RED flags flying low over Sparks
Expanded from the 1-10-2010 Daily Sparks Tribune
Barbwire wins second straight Nevada Press Association first-place award

If Reform Fails: Health Care, Jobs and Unions —new power to the people on the public airwaves

The program was available to every television set in the region because of a high-mileage media hybrid.

The show appeared on both commercial and community stations. The non-corporate entity produced the event, commercial TV greatly expanded its distribution.

Thus began what an ongoing series of sane public interest programs which generate both entertaining heat and more than a little light.

Please spread the word and consider contributing to the cause online at ReSurge.TV, where you may also access the show on your desktop.

You may also take the public option known as the U.S. Postal Service and send a check or money order to ReSurge.TV, P.O. Box 10034, Reno NV 89510.

Your contribution will help fund the distribution of the Dec. 6 program as well as a new regional, non-corporate community radio station.

You are present at the creation of what I hope can become a new media model where the programming accurately reflects what's happening on the ground and the media impact is powerful enough to forcefully pass the message upward.


Be well. Raise hell.


Barbwire column on the depredations of Charter Communications and the Reno City Council wins 2009 Nevada Press Association first-place award

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Like a long line of Linuses, the town fathers of Sparks have collectively pulled their security blankets over their heads in childish hope that the monsters lurking under the bed will be gone by morning.

Reality is otherwise.

City hall is infected with over-the-hill syndrome and only sunshine can cure it. In the four decades I've lived here, local governments have always been susceptible to guys in expensive suits who fly in from a big city to sing some siren song of success to the country bumpkins.

Most of the time, the traveling salesmen make the sale.

"Don't forget 'tis he who'll have the fun and thee, the baby," Cole Porter wrote in Kiss Me, Kate.

Well, the sale was made, the farmer's daughter violated and the baby looks increasingly ugly with very expensive birth defects.

RED Development sold Sparks the Marina project, promising to generate at least 800,000 new tourists a year in exchange for obscene amounts of taxpayer money.

It was all pickle smoke and mirrors.

The RED deal was so bad that the city planning department and the city attorney's office all concluded it should be turned down. According to rumbles from city hall, one law firm refused to have anything to do with the initial bond offering.

"I don't have enough malpractice insurance," one lawyer reportedly quipped.

The worker bees at city hall were pressured hard by the entire Washoe County Republican state senate delegation. Sens. Raggio, Townsend and Washington acted as salesmen for the Kansas City slickers, pushing our farm boys hard. Need more pliable bond counsel? Don'tcha worry 'bout a thing.

Former councilmember Judith Moss was concerned enough that in 2006 she requested a legal opinion from City Attorney Chet Adams who responded in a memo to the council drafted by former deputy city attorney David Creekman.

The bottom line: If RED defaults on its bond payments, city taxpayers may very well be liable.

Nonetheless, the siren song seduced city hall. Officials, and the former editor of this newspaper, were flown to Kansas City to behold other wonders achieved by the RED wizards.

Who cares about reality once you've followed Dorothy down the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City?

They all forgot that we don't live in Kansas, Toto.

The financial viability of the Marina project was contingent on construction of a high-rise hotel-casino which never happened.

Now, reality is setting in.

Since last July, 28 liens have been filed against RED for non-payment of construction costs.

Four have been released, meaning the parties settled. The outstanding ones total $1,683,615.08.

Who knows how many more are in the pipeline?

This comes hot on the heels of wholesale wage and hour violation complaints filed with the Nevada labor commissioner by my brothers and sisters in local construction unions.

The results of Mr. Adams' investigation into the first set are legally due in the labor commissioner's office no later than Jan. 18.

I will post the full list of aggrieved contractors and the amounts in question with the web version of this column at

All the corporate giveaways have put the Rail City in serious financial jeopardy.

The 2009 Nevada legislature failed to tighten up the law which put Sparks in hock.

Lawmakers further failed to even review all the corporate welfare tax breaks now allowed by one of the most thinly taxed states in the union.

Sparks cannot even afford enough police officers. Reno is closing a fire station.

Instead of money going to parks, roads, schools and public safety, huge chunks of the public treasury have been and continue to be donated to profitable developers who don't need it.

If Sparks City Hall doesn't take this RED bull by the horns — and I mean now — nobody is going to able to clean the carpet soiled by said critter.

