Pirate Laureate of the High Desert Outback of the American Dream


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Barbwire Silver Anniversary 1988-2013 —>Now we go for gold
Barbwire by Barbano moved to Nevada's Daily Sparks Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988, and has originated in them parts ever since.
Whom to blame: How a hall-of-famer's hunch birthed the Barbwire in August of 1987
Tempus fugit.

   Everybody knows the dice are loaded.
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed.
   Everybody knows the war is over.
Everybody knows the good guys lost.
   Everybody knows the fight was fixed.
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich.
   That's how it goes.
Everybody knows...
Everybody knows the scene is dead
   But there's gonna be a meter on your bed
That will disclose
   What everybody knows...
   Everybody talking to their pockets.
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
   and a long red rose.
   Everybody knows.

— Leonard Cohen

"If voting mattered, they wouldn't let us do it."Travus T. Hipp, 1982

The Underbellyof the News—>Subscribe to Barbwire Confidential

Virginia City's next scary sexy Hollywood movie
Virginia City 911: Sexy Sheriffing in Old ConforteLand
Barbwire by Barbano / Special Nevada Day Edition 10-31-2014, Updated 11-1 and 11-3-2014, 2-10, 3-3 , 6-23, 7-2 and 7-15-2015, 9-13-2016, 2-23 and 3-13-2017
This column was simultaneously published at BallotBoxing.US

UPDATE 3-13-2017: Recall set for 11 April 2017

18:18 GMT 2-24-2017 / 6:18 PST 2-23-2017 (Barbwire Confidential U-News) — Recall of Tesla County sheriff qualifies for ballot

Embattled sheriff faces recall petitioners at town hall
By Kenzie Bales / KRNV TV -4/KRXI TV-11 / Jan. 28, 2017
Legal "claims have reportedly resulted in nearly $150,000 in settlements. The sheriff also allegedly violated the county's sexual harassment code on two occasions."


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Barbwire wins sixth Nevada Press Association award

We Don't Need No Education—> Neverending Barbwire Series

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Updated 8-30-2011
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Additional programs
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go to the BCTV link.

If Reform Fails: Health Care, Jobs and Unions — new power to the people on the public airwaves

The program premiers were available to every television set in the region because of a high-mileage media hybrid.

The shows appeared on both commercial and community stations. The non-corporate entity produced the events, commercial TV greatly expanded distribution.

Thus began an ongoing series of sane public interest programs which generate both entertaining heat and more than a little light.

Please spread the word and consider contributing to the cause online at ReSurge.TV.

You may also take the public option known as the U.S. Postal Service and send a check or money order to ReSurge.TV, P.O. Box 10034, Reno NV 89510.

Your contribution will help fund the distribution as well as ongoing efforts at developing new media, including a regional, non-corporate community radio station and the return of community television to Reno-Sparks-Washoe.

You are present at the creation of what I hope can become a new media model where the programming accurately reflects what's happening on the ground and the media impact is powerful enough to forcefully pass the message upward.


Be well. Raise hell.


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15-year overnight success

Daily Sparks Tribune 2-10-2008

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Every 10 years or so, a major scandal springs from outback Nevada to the cheers of journalists, columnists and scriptwriters.

Back in the 1970s, it was the Nye County Brothel Wars which originated in New West Magazine and became of a book of the same name.

The scandal was turned into a blah 1981 TV movie starring Pernell Roberts (Trapper John, MD and Adam Cartwright from Bonanza) and Eileen Brennan (Oscar nominee and Emmy winner for Private Benjamin).

The book was all about Nevada's Nye County cat houses and the good ole boy system.

TV did everything but write in Big Bird. "Dirty City," the original title was scrapped and the whole thing was transplanted to the fictional Crestridge, Wyoming, about a political tussle over (don't laugh) massage parlors.


Maybe that's why we had to wait until 2010 for Love Ranch starring Dame Helen Mirren (Oscar winner for The Queen) and Joe Pesci (Oscar winner for Goodfellas) as Grace and Charlie Bontempo, a thinly disguised Sally and Joe Conforte.

Love Ranch had everything — sex, jealousy, corruption, shooting and death. Because some of downtown Reno had not changed since the 1970s, part of the film was shot in these parts.

The script was kinda sappy. Doomed heavyweight boxing contender Oscar Bonavena's fictional character was named (I'm not making this up) Armando Bruza.

Get it?

We don't have to wait another 30 years. The next promotional bonanza is staring us right in the face.

