God watches over small children and drunks


Expanded from the 11-5-00 Sparks (Nev.) Tribune

"God watches over small children and drunks" observes an old saying. The front page of last Friday's Reno Gazette-Journal proved that wisdom true once again. A three year-old boy wandered away from a Sparks daycare center, crossed congested Oddie Boulevard and found his way unharmed to his mother.

The other page-one piece was about Bush the Lesser, who, drunk or sober, remains the favorite to become the latest scion of America's untitled nobility to rule the country. If he's buying drinks for the house on election night, I'll have one and may certainly need it.

LADIES' MEN. What do you call a Democrat without a gender gap? Loser.

The only exception I know is Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., who lost every category of voter save one in 1998 and narrowly prevailed. Reid carried a huge majority among union members. Combined with an inspired organized labor campaign effort, Reid squeaked by.

Reid and John Ensign are both anti-abortion, but the women of Nevada never knew it. Since no one raised the issue, female voters erroneously assumed both to be pro-choice and narrowly gave the womens' vote to Ensign on Vegas Elvis hairstyle points.

Despite anti-choice opponents, both Vice-President Al Gore and Nevada U.S. Senate candidate Ed Bernstein have seen their respective gender gaps disappear against opponents who simply seem warmer through the lenses of television cameras. Alas and alack, this year's major races will be decided on cosmetics.

PRIMARY COLORS. If you would vote on principle, there are candidates to support. Ed Bernstein is one. He didn't need the grief and the loss of more than a million out of his own pocket to run. Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader and Libertarian nominee Harry Browne are likewise men of principle. Lois Avery, Sen. Bill Raggio's opponent, is the most impressive candidate I've met this year after Mr. Nader.

Perhaps campaign guru James Carville said it best. "Some people don't run to win. Some people run to make a point."

To our everlasting benefit, American political history is littered with just such individuals whose points were so well taken that they eventually became widely supported public policy.

ADVICE TO THE VOTELORN. The facts on the record do not support the re-election of Reno councilmembers Aiazzi, Herndon or Hascheff. Likewise, Sen. Raggio, R-Reno. These gentlemen jumped to the tune of Union Pacific Railroad (search this site for "Union Pacific" to get the full story) and shoved tax increases down the throats of every business and individual in Washoe County to pay for a downtown Reno railroad trench which has but one purpose: to reduce the cost of accident judgments against the railroad when it triples its trains and doubles their speed. Hascheff even wants to obliterate Sparks by consolidating local governments. I want to meet just one Sparks citizen who desires to be governed by the Reno City Council!

DUPLICITOUS DUDLEY DO-RIGHT. Gov. Guinn's long-delayed study on reorganizing government to avoid tax increases has provided political cover for every candidate in the state. Why wasn't it published in September, as promised?

The guv is now moving from Dudleyesque doofus to Newt Gingrich meanness. As a cosmetic sop to Elko, he symbolically terminated water planning in the driest state in the nation. When Native American leaders began to raise hell about his proposal to kill the state Indian Commission, he backed off just before last week's Inter-Tribal Council Convention and this week's election. Now, reports say he is out to kill it next year.

Dudley's credibility continues crumbling. He recently sent the same form letter to every assembly district in the state, terming every Republican the most qualified candidate. This is particularly laughable in Sparks, where the eminently qualified Debbie Smith faces Reno police officer Keith Primus.

Gov. Guinn, a career educator, re-appointed Smith as chair of the state academic standards council. Why didn't he appoint Primus instead? Smith has been endorsed by both construction labor and management interests, police and fire unions, senior citizen groups, college professors, the Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce and the Black Professional Men's Association.

GET DOWN. GET FUNKY. GET CONSERVATIVE. Vote against any ballot question which would raise your taxes. The evidence has long been on the record (see the state study posted at this website) that the gambling industry does not pay a fair share for the growth it causes and from which it is the principal beneficiary.

All by itself, that's enough to vote against any bond issue. However, another strong case exists for voting against the Washoe County courthouse expansion bond. Washoe County Clerk Amy Harvey feels so motivated that she's paying for advertising to fight it. Local judges have been shaking down law firms to pay for a huge budget to support the "regional justice center." It's rather amusing to see anti-tax Republicans Mills Lane and Barbara Vucanovich disclaiming all tax hikes while supporting this one in the same breath.

Ms. Harvey makes a compelling case that this proposal bears all the earmarks of the previous courthouse bond which gave us the leaky juvey court at Sierra St. and the river. Like the Washoe County Jail in the 1980s, juvenile court was scaled back to a lower budget figure and has proven totally inadequate. Harvey points out that the original projection for a new complex came in at $170 million before the Pioneer Inn Hotel-Casino property was even included. County commissioners scaled it back as too scary for the public. Now, they want us to spend half that amount (before interest, which skyrockets the cost) for instant replay of previous fiascoes. If all this sounds like the railroad trench deal, it should.

POLITICAL POTSHOTS AND DOTSHOTS...In lieu of a TV budget, the Green Party of Nevada has produced tapes of Nader speeches. They are available in Reno at Resurrection Records, 318 Broadway off Wells Ave. near Vassar, and at The Melting Pot, 888 S. Virginia at Taylor St....Washoe school board candidates Seykota, LeVario and Ruggiero have been pronounced acceptable by right-wing religionauts. Beware...

Be well. Raise hell.

NevadaLabor.com | U-News | C.O.P. | Sen. Joe Neal
Guinn Watch | Deciding Factors


© Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 31-year Nevadan, a member of Communications Workers of America Local 9413 and editor of NevadaLabor.com, where the past five years of columns may be accessed. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988. For more detailed research, use the search engine at the front page of this site.

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