The fight is fixed, so start making your own rules
Expanded from the 2-17-2002 Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune

   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.

— Leonard Cohen

The Olympic Gold Medal in pairs figure skating was fixed. So what else is new? So was the 1972 basketball championship when the Soviets were allowed several extra game-winning shots to beat the U.S. after time expired.

Reno brahmins have been screaming that northern Nevada lost the 2002 games to Salt Lake because of bribery and corruption. Our local Olympic committee made it much easier for the IOC crooks and their Utah bribemongers when the Nevadans lied to the screening committee.

Because I allowed Olympic dissidents to protest on my radio show, I became the focal point for the opposition. Actually, I never opposed the games, just sticking taxpayers with the bill.

Alas, the fight was fixed. As they always have, the town fathers went to the ledge and got a sales tax imposed on the great unwashed to pay the Olympic tab. Local boosters even asserted that a Mt. Rose luge run could make money by renting the course out for training. They used the Lake Placid, NY, Olympic facility as a shining example.

I called the guy who ran it. He laughed and said that anybody who knows how to make money running a mile-long outdoor open-top grocery store freezer, please call him.

Our local Olympic fever was spread in these parts by the same incestuous little oligarchy which afflicts us in so many ways.

They make sure we have no choice at the polls. There was little difference between the Democratic and Republican nominees for governor in 1998. Both were selected for their opposition to raising the world's lowest gross gaming tax.

Thanks to those rigging the process when no one's watching, we recently found out that we have no say in planning and zoning. Wal-Mart and any other corporate gorilla can plunk a megastore wherever they damn well please. Ditto disasters like the Oil-Dri kitty litter mine, principal customer of which is (badda boom badda bing) — Wal-Mart!

Dubya just screwed us by breaking his promise on nuke waste, but how much do you want to bet that he carries Nevada for re-election in 2004?

   Everybody knows the boat is leaking.
Everybody knows the captain lied.
   Everybody got this broken feeling
like their father or their dog just died.
   Everybody talking to their pockets.
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
   and a long stem rose.
Everybody knows.

A TREE FOR UNCLE ORLY. Next Sunday at 10:00 a.m., a tree will be dedicated in Reno's Idlewild Park in memory of Orland T. Outland. The late U.S. Army officer spent his entire retirement fighting to improve the lot of the average Nevada citizen. When utility rates were skyrocketing in the mid-1970s, there was one guy far ahead of the pack. He had been quietly showing up for years at Public Service Commission hearings in protest of the unfairness of the system.

ALWAYS WORKING — Not long before his death, Orland T. Outland, right, confronts Republican Gov. Kenny Guinn at a meeting of the Washoe County Democratic Party.

Outland was often the only consumer in the room. There was no consumer advocate's office back then. Legislative bills to establish one had died early and often. Assemblyman Ray Crosby, D-Reno, introduced the first in 1960. As his reward, Sierra Pacific Power and other business interests promptly got Crosby fired from his job at KOLO Radio.

Almost two decades passed before State Sen. Richard Bryan, D-Las Vegas, introduced another consumer advocate bill. Sierra Pacific lobbyists and their legislative minions killed the 1977 version with gusto.

When neophyte utility activists needed a quick education on the process, we were blessed by the presence of the great OTO.

In 1978, local teacher and motoracing driver Randolph Townsend got into politics. He was defeated by SierraPacific and its gambling industry clients becayse of his erstwhile consumer positions. Two years later, Townsend funded the 1980 initiative petition which forced the legislature to create the consumer advocate's office a year later. Orland Outland was critical to both efforts.

In addition to acting as our utility guru when there were none in Nevada, Outland also shared the wisdom of his knowledge of circulating initiatives.

Orland was disgusted by the right-wing extremist Reaganauts who had taken control of his beloved Republican Party (he later became a Democrat). Early in 1980, he led a statewide petition drive to get Rep. John Anderson, R- Illinois, on the Nevada presidential ballot as an independent. Outland's impeccable legal research broke open the doors of Meadowood Mall and other public places statewide. With that access, Anderson won ballot position.

Outland helped a nucleus of just four people (future Democrat-turned-Republican Sen. Townsend, myself, my wife, Betty, and still-active Sparks petition sparkplug Rosalie Beasley), to form a statewide coalition to get the consumer advocate initiative qualified in less than four months.

Every time you see Tim Hay going into battle for you, he's there because Orland Outland once passed this way.

OTO's tree has long sheltered us all. Its roots make us strong in this very adverse state.

If you can attend next Sunday, the Outland tree is located west of the Reno Police Officers Memorial. A reception follows at the McKinley Arts and Culture Center Atrium nearby at 925 Riverside Drive. You may read some of Orland Outland's writings at (Use the search engine for his name.)

ON THE AIR. Consumer Advocate Tim Hay joins me on the next edition of Deciding Factors on KRXI TV-11 and KAME TV-21 next Sunday and Monday. Trust me, you want to watch. It's about lots of the power company's money which is currently in your pocket. (See the Energy Crisis War Room for continuing updates and protest petition locations.)

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copyright © 1982-2004, 2010, 2011 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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