If it flies, I will personally nominate Storey County Sheriff Gerald Antinoro as Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority Promotion Man of the Year, an honor first given to the guy who brought all those bowlers to the area back when the Confortes held sway in Virginia City and Sparks.

Since it will be set in the present, we won't have G-rating considerations cluttering our minds. Today, anything goes.

You want rough sex, you got it. Call the Sparks Police Department for the gruesome rape complaint filed last April against the sheriff and one of his deputies. It's so grotesque, I will neither quote from it nor upload it to any of my websites. When Joe Hart at KRNV TV-4 first reported it last May, he didn't upload it either.

MARISKA HARGITAY, CALL YOUR OFFICE. At the Oct. 15 Virginia Highlands candidates night, the sheriff said the rape never happened, then questioned why the victim took eight years to report it. I guess he doesn't watch Law & Order SVU.

When challenged by his opponent, Shawn Mahan, Mr. Antinoro added "This victim worked at Sparks P.D. She contacted the other person involved and that was just a year ago."

So did it happen, or not? You can listen for yourself at the sheriff's own campaign website.

What kind of courage did it take to walk into a place where, according to Sheriff Antinoro, many people know you, and then make public such twisted and intimate details?

Another woman recently filed eerily similar charges with Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez-Masto. It's as depraved as the Sparks file, including intimations of the legendary kinds of petting zoos only found south of the border.
Chains mandatory, whips optional, bring your own handcuffs.

Baby, this movie is writing itself! Another public relations coup for Nevada.

Maybe we can get major product placement sponsorship from Tesla. (The state's tapped out on that project and can't afford it.)

A third woman has also come forward.

I've filed public records requests with both Storey County and the AG. The sheriff publishes his cel-phone number (775-881-8196) on county business cards but District Attorney Bill Maddox says since the sheriff pays the bill himself, it's not a public record.


Antinoro endorses Assemblymember Jim Wheeler, who would bring back slavery "if that's what the constituency wants."

   “As Sheriff, it is my fundamental duty to protect people and their rights. It is good to know there are lawmakers like Assemblyman Wheeler, working to ensure those rights are not infringed upon by the government.”
      — Gerry Antinoro, Sheriff, Storey County
         From Assemblymember Wheeler's website

Another public relations coup for Nevada

Blood in the water:
Wheeler's hypothetical slavery vote
Stephen Colbert/Comedy Central 10-31-13

Jim Wheeler a "slave" to his constituents
Jonathan Capehart/Washington Post 10-29-13

Wheeler apologizes, sorta. Chamber of Commerce demands resignation
Ed Vogel/Las Vegas Review-Journal 10-29-13

So if a Nevada government agency wants to keep its dealings secret, officials just need to figure out a way to subcontract?

Public meetings and public records be damned, we're talking heavy business here.

Barry Smith, Executive Director of the Nevada Press Association in Carson City, says "No elected official should be able to hide public records by using a private cell phone or e-mail account. Clearly, that’s not the intent of Nevada’s public records law."

So who should play the sheriff in our movie? I nominate Howie Mandel for his first dramatic role. Hey, nobody thought Michael Keaton could do Batman, but he was saved by the rubber muscle suit. Mandel looks like Antinoro with about as much hair. Both guys present psycho-scary visages on camera. Perfect.

Our film can conclude by going from light to dark.

You want federal investigations? I've got a great one for action movie lovers. You want drugs and motorcycles? We've got drugs and motorcycles running up and down Interstate 80 with Storey County curiously marked absent from the regional drug interdiction task force. (Last I heard, a goodly chunk of I-80 was within Storey jurisdiction, but maybe they moved the freeway while nobody was looking.)

Sex in squad cars? Part of the job (and better than yoga, from what I understand). Sex in public offices? Piece of cake.

Then comes the really heavy stuff: The botched investigation into the death of Judith Black, bounced from Storey to Washoe County and back, then whip-sawed down to Las Vegas for a third or fourth opinion.

Nary a peep has been heard from Gomorrah South since June. Nice of them to wait until after that pesky November election.

  [UPDATE 2-10-2015: Clark M.E. concurs with Washoe — Murder most foul]

  [UPDATE 3-3-2015: Count Dracula, call your office — Blood spatter me not on the lone prairie.]

  [UPDATE 6-23-2015: New Storey D.A. Anne Langer — Murder, she wrote]

Antinoro's the perfect anti-hero, leaving Wendover during seriously troubled times for eastern Nevada law enforcement, then heading for Vegas to change his name from Gerald Cook and reinvent himself.

