Gov. Dudley Do-Right and the Pelican Brief

Expanded from the 7-20-2003 Daily Sparks, Nev., Tribune
and the 7-24-2003 Comstock Chronicle

Local television news last week reported that Gov. Dudley Do-Right missed the Carson-Tahoe Hospital groundbreaking because he needed knee surgery. TV didn't say where he had the surgery. The gov's mansion? The southern California hospital where he donated his prostate?

I have surveyed the best conspiracy theorists in Nevada who have delved into the real (or imagined) reasons as to why Gov. Guinn blew out his knee:

  • 1. He's been kicking his own ass over taking the damned job. ("It feels so good when I stop.")

  • 2. He got housemaid's knee genuflecting at the altar of the gambling industry.

  • 3. He twisted it while limbering up to return his head to where the sun never shines. (Perhaps he was looking to remove LV Republican Assemblyman Bob Beers' foot.)

  • 4. He hurt it while removing his foot from his mouth. (In five years as governor, he has yet to complete a sentence in proper English. Whad'ya expect from a guy with a PhD in classroom air conditioning?)

  • 5. He has been sitting in on too many joint hearings.

  • 6. The knee just couldn't couldn't stand up to do any more shoveling.

  • 7. He kinked up his knee by spending so many years in the gambling industry's pocket.

  • 8. He tried to duplicate the Nevada Supreme Court's contortionist act. Try as he might, he couldn't bend his leg two-thirds of the way up.

Each of the above is just about as credible as any other explanation, including intelligence on weapons of mass destruction:

LIFE IMITATES ART. Speaking of the Supremes: In the hit 1993 Julia Roberts-Denzel Washington movie "The Pelican Brief," two supreme court justices are assassinated so that a conservative president can appoint replacements friendly to a major campaign contributor. Has anyone decried the Rev. (?) Pat Robertson's recently televised prayer that God remove three U.S. Supremes so that Bush may appoint more Clarences and Antoninos? As George Burns so eloquently spoke in Larry Gelbart's "Oh, God!", such preachers ran out of God's words a long time ago. All it takes is one nutso to start whacking blackrobes in the name of the Lord. Which is perhaps the idea. Pat Robertson is not a Christian.

HAS ANYONE NOTICED that the nation's War Department budget and the federal deficit are currently about even at just under half a trillion a year? On the subject of budgets...

THE BLIND LEADING THE BLIND. Recent press statements by Sparks and Reno officeholders and journalists who should know better have asserted that the gambling industry and sales taxes fund the majority of the state budget. Bull! They fund just a part of the state general fund, which is only 30 percent of the state budget. Gambling's contribution is just 9.9 percent overall. (Nevada Policy Research Institute e-bulletin, 4-25-2003.) The biggest portion of Nevada's budget comes from the federal government. Three out of four sales tax dollars come from Nevadans, not tourists.

DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN. I said the following in a 1982 speech and printed it in this space on April 20. Alas, it bears repeating:

     "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.'"

(UPDATE: Last week, Dubya proposed spinning off the Head Start pre-kindergarten program to the struggling states, effectively killing a sparkling federal success.)

CABLE CAPERS. I apologize to cable TV activists about not knowing that the City of Reno Citizens Cable Compliance Committee's special July 15 meeting was cablecast live on SNCAT-13. Nobody at City Hall tells me nuthin', and I'm supposed to be the chairman. Our regular monthly meeting will be cablecast live from the Reno council chambers beginning at 6:30 p.m. this Thursday. Re-runs are scheduled for 1:00 p.m. this Saturday, July 26, and at 8:00 p.m.on Monday, July 28, also on Sparks-Reno Charter Channel 13. (Unofficial website for cable issues: <> at which you will find a link to the city website, through which you may access this week's quite busy agenda.)

Come to city hall and participate. We are working on having a couple of live call-in meetings a year, the first will probably happen in September when Charter Cable's new Reno franchise agreement will be up for public scrutiny.

All the recent publicity has brought phone calls from Sparks ratepayers with complaints about the deregulated Charter monopoly. All I can say is Reno has no jurisdiction, which is why the City of Sparks needs to follow Reno and Washoe County and appoint a cable consumer advisory board.

Now, dammit!

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

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Copyright © 1982-2003 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 34-year Nevadan, a member Communications Workers of America Local 9413 and editor of and Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988.


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