Nominations open for the Great Dissenters Hall of Fame


from the 6-27-99 Daily Sparks, Nev., Tribune

Agitate, agitate, agitate

--Frederick Douglass

They refuse to go away. They are often irritating, sometimes obnoxious and always louder than civilized people should be.

I proudly stand with them. They are the activists, the outsiders, gadflies applying society's pliers to the noses of the rich, famous and powerful.

Dissenters always pay a price for their compulsion to crusade. We remain always in their debt.

Herewith is an all-too-brief list of loners, steppenwolves of the body politic protecting the canaries in the coal mine.

I disagree vehemently with some, but love them all. They are my kindred spirits, my fellow travelers, driven to get mad as hell and not take it anymore. I have not included preachers, politicos and others with community concern in their job descriptions. That eliminates a lot of good people, but the following is reserved for amateurs in the original sense, people involved for love of the cause.

From great dissents are born great majorities, so here are my nominees (please send me yours) to the Barbwire Dissenters Hall of Fame.

EDDIE ANDERSON, former Reno bartender and my erstwhile talk radio colleague, at last report working in northern California but still based in Reno. Often honored for his community service, Eddie has long fought for the rights of every minority.

PRO-LIFE ANDY ANDERSON (his legal name), now retired in North Carolina. In 1990, an enraged Andy barged into Eddie's radio control room and slugged Eddie right on the air. Neither man held a grudge and they parted friends. Andy ticked off other local activists by always showing up at their demonstrations with his ghastly anti-abortion signs. Many remember his car and its similar decor.

One day, I was meeting with a radio listener who had gone bust on his first visit to Reno and needed help to get out of town.

Andy overheard us talking. Without saying a word, he reached into his pocket and handed the man some folding money.

RICHARD "SKIP" DALY, lifelong Sparks resident and workers' rights advocate. "Mayor" Daly has become a regular at Sparks City Council meetings as a voice of workers, unionized or not. Daly is a throwback to the days when Sparks was a union town and the rights of employees were always taken into consideration by public bodies. Those days are gone, but may come again thanks to the likes of Skip Daly.

MARY AND CARRIE DANN, Western Shoshones and rural Nevada ranchers who have fought the federal government all their lives for the rights of their tribe.

JACKIE DECKER, one of the dwindling number of Rewana Farms diehards opposing Airport Authority land grabs.

SAM DEHNE, Reno government's worst nightmare. The retired jet pilot an publisher of the Reno Citizen has caused the Airport Authority and Reno City Council to adopt three-minute rules in continuing attempts to shut him up. Our unconstitutional ethics commission recently fined Sam $5,000 for filing allegedly spurious charges against Reno Mayor Jeff Griffin . It will be up to Sam and his fellow member of the $5,000 Club, Assemblyman Bob Beers, R-Las Vegas, to slay in court Nevada's governmental censor of political speech. (Oldtimers will remember a young Robert T. Beers from his days as news director of the venerable rock station, KCBN, 25 years ago.)

DAVID FARSIDE has gone from being dissed as a dissenter to admiration for his thoughtful research, especially on room tax issues. He succeeded in getting a portion of room taxes for local use after 30 years of gambling industry diversion.

PATRICIA FLADAGER, former executive director of Elderport (now Citilift) and former chair of Common Cause Nevada. The Silver State's version of Mother Jones is still raising hell today.

THE HANSEN FAMILY of Sparks, sometimes brilliant, often nutso, occasionally outright bigoted and hateful. But great dissenters, too.

ORLAND T. OUTLAND, U.S. Army-Ret., twice chair of Common Cause Nevada. OTO acted as a lonely advocate for public utility consumers long before anyone else got into the game. He is now active in senior citizens affairs and writes a column for this newspaper.

WILLIAM PUCHERT, the young editor of Nevada Alternet, at the vanguard of the next generation of activists, web-hip and wired.

HERBERT M. SCHALL, PhD. The ultimate whistleblower who has been a watchdog for Nevada's mentally disabled for three decades.

GUY ZEWADSKI, self-taught lawyer. On June 21, the Nevada Supreme Court asked for the complete record of his case against Reno Mayor Jeff Griffin. Zewadski alleges that Griffin was illegally re-elected last November because the Reno City Charter states no official may stand for re-election if his pay has been raised during his term.

THE FIRE NEXT TIME. When 1,000 people show up to protest the high-handedness of local government, a revolution's brewing. Aggrieved residents expressed righteous rage but were ignored by that unelected government imposingly called the Airport Authority of Washoe County. This has the makings of another Plumas Street recall, only exponentially more intense.

Unelected governments like the airport and convention authorities are controlled by the gambling-industrial complex to divert public money for private gain.

The poor citizens who showed up last week found out that they had no elected officials to whom they could complain.

That must change. The convention and airport authorities control millions in public moneys and hundreds of millions in public assets. All thereon should be elected officials.

Otherwise, the corporate welfare continues unchallenged. You will find extensive research on these issues at Now, get involved.

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 6/27/99.

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