Sister files papers to freeze all Judith Black assets
Comstock Chronicle 7-3-2015

Julia Depew filed the action in Washoe District Court on June 25. Judge Lidia Stiglich has entered a temporary restraining order, according to Reno attorney Julie Throop.

"We're trying to freeze all assets until there is some resolution in this matter and what we know so far is in the filings," Throop stated.

"In addition to (widower Bret) Black, Margaret Parks, ADP LLC and US Bancorp are listed as defendants. A hearing is set for July 6," the newspaper reported.

Civil action filed by Judith Black's sister alleges murder most foul
KRNV TV-4 / 7-13-2015

WELCOME TO THE PONDEROSA. Taking advantage of small town divisiveness, he's now the biggest fish in a small pond and he does have his fans.

"He's the best Storey County has had in living memory," said an oldtimer I've known for decades.


2-10-2015: Clark M.E. concurs with Washoe — Murder most foul

3-3-2015: Spatter me not on the lone prairie

6-23-2015: Murder, she wrote

Justice delayed
Bret Black charged with wife's murder
Barbwire/Sparks Tribune 9-13-2016

At least the best since Joe Conforte, anyway.

All we need now is a convenient grand jury investigation and perhaps a good car chase down Geiger Grade, then I can start writing my book and screenplay.

Thanks for the career opportunity, sheriff.

Your place in Nevada history is secure.

Be well. Raise hell. / Esté bien. Haga infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)


TOMORROW'S NEWS TODAY: FEEL UP YOUR FIRE METER. The Reno Gazette-Journal did big spreads on three consecutive Sundays (Sept. 14, Sept. 21 and Sept. 28) on NV Energy smart meter fires. Welcome aboard. Barbwire readers were two years ahead on the fire meter issue. (Touch a Smart Meter, Go to Jail — 11 October 2012)

In a blah editorial on Sept. 28, the Reno Gazette-Journal praised the Public Utilities Commission for opening an investigation.

What's next? Endorsing motherhood?

I've taken to regularly feeling up my gas and electric meters and those of my neighbors. Heat means your fire meter is about to go torch. Call NVE and pray or 911.

[UPDATE: THE NEVADA FIRE MARSHALL'S INVESTIGATION concluded "don't worry, be happy." I'm still worried and will continue fondling NVE's precious equipment.]

TOAST ALERT. Teachers' union gross profits tax petition supporters and opponents would do well to review the Barbwire of Feb. 28, 2013.

Passage of the tax initiative could easily lead to a successful court challenge that would at the same time blow out not only the revenue hike, but also term limits and the state's worst anti-union laws. Something for everybody.

ANTE INTO THE GAME: Support the new season of Barbwire.TV by putting your money where my mouth is.

A thousand thanks to those who already responded and keep sending show suggestions.

"Media is the plural of mediocre."
                              — Jimmy Breslin

  Stay tuned.

  I encourage you to donate to the cause at Barbwire.TV/

The medium that shapes public opinion needs at least one refuge where it is not filtered through the distorted green eye shades of prissy corporate accountants for whom profit is the only priority; where self-censorship is the journalist's normal work environment and where all sins of omission are tacitly encouraged and forgiven with the wave of a balance sheet.

This is important. We've got a lot of work to do.

Get ahead of corporate-influenced news—>Subscribe to Barbwire Confidential.

Be well. Raise hell. / Esté bien. Haga infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)


Andrew Barbano is a 46-year Nevadan, chair of the Nevada César Chávez Committee, producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration, first vice-president and political action chair of the Reno-Sparks NAACP, labor/consumer/civil rights advocate, member of Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO and editor of and and As always, his opinions are strictly his own. Check local listings for other Nevada cable systems. E-mail Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks Tribune since 1988. Excerpts from the above were published in the Tribune's 10-28-2014 edition.

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Smoking Guns...
Get ahead of corporate-influenced news—>Subscribe to Barbwire Confidential

Follytix '14: Year of the Topless Campaign
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 10-28-2014 Sparks Tribune, Updated 10-31-2014

Words from God on Nevada ballots and Ebola
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 10-21-2014 Sparks Tribune

Happy 150th Birthday, Ms. Nevada
Nevada Day Required Reading
The Lady in the Red Dress
The Barbwire's classic Nevada Day column written in 1983
The compleat history of the Silver State in 500 words
Sparks Tribune 10-31-2013 and previously

The Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Abraham Lincoln on display in Reno thru Nov. 2

GAO Study: Voter ID laws cut turnout by blacks, young
By Alan Fram / Associated Press 10-8-2014

