pieces and prescription pillage
Expanded from the 5-14-2006 Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune
The Reno City Council is buying lots of expensive lipstick to put on another pig. The center section of the May edition of the Las Vegas-based Nevada Business Journal carries a paid center section of city hall PR. It includes a full page map of Reno's proposed second redevelopment area, a checkerboard of juice interests.
Do the poor owners of the Peppermill, the Atlantis and Boomtown need to reserve their property tax money to spend at their own front doors? This map shows just that.
The city wiseguys will hold a hearing on this latest pillage of the public purse on May 24 in the downtown Reno black tower.
Councilmember Jessica Sferrazza put it best when she told the Reno Gazette-Journal that substantial private money is coming into the area and the city doesn't need to dole out any more "corporate welfare."
Amen, but that's often proven a futile prayer when the rich want more.
RENO GOING TO POT. Slater Ave. in northwest Reno is finally being repaved for the first time since the neighborhood was built in 1964. It would have reverted to dirt road status in another winter or two. Remember all the glowing announcements a few years back about how the newly-responsible city had come away from the bad old days when it didn't have road repair money? So how come it took 42 years to fix that particular cowpath when streets are supposed to be resurfaced every two decades? (The less maintenance, the higher the future cost.)
Slater is a symptom of a much more serious illness and another street has noticed. The city's credit rating continues to be downgraded by Wall Street.
Kudos to the Sparks City Council for sending a clear message via unanimous vote that the Rail City, for the umpteenth time, isn't interested in total governmental consolidation.
BALLARDINI SETTLEMENT STILL UNDER WRAPS. Still no word on when the final language of Washoe County's giveaway of the Ballardini Ranch will be made available for public review preferably before it's signed and the county pays the Minnesota developers 30 pieces of silver.
Details of the still-secret negotiations are slowly trickling out.
Just by "committing" not to build on an extra 25 acres they could never build on anyway, developer lawyers hustled an extra $1 million of your money from our woosy county commissioners (with the exception of Pete Sferrazza).
Years ago in criticizing another county commission boondoggle, the Honey Lake water importation project (which, like a damp and malevolent ghost, again haunts us), Sen. Joe Neal, D-North Las Vegas, told his fellow lawmakers "This matter does not belong before this body. It belongs before a grand jury."
The county's giveaway of Washoe Medical Center went before a grand jury which was brutal in criticizing betrayal of the public trust. (Barbwire 8-5-2001)
The Ballardini deal may well end up that way, but far too late to do the public any good.
QUEST FOR JUSTICE. All hail Qwest Communications for being the one major telecommunications company which refused to participate in the illegal turnover of its customer phone records to the crypto-fascists of the Bush administration. City and county regulators should immediately begin to review their local franchise agreements to pressure current and future telecommunications franchisees to uphold the law or face serious sanctions. (The actions of AT&T, Verizon and Bell South broke a laundry list of federal statutes not to mention shredding the Constitution of the United States.)
PALAST POTSHOTS THE PIRATES. Once again, some of the best journalism about the U.S. is being produced by an American reporter who works for the Guardian of London and the BBC. Greg Palast, who has written the best investigative pieces on Bush family depredations in the 2000 and 2004 elections, has just scored a couple more touchdowns.
His online column of last week asks are you "worried about Dick Cheney listening in Sunday on your call to Mom? That ain't nothing. You should be more concerned that they are linking this info to your medical records, your bill purchases and your entire personal profile including, not incidentally, your voting registration. Five years ago, I discovered that ChoicePoint had already gathered 16 billion data files on Americans and I know they've expanded their ops at an explosive rate.
"They are paid to keep an eye on you because the FBI can't. For the government to collect this stuff is against the law unless you're suspected of a crime. (The law in question is the Constitution.) But ChoicePoint can collect if for 'commercial' purchases and under the Bush Administration's suspect reading of the Patriot Act our domestic spying apparatchiks can then BUY the info from ChoicePoint," Palast notes.
ChoicePoint has been up to its neck in producing databases for the disgraced Katherine Harris, Jeb Bush's stooge who prevented tens of thousands of Democrats from voting in Florida. ChoicePoint "just got hit with the largest fine in Federal Trade Commission history for letting identity thieves purchase 145,000 credit card records," Palast writes.
In the June edition of Harper's magazine, Palast's forecast of future worldwide oil cartel machinations is sobering. Read Palast alongside Kevin Phillips' new book American Theocracy and you'll understand why gold is now priced at over $700 an ounce.
Palast's latest book, Armed Madhouse: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Class War, will be published this month.
THE KID William Albiniano, 8, needs expensive kidney treatments and medication his family cannot afford without insurance.
"We ran out of his medication two weeks ago," said his mother Lisa Albiniano.
Copyright © 2006 Debra Reid/Daily Sparks Tribune
ALBINIANO UPDATE. The parents of William Albiniano, a local eight year-old who suffers from a terminal disease, have foregone this month's house payment in order to pay for a $1,400 prescription for their son.
William's white blood cells are attacking his internal organs.
Because the one drug which can help him has not been approved by the FDA for his disease, although it is legal for other uses, the manufacturer can't even give him the medicine for free.
This brave little boy may well die because of the cockamamie rules imposed by our collapsing health care system.
Money has been slow in coming.
Donations may be made at any branch of Wells Fargo Bank or Bank of America.
Janine Kearney's story, with donation locations and Debra Reid's photos, will be permanently posted with the web edition of this column.
I will upload updates as I receive them.
Please help, and tell your friends.
Be well. Raise hell.
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Copyright © 1982, 1984, 1996, 2004, 2005, 2006 Andrew Barbano
Andrew Barbano is a 37-year Nevadan, editor of NevadaLabor.com, JoeNeal.org and webmaster of ProtectOurWashoe.org. His opinions are strictly his own. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988.
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