Gov. Guinn's first attack:
babies and sick kids
Let's get this upfront:
the following is both a professional and personal attack on the
new governor of Nevada. I not only challenge his conduct, I also
question what he, himself, has become.
I've been telling people since the election that
to predict Kenny Guinn's administration, simply look at his past.
He will attack the weak in order to preserve the perks of the
During George Bush's 1991 Gulf War recession,
the state's cash flow went to hell. Dixiecrat Gov. Bob Miller
put his old buddy Kenny in charge of cutting the budget.
Guinn balanced the books on the backs of the physically
and mentally disabled. Injured workers ended up damaged for life
because the system established to fix them had mutated into another
way to maim them. Now, the mutant master sits in the governor's
Guinn and Miller closed mental health clinics
statewide, eliminating what had been Gov. Mike O'Callaghan's
crowning achievement in the 1970s.
Kenny Guinn's first full-color, warm and fuzzy
campaign brochure was mailed to every Nevada household in 1997.
"When a person runs for governor of Nevada,
you should know who he is," the booklet states in huge letters.
"The issues facing Nevada today are clear,"
the flyer asserts. "Education, taxation, growth, public
safety, health care and senior assistance...Kenny Guinn... knows
that the key to understanding them lies not in government telling
us what we need, but in government listening to what we have
I want to know who said to hurt kids. Less than
24 hours after Guinn was sworn in, his chief hatchetman announced
that babies and poor children will take the first major hits.
(As of this writing, the Reno Gazette-Journal stands alone in
failing to publish the story.)
Guinn has marked for execution a program to teach
parenting skills to those with newborns. He will also terminate
low-cost health insurance for children of the working poor.
I told you so, long ago. Look over the 1996-97
Barbwire series on the financial mismanagement of the university
system, something Guinn bizarrely converted into a qualification
Awhile back, I heard Mr. Guinn address a labor
convention and tell of his humble beginnings as the child of
poor California fruit pickers. (See
the Barbwire of 9-21-97)
He sold that story better than Bill Clinton sold
Guinn might have been able to bullshit the voters,
but he can't bullshit me. I am also the son of central California
fruit pickers who likewise sent their offspring to Fresno State.
I retch when I witness one of us sprinkle the dust and sweat
of the sweet fruit orchards onto the bitter pills of phony and
The most toxically obnoxious of the nouveau riche
relate stories of their commoner roots as a ploy to sell placebos
to their lessers.
Beware when you hear "I'm really just like
you, so you know you can trust me."
We want to believe their sincerity, projecting
onto them our own hopes that we would help the helpless had we
succeeded to such an exalted position.
Alas and alack, anointed ones often show that
the deep scars of childhood do not necessarily produce the milk
of human kindness.
Heaven forbid that we raise the lowest gaming
taxes in the nation just because many casino workers don't make
enough to feed their families.
Not to worry. Guinn's patroons and their puppet
poltroons will permit no such sacrilege.
In Kenny Guinn, I recognize how blind ambition
has burned out any memory of whence he came. Like so many Fresno
farmer boy phonies I have known and loathed, he mouths empty
tales of life among the lowly, but really doesn't know who they
You now know who Kenny Guinn is. I remain revolted
at what he has become.
The least that the morally obtuse gentleman can
do is stop twisting his roots into a hangman's noose for the
likes of those who raised him up.
Let the farm rest in peace, governor. You left
its dust in your tracks long ago.
GOOD SISTER MCCARRAN. Back in Fresno, I
learned early that there were only two kinds of nuns. Type A
carried such a commanding presence that they could convey a message
with a nod: "I know lots of things, young man. You are going
to learn many of them from me, and that's that." That was
Sister Mary Margaret Martha Patricia McCarran, 1904-1998.
She sometimes showed flashes of Type B, those
nuns who could teach you as much as Type A, but whose main tool
was laughter rather than that mysterious, elegantly humble awesomeness.
Immaculate Conception Church on Pyramid Way in
Sparks proved an awesome place last Thursday morning. Every pew
was populated for a nevermore gathering of Catholic clergy, real
Irish priests, family and friends, trade unionists, retro politicos,
flaming liberals, moonhowling conservatives, the Sparks Addams
Family and even the local vestiges of the John Birch Society.
The diminutive daughter of the legendary U.S.
Sen. Patrick McCarran spanned Nevada's 20th century. From the
day we met at a Truckee River Defense Committee meeting in the
early 1970s, I just plain liked her. She warmly reminded me of
the good side of the old Fresno I knew so very long ago.
Godspeed sister. I'm proud to have known you.
Be well. Raise hell.
Barbano is a member of CWA Local 9413. He is a Reno-based
syndicated columnist, a 30-year Nevadan, editor of U-News
and was campaign manager for Democratic
candidate for Governor, State Senator Joe Neal.
Barbwire by Barbano has appeared in the
Sparks Tribune since 1988 and parts of this column were originally