Enough, already
Expanded from the 11-5-2006 Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune
Updated 11-6-2006, 11-8-2006, 1-29-2011

"Who you gonna believe — me or your own eyes?"
— (Chico Marx dressed as Groucho Marx in Duck Soup, 1933)

Every politician in sight is trying to spin Tuesday as the most pivotal, occipital, critical election in the history of the world as we know it.

Charges and countercharges are flying like dandelions in a good wind and that's the way it should be. As my colleague in columny Travus T. Hipp used to say back when people who talk like us could find radio work, let them say whatever they want about each other. It's up to us to sort it out.

So here comes some serious sorting because one guy has made it personal for me. Sen. Maurice Washington, R-Sparks, told a series of baldfaced lies to Tribune managing editor Janine Kearney in an interview published here last Monday.

I've been part of this paper for more than 30 years, placing occasional ads, providing leads for news stories and promoting readership. My first byline appeared in 1973.

Rev. Washington, when you lie to the Tribune, you have done the equivalent of fouling the holy water in the people's cathedral.

I do not write these words lightly. I've been a student of the meanderings of Maurice since he was an ad salesman at the Reno Gazette-Journal. After he beat incumbent Democrat Len Nevin in 1994, I heard that the RGJ might fire him rather than allow time off to serve in Carson City. I contacted the great Guy Richardson to pass the word that I was ready to raise hell if newspaper management proved unbending.

Alas and alack, Rev. Washington has been a tremendous disappointment in public office, not just philosophically, but also ethically. The news is full of stories these days about amoral preachers and we have one in Sen. Maurice.

He is currently running a saturation television schedule claiming that any and all charges lodged against him are simply lies – trust me, baby.

Search for yourself. Go to the search engine and sweep for the word Maurice.

The Wages of Raggio: Payback Time
Barbwire / 11-6-2006

Billy Brawl: Raggio Resigns
Barbwire / 1-9-2011

I wish we could, senator, but that confidence has been violated too many times. A web search of the Barbwire archive at returns more than 40 examples of your abuse of the public trust and trough over the past dozen years.

I have worked pro bono and professionally against you, senator, and will continue to do so until you are removed from office.

You do not deserve the honor because you have brought dishonor to it.

I am a flaming liberal Democrat and proud of it.

Despite the demonization of the word by the likes of the racist Lush Rambo, all liberal means is open-minded and willing to change.

Conservative means maintain things as they are. This is shaping up as a good year for liberal minds.

Here are the offending passages from last Monday's Tribune:

"Fighting back against false accusations

"A few years ago, Washington faced allegations involving the Center of Hope Christian Fellowship and the charter school running on its property. Washington, the charter school or the church were accused of a number of charges involving workers' comp insurance, loan fraud, unpaid teacher paychecks and a blurry separation of church and state (the county school district oversees charter schools).

"Washington said some of his constituents remember the allegations, but were never informed that he was found innocent of all charges.

"'I have been exonerated from all the charges,' Washington said. 'I suppose I could only be accused of a lack of judgment in wanting to help people.'

"Washington said he has been accused of some ridiculous things.

"'I don't run a drug ring,' Washington said. 'I don't help prostitutes living in a halfway house. I have never owned a halfway house. I have never tried to fraud or take advantage of the workman's comp system.'

"Washington said his ethics come from his faith

"'I do have compassion for people,' Washington said. 'I have shown I have integrity. I believe in self-reliance and self-responsibility, but I'm also understanding that sometimes people make wrong decisions and sometimes just need a hand up. I have a strong belief in Christ and I love my faith. I love the state of Nevada. I believe strongly in this county and what it stands for. These things will never change.'"

The facts are otherwise. In 2001 and 2002, Washington was hauled into court, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges and paid fines for not covering his employees with workers' compensation insurance for on-the-job injury. (What's changed? See below -right for a true demonstration of conservatism — the same attitude after 102 years.)

From Poor Denny's Almanac

On Nov. 5, 1904, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate was criticized for opposing injured worker insurance

102 years later, apparently not much has changed.

His real estate dealings were termed fraud against Wells Fargo Bank by Washoe County School District staff. (Reno Gazette-Journal 8-2-2002). In this newspaper on Nov. 8, 2002, Lutheran Rev. Ronald M. Rentner wrote "major corporate leaders are being arrested these days for variations of this 'round trip' transaction" involving fraudulent loan applications.

Washoe County District Attorney Dick Gammick currently extols the virtues of Maurice on TV spots where he appears with a rack of other morally righteous Republicans like Rep. Jim Gibbons. Back in 2002, Gammick had evidence that Sen. Washington had committed felony fraud in his real estate dealings but chose to look the other way because Wells Fargo Bank decided not to prosecute.

Care to bet what would have happened if you or I had done such a thing? Or if Rev. Washington was a Democrat? (Audits confirming his allegedly illegal transactions involving his now-closed and disgraced charter school are available from the Washoe County School District and the Nevada Dept. of Education. I have them.)

Now, Gammick endorses Maurice as a law and order kinda guy. On TV, the good reverend even denies running a halfway house, which, like his school, was closed by government officials. Again, the facts are otherwise (Reno Gazette-Journal 9-16-2002) and I have just reconfirmed them with a former state official. (See below.)

This newspaper editorially gave Sen. Washington a grade of F-minus for his charter school fiasco (8-11-2002) and bashed him for breaking his promise not to support new taxes (3-7-1999), terming his turnaround "corporate welfare at its worst, and it's dirty to boot."