Barbwire: Nevada not really a state
No, we were not Battle Born in Kenya
Top 10 reasons Nevada lives in the 19th Century

Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 10-17-2013 Sparks Tribune

Cheap thrills: Sex banned in Gomorrah South
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 10-14-2014 Sparks Tribune / Updated 10-15-2014

True confessions from the back of the bus
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 10-7-2014 Sparks Tribune

We don't need no education: Leaks R Us
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 9-30-2014 Sparks Tribune

Taxpayers taken for Teslacide demo ride
Heavy demands for services & infrastructure but no money for them: Los Angeles Times debunks booster claims

Can megaresorts scam Tesla-style freebies?
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 9-23-2014 Sparks Tribune

St. Elon, Lord Pedro and Gov. Veto El Obtúsè
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 9-16-2014 Sparks Tribune
9-23 CRYSTAL BALL UPDATE: The above column accurately predicted Martinez's departure one week in advance

Tinkle-down economics: testing Tesla's testes
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 9-9-2014 Sparks Tribune

Labor Day 2014: Red, white and screwed
Silver State Lining: Nevada union membership 10th-highest in the nation
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the Sparks Tribune / 8-28-2014

Union decline and rising inequality in two charts
by Colin Gordon
Economic Policy Institute / 6-5-2012
Labor Day: State of the Unions
By Mark Robison / Reno Gazette-Journal / Sunday 9-1-2013

The above graph was used in journalist Mark Robison's extensive Hard Labor: Nevada unions tout role in helping workers, firms, economy (Sunday 2 Sept. 2012 Reno Gazette-Journal, page one, Reno Rebirth section of the print edition). Union men Jim Burrell, Paul McKenzie and Guy Louis Rocha did the movement proud.

The Barbwire Labor Day column
Reno Gazette-Journal / 9-3-2012

We Don't Need No Education
The continuing Barbwire series

Barbwire: Nevada not really a state
No, we were not Battle Born in Kenya
Top 10 reasons Nevada lives in the 19th Century

Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 10-17-2013 Sparks Tribune

Low-income penalty: Nevada socks it to the working poor
BARBANO: Nevada is one big company town
Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review 10-10-2013

State of Health
National health care comes up against a very sick state. WHAT'S IN IT FOR US?
Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review 10-10-2013

...and more ammo yet

IMF Head Says Inequality Threatens Democracy. Here Are 7 Charts Proving She’s Right.
By Erika Eichelberger / Mother Jones/ 5-30-2014
“The behavior of the financial sector has not changed fundamentally…since the crisis.
The industry still prizes short-term profit.”

The Post-Dated Recession: Pay me now or pay me later
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 9-6-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune

The Post-dated Recession
By Joshua H. Silavent / Daily Sparks Tribune / 5-3-2011

Nevada Press Assn. Better Newspaper Contest


Hopelessly trying to win an earthquake / 4-18-2013

The 2013 Loony Tunes Legislative Lexicon / 5-30-2013

The politics of media ga-ga boosterism / 3-20-2014


Support legendary photographer Don Dondero next

2010 GOLD HAT TRICK: Barbwire takes first place three years in a row.
The winning entries
Suing for Schools: The 20-year shuck

Expanded from the 2-21-2010 Daily Sparks Tribune

RED flags flying low over Sparks
Expanded from the 1-10-2010 Daily Sparks Tribune

The wrath of self-righteous racism
Expanded from the 11-8-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune

The campaign against forcibly-paid newspaper obituaries
And they wonder why the newspaper business is dying?


The Dean's List

   The Dean of Reno Bloggers could very well be Andrew Barbano, self-described "fighter of public demons," who started putting his "Barbwire" columns online in 1996 and now runs 10 sites.
RENO NEWS & REVIEW, 11-9-2006

The 2009 first-place Nevada Press Association award winners
Tony the Tiger & the flaky NFL
Barbwire / 11-30-2008
Deregulation is never having to say you're sorry
Barbwire / 8-3-2008
Nevada: A good place to visit, but do you want to live here?
Barbwire / 6-15-2008

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Copyright © 1982-2014 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 46-year Nevadan, editor of and; and former chair of the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee. He is producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration and serves as first vice-president, political action chair and webmaster of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. E-mail

Barbwire by Barbano moved to Nevada's Daily Sparks Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988, and has originated in them parts ever since.
Whom to blame: How a hall-of-famer's hunch birthed the Barbwire in August of 1987
Tempus fugit.

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