Ostrich heads in the sands of Sparks Marina
Expanded from the 10-30-2011 Daily Sparks Tribune

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Corporate Propaganda Research Archive

   Everybody knows the dice are loaded.
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed.
   Everybody knows the war is over.
Everybody knows the good guys lost.
   Everybody knows the fight was fixed.
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich.
   That's how it goes. Everybody knows.
— Leonard Cohen

HAT TRICK: Barbwire wins 3rd straight Nevada Press Association First-Place Award


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Updated 8-30-2011
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If Reform Fails: Health Care, Jobs and Unions — new power to the people on the public airwaves

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

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

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

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Be well. Raise hell.


Click here for selected on-demand re-runs from the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Barbwire.TV archives

15-year overnight success

Daily Sparks Tribune 2-10-2008

The Barbwire's Greatest Hits
Highlights from radio days
mp3 file

HAT TRICK: Barbwire wins 3rd straight Nevada Press Association First-Place Award

Political ostriches who stick their heads in the sand soon find they can't cover their precious asses.

On Oct. 16, I moved the following item:

"Like Target before it, the new Sparks Marina Lowe's store is being built with tax money that would otherwise go to parks, schools, roads, police and fire protection. Like Target, Lowe's will close an existing store. While Sparks City Hall sat shiva, Lowe's hired an unqualified low bidder to do the steel. That outfit has walked and highly-skilled union iron workers are now doing the job right."

Tribune editor Nathan Orme followed up by confirming the closure with Lowe's.

"Legends General Manager Dennis McGovern said...that Lowe’s is receiving no STAR bond subsidies," Orme reported.

“'People assume every store on the property gets to pull from that pool,' McGovern said. 'That is not the case.'”

Mr. McGovern may be correct in the narrow but wrong in the wide. Sparks taxpayers are indeed subsidizing the whole Marina enchilada. The former Helms gravel pit is in serious jeopardy of becoming a money pit that sinks city hall.

Orme's research revealed that Target and Lowe's would have to increase their sales by 400 percent to replace the sales tax revenue lost to the STAR bonds taxing district.

Three of every four of the new Lowe's sales tax dollars will go toward retiring debt incurred to build the shopping center development. This corporate welfare starves cities for funds that would otherwise go toward parks, schools, roads, police and fire protection.

Sales Tax Anticipated Revenue (STAR) Bonds are supposed to underwrite projects that will generate more than half their business from tourists. There is no accountability, followup or penalty in state law applying to the Marina.

"McGovern said his informal conversations with management there indicate (Target's) move from Prater Way has resulted in an increase of about 15 percent in total sales," Orme reported.

In his Oct. 18 report, Orme noted that "Mayor Geno Martini and Sparks City Councilman Ron Smith, whose ward includes Legends, learned of the store’s closure Monday (Oct. 17)."

Which means that neither had read the Oct. 16 Tribune. That's OK, guys. I'm used to getting dissed on E. Prater Way.

However, either you knew or should have known that Lowe's was going to shut down its Oddie Blvd. store. Which means that the now-vacant Target and soon-to-be-shuttered Lowe's create exactly the urban blight that corporate welfare projects are supposed to correct.

ORME: A real Lowe's blow
Sparks Tribune 10-30-3011

The solution is now the problem.

"As for tourist-targeted development at Legends, Smith said the idea for a casino there is still alive and that construction should pick up at Legends in the next few months," Orme reported.

There has been a lot of recent PR fluff fanning fading hope for the long-delayed high-rise hotel-casino at the Marina. Well before the economic depression, financial advisors warned city hall that the project would be non-viable without that component.

Officials had to tap three sources of revenue to get the Marina project started. [1] The city is close to becoming tap city as a result.

The state can take over financial affairs and raise property taxes if a municipality becomes insolvent. Both Reno and Sparks are on the edge.

In his 2009 State of the City Address, "Sparks Mayor Geno Martini gave an extended defense of STAR bonds," former Tribune reporter Dennis Myers wrote in the Reno News & Review.

