Mary Valencia Wilson: Nevada's Aztec Warrior
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 6-12-2011 Daily Sparks Tribune
Updated 6-14-2011, 6-19-2011, 6-24-2011, 6-27-2011, 7-31-2011

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Mary Valencia Wilson, 1944-2011
Deidre Pike photo
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HAT TRICK: Barbwire wins 3rd straight Nevada Press Association First-Place Award


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Updated 3-21-2011
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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.

Please spread the word and consider contributing to the cause online at ReSurge.TV.

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 and Feb. 21 programs as well as ongoing efforts at developing new media, including a 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.


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15-year overnight success

Daily Sparks Tribune 2-10-2008

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

Mary Valencia Wilson grew up poor in a barrio south of Los Angeles.

As a child, Mary and her father, a union carpenter, labored for years building a four-room house so that the family could move from a one-room shack. That house still stands.

Mary got paid as a waitress. When the hard work would no longer allow her to stand, she stood up for everybody else. She didn't get paid, but you and I stand enriched because of her.

My dear friend Mary died a hard death of complications from cancer early Friday morning, June 10, at Renown Medical Center. She was 66.

Mary lived through every Los Angeles police abuse you may have seen dramatized in the films Mi Familia or L.A. Confidential. Not to mention the reality TV version starring Rodney King.

Her dad, an Aztec from Mexico named Manuel Obregón Valencia, was honored as man of the year in Norwalk, Calif., in 1954, the first non-white so honored.

"She marched with César Chávez in the 1960s to better the lives of migrant farm laborers. As a Fullerton College student during the Vietnam War, she participated in anti-war protests," wrote ex-Tribunite Deidre Pike in 2002.

Mary was "instrumental in helping the Nevada Alliance for Workers Rights (AWR) get a translator into agricultural areas to talk to non-English-speaking farm and ranch workers. She worked for increased diversity in the City of Reno's hiring process. When Sparks police started ticketing casual laborers on Galletti Way, the indignant Wilson was ready to do whatever she could to instigate change. She's on the boards of AWR, Washoe Legal Services and the ACLU. She’s political action chair of the Reno-Sparks NAACP and serves on the advocacy committee for the League of United Latin American Citizens," Pike reported.

Mary was also instrumental in establishing the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada.

“Mary doesn’t get paid to do this," the late AWR founder Tom Stoneburner told Pike.

"'She has an activist fire in her.'

"He recalls not being able to talk Wilson out of picketing Renown/Washoe Medical Center with nurses who held a 24-hour strike...

“'She’s out there on the line with the nurses in the cold — and her health is terrible,' Stoneburner says. “It’s a major hurdle just to get out there.'"

Such was Mary. When she asked me to stand in for her as political action chair of the Reno-Sparks NAACP, I was both humbled and honored.

Mary chose to continue serving even after her death. She willed her body to the UNR School of Medicine.

You may read more about this hard life well lived in Dr. Pike's Reno News & Review profile which will be linked to the web edition of this column at

A memorial service will be announced later. [UPDATE: A commemoration will take place in Sparks at 3:00 p.m. Sunday, August 7, 2011, at American Legion Duby Reid Post #30, 730 4th Street (next door to the Sparks post office, across from city hall). Volunteers and donations are needed. Contact the Barbwire or call Joan Treptow, 775-560-0318. Please RSVP by Wednesday, Aug. 3.]

"The obstacles ahead in the struggle for equality are high, but not insurmountable," Mary wrote in 2001.

"We have come a long way since Jim Crow ruled the South. Unfortunately, deeply entrenched discrimination and racial violence still exist. The sense of moral urgency that fueled the civil rights era is just as imperative today." [UPDATE: News of Mary's death spreads nationwide.]

EVENTS MARY WOULD LIKE. Congressional candidates of every stripe will participate in the first debate of the special election from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Flag Day, June 14, at the Sierra View Library inside Reno Town Mall, S. Virginia at Peckham. Info: Independent candidate Earl Ammerman, 775-843-9099.

On Wednesday, June 15, you need to be in two places at once. At 7:00 p.m., State Sen. Sheila Leslie, D-Reno, will discuss the recent legislative session at Washoe Democrats' HQ, 1465 Terminal Way. Info: Marcy Kupfersmith 775-323-VOTE.

At the same time, Nevada historian Guy Rocha will host two free short films sponsored by the Industrial Workers of the World Union: Might Makes Right: The Rise & Fall of the Comstock Miners' Unions and Goldfield-New World Order: Failure of a Dream.

IWW showings happen every third Wednesday at the Studio on 4th, 432 E. 4th St. in Reno. Info: Chris Wedge 775-750-2214.

Next Sunday, June 19, the annual Juneteenth celebration starts at 11:00 a.m. at Wingfield Park on the river in Reno. The event celebrates June 19, 1865, when slaves in Texas were first informed of President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation almost three years after it was issued. Info: Elaine McGraw Brannon 775-354-2985.

IN MEMORIAM II. Operating Engineers Local 3/AFL-CIO Business Representative Mike Ayers, 59, died on May 27 after battling kidney cancer. A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, June 13, at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Elko.

IN MEMORIAM III. Media supersalesman Dave "Fasto" Casto left for the big broadcast studio in the sky on March 27 in Phoenix, Ariz. He represented venerable rock station KCBN 1230-am in the late 1970s and went on to found KZMK-fm in southeastern Arizona. Former local colleagues are working on more information. Stay tuned.

BARBWIRE.TV. You will find the latest regional rerun schedule of the new Barbwire TV series linked to the web edition of this column at Next installments run at 8:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m., Sunday, June 12, and 11:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. on Monday, June 13, on Reno-Sparks-Washoe Charter cable 216 / 80-295 and Carson-Dayton 226. You may also view them 24/7 online.

BACK FROM THE ASHES DEPT. Support the return of community radio and television stations.

The first step toward restoration has been taken.

After going dark for six months, the public access channels this legislative session broadcast live hearings and floor sessions fed to Reno-Sparks-Washoe from AccessCarson. (An obscure East Reno newspaper columnist got it started.)

We have acquired new volunteers to work on returning community radio and television to Sparks-Reno-Washoe.

Go to Barbwire.TV for more information, to join the club and contribute via the web.

It's important.

Be well. Raise hell.

Andrew Barbano is a 42-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

Nevada Press Assn. annual award winners announced 9-18-2010.
HAT TRICK: Barbwire takes first place for third year in a row.
Next year, we go for the sombrero.

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
War Rooms:
Banks, Cabbies, Cabela's, Cable TV, Cancer Kids/Mining, Energy, Food, Health Care, Resurge.TV/consumers, Starbucks, Wal-Mart
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Copyright © 1982-2011 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 42-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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