WHAT ELSE IS NEW DEPT. Alas and alack, recent revelations about state facility abuse of the mentally disabled is just instant replay. I started fighting that fight in 1974 and have never stopped. Unfortunately, the greatest champions of Nevada’s mentally afflicted are now all dead.
I don’t know how many times I’ve written that whenever a budget crunch hits, Nevada balances the books on the backs of the physically and mentally disabled. Immediately thereafter, this stingiest of states targets school kids.
Caring for injured workers and the mentally afflicted constituted the two crowning achievements of Democratic Gov. Mike O’Callaghan’s tenure (1971-79). Mike lived to see both trashed by his successors. His rural mental health clinics program never recovered. There’s bi-partisan blame. For example, Democratic Gov. Bob Miller called in future Republican Gov. Kenny Guinn to consult on budget cuts in the early 1990s. Guess what they did?
DOWN IN THE LYON LASSITUDES. The Reno Gazette-Journal just printed an editorial about overt racism at Yerington High School fostered by the town’s establishment. They qualified their vitriol with “no member of the RGJ editorial board believes that Yerington as a whole is a racist town.”
The same can be said about Selma, Alabama, or anywhere else. There are always good people around, but societal sickness infects the righteous as well as the lax, the laconic and the lowlife. I’ve received horror stories about Yerington racism that go back decades. It’s systemic, endemic and execrable.
I broke the story more than a month ahead of the Reno paper which has since produced pretty good journalism. But its vaguely critical editorial did not call for serious action like firings and resignations of racist administrators, teachers, law enforcement or elected officials. Alas and alack, I guess racial abuse and death threats aren’t in vogue like sexism. Nonethless, you may read recent federal filings in the case via the expanded edition of this column at Barbwire.US/ Stay tuned.
LYON COUNTY SMELLS BAD, TOO. As I reported a couple of years ago, residents of Silver Springs continue to protest the overwhleming fumes emanating from a plant that preserves logs for use as power poles. Typical Nevada. Something that would never be allowed in a state that gives a dam about its residents can get approved here. Our politicians will do anything to cut a ribbon and pat themselves on the back for visionary economic development. (Hack. Wheeze.)
MR. WYNNDERFUL WANES. So Gomorrah South casino mogul Steve Wynn rivals his pal Tsar Trumpsky for assuming royal privileges on youthful bodies? Business as usual in these parts. Sparks voters don’t care if city hall wastes big taxpayer bucks settling sexual harassment claims. Perps remain on the payroll.
In case you haven’t heard, the Wynn story was broken by Wall Street Journal LV bureau chief Alexandra Berzon. She won the most prestigious Pulitzer Prize, the public service medal, for the Las Vegas Sun in 2009. She led the team that exposed deadly working conditions on high-rise hotel construction.
Vegas media have learned to stay away from Wynn. Like El Presidente, he has the financial might to sue anyone into bankruptcy if they irritate him. Hometown juries and Nevada judges favor gambling overlords. Wynn even got the Nevada Supreme Court to allow him to pay pit bosses out of dealers’ tips and intimidated legislators into subsidizing his expensive art collection.
TARNISHED PULITZER. The Reno Gazette-Journal won Nevada’s first-ever Pulitzer Prize in 1977 for editorial writing. The sexy series “let’s get whoremaster Joe Conforte out of our community” achieved attention and accolades.
Not long thereafter, RGJ management discovered that one of its Pulitzer-winning editorialists was gay. And fired him. The tawdry post-script was ignored. Until today.
BRIGHT NEWS. Reno-Sparks NAACP matriarch and former president Dolores Feemster is making a miraculous recovery and has been moved for rehab to Advanced Healthcare, 961 Kuenzli (89502), next door to the Reno Gazette-Journal.
The neighborhood just got upgraded. Send cards.
Be well. Raise hell. Esté bien. Haga infierno.
Andrew Barbano is a 49-year Nevadan, editor of NevadaLabor.com and SenJoeNeal.org/ He serves as first vice-president of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his comments are strictly his own. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks Tribune since 1988. E-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>