"Without this important economic development tool established by the Nevada Legislature… the Legends would not have been built in Sparks. STAR Bonds provide a mechanism to finance developments that attract visitors, the majority of whom come from out-of-state as determined by the Nevada Commission on Tourism," Hizzoner asserted.

Actually, all developers have had to do is bring in a highly paid "expert" to present a glossy "study" that predicts over half of the customers will be tourists. Financial fiction-writing.

"Martini and other defenders of STAR bonds say that it is unfair to judge them based on their performance in difficult economic times," Myers wrote, adding that "Barbano says just the opposite — that the test of STAR bonds is in hard times. 'These new tourist magnet stores should have insulated us from a slump, but apparently it can’t happen here,' he said."

Wait, there's more.

"A difference from the Kansas STAR bonds, where cities are liable in case sales tax revenues are inadequate to make the debt payments, Sparks is not on the hook in case this ever happens. Only (tax improvement district) money can be used to pay off the Legends bond debt, according to (Sparks finance director Jeff) Cronk," Orme reported.

Maybe Mr. Cronk should walk down the hall and talk with his lawyer.

In 2006, City Attorney Chet Adams sent a memo to the council noting that the Marina deal "must be viewed in the greater context of...federal securities law" and "to address an apparent widely-held, and mistaken, belief that the Tax Improvement District legislation absolves the City of all liability in the event of a default."

Adams' opinion will be available with the expanded web edition of this column at

For a broader history of Nevada's sordid STAR bonds saga, go to

RED Development, the Kansas pimps who put together the Marina deal for an exorbitant fee not yet paid in full, are currently repeating their suede-shoe shuffle in Eagle, Col., Rancho Mirage, Calif., Blue Springs and Lee's Summit, Missouri.

Stay tuned for more rape and pillage at the hands of the city's saviors.

Do ostriches eat crow?

U-TUBE. Check the expanded web edition of this column at for the latest statewide Barbwire.TV schedule, viewable 24/7 online.

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It's now more important than ever — > unless you think corporate-controlled media is all you need. Stay tuned for updates.

Be well. Raise hell.
1. STAR bond debt secured by sales taxes, plus property taxes based on improved land valuations of the shopping center and revenues from a special general improvement district. See Sparks OKs public financing on Legends, Daily Sparks Tribune, 4-2-2008


Andrew Barbano is a 43-year Nevadan, chair of the Nevada César Chávez Committee, producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration, first vice-president and political action chair of the Reno-Sparks NAACP, labor/consumer/civil rights advocate, 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

POWERFUL PUNDITORY PANJANDRUMS: Compelling guest commentary

Nevada Press Assn. annual award winners announced.
HAT TRICK: Barbwire takes first place for third year in a row.

The winning entries:

Suing for Schools: The 20-year shuck
Expanded from the 2-21-2010 Daily Sparks Tribune

Click here to view the show on your desktop

RED flags flying low over Sparks
Expanded from the 1-10-2010 Daily Sparks Tribune

The wrath of self-righteous racism
Expanded from the 11-8-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune

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

Fact-free nation: Inside the lie machine
Mother Jones Magazine May-June 2011 / Cover story and in-depth analysis

Bill Moyers: Welcome to the Plutocracy
Money fights hard and it fights dirty
Speech delivered at Boston University on 29 Oct. 2010
Part of the Howard Zinn Lecture Series

Barbwire Corporate Welfare Archive

From clear-cut forests to dirty Gulfstream waters, this land belongs to old BP

BP/ARCO: The greasy root of our evils

Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune 9-10-2006

The awful truth — Read it and weep, fellow suckers

Labor Day 2009: Rise of the Vampire Corpobots
Expanded from the 9-6-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune

Angry Americans and Freudian fraud
Using war to market cigarettes
from the 8-23-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune

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
| BallotBoxing.US | Barbwire Oilogopoly Archive
Barbwire Nevada Corporate Welfare Archive
Annual César Chávez Celebration
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Copyright © 1982-2011 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 43-year Nevadan, editor of and; and former chair of the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee, He is producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration and serves as first 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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