Sen. Washington has abused the public trust and trough long enough. The voters of Sparks should send him off to do serious penance for his sins starting Tuesday.

Be well. Raise hell.

Smoking Guns



Washington said he has an open-door policy with his constituents.

"I say, come on in, put your feet up on the table and we'll drink a cup of coffee together," Washington said. "It's their office, and they should see what I'm doing to make sure that I'm representing them."

From the Reno Gazette-Journal of Oct. 1, 2006:

"What campaign contributions do is allow any institution the opportunity to talk to me, to have an open-door policy to come in, and I'll listen to them. But there's no guarantee I'll support you or not."

From Linda Brown's letter to the editor in RGJ of Oct. 15:

"It sounds to me like he's saying that if somebody wants their viewpoint to even be considered on an issue, they're going to have to pony up some cash to his campaign beforehand. It's a legislator's job to listen to everybody in their community, but Maurice Washington's policy seems to leave most of his district fending for themselves.

"On the other hand John Emerson's money did not come from anyone seeking to influence his future votes. Instead, John's money has come from groups that already agree with his views and individual citizens who simply believe he'd make a good senator. Given the choice between the two, I would vote for the candidate who doesn't charge an entry fee for his 'open-door,' and would encourage everyone to support John Emerson for Senate District 2."

Linda Brown

IN THE OCT. 30 TRIBUNE, REV WASHINGTON ADMITS THAT GROWTH IS THE BIGGEST ISSUE, BUT…"He does not believe developers should be required to pay impact fees in order to expand current roads, and build new schools, fire stations and parks.

"'Growth will pay for itself,' Washington said. 'As the community grows and matures, those (tax) benefits are reaped eventually.'"


Sen. Washington stands in the shoes of so many short-sighted public figures who have gone before – leave it to future generations to deal with what we neglect.

He prays for a miracle in the long run and forgets the words of legendary economist John Maynard Keynes: "In the long run, we are all dead."

That growth does not pay for itself is evident in the financial stresses Nevada cities and counties are constantly under and have been complaining about to the legislature for years. If growth paid for itself, would we need a WC-1 on the Washoe County ballot which seeks to impose the latest regressive sales tax increase for police and fire personnel and the buildings to house them?

Does Sen. Washington plan to vote for the tax-hike advisory on Nov. 7?

How much money has he taken from people who don't like impact fees, namely – developers.

WITH RESPECT TO HIS OPPOSITION TO A MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE: He introduced SB403 in the 1999 legislative session. The bill was trashed by opponents who called it a tax break for businesses who hire low-wage workers as well as an incentive to keep wages down in order to qualify for the subsidy. (AP/Sparks Tribune 3-26-1999)

WASHINGTON TOLD THE TRIBUNE THIS ABOUT HALFWAY HOUSES: "I was instrumental in developing legislation that required licensing of halfway houses, so neighbors and communities know their locations and they don't proliferate unnoticed."

Sen. Washington at this point pulls a Jason Bourne and pleads amnesia regarding his personal experience managing halfway houses.

His behavior fits a pattern. He also pushed legislation allowing charter schools, started one, then treated the public funds he received to operate it like his personal piggy bank — and broke the law in the process.

MAURICE WASHINGTON PEDDLES THEOCRACY AND BLAMES OPPONENT FOR BILL RAGGIO'S MISTAKES: GOD EQUALS GOP (He has requested a bill draft fo the 2007 legislative session allowing biblical creationism aka "intelligent design" to be taught in Nevada schools.)

GO TO OUR SISTER SITE, BALLOTBOXING.US, for complete documentation of the above material on the Rev. Sen. Washington.

BY READER REQUEST: This season's ballot questions hung out to dry on the BARBWIRE of 10-22-2006. Also thereat, GOP gubernatorial candidate Jim Gibbons proposes to slash public employee retirement and other benefits.

BARBWIRE 10-8-2006: Rock and Roll
Includes audio/video links to Gibbons' statement on the Nevada Public Employee Retirement System (PERS)

NEWSFLASH 10-24-2006 — Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev., was named "worst person in the world" on MSNBC's The Countdown with Keith Olbermann, beating out perennial daily winner Bill O'Reilly of FAUX News. Olbermann, the best commentator on television, awarded the dubious distinction to GOP gubernatorial nominee Gibbons for stating that his alleged attempt to save an inebriated woman from tripping and falling taught him a lesson — and that would be the last time he would ever try to help anyone again. What a guy.

FOR THE FINEST IN POST-ELECTION POSTMORTEMS: Join the Barbwire Man and the usual suspects on KRNV TV-4 at 12:30 p.m. this Thursday, Nov. 9, on Sam Shad's Nevada Newsmakers. Go to for the lineup and complete statewide rerun schedule as well as streaming video and podcast potentialities.

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Editor's note: The above-left back-button takes you to the Oct. 27, 2006, BARBWIRE published in Las Vegas CityLife. The Oct. 29, 2006, Tribune/Chronicle column was a reprint of The Lady in the Red Dress, written in 1983 and published every few years on Nevada Day weekend, commemorating the Silver State's Battle Born admission to the Union by President Lincoln.

Copyright © 1983, 1990, 1993, 1999, 2004, 2006, 2011 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 38-year Nevadan and editor of As always, his opinions are strictly his own. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988.

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