JIM THE DIM SMARTS OFF. Gov. Jim Gibbons created a lot of heat with his recent spate of press releases demanding that lawmakers rip apart the state educational system.

His proposal is nonsense, but that's not the point. It's a quick checklist to "fix" the resource-starved system of the stingiest state.

Republican primary moonhowlers targeted by Gibbons love bumper sticker solutions to complex problems.

If Jim the Dim gets through the primary against former federal judge Brian Sandoval, he will have only weak Democrat Rory Reid standing between himself and a second term. Sandoval's election will mean that Sen. Bill Raggio, R-Reno, becomes de facto governor of Nevada, via his newest law firm partner, Sandoval — a minor fact glossed over in southern media and ignored by northern media.


DIM AND DIMMER. Gibbons may well call the legislature into special session to further debilitate state government and the educational system.

On July 15, 2008, then-University Chancellor Jim Rogers published legal research noting that 27 other jurisdictions have been successfully sued for failing in their legal duty to properly fund education. A federal judge ordered the legislature of one southern state to raise taxes.

Several large Nevada organizations have that arrow in their quivers.

DIM AND DIMMERER. Jim the Dim's "SAGE" Commission, empaneled to review potential savings in state government, published its final report a few days ago. Last Friday, chairman Frank Partlow told KRNV TV-4's Tad Dunbar that public employees are the problem. He noted that worker pay is comparable with the private sector, but when retirement and health care benefits are factored in, it becomes apparent that something must be done.

Gen. Partlow's methodology is comical. We are a very low-wage state, so stating that public employee pay is commensurate with the likes of Wal-Mart tells a helluva story all by itself. (Don't kid yourself — some state workers are on food stamps.)

Partlow's answer is the Wal-Mart solution: Destroy the fully-funded and well-managed Nevada Public Employees Retirement System.

Which would mean more people on welfare and in the emergency room.

CABBIES ALERT. Last month, a federal judge in Gomorrah South granted class action status to a lawsuit by limo drivers who shamelessly ask to be paid for all hours worked. It affects a lot of cabbies in these parts. Stay tuned.

HARRY AND ME. Reno News & Review news editor and former Tribunite Dennis Myers called my attention to footnote number two in the Wikipedia bio of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. — this column from August 29, 1999. Footnote number one was written by former Sparks Tribune editor Christopher Smith in the Salt Lake Tribune.

Ahh, immortality.

Be well. Raise hell.


Andrew Barbano is a 41-year Nevadan, second vice-president of the Reno-Sparks NAACP, labor/consumer/civil rights advocate, producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration, member of Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO and editor of As always, his opinions are strictly his own. Check local listings for other Nevada cable systems. E-mail Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks Tribune since 1988.

Smoking Guns...

Construction liens against the RED Development Sparks Marina project


3784840 -------- ACOUSTICAL MATERIAL SVS Released 7/27/2009
3777920 7/2/09 ACOUSTICAL MATERIAL SVS $12,903.00
3777921 7/2/09 ACOUSTICAL MATERIAL SVS $14,230.29
3793221 -------- ACOUSTICAL MATERIAL SVS Released 8/19/2009
3806627 9/29/09 BERGER BUILDING SUPPLY $9,718.00
3794489 -------- CASTRONOVA LAW OFFICES Released 8/24 /2009
3787768 7/31/09 CHICAGO HOLLAND DBA DKM HOLDING $32,021.94
3817206 11/2/09 F RODGERS CORP $30,187.05
3802003 9/15/09 FAST GLASS $40,058.70
38186554 11/5/09 LEGENDS LANDSCAPING $21,054.21
3799808 9/8/09 MAC ARTHUE CO $32,599.09
3814375 10/23/09 MERIT ELECTRIC $191,222.20
3818567 11/5/09 MERIT ELECTRIC $191,222.20
3814098 -------- MSI HVAC Released 10/22/2009
3800303 9/9/09 NELSON ELECTRIC $154,693.20
3800304 9/9/06 NELSON ELECTRIC $49,742.08
3818844 11/6/09 NORTHEAST MASONRY $265,593.30
3818845 11/6/09 NORTHEAST MASONRY $10,653.07
3818846 11/6/09 NORTHEAST MASONRY $18,851.91
3810604 10/12/09 OAKCREST LANDSCAPING $198,561.60
3802183 9/16/09 OVERHEAD DOOR $12,063.00
3815316 10/26/09 REP PLUMBING $194,878.10
3801016 9/11/09 SCHINDLER ELEVATOR CORP $15,760.00
3792583 8/18/09 SIERRA NEVADA ELECTRIC $26,446.10
3814527 10/23/09 SOUTHLAND INDUSTRIES $32,654.00
3818952 11/6/09 STITSER DRYWALL $97,539.28
3818954 11/6/09 STITSER DRYWALL $30,962.76


