Dudley Do-Right and the Wicked Witch of the West


From the 5-7-00 and 5-14-00 Sparks (Nev.) Tribune

Consider yourself well-advised and twice-warned that it doesn't pay to get in the faces of certain women: Janet Reno, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Oprah Winfrey and Xena Warrior Princess most immediately come to mind. To that list, I now submit another, my old adversary, former Rep. Barbara Vucanovich, R-Nev.

The May 7 installment of this column ran with 235 words missing from its guts. Some might argue that the love bugs and computer gremlins responsible for such cybersurgery could only have improved the product.

The Vucanovich item which ran at the end survived intact, but I would still rather blame her than Gov. Kenny Guinn because she's smarter and meaner.

Here, again, is that material in (I hope) its updated entirety.

RIDING TO THE RESCUE. Alas, poor Dudley, they've screwed him well. Gov. Dudley Do-Right called a summit on the state's fiscal crisis down in Gomorrah South.

It was truly Nevadian.

Nobody wanted to put his own money on the table. No one would make any commitments. And those of modest income are most likely to get stuck with the tab.

Hell, the little guy had trouble just getting through the door of that smarmy session. They actually charged a $10 admission fee for a public forum!

Thus, only the elite were allowed to participate. I don't know if they asked Sen. Joe Neal, D-North Las Vegas, to pay his way in, but the upper house's senior Democrat was not allowed to sit on any panel and could only submit a written question.

Serves him right for daring to circulate a petition calling for a hike in the world's lowest gaming tax.

Gov. Dudley Do-Right ended up one frustrated bureaucrat at the end of his underachieving summit.

(For those of you who don't know Nevada's freshman governor, Kenny Guinn, he's the square-jawed guy who mis-pronounces "nuclear" as "nook-ya-lurr" on the John Ensign for U.S. Senate commercials. Guinn would look great in a red coat and Canadian Mountie hat.)

Echoing gambling industry heavyweights who misled lawmakers last year by carping about businesses which pay no taxes, (there are none, according to the Guinn-Hunt administration), Gov. Guinn divulged that he was looking "not to raise taxes but to spread the base."

That sounds like the corporate-speak equivalent of Shakespeare's Marc Antony asserting that "I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him."

I think I know who's gonna get buried and who will be praised for it. While the casinos continue their orgy of record profits, you and I will be forced to render unto Caesar.

"Without disclosing details," the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported, Guinn "said this could include businesses that provide services."


Another regressive tax in a state with the most regressive tax structure in the nation. A progressive tax hits the wealthy harder than working stiffs. A regressive tax takes the highest percentage from those lowest on the economic totem pole.

So prepare for new taxes on your laundry, dry cleaning and income tax preparation, among a myriad of others.

While Sen. Neal was not allowed to participate in the May 5 panel discussions, state teachers union executive director Ken Lange was given the privilege.

The teachers are circulating an initiative which would impose a business income tax. It contains a constitutionally unenforceable provision killing Neal's gaming tax hike.* Other segments bear all the fingerprints of inputs from gambling industry lawyers.

The teachers' petition also carries a section unreported in the media until today: it makes school board members personally liable for any expenditure which teachers don't like.

Presenting his petition before the Progressive Leadership Alliance on May 4, Lange admitted that the teachers' language is vague. What, for instance, constitutes an allowable expenditure promoting "parental involvement"? Taking the PTA president with the school board on a trip to Hawaii?

No one in his or her right mind would dare serve on a school board if every decision carried the risk of personal bankruptcy.

Lange also promoted something he calls "the Economic Development Initiative." Actually, it's not an initiative at all, but a question placed on the November ballot by the legislature even though it has been rejected before. It would amend the state constitution to allow companies to raid the state treasury for corporate welfare.

Lange reasoned that the teachers' petition will provide a better-educated workforce, but Nevada will still need additional incentives to get new businesses to come here.

Tom Myers of Great Basin Mine Watch said the ban was placed in the Nevada Constitution in the 19th century to keep ranching and mining from tapping the till. He feared it could become a cookie jar for foreign mining conglomerates to blackmail rural counties for corporate welfare in the name of keeping jobs.

Lange also did not mention that his wife is the campaign manager for those promoting the constitutional amendment.

NEW SHILLS FOR AN OLD SHELL GAME. I was grateful at the retirement of my old adversary, former Rep. Barbara Vucanovich, R-Nev. Alas and alack, she's back, once again shilling for her fellow millionaires.

She is one of three signers of a letter packed with lies circulating in rural Nevada. Another is former Elko County Commissioner Llee Chapman, an executive with Barrick Goldstrike Mining Corp. and a panelist with Gov. Guinn at his exclusive summit.

On the letterhead of something called "Nevadans Concerned for Our Economic Future," the missive warns of a "radical tax increase" proposed by a "big government tax-and-spend politician" from Las Vegas.

The letter threatens beleaguered little Storey County with the loss of its health clinic. It also says that passage of this abominable gaming tax increase petition would mean that no changes could ever be made in funding allocations.

"Las Vegas voters would have to agree to allow any changes the rural counties need," the letter wrongly states.

Actually, the legislature can change any initiative-generated provision three years after passage.

A pattern is emerging: kill Neal's gaming tax initiative with scare tactics. If it gets on the ballot, put money behind the teachers' petition which leaves gaming almost untouched. Raise taxes on lower income people while opening the state treasury to corporate welfare.

Dudley Do-Right does it wrong once again.

*(Read journalist Dennis Myers on casino cahoots and the teachers' poison pill in the Las Vegas Business Press.)

BRINGING UP THE REAR: Green Party presidential nominee Ralph Nader is now officially the most pro-labor candidate. Last week, he called for repeal of the infamous 1947 Taft-Hartley Law, a measure passed by that era's Gingrichian congress over President Truman's veto. It succeeded in cutting union membership by two-thirds over the next 50 years. The result: adjusted for inflation, union bartenders, cooks or restaurant hosts made more in the unionized Reno of 1949 than their modern non-union counterparts. (See this column of July 4, 1999.)

Be well. Raise hell.

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


© Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a member of Communications Workers of America Local 9413 and editor of U-News, where the past four years of columns may be accessed. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks Tribune since 1988. This Internet edition is comprised of items from both the 5-7-00 and 5-14-00 print versions and stands complete as to the content of both.

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