Follytix 2002 — An old lion fades as new ones step forward

Expanded from the 4-14-2002 Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune

THE PERILS OF MAURICE, THREEPEATED. As I noted last week, Sen. Maurice Washington, R-Sparks, will have major opposition within his own party. I warned Wanda Wright that she would begin getting strange phone calls when the word started to get out and that's exactly what's happened. Even Maurice has called, wanting to have lunch.

Wanda Wright is longtime community activist who runs WW Ranch Supply in Reno. She lives in Palomino Valley. Concerned about skyrocketing utility rates, she started a protest petition which spread like wildfire. I walked into a gas station in Sparks and found her petition at the checkstand. I signed it. (See the Energy Crisis War Room for a partial list of locations she generated. It's awesome.)

With no formal organization, she gathered more than 35,000 signatures which she trucked in on a little red wagon before a Public Utilities Commission hearing last Monday.

As I noted earlier, Wanda has endured a lot of heartbreaking stories from desperate people unable to cope with power bills in the age of Enron.

Read More About It

Carson consumer complains of overcharges, power company retaliation

Wanda Wright's petition

Energy Crisis War Room

Nevada Public Utilities Commission


"I'm going to help these seniors," she says.

Late last week came a rumor from Carson City that Sen. Washington is seriously considering not running for a third term. While he will have substantial support from the gambling-industrial complex, the ethical problems he's created for himself might make him want to retire gracefully.

The winner of the September Republican primary will most probably face Democrat Joe Carter in November. Carter, who has lifelong ties to the Rail City, was a Sparks Railroader in high school and chose railroading as his career. He is a longtime locomotive engineer and will be a formidable contender no matter who the GOP nominates.

GEORGE HOLBROOK HAWES PASSED THIS WAY and Nevada is the richer for it. George died last week in Carson City, a month shy of his 98th birthday. He was a retired educator, Nevada assemblyman, activist for senior citizens and a wide range of other causes.

I've been hanging around the Nevada Legislature for the last 30 years and George Hawes was always there, working on some populist issue.

"He was always a gentleman that came from the old school," former Gov. Mike O'Callaghan told the Associated Press.

"He dealt with his heart as well as his head. He was a bright guy," O'Callaghan said.

Read More About It

Associated Press —
George Holbrook Hawes dies at age 97

Carson City Nevada Appeal: Obituary of Assemblyman and Educator George Holbrook Hawes

An Exemplary Life — Distinguished Nevadan George Hawes dies at 97

"Hawes was an educator in Elko and Ely, and was elected as White Pine County's state assemblyman in 1950 and again in 1952," the AP reported.

"While in the Legislature, Hawes introduced bills to establish highway rest stops and state parks and pushed an amendment to the Nevada Constitution that changed the office of state schools chief from an elective position to an appointed one based on training and experience. Hawes later served as sergeant-at-arms in the state Senate, and also worked for the American Association of Retired Persons. In 1988, he was elected to the Carson-Tahoe Hospital Board of Trustees, holding that position until 1998."

I looked up George's legislative record and recommended that the Northern Nevada Central Labor Council pass a resolution of remembrance and send it to his family. Meeting in Sparks last Wednesday, the council did so.

Although a Republican (he became a Democrat in the late 1950's), George opposed union-busting legislation in the 1951 session. He unsuccessfully tried to amend and then voted against Senate Bill 79, a renovation of Nevada's infamous 1911 "Yellow Dog" union-busting law. That statute harked back to the days when mining mogul George Wingfield sent a pack of lies through Nevada's governor to President Theodore Roosevelt, convincing him to send troops to Tonopah and Goldfield to bust the mining unions. Bloodshed was the result until TR figured out he'd been shucked and withdrew the troops. By then, the Industrial Workers of the World, aka The Wobblies, were busted. (Read Nevada historian Guy Rocha's story in the labor history section at

A Masonic memorial service for George Hawes will be conducted by Carson Lodge No. 1 at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday at FitzHenry's Funeral Home in Carson City.

Condolences may be sent to his son, David Hawes, 5430 Fossil Creek Drive, Ft. Collins, CO 80526. Burial will be in George's native Skowhegan, Maine.

DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN. AND AGAIN. AND AGAIN. The army has toppled the elected but anti-U.S. president of a South American country. Oil prices immediately dropped when a business-friendly guy was installed and warmly welcomed by the American president. That was Venezuela last week, but the scenario accurately describes dozens of military coups since 1953. Anybody starting a pool on how soon we'll see the first news describing the CIA's role?

YUCCA MATCHING MONEY. Don't send a dollar or dime to the state for the anti-Yucca dump campaign. You've already paid. While the casino industry has ponied up peanuts, elected officials on state and local levels have committed millions while thousands of citizens can't pay their power bills or afford vital medicine. Until big business gets serious, don't carry the water for them.

POLICE REVIEW. The committee established to review the need for a Reno police review board voted 8-4 against the idea last week. Did anybody show them the case of the three Reno police officers who executed a citizen in his own home? Then, they caucused for a half hour to get their stories straight, which is slightly against department policy. The evidence was destroyed by RPD a short time later, resulting in an unprecedented and scathing critique by U.S. District Judge Ed Reed. Local minority groups have expressed outrage.( More on this next week.)

Be well. Raise hell. | U-News | C.O.P. | Sen. Joe Neal
Guinn Watch | Deciding Factors


© 2002 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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