Information from Sierra Contractor's Source (formerly the Reno Builder)

08/07/2009 08:41:47 AM

Nevada Press Assn. annual award winners announced

The campaign against forcibly-paid newspaper obituaries
And they wonder why the newspaper business is dying?


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

The 2009 first-place Nevada Press Association award winners
Tony the Tiger & the flaky NFL
Barbwire / 11-30-2008
Deregulation is never having to say you're sorry
Barbwire / 8-3-2008
Nevada: A good place to visit, but do you want to live here?
Barbwire / 6-15-2008

...and more ammo

BARBWIRE Nevada Corporate Welfare Archive

Propaganda fuels gasoline price fixing
Barbwire 8-14-2005

Donate to the cable ratepayer legal defense fund at our PayPal-enabled ReSurge.TV Consumer War Room

Phillips, Kevin; Numbers Racket: Why the economy is worse than we know

Harper's Magazine; May 2008; page 43
Phillips has authored numerous books on history and politics over the past 40 years. His most recent, Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism, was published by Viking on April 15, 2008.

NAOMI WOLF: Fascist America in 10 Easy Steps
There are some things common to every state that's made the transition to fascism. Author Naomi Wolf argues that all of them are present in America today.
Alternet 5-20-2007

Johnson, Chalmers; REPUBLIC OR EMPIRE? A National Intelligence Estimate on the United States; Harper's magazine; January, 2007. I love it when heavy hitters validate what I've been saying for years in the tiny Sparks Tribune.

Barlett, Donald L. and Steele, James B.; America: What Went Wrong? (1992); America: Who Really Pays the Taxes? (1994); America: Who Stole the Dream? (1996) ; Andrews & McMeel/Universal Press Syndicate.

Review of Alex Carey's Taking the Risk Out of Democracy:
Propaganda in the US and Australia

The Orwell Diversion by Alex Carey
Excerpted from the book available below

ORDER Taking the Risk Out of Democracy
Corporate Propaganda versus Freedom and Liberty
By Alex Carey
Edited by Andrew Lohrey
Foreword by Noam Chomsky
University of Illinois Press

     SEE ALSO: Lapham, Lewis H.; Tentacles of Rage: The Republican Propaganda Mill, A Brief History; Harper's Magazine cover article; September, 2004, page 32.

     By one conservative estimate, the corporate right has spent about $3 billion over the past three decades manufacturing public opinion to suit big business goals. Lapham's number covered the early 1970's to the present day. Alex Carey noted that by 1948, anti- New Deal corporate propaganda expenditures had already reached $100 million per year, not adjusted for inflation, for advertising alone. (Carey, ibid; page 79)

     Adjusted for inflation, that 1948 $100 million becomes $801,659,751.04 in 2005 dollars.

Conservatives Help Wal-Mart, and Vice Versa
As Wal-Mart struggles to rebut growing criticism, it has discovered a reliable ally: conservative research groups.
New York Times 9-8-2006; Free registration may be required.

      BARBWIRE: Labor Day '94: People vs. corporate con job, 9-4-94
Chilling forecasts from Alex Carey

      BARBWIRE: The Nevada Republican Party Becomes Communist, 3-30-97
A prescient Plato on the dangers of oligarchy

The sands of time do not cloud the long memories of the sheiks of Araby
Barbwire 9-10-2006

      Rinfret, Pierre A.; Peace is Bullish; Look magazine, 5-31-1966 | U-News | Bulletins + Almanac
Casinos Out of Politics (COP) | Sen. Joe Neal
Guinn Watch | Deciding Factors
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Copyright © 1982-2010 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 41-year Nevadan, editor of and, former chair of the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee and serves as second vice-president, political action chair and webmaster of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. E-mail

Barbwire by Barbano premiered in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988, and has originated in those parts ever since. Tempus fugit.

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