The empires strike back
Expanded from the 8-5-2007 Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune

Updated 8-13, 9-21-2007

Well golly gee, they was talking about me at the school board meeting last week. In response to a question which arose from last Sunday's piece, a staffer brusquely noted that I got many things wrong.

UPDATE 8-7-2007

With Barbara Clark dissenting, the Washoe County School District Board of Trustees voted to grant Charter Communications a three-year wide area network contract with options to renew.

School board rejects
AT&T appeal

Sparks Tribune 8-1-2007

I await their response and will print it. Unlike Bill O'Reilly and Lush Rambo, when I blow it, I own it. I caught 1.5 errors after last Sunday's piece went to press and corrected them before uploading the expanded web edition to Barbwire.US.

The only complete error involved the makeup of the committee which reviewed proposals for a new $2.7 million Washoe County School District telecommunications contract. Washoe County had no representative, but the Nevada System of Higher Education did.

The other error was corrected by the school board itself. I printed that their meeting was scheduled to start at 4:00 p.m., information which I got from their website. However, the official agenda said they would start at 3:00 p.m.

As it turned out, the panel went into executive (I don't know who they were executing) session and didn't start the public portion of the meeting until after 4:00 p.m. anyway.

What's the old line, "I thought I was wrong once but found out later that I was right."

I thank the panel for making my column more accurate than even I knew.

8-7-2007 Action Agenda

7-31-2007 Action Agenda

(15 Min. Presentation)

Kirk Turner Senior Director, Information Technology
Linda McKeand, Purchasing Supervisor

RECOMMENDATION: That the Board of Trustees reject the appeal of AT&T with respect to the District’s recommendation of the award of a three year contract in the amount of $2,732,392 to Charter Communications as the preferred vendor to provide upgraded wide area network capability to the District.

School District Staff Report

METHINKS THOU PROTESTETH NOT ENOUGH DEPT. School district staff especially smarted over allegations of a fixed fight. AT&T brought in a statistician who did an absolutely abominable job of pointing out that the three school district staffers on the screening panel seemed biased for Charter Communications while the non-employees from the cities of Sparks and Reno plus the university guy gave AT&T a more equitable split.

AT&T execs were corporately wussie in appealing the decision favoring Charter. I don't even know if they plan to show up for the final vote this Tuesday at (I think) 4:00 p.m.

The chinks in Charter's armor are ghastly, glaring and gut-punchingly funny. The bid specs require that bidders inspect all sites and review all drawings and specifications. A school district staffer proudly noted that he has a whole room festooned with information about asbestos hazards. When asked if Charter had reviewed all that info, he said no. Oops.

Charter agreed to eat all asbestos costs sight unseen. Ma Bell isn't that stupid. (Can you say "costly change-orders" after they get the contract?) Speaking of stupid, a serious question was raised regarding compliance with the state prevailing wage law. Board members were assured by their lawyer not to worry. I've looked it over. They should worry.

After the Washoe County School District Board of Trustees voted 6-0 to deny the AT&T appeal, member Dan Carne ordered the staff to review all the asbestos issues. I hope they will have a report ready by Tuesday.

THOU PROTESTETH TOO MUCH DEPT. I took perverse pleasure in reading a vague, self-congratulatory guest editorial in last Thursday's Reno Kazoo-Journal from juice lawyer Mike Alonso, who is also chairman of the Renown nee Washoe Medical Center board of directors.

Headlined "A healthy hospital is good for community," Mr. Alonso did the PR equivalent of "toxic sludge is good for you." (An actual headline from a disposal company's unpublished press release which became the title of a book about skulduggerous PR.)

Watch the board meeting live
(Windows Streaming Video format)

Rerun times on SNCAT
Charter Cable Channel 17
(Reno-Sparks-Washoe County)
Saturdays:  8:30 p.m.
Mondays:  9:00 p.m.
Tuesdays: 7:00 a.m.

School Board contact info
School Board e-mail

Alonso harped about the importance of the huge health system's profits so that the outfit can "invest in the employees, equipment and facilities to meet growing health care needs."

This guy could work for the school district.

He goes on to note that Washoe Med nurses make great money. Is that why you're fighting so hard to blow out their union? And why you need to run huge ads in the Reno paper begging for RN's?

Yep, they're lining up to work at your store.

Most maddeningly, Alonso talked about all the free care the health system provides. He failed to note that they have to do so by law and that they get fat checks from Washoe County taxpayers every month to pay for much of it – money we would never have to pay save for the corruption involved in the 1985 giveaway of the hospital to the corporation which now owns it. (See the Washoe County grand jury report about the sale. I have written extensively on this issue and will have an archive compiled with this column.)

When the Renown bandidos stole our county hospital, they promised to lower health care costs and take indigent care off the hands of the taxpayers. They have done neither, but they do pay fat salaries to the boys at the top – which was the whole reason for the shuck in the first place. [UPDATE 8-12-2007: Guilt Trip — The reason Alonso defended the indefensible]

BARBWIRE Oilogopoly Archive

PROTESTING PREMIUM PRICES.The RGJ carried a puff piece last week about a new Sparks gas station selling high-octane fuels for five and seven dollars a gallon. What a shuck. A longtime gasoline retailer, with whom I've done business for over 30 years, told me that our high altitude negates any benefit from high octane gasoline. Oh well, some people just have the latest hot toy even if the generic works just fine. A good editor would have asked his writer to ask some hard questions, but hey, it's business puff.

The RGJ did not cover the school board flap but the Tribune did.

KEEP ON PROTESTING DEPT. Citizens for Sensible Growth will have a letter writing party at 6:30 p.m. this Thursday to fight the Winnemucca Ranch exurban sprawl project. It will take place at Dreamer’s Coffeehouse, 17 South Virginia St. in Reno. For more info, contact Erik Holland, (775) 322-3582.

Be well. Raise hell.


(1) Like Washoe Med, Carson-Tahoe Hospital commits suicide and the taxpayers will pay — He who ignores the doofusses is bound to become one, Barbwire by Barbano; Daily Sparks Tribune, 8-5-2001; Carson City Nevada Appeal, 8-8-2001.

(2) Washoe Med antes into the game to put Medicare into a death spiral; Barbwire by Barbano; Daily Sparks Tribune, 6-12-2005.

(3) Washoe Med: Get Rich Quick at No Money Down; Barbwire by Barbano; Daily Sparks Tribune, 5 November 1995 et seq.

(4) UPDATE 8-12-2007: Guilt Trip — The reason Alonso defended the indefensible

(5) Longtime local physician criticizes Renown/Washoe Med management, supports nurses
BARBWIRE 9-16-2007

...and more ammo

NevadaLabor.com Health Care War Room

The wonderfulness of Charter cable

The Dean's List

   The Dean of Reno Bloggers could very well be Andrew Barbano, self-described "fighter of public demons," who started putting his "Barbwire" columns online in 1996 and now runs 10 sites.

      RENO NEWS & REVIEW, 11-9-2006




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Copyright © 1982-2007 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 38-year Nevadan, editor of NevadaLabor.com and JoeNeal.org and a member of Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO which represents many AT&T workers. 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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