Render unto Caesar the things which are salad
Garfield the Cat was right after all. If it's not deep-fried, it's
not worth eating. Even if you can get a salad, you don't want one. An ounce
of Romaine lettuce will soon reach parity with an ounce of gold.
The California legislature, in its infinite wisdom, has outlawed
Caesar Salads save those where the dressing gets mixed in front of the
customer. The potential eater can thus gnosh assured that a raw egg has
I make a mean Caesar, but I stopped using raw eggs long ago. The
employee-exploitive poultry industry has made any uncooked product unsafe.
A few years back, those enterprising little salmonella bugs figured a way
to weasel their way through egg shells. So much for the sanctity of the
Eggs au naturél were legislated into true Caesar as another
government-enforced marketing ploy. This kind of thing has happened many
times before. When Diet-Rite Cola came to market, Coke and Pepsi came to
Instead of coming up with a competitive product, they got the law
changed. No soft drink could call itself a cola unless besotten with sugar.
This lasted until the giants brought out their own saccharine sodas,
relegating Diet-Rite to the margins.
This community is fairly riddled with infestations of such
corporate welfare. You've heard me talk of them many times over the
decades, well before I began working for labor unions and political
candidates focusing on the giveaways.
Herewith, an update on the most egregious.
ROOM TAXES: Douglas County just raised theirs, the better with
which to promote the tourism industry. When (note the name) fair and
recreation boards were first authorized by the legislature in 1955,
lawmakers wanted the money to go to parks and recreation. The room tax was
sold to Washoe County voters as such in 1960.
The gambling-industrial complex skimmed the money for the next 35
years or so. Now, led by the estimable David Farside and his nudging of
Sparks city government, the scam may be cut back. It won't happen without a
The Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority is now selling
more government-based solutions to the largely non-existent problems of our
fat and sassy gambling overlords. The RSCVA, under the recently-departed
maladministration of former Sparks city manager Jay Milligan, placed the
lion's share of our room tax money into debt incurred for buildings which,
all of a sudden, are branded obsolete. Fine, but we're still going to be
paying for them for years to come.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority takes in about $129
million a year and spends about $121 million on advertising the southern
Nevada gambling industry. One would think the fat cat casinos could afford
Meanwhile, you don't dare drink the water in Gomorrah South, let
alone wash Romaine lettuce in it. More than 100 people died several years
ago due to tap water polluted with deadly bacteria.
Las Vegas leaders came up with a typically Nevadian solution:
increase sales taxes on the citizens. That'll teach 'em to drink at home!
DOWNTOWN REDEVELOPMENT AGENCIES: As if it weren't enough that
Nevadans get increasingly saddled with humongously high individual taxes
and user fees, the big boys are always thinking up new ways to transfer
more from our pockets into theirs. Sparks, alas, led the state in one
I've written of it many times, so let me explain it in a new way.
John Ascuaga and his gambling properties pay most of the property tax
downtown. Because of the city's establishment of a downtown redevelopment
district to restore "blighted areas," most of Mr. Ascuaga's taxes have been
earmarked forevermore to prettify the area in front of his store.
The total rapidly approaches $100 million. Meanwhile, city
government is looking at cutting back services, maybe even cops, while
theater magnate Joe Syufy feeds at Ascuaga's redevelopment trough.
Has anybody noticed that Prater Way between Rock Blvd. and Sparks
High sure seems more blighted than downtown?
Reno has been conspicuously profligate in pissing tax money down
the river. The city has little to show for all the tens of millions devoted
to downtown corporate welfare.
THE FIRING OF JOHN MACINTYRE: Nobody has bothered to dig out the
story of why this longtime public official got the ax from the Washoe
County Commission. Officialdom would only admit that Mr. MacIntyre was too
much of an advocate for county workers.
That's vaguely and basically true. The gambling-industrial complex went ballistic after the Center Street Mission opened its homeless center
on Keystone Avenue at the railroad tracks in Reno.
The overlords were feeling good about reinstituting the
concentration camp concept unveiled before the Sparks city council by
Reno's then-police chief (now sheriff) Richard Kirkland. (See the 28 July
1991 Barbwire entitled "Softshoe fascism stomping the homeless in Sparks.")
Lo and behold, the Center Street folks, with private donations,
skated the action. Reno and Washoe County government went nuts under
gambling industry pressure. When his subordinates were muscled, MacIntyre
It cost the man his job.
Fighting the rich, famous and powerful can be a scary assignment. You can't even order a salad and diet soda anymore.
Be well. Raise hell.