felt that a loss to the mythical "None" should disqualify all flesh-and-blood losers and force an election re-run. I disagreed. I still think that the seat in question should be declared vacant with the next officeholder appointed by random drawing of all eligible citizens, not just voters, within the affected district.
One of the 1982 NAGPAC planks advocated just such a lottery system of election. (I didn't think of it. My wife did.) We asked could we do worse than what we've got now? That question is today more appropriate than ever.
NAGPAC caught the public's imagination in '82 because the average Nevadan knew he/she was royally screwed no matter who won. The lot of the average Nevadan has not gotten any better in the intervening years.
Workers have acquired no rights, only more obligation and discrimination under our punitive, medieval state laws. We continue to fracture families with the active help of government as pawned by heavy payments from the gambling-industrial complex and its cronies. We continually top the charts in suicide and teen pregnancy while promoting ourselves as a tax free workers paradise. In reality, we are not lowly taxed, just selectively whacked. In Nevada, the less you make the more you pay in hidden levies and user fees.
Here, then, I present a personal populist platform, the key questions you should ask any candidate who seeks to switch your vote from zilch.
(1) REPEAL FIRE-AT-WILL and make Nevada workers fireable only for just cause.
(2) REPEAL THE BLACKBALL BILL spawned by the gambling-industrial complex this year. Blacklisting made easy, it allows gambling companies to trade information about workers with no fear of getting sued.
(3) REPEAL TAILHOOK I AND TAILHOOK II, laws passed after the infamous 1991 Tailhook Association sexual molestation incident at the Las Vegas Hilton. In 1995, the gamblers cashed in campaign contributions to make themselves pretty much immune from lawsuits arising from similar incidents. This year, the corporate dons expanded the law to include other types of business, making it open season for sexual and other predators. This presents dangers to both employees and customers, as businesses have far less incentive to maintain a safe environment.
(4) DEVELOP COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH CARE covering all Nevadans.
(5) CHANGE UNFAIR UNEMPLOYMENT LAW. Right now, if a worker is terminated for union activity, he/she cannot collect Nevada unemployment compensation although such firing violates federal law. Carlene O'Neil and Jessica Gomes were bounced by Bently Nevada Corp. for requesting that other workers sign for UPS deliveries during the Hot August Strike. Teamsters Union attorneys successfully appealed their state unemployment rejections, which the Minden company is still fighting.
ELECTROSHOCK: NAGPAC '98 will fully utilize the Internet. If anti-land mine activists could win the Nobel Peace Prize by mobilizing people worldwide through electronic mail, we should be able to plant a few political land mines of our own. There will soon be a NAGPAC section at www.nevadalabor.com. Send me your e-mail address to be included on the NAGPAC nagging list.
As before, NAGPAC will operate as an anarchistic democracy. We accept anyone for membership, especially the underaged or otherwise disfavored. Illegal aliens, extra-terrestrial or not, are cool as long as you buy an occasional round.
FINALLY, A FOND FAREWELL to the recently deceased Steve Maytan, Reno's Music Man who graciously rented the Maytan Music Center rehearsal hall to us for our '82 election night party. Steve and I talked politics well into the night, one of the most enjoyable of my life. I herewith name him honorary NAGPACker emeritus. Adios.
Be well. Raise hell.
Blackguards challenge Nevada's legendary None of the Above ballot option
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 6-17-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune
Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks Tribune since 1988.