The Baghdad buffet becomes Carson City chaos

Expanded from the 4-20-2003 Daily Sparks, Nev., Tribune

Chaos has come to our 51st state, Iraq, but not to worry, Dubya's dunces say it's all for the best and things will work themselves out, especially if Saddam or the wrong ayatollah don't choose to run for president.

For once, I'm in partial agreement with Rummy Rumsfeld. Chaos and anarchy can promote progress. Take Carson City, for example. Only a complete governmental meltdown can act as a true catalyst for change in this retro state. How retro are we? Try to guess the who and when of the following quotes:

  "The only alternative to the current tax structure is to raise property taxes or gaming taxes. What are the poor taxpayers to do? They got raped for years by preferential tax breaks to the chosen few. Now that property taxes are low, state and local government are falling apart. What to do?

   "The first step is for someone to say you can't have your cake and eat it, too. The time has come to make some hard decisions which go to the core of Nevada life as we know it. Perhaps anyone raising a family here should consider moving somewhere else. Our school systems in Nevada, from kindergarten to graduate school, are shamefully underfunded now and have been for years. Nevada ranks dead last among 51 states (and DC) in support for higher education.

   "Why don't we consider shutting down (UNR and UNLV) altogether? Let's make Nevada live up to the reputation it already has all across the country, that of a 20th Century boomtown mining camp. Let's forget all those wonderful plans for economic diversification. Maybe we should stop being such hypocrites, trying to change an image we really deserve.

   "Perhaps it's time to realize that we really don't have a state government here in Nevada, and that we've never had one. Nevada's state government is still basically a territorial administration. We could probably rescind statehood and go back to territorial status and be better off. We'd probably end up with a better share of our federal tax dollars that way.

   "Nevada seems hooked on the horns of Ronald Reagan's New Federalism. A dozen years ago, Philip Hauser said something which rings all too true today: 'The federal government will be turning over funds to state governments which, by any standards, are more inept, more subject to special pressures, more incompetent to do the job and more corrupt than any other branch of government.'"

   Look familiar? The above came from a speech I made on October 5, 1982.

    Deja vu all over again.

HAIL, CESAR. A monthlong celebration of the life of the late labor leader Cesar Chavez concludes this Thursday at 2:00 p.m. in front of the Reno Main Post Office at 2000 Vassar Street. The United States Postal Service will unveil the new Cesar Chavez first class stamp. Special commemorative cancellations will be available as will free refreshments. (When's the last time you got a freebie from the post office?)

Speakers will discuss Chavez' life and its impacts on society which echo down to the present day, a decade after his death. Anyone who knew him personally is encouraged to attend and share memories. A Cesar Chavez birthday celebration was held on March 31. The event was enterprised by local TV stations KUVR TV-68 Azteca America and its sister station, WB KREN TV-27. The celebration promises to get bigger and better with each succeeding year.

CABLE CAPERS. This Wednesday afternoon, live on Charter Cable Channel 13, the Reno City Council will discuss clarification of the purpose and scope of the city's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee, which I chair. The next committee meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 24, at Reno City Hall. Tune in for the live cablecast, also on Charter Cable Channel 13. A rerun is scheduled for Saturday, April 26 at 3:00 p.m. For more information, go to

CLINGING TO THE LEDGE. Tune in Sam Shad's Nevada Newsmakers on KRNV TV-4 (NBC) at 12:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. I'm scheduled to hold forth a couple of times this week, highlighted by what appears to be a lobbyists' free-for-all on Wednesday. All weapons, inhibitions and decorum will be checked at the studio door. For the complete rogues' gallery of contenders and cut men, go to The program repeats nightly at 9:30 p.m. on Charter Cable Channel 12 in Sparks-Reno-Carson and Channel 19 in Douglas County. Audio rebroadcasts air from 9:00-11:00 a.m. Sundays on KKKOH 780-am.

Shad has done the seemingly impossible with the show, holding the audience generated by the noon news in the half-hour widely regarded as the most problematic dead zone in daytime TV. Helluvan achievement.

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

Barbwire Oilogopoly Archive


Copyright © 1982-2003 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 34-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.



Site composed and maintained by Deciding Factors (CWA signatory)
Comments and suggestions appreciated. Sign up for news and bulletins.