April fools, Yellowpages, yellowstripes & coneheads


Expanded from the 3-28-99 Daily Sparks, Nev., Tribune

Just in time for April Fools Day, the Handi-Wrap Duncecap Awards for transparently foolish actions:

MA BELL gets a special pointy hat made of Yellow Pages for failing to inform average ratepayers that the 1999 phone book won't be published until almost 2000. Rather than the normal July, this year's won't arrive till the first week of November. Why? Advertising money.

"We have restructured our Yellow Pages sales staff," said a Nevada Bell rep.

JOANNE BOND gets a special waterproof conehead. The Washoe County commissioner already had voters fuming over her support of imposing the Union Pacific railtrench taxes without ballot approval. Now, some of her north valley constituents are seriously discussing a recall petition after last week's vote to hand over to speculators water rights acquired as part of the Honey Lake Valley fiasco.

SPARKS MAYOR BRUCE BRESLOW deserves a personal wetlook duncecap to hold fishing licenses while he conducts marketing research at the Sparks Marina Gasoline Sump.

SEN. MAURICE WASHINGTON, R-Sparks, wins the last roundup cowboy hat for his bill to allow tourists to carry concealed weapons into the legislature and other public buildings like casinos. No drunk gambler would ever shoot up the place where he just lost the ranch, would he?

Guns have a rich history in gambling halls. Old mobsters visiting Las Vegas to check on their investments will feel right at home.

"We are in the wild, wild west," said Sen. Washington, a minister by profession. He didn't say if he'd allow guns in church while he preaches or in the charter schools he supports. Teachers should certainly be allowed to pack heat to match the firepower of their pupils.

Praise the Lord, pass the ammunition and double down on the hospitalization and boot hill insurance.

LEE DAZEY, head of Citizen Alert, scores the Who's On First? trophy for a glowing factual error in a letter published in the Daily Sparks Tribune last Thursday.

She wrote a hard-hitting response to my March 7 column about transmutation, the best solution yet proposed to keep nuclear waste out of Nevada.

"Transmutation would require a reversal of the decades-old U.S. policy against reprocessing which would increase the amount of accessible material in the world that could be used to make bombs," Ms. Dazey wrote.

Wrong. Reprocessing leaves you with more material than you started with, but transmutation drastically reduces it. The nation's 70,000 tons of nuke power plant waste can be shrunk to about 230 pounds, as the column noted.

BOB FULKERSON, Dazey's predecessor at Citizen Alert, now heads the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada and gets the Critical Mass Confusion Cup.

"I agree with you most all the time," he wrote last week, "but I take umbrage with your diatribe against those who voted for SB255. The tracks gotta be lowered. We got the best of a bad situation. It's time to move on."

I called and e-mailed asking for confirmation that the message indeed came from my old friend Bob. Progressive Leadership Alliance support for regressive (soak the little guy) taxes is a contradiction in both terms and principles. I'm hoping it was an April Fools' gag. Speaking of gagging...

WORLD CLASS GOLDEN SCREWBALL DUNCECAPS go to the members of the Washoe legislative delegation Fulkerson defended: Sen. Bernice Mathews, D-Reno, and GOP Sens. Lawrence Jacobsen, Bill Raggio, Randolph Townsend and Washington; Assemblymembers Bernie Anderson, D-Sparks, Greg Brower R-Reno/Incline, Vivian Freeman, D-Reno, and Sheila Leslie, D-Reno, Mr. Fulkerson's ex-spouse.

All voted for Senate Bill 255 which retroactively ratifies whatever city and county officials did to raise taxes without a public vote last year. Its very existence provides all necessary evidence that the Reno rail trench levies were imposed illegally, as the Nevada Supreme Court may yet find.

FIVE GOLD STARS to Assemblymembers Sharron Angle, R-Reno/Verdi/north valleys; Jan Evans, D-Sparks/Reno; Dawn Gibbons, R-Reno; Don Gustavson, R-north valleys; and David Humke, R-Reno. They withstood Senate Majority Leader Raggio's screams and threats to kill all their bills and voted against imposing taxes on which their constituents were allowed no say despite the 1997 law.

The new sales tax goes into effect this Thursday, April 1. Ironically, that's when the senate hears SB477, casino mogul Steve Wynn's attempt to do to Clark County residents what Raggio and his cronies just did to Washoe.

Wynn wants permission to charge students $12 a head to tour his $300 million art gallery while retaining the art collection tax break he pushed through the 1997 legislature. The loophole, stopped so far by Sen. Joe Neal, D-North Las Vegas, gives Wynn $18 million per year in corporate welfare, much of it from the same students who would have to pay.

DIRTY JOKE. Blue noses turned to red faces during a Nevada legislative committee hearing wallpapered with examples of (gasp) porno solicitation flyers and newspapers from Las Vegas. They were making good progress coming up with censoring solutions when in walked a group of children on a legislative tour. For that sterling example of cautious leadership, the entire Nevada Legislature gets the solid brass Cure Worse Than the Disease Award.

THE JOKE'S ON ME. I've labored and battled side-by-side with many of the above. Has the world passed me by? Are the majority of Democrats and Republicans now in favor of corporate welfare and tax breaks for the rich? Am I an anachronism for objecting?

Maybe I should just sell out and offer myself to the highest bidder. Learn to stop worrying and love the corporation. Maybe I'll try it for 24 hours, starting at 12:01 a.m. April 1.

Be well. Raise hell.


Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a member of CWA Local 9413. He is a 30-year Nevadan, editor of U-News and head of Casinos Out of Politics (COP). In 1998 he served as gubernatorial campaign manager for State Senator Joe Neal, D-North Las Vegas.
Since 1988 Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks, Nev., Tribune, where an earlier version of this column appeared on 3/28/99.

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