Use Haitian Voodoo to save us from Wynn on Thursday
From the 4-25-99 Sunday Daily Sparks, Nev. Tribune
Gomorrah South casino
billionaire Steve Wynn gets his hands in your pants this Thursday. You still
have a little time to catch him on the fly.
For anyone new to these
parts, Wynn wants lawmakers to liberalize the snooty art collectors tax loophole
he scored for himself two years ago.
Bill 521 will force school children to subsidize Wynn's $300 million
Bellagio casino collection. The tax break passed in 1997 lets Wynn keep millions
which would otherwise go to schools if he merely allows limited free student
Wynn has insisted on charging
everyone, telling reporters last year that he did not want to "cheapen the
experience" by admitting anybody gratis.
"It won't bust anyone if
I make it ten bucks," Wynn told the Reno Gazette-Journal last October. He
has since upped the ante to $12. Wynn personally earned $3.75 million in
salary and bonuses in 1998.
"People want to be near
it. If I have fine art, I'll be flattering the people," he told the Reno
These are the ethics of
Baby Doc Duvalier, the brutal former Haitian dictator who nationally televised
a lavish presidential palace banquet. He was sure that his starving people
loved him so much that they would find relief just by viewing him pigging
out on food they could only dream of.
I guess he was flattering
them. They immediately rioted and overthrew the government. Baby Doc barely
escaped with his life.
He should have let them
Last November, Mr. Wynn
sued the Nevada Tax Commission which had refused to let him have his cake
and eat it, too. SB 521 will allow him to do just that.
The Nevada Assembly Committee
on Taxation will hear the Wynn bill in Carson City this Thursday, April 29,
at 1:30 p.m. in hearing room 3142. Show up or contact your representative.
From Reno: Greg Brower (R),
Vivian Freeman (D), Dawn Gibbons (R). Sparks: Bernie Anderson (D). So. Nevada:
Committee Chair David Goldwater, Morse Arberry, John Lee, Mark Manendo, Harry
Mortenson, Bob Price, all Democrats; Sandra Tiffany, (R).
From rural Nevada: Committee
Vice-Chair Roy Neighbors, D-Tonopah; John Marvel, R-Battle Mountain.
Assembly e-mail addresses
consist of a lawmaker's first-name initial and full last name followed by
@asm.state.nv.us. Here's an example for Bob Price: email@example.com
To leave a phone message,
call (775) 687-4848 in northwestern Nevada, (702) 384-2225 in Las Vegas,
or (800) 978-2878 toll-free. You can fax any assemblymember at (775) 684-8888
and any senator at (775) 687-5898. Include the bill number, SB 521, on
Many lawmakers still give
greater weight to paper. Write them at Legislative Building, Capitol Complex,
Carson City NV 89701-4747.
DON'T SAY LIE, JUST SAY
CLARIFY. Steve Wynn's lobbyists have long repeated the shuck that SB 521
changes nothing and merely clarifies legislative intent. As I noted last
week, there are so many extra loopholes in the bill that it now represents
a major step toward making Nevada casinos tax-free.
A more egregious bit of
corporate propaganda has even been repeated by some lawmakers defending
themselves by saying Nevada would have never become host to Wynn's collection
without the tax break.
Bull. Wynn began collecting
the pieces well before his last-minute legislative push to grant himself
a loophole. He got the tax break because most lawmakers fear his in-house
campaign machine, his money and his ego.
IF YOU CAN'T FIGHT CITY
HALL, BURY IT. "The idea of a new city hall, as suggested by our visionary
mayor, could be an excellent idea for downtown Reno," writes local resident
"Because of extensive research
and planning for the proposed (railroad) trench, I suggest that the new city
hall be incorporated into an underground campus built into the trench facility.
There will be plenty of public money available for the project thanks to
(county commission and legislative votes) that ensured we Washoe County taxpayers
be required to pay additional taxes," Mrs. Puchert noted.
FROM THE OZONE COMES THE
NO-ZONE. My old friend David Rigdon, one of the newest Reno councilmembers,
last week proposed the removal of all zoning restrictions on an area across
the street from Reno City Hall.
"Zoning has failed here,
so let's do something radical...we can't do any worse," he told the Reno
"The only example I can
give you is Houston, where they don't have any zoning," he added.
Houston makes Las Vegas
look organized. Longtime Mayor Kathy Whitmire was ousted a few years ago
because citizens wanted to end the "anything goes" approach.
Just be patient. I guarantee
as soon as city hall is moved underground, the neighborhood will undergo
DAVE RIGDON, CALL YOUR OFFICE.
Northwest Reno Assemblywoman Vivian Freeman needs a show of public support
to get her regional planning bill,
heard in the senate.
Sen. Ann O'Connell, R-Las
Vegas, chairs the government affairs committee. The only northerner thereon
is Vice-Chair Bill Raggio, R-Reno. The bill makes changes to the regional
governing body Raggio established several years ago.
Mrs. Freeman doesn't think
proper attention has been given to neighborhoods inside the McCarran loop.
She's right. Witness Mr. Rigdon's proposal.
Please contact Sens.
O'Connell (775-687-5702) and
Raggio (775-687-3557) and ask
that Mrs. Freeman's bill be given due consideration.
Tell them zoning's an art.
Read more about it:
The history of the Steve Wynn
"Show Me the Monet" art loophole
For the latest:
Sen. Joe Neal's Legislative
Be well. Raise hell.
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
Since 1988 Barbwire by
Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks, Nev., Tribune, where an earlier
version of this column appeared on 4/25/99.