1998: Year of the Pig


It's morning in America. Prepare a pig's breakfast for the unholy Year of Our Lord 1998 wherein greed will once again serve as holy grail in the land of the big buffet. Would it not be ironic:

  • If Boomtown decided to build its new casino complex in Sacramento.

  • If the Reno Gazette-Journal bought the Daily Sparks Tribune.

  • If they use the existence of the Reno News & Review against accusations of monopoly.

  • If they then continue their campaign to put this paper out of business, thus eliminating all competition.

  • If lack of political competition sinks Kenny "The Bankroll" Guinn's campaign for governor. (The adonis from Vegas has so far been willing to give only name, rank and serial number as qualifications. With $2.4 million in the bank, need he say more?)

  • If African-American State Sen. Joe Neal (D-North Las Vegas) takes advantage of Guinn's run-out-the-clock complacency to engineer Nevada's biggest upset since an unknown named Mike O'Callaghan beat another gubernatorial shoo-in 28 years ago.

  • If Reno Gazette-Journal columnist Rollan Melton became an election-year Jean Dixon. Last week, Melton opined that another Joe, Assembly Speaker Joe Dini (D-Yerington), could win the governorship by campaigning to increase Nevada's lowest-in-the-nation gambling tax. As Dini owns a casino and would lose his lock on the speaker's gavel, his candidacy looks unlikely. Neal proposed an increase in the gambling tax during last year's legislative session and has already endorsed a similar petition by angry Las Vegas senior citizens.

  • If all of this moves None of the Above from wishful joke to hardcore reality. For 22 years, Nevada has placed "None" on the ballot in statewide races. As I've proposed since 1982 when I chaired the None of the Above for Governor Political Action Committee (NAGPAC), should "None" beat all comers, the office in question should be filled by random drawing among all residents of the affected district. If no challenger emerges to Kenny Megabucks, NAGPAC will reorganize to change the law. [Editor's note: Sen. Neal declared his candidacy after this column went to press.]

  • If the new year brings announcement of a revolutionary virtual reality motion picture system so cheap that any home can afford one and so realistic that people will never want to go to a movie theater again. (Listen for the splattering sound as Mayors Griffin and Breslow hit the pavement after a joint leap from the roof of the Mapes Hotel.)

  • If the aforementioned casino-created Gov. Guinn should somehow get religion right after the election and decide that it's time for the people who cause the problems to pay a fair share toward solving them via reasonable increases in gambling and mining taxes. (Nevada is the cheapest place in the world to mine gold, whether from a mining pit or casino pit.)

  • Handsome Kenny is well-fixed for life but loves to tell of his humble roots in a family of California farm workers. Should he try to make it more than just another teary-eyed campaign tale, that would count as the height of irony for 1998.

    Be well. Raise hell.


    © Andrew Barbano

    Andrew Barbano is a member of CWA Local 9413. He is a Reno-based syndicated columnist, a 29-year Nevadan, and editor of U-News. Send an E-mail.
    Barbwire by Barbano has appeared in the Sparks Tribune since 1988. This column was originally published in the Reno News & Review 1/7/98.

    Reprints of the UNR financial scandal newsbreaks remain available for the cost of copying at
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