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Je Suis Charlie
"Our republic and its press will rise or fall together." — Joseph Pulitzer

Requiescat in pace
University of Nevada Journalism Prof. Emeritus and longtime Sparks Tribune columnist Jake Highton passed away of a heart attack on Aug. 7, 2017. More information as it develops. May the great teacher rest in peace from work well done and a life well-lived.

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"Media is the plural of mediocre."
— Jimmy Breslin (1928-2017)

¡Viva Chávez!
César Chávez Celebration XVI / Celebración de César Chávez XVI
Saturday 31 March 2018
/ Sabado 31 de Marzo 2018

Highlights from the record-breaking 2017 event at Circus Circus Reno

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   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...
Everybody knows the scene is dead
   But there's gonna be a meter on your bed
That will disclose
   What everybody knows...
   Everybody talking to their pockets.
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
   and a long red rose.
   Everybody knows. Everybody knows.
That's how it goes.
Everybody knows.

I hope you understand I just had to go back to the island.
Leon Russell, 1942-2016

Barbwire by Barbáno: 2015/2016/2017 off the charts
Column addendae and commentaries outside home media

Report from Jake Highton's remembrance at UNR on Labor Day weekend

Dear Readers and Friends of Jake: This report on Jakes's adios was written in response to an e from a longtime associate.

Barbano to Correspondent P in VC regarding the 9-2-2017 Highton memorial at UNR:

The current J-school dean talked about how the first time he met Jake, Jake walked into the new guy's office, plunked down a copy of the Sparks Tribune, said "read that!" and walked out.
The headline of Jake's column was "abolish the UNR journalism school."
The dean responded with a letter to the editor. When it ran, Jake called him and said "you were too easy on me."
Jake and (Pulitzer Prize-winning former Reno Gazette-Journal Exec. Editor) Warren Lerude arrived at UNR the same time in 1981. Last Saturday, Warren told me how he wanted Jake to meet Bob Laxalt. Jake over-reacted along the lines of "I'm not meeting with some goddamned Republican." Warren calmed him down and informed him that it was not the Reagan-buddy U.S. Senator but his older brother, the distinguished journalist and author.
They became friends and Laxalt ended up giving Jake the trademark Indiana Jones/Crocodile Dundee hat which Laxalt wears on his book jackets and UNR PR photos. I assume Mrs. Highton still has it.
Jake had great respect for Dean Carroll Cole, who died in a solo car crash on an icy W. McCarran on his way to meet with a student. His successor was Jerry Ceppos, the lily-livered former editor of the San Jose Mercury News. After the NY Times, LA Times and WaPost — out of pure jealousy — trashed the Mercury's story about how the CIA was facilitating US crack imports into U.S. ghettoes and using the profits to finance its black ops, the spineless bastard sold out reporter Gary Webb and ate the story.
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles, trashed Ceppos for that, the most magnificent I have every seen Mad Max. Ceppos re-assigned Webb to the one-man Oakland (huh?) bureau. He quit, did some freelancing for the News & Review weeklies, then committed suicide. I have Jake's Ceppos file but did not use any of it in my last two columns about his death. I have a large archive of his columns online and he dedicated one of his books to me, "You Speak Treason." I resemble that remark.
I did not know that I was one of those he asked to speak at his adios last Saturday — until I walked in the door. The communications dept. doesn't communicate well. I did a rather good job of winging it. Gotta lotta laughs, some between gritted teeth.
I took some serious shots at journalism today in a roomful of journalists and professors; how Jake was a mere "content provider" (a trite term I trashed) who taught clear writing and accuracy, not Facebook. I juxtaposed that with the remarks of a forcibly retired and excellent RGJ reporter who once told me how the job today was about the delivery system, not journalism. At a trial, he was expected to follow the proceedings, blog while so doing (which might cause him to miss a key point); write an accurate story and then also produce a video as newspapers jealously turn themselves into TV stations. That's 4 jobs in one. Multi-tasking toward mediocrity. That ex-reporter was in the audience and I told the gathering that he could identify himself if he so desired if he got up to speak. (He did not.)
Jake was pushed into a retirement he didn't want because he didn't teach Facebook or Twitter. He was into accurately presented content, not the delivery system, an apparently superannuated man. I also resemble that remark. I leave Tweeting to the Tweetie Pie in Chief.
Here's my column about last Saturday. You will recognize some of the players. You will also see why my last two Trib columns had a priority other than my friend Jake.
Now that I've gotten this far, I may edit the above into an addendum about Jake's going-away soiree to better do him justice, not that the Internet isn't full of tributes from students to "their cruel professor," as he put it in a book autographed to me.
Be well. Raise hell.

