A Nevada Day Tea Party for DC
Expanded from the 10-30-2005 Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune
Most of Nevada became part of the United States 141 years ago tomorrow. (1)
The "battle born" myth holds that President Lincoln wanted the gold and silver of the Comstock Lode to help finance the Civil War, but the actuality was more mundane. By late 1864, Lincoln knew that the Union would soon prevail, which would mean again seating southern senators who had been absent since secession. A smart politician, the president wanted two more northern-voting members of the upper house.
And so came the October 31, 1864, shotgun wedding between the old easterner in the striped suit and painted lady in the red dress. (2)
On this Nevada Day weekend, what could be more fitting than supporting full citizenship for other Americans? Alas and alack, some Sparks officials want to perpetuate the disenfranchisement of more than half a million citizens.
On Oct. 24, the Sparks city council voted 3-2 to support a resolution from the National League of Cities endorsing full congressional voting rights for the nation's capital. Councilmembers John Mayer, Phil Salerno and Ron Schmitt supported the concept. Mike Carrigan and Judith Moss voted against.
Mayor Geno Martini has vetoed the resolution, which means the council must vote by at least 4-1 to override, probably at its Nov. 7 meeting. As the Tribune's Angela Potter reported, (3) that means either Carrigan or Moss must switch. [UPDATE: The issue has been agendized for Nov. 14.]
Hizzoner should either withdraw the veto or both Carrigan and Moss should reconsider. To do otherwise is flat unpatriotic.
The Tribune reported that "Councilwoman Judy Moss said the district should not be considered equal to a state.
"'It may be more than a city, but it is not a state,' she said."
Would she support blowing Wyoming out of the union? According to the latest U.S. Census data, the vice-president's home state had 506,529 official residents as of July, 2004. By contrast, 553,523 Americans live in DC. (Puerto Rico has almost four million, but has been unable to decide between the benefits of statehood or all the goodies inherent in territorial status. Southern Nevada had a chance at becoming a territory in 1982, but Nevada voters turned it down. See footnote 1.)
The usual opposition to DC statehood is a partisan one. Six of 10 residents of the nation's capital are black. With the president's popularity among African-Americans polling in negative digits, DC would send Democrats as its representatives.
If that's what's bugging the mayor and the two councilcritters, they should come out and say it. It may not be fair, but partisanship is the only argument which comes close to legitimate.
Mayor Martini also voiced opposition to the council's 3-0 August vote in opposition to the USA Patriot Act. With Martini, Carrigan and Schmitt absent, Mayer, Moss and Salerno passed the Patriot Act measure on August 22. (4) The mayor did not act to veto that action, but in his DC veto message said the city should not interfere in national issues.
"It would appear the council has addressed national issues without properly consulting our federal officials," he wrote. "This has the potential of negatively affecting the relationships with our federal legislators at a time when the city is relying heavily on their power and influence," he noted.
The mayor needs to explain if any Nevada member of congress has pressured him for his veto. I rather doubt it. Washington representatives glory in accurately reflecting their constituents. You can't get much closer to grass roots than local governments.
Hizzoner owes Sparks citizens an explanation of how support of democracy damages relations with the likes of Rep. Jim Gibbons (R) or Sens. Harry Reid (D) and John Ensign (R).
"No taxation without representation" caused a revolution a couple of hundred years back. Right now, congress runs DC like a super city council. No one will argue that the capital is well managed under the current system.
The council's vote in opposition to the grotesquely mis-named Patriot Act was laudable. Municipalities nationwide have done the same.
Councilmember Moss is really on the bubble on this one. I fail to see how she could express her opposition to the erosion of rights and liberties in the Patriot Act and then vote against the extension of full rights and liberties to more than half a million taxpaying Americans in the nation's capital.
Like me, the mayor is a descendant of those who came to this country searching for a better life than that offered by feudal Italy.
As with any immigrant group, Italians had to struggle through decades of discrimination before they achieved full citizenship. Why does this Son of Italy now act to deny full citizenship to other Americans?
Mike Carrigan gave his military background as a primary credential for office. He has worn the uniform of the United States in defense of liberty. The wings of the American eagle are quite large enough to cover equal treatment and justice for all.
These contradictions must be addressed by Martini, Moss and Carrigan. Denial of full citizenship to half a million Americans must not stand.
Call the mayor and council at (775) 353-2311 or fax 353-2489 to make your opinion known. E-mail addresses will be linked to the web edition of this column at Barbwire.info.
Now, more than ever
Be well. Raise hell.
1. To learn why much of southern Nevada was not officially part of the family until 1982, read the Barbwire of January 4, 2004.
2. Barbwire Nevada Day Tradition: "The Lady in the Red Dress"
...and more ammo4. BARBWIRE 8-21-2005: PATRIOT GAMES Sparks City Council votes on Patriot Act
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Andrew Barbano is a 37-year Nevadan and editor of NevadaLabor.com. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988.
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