Labor Day 2002 — Nevada Remains the High Desert Plantation

Expanded from the 9-1-2002 Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune

The report from the Nevada workplace is none too good this Labor Day weekend. Gov. Dudley Do-Right has announced another round of state budget cuts, given the state's worsening financial condition.

Late last week, state agencies, social service workers and activists decried the devastating effects of the governor's three percent across-the-board slashes. Mental health services will see a double-down in detriment. Losing three percent of state funding means losing a like amount in matching federal funds.

Former Nevada Democratic Gov. Mike O'Callaghan (1971-79) has lived to see the two crowning achievements of his administration destroyed by his Republican and Dixiecratic successors. O'Callaghan pumped substantial new funding into the state's horrendous mental health system and reformed the state injured workers' industrial insurance program.

Gov. Guinn's administration privatized the injured workers' program, making immediate millionaires out of a couple of bureaucrats and royally screwing the injured and disabled. This was nothing new for Guinn. Under Dixiecrat Gov. Bob Miller (1988-99), Guinn was asked to wield the meat ax for similar cuts during the Bush I Gulf War triple dip recession of the early 1990s.

Guinn, in the finest Nevada tradition, came up with budget cuts to the backs of the weakest among us — the physically and mentally disabled. O'Callaghan's cherished rural clinics program was shut down. Patients were kicked out of programs in the middle of critically needed treatment. Back in the 1970s, when I was heavily involved in mental health issues, we had a term for that — mass malpractice.

Gov. Dudley Do-Right's job is not to take care of the least among us, as some carpenter from Galilee once admonished, but to make sure that Nevada casinos see no hike in the lowest gross gaming tax in the world.

As long as gambling dominates the politics of the High Desert Plantation, we will continue to see the social costs of a parasitic industry paid for out of the pockets of you and me.

I have prepared a rather extensive "State of the Unions — The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" Labor Day Special Barbwire column at Please take the time to read it.

State of the Unions
Barbwire Labor Day Special for Nevada union workers or those who'd like to consider organizing

It shows how the organized labor establishment's endorsement of Kenny Guinn's re-election this year may well result in Guinn running as the favorite to defeat U.S. Senate Assistant Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., in 2004. And that barely scratches the surface of what you'll find thereat.

Guinn has gone out of his way to make lamb chops out of labor unions. Guinn even endorsed Nevada's union-busting Right-to-Work-For-Less law in a recent TV interview. Alas and alack, so far Nevada labor has responded with the silence of the lambs.

SPEAKING OF UNION BUSTERS. I really enjoyed Regional Transportation Commission Executive Director Greg Krause's rant against me in last Sunday's Tribune. For those who missed it, you will find it reproduced in its entirety at

More on the ongoing Teamsters
jobs with justice campaign

The short version will suffice here: I'm a liar and clandestine labor propagandist to boot. I've printed my union credentials in every column in this paper for years, including the one Krause griped about. They've also been uploaded to since 1996. Since he apparently doesn't read websites, I've included a capsule, below. Mr. Krause also neglected to note that by calling me a liar, he said the same about Washoe Medical Center and the Sparks Police Dept., which provided the items in the August 18 column about which he complained, but unfortunately after the newspapers's deadline.
He also neglected to note that I posted corrections as soon as Washoe Med and Sparks PD informed me of their previous inaccuracies. Those were uploaded to the website and via e-mail on Saturday evening, August 17, well before the Sunday Tribune even hit the streets.

Most disappointing of all, Mr. Krause never wrote a word defending RTC's actions in royally screwing over its Citifare bus drivers, dispatchers and support workers. His silence spoke volumes — he has no defense. So he spent 800 words attempting to behead the messenger. That's a waste of money for a guy we taxpayers pay a minimum wage of $111,675.20, before bonuses or merit raises.

GOT A GRIPE ABOUT CHARTER CABLE? This Tuesday afternoon, the Reno City Council will consider my request to establish a citizen’s committee to provide input into the franchise renewal with Charter Communications. Councilmember Jessica Sferrazza was quite gracious in promptly placing the item on the calendar at my request.

Charter Cable wants its Reno franchise renewed with only one public hearing, which I attended last month. A city staffer even sent me a curt correction that it was not really a public hearing, as no minutes were taken. No others are scheduled. We've got a year to fight 15 more years of giveaways to the bandidos of this deregulated monopoly.

The meeting starts at 12 noon, but the Charter Cable item is scheduled far down the calendar which may run through late afternoon. It will most probably be cablecast live on SNCAT Channel 13 with reruns later in the week. As I told the attendees at the non-hearing on August 13, I hope the franchise renewal process leads to a permanent oversight panel with real power over the company. If you're interested in working on this issue, please contact me. Watch for continuing updates.

Before the Charter franchise, the council is scheduled to consider a staff report on recommendations from the Ad Hoc Citizens Police Study Panel regarding the reporting of citizen complaints and funding of the panel’s original recommendations.

NEWS FROM THE LAND OF JEBYA THE CHAD -- Sweet Ada Roelke, former food columnist for the Carson City Nevada Appeal, just moved to Florida. Her Nevada readers and the Carson City Democratic Womens' Club will sorely miss her, as will I.

Ada sent me an e-mail when she got settled. I sent back a fervent hope that they still let Democrats vote down there.

"My daughter says they let 'em vote, they just don't count 'em!," she promptly retorted.

Happy Labor Day.

Be well. Raise hell.

Andrew Barbano is editor of and, the website of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Sen. Joe Neal, D-North Las Vegas. He is a member of Communications Workers of America Local Union 9413; a former member of Las Vegas Culinary Local 226 and Fresno Culinary Local 62. For organizing workers at a California hotel in 1969, he was fired, which led him to move to Nevada to work through the summer. He is now in the 34th year of that endless summer. If any of his critics want to blame somebody for Barbano landing here, blame some erstwhile union busters for his 34-year campaign against them. His mother was fired for participating in a union strike at a Fresno fruit packing house in the 1930's. E-mail Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks Tribune since 1988. | U-News | C.O.P. | Sen. Joe Neal
Guinn Watch | Deciding Factors


© 2002 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 33-year Nevadan, a member Communications Workers of America Local 9413 and editor of and He hosts Deciding Factors on several Nevada television stations. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.)Tribune since 1988.

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