FROM Correspondent P:
Subject: Re: Clark Santini
Date: Thu, 7 Sep 2017 11:46:44 -0700
To: Andrew Barbano <>
Re: "those" J school days. .... I kept having high hopes for the J school..... that it wouldn't deteriorate into what is generally accepted as journalism today…
Dean Jimmy Gentry was my last hope. When he left for Kansas that was it for me
Minutiae ...Walter Van Tilburg Clark (Santini was named for him) lived in a couple of houses in Virginia City (where P also resides).
I first met Clark at a Toastmasters meeting. 
After he spoke the rest of us just crawled under the tables and tried to hide because he was beyond superb!
Sent from my iPhone

On Sep 7, 2017, at 11:23 AM, Andrew Barbano <> wrote:
I told the story of the first time I met Clark to a woman who asked if I had known him. It was at Jake Highton's memorial last Saturday. She was one of Jake's step-daughters.

FROM Correspondent P:
Subject: Re: Clark Santini
> I don't know what made me think of Clark today· But I looked for your tribute to him. It is as warm and inspiring today as it was 20 years ago
> Thank you

> Sent from my iPhone

Union busters in town to disrupt bus system
Workers reject deficient contract offer, strike authorized
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno / Special Online Edition 7-13-2017 / Updated 7-14, 7-15, 7-16, 7-20 and 7-21-2017 GMT
An edited version of this commentary appeared in the 7-20-2017 Reno News & Review

Testing biases police department personnel search
By Patricia Gallimore and Andrew Barbano / 7-14-2016 / Reno Gazette-Journal 7-17-2016

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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.

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Be well. Raise hell.


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Local police departments suffer from a longstanding lack of personnel diversity.

A major reason lies with the psychographic portion of applicant aptitude tests.

A sample of Reno's exam appears on the city's website. Its "biodata" portion is stuck in 1956.

That's when Fortune Magazine Editor William H. Whyte published his landmark bestseller "The Organization Man."

Gregory Peck starred in the classic film "The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit" the same year. Both titles treat institutional momentum toward conformity and thus sterility.

City University of New York Distinguished Professor Whyte (1917-1999) exposed the "go along to get along" momentum which dominates large organizations. (See the "Dilbert" comic strip in this newspaper.)

Still in print, Organization Man remains a staple in business schools worldwide.

Whyte reveals how to cheat on a personality test. Six decades later, an entire industry has grown up around doing just that. Google at will.

There are purportedly no right or wrong answers, but Whyte advised "when asked for word associations or comments about the world, give the most conventional, run-of-the-mill answer possible."

Reno's test instructions advise "The credit that is assigned to each answer choice is based on how successful employees describe themselves when honestly
responding to these questions." Translation: fit in.

Whyte added "When in doubt about the most beneficial answer to any question, repeat to yourself: 'I loved my father and my mother, but my father just a little bit more. I like things pretty much the way they are. I never worry much about anything. I don't care for books or music much. I love my wife and children. I don't let them get in the way of company work."

Actual questions asked by personnel managers have included "who was the disciplinarian in your family?" Woebetide the applicant who says mother, which may well bias the system against some minority applicants.

Reno asks "What do you feel has been your major accomplishment outside of work? A. Family activities. B. Development of self. C. Community activities. D. Development of social activities. E. Something else."

Evaluators look for patterns among responses to 54 such questions.

"Dr. M.L. Dantzker, former Fort Worth, Texas, police officer, criminal justice professor and mental health specialist, wrote his doctoral dissertation on the role psychologists play in the pre-hiring screenings of police recruits," writer Candice Bernd reported last year.

Dantzker noted that "normative data for police officers under-represents women and minorities...and it fails to didn't do anything for truly recognizing whether a person had the proper traits or not to be a police officer."

The Sparks Police Department currently numbers three African-Americans among a force of more than 100. Reno has an even lower percentage, five among about 320.

Minorities may not apply for many reasons, but testing geared toward organizational sameness only serves to widen what author Jelani Cobb last week called a trench which has become a canyon, where the public feels jeopardized by police who in turn feel endangered by a heavily-armed populace.

In 1970, former Nevada Attorney General and future Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Springer advocated hiring "better police" to help heal the wounds of the 1960s. Unbiased testing opens doors for a better police force.

The Reno-Sparks NAACP will entertain any and all constructive solutions at our open forum at 7:00 p.m. Thursday, July 14, at Northern Nevada Hopes, 580 W. 5th Street in Reno.

America's communities are being tested.

Patricia Gallimore is president of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. First Vice-President Andrew Barbano is editor of

Don't diminish value of technical education
SAFETY WARNING: Sparks City Council votes Dec. 14 to allow unlicensed plumbers & electricians
Guest editorial from Stan Jones and Andrew Barbano
Reno Gazette-Journal online 12-10-2015 / Print edition 12-14-2015

The Sparks City Council will vote this Monday, Dec. 14, to remove all licensing requirements for plumbers and electricians. This is not the signal Nevada needs to send as we continue to diversify our economy.

The construction industry has yet to fully recover from the Great Recession. Many experienced workers left the trades and will not return.

Congress just passed and the president just signed a $305 billion infrastructure bill which will increase the demand for skilled trade labor.

Sparks City Hall is poised to send a very negative message to much-needed young people considering technical education.

Part of the city's rationale, included in the original agenda description of this item, is that the city has failed to enforce licensing requirements for the past 23 years and they are thus no longer needed.

However, the city's own website states that "faulty installations can cause fires, flood damage and other hazards, and also force you to make costly repairs before you can sell your house."

Nevada taxpayers have made and continue to make substantial investments in technical education.

Are we to tell students at the Academy for Career Education (ACE) charter high school or Truckee Meadows Community College that their hard-earned training has been devalued? I would not want to be the Sparks official who breaks the news that just about anyone can perform plumbing and electrical services in the Rail City.

Under current city code, which should remain in place, plumbers and electricians must provide evidence of their qualifications to practice their trades and must annually renew. This protects the public interest.

If the council passes this item, Uber drivers and car salesmen will be subject to more oversight than plumbers or electricians.

Almost every day, someone in a high position extols the need for an educated workforce in the expanding Nevada economy.

Diminishing the value of workforce education contradicts those lofty goals.

As the former state commissioner of labor, I have seen the damage that can be done by unqualified, unlicensed construction workers.

Please contact the Sparks mayor and councilmembers and ask them to vote down item 10.2 on the Dec. 14 agenda. Their phone number is (775) 353-2311 or click on "city leaders" at CityOfSparks.US.

Please call or write and attend Monday's meeting if you can. It begins at 2:00 p.m. at city hall on Prater Way and Fourth Street directly across from the Sparks Post Office.

It's your community and these are your leaders. Hold them accountable.

The value of work should be upgraded, not diminished.
Stan Jones served 12 years as state Labor Commissioner under Republican and Democratic Nevada governors.
Andrew Barbano is editor of



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"Media is the plural of mediocre."
— Jimmy Breslin (1928-2017)

  I encourage you to donate to the cause at Barbwire.TV/ The medium that shapes public opinion needs at least one refuge where it is not filtered through the distorted green eye shades of prissy corporate accountants for whom profit is the only priority; where self-censorship is the journalist's normal work environment and where all sins of omission are tacitly encouraged and forgiven with the wave of a balance sheet. This is important. We've got a lot of work to do.

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Be well. Raise hell. / Esté bien. Haga infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)

Andrew Barbano is a 48-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 and BallotBoxing.US and and 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 Sparks Tribune since 1988.

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Copyright © 1982-2017, 2018 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 48-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 moved to Nevada's Daily Sparks Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988, and has originated in them parts ever since.
Whom to blame: How a hall-of-famer's hunch birthed the Barbwire in August of 1987
Tempus fugit.

Betty J. Barbano
2-7-1941 / 12-27-2005

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