“Every rose has its thorn, Just like every night has its dawn, Just like every cowboy, sings his sad, sad song, Every rose has its thorn” – Salvey and Walden, Poison
GOODNIGHT, SWEET PRINCE. Nevada retro rock band Angry Inch Mob hosted an all-day jam last Saturday at the Sparks Lounge in honor of their lost lead guitarist, Mark Anderson. The longtime Sparks resident died of cancer at Renown Medical Center on April 25. The graduate of White Pine High was 61.
In the daytime, my friend Mark was a driver/salesman for Sparks-based Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits. By night, he played rock ‘n’ roll all over Nevada.
By both day and night, he was a proud member of Teamsters Union Local 533.
The band showed up Saturday in the musical equivalent of the Air Force missing man formation. It’s hard to rock out when your main man has checked into the Hotel California. But they persevered for their friend. Lead vocalist Eric Eklund of Elko didn’t want to sing Mark’s favorite song but nonetheless held it together, fighting back tears. (Isn’t rock ‘n’ roll still illegal in Elko?)
As Hunter S. Thompson used to say, when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. Eklund delivered a stirring rendition of “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.” Dry eyes were hard to find at the saloon.
Band members Shane Cantrell, Mike Rielly and Dave Patterson rocked hard all day. Local musicians Phil Prunier and Bobby Taco paid their respects the right way, with their music. Mark’s sister, Elise Weatherly, sang several solo numbers between sets. Tara Eklund shot video. Mark’s mom, Beth Jacobs, was pleased.
Few can live a life better than bringing people beer and music. Nothing else need be said.
YOU KNOW YOU’VE BEEN HERE TOO LONG when you can walk into a bar for the first time and run into old friends. Turned out that a couple of my union buds are Sparks Lounge regulars. I bought them a round on Mark.
RENT AND PILLAGE DEPT. Joe Hart at KRNV TV-4 aired a piece last Monday evening about a senior couple who rent a doublewide in a local mobile home park. The box is falling apart but the out-of-state landlord just raised their rent from $700 to a whopping $1700 a month. The older folks have nowhere to go and face homelessness, a frequent fear in Tesla Land.
Mr. Hart concluded that there’s not much that can be done. I disagree despite Nevada’s anti-consumer laws.
Nevada Revised Statutes 118A.290 require that a landlord maintain a “habitable” dwelling.
Instead of paying rent, a tenant may open an escrow account at a financial institution and divert rent into that account until such time as the dwelling is habitable. I was so informed by a notorious but proud self-styled slumlord (State Sen. Cliff McCorkle, R-Reno) back in the 1980s. Hart’s subjects certainly demonstrated habitability issues.
The downside is that some landlords and their minions love to evict whenever a tenant complains. Most can’t afford lawyers and thus live in fear. The lion’s share of Nevada Legal Services’ work involves landlord-tenant disputes.
If the mobile home park owns their rental and many homes therein have similar habitability claims, they can go to their neighbors and organize a rent strike, again paying into an escrow account when the rent is due.
I related that information to a Carson City senior citizen several years ago. She lived with her mentally disabled son in a vermin-infested apartment shot thru with holes in the walls, ironically in sight of the Nevada Legislature. To the points above, I added that I knew the mayor and a member of the Board of Supervisors.
The absentee landlord was represented by an obtuse property manager from Douglas County. The threat of media exposure and busting them with city inspectors got her apartment fixed in no time flat.
Demand for a rent justification ordinance based on actual costs made Barbara Bennett Reno Mayor in 1979. (Barbwire 4-25-2018)
Can municipalities enact such laws without going to our always-inert legislature? That’s why God made lawyers.
I have been informed that the Washoe County Commission recently discussed appointing a rent ombudsman, a good, if mild, start.
In forming a renters’ rights organization, I will launch a website so that renters may organize and share information between themselves. Information is power.
Mayor Bennett’s proposed rent justification ordinance would have triggered when vacancies fell below five percent. Hart’s report noted that we are far below that figure right now — 1978 all over again.
As a realtor friend of mine told me that year, our capitalist system usually works pretty well but not in a speculative boomtown like then and now.
Stay tuned or, better yet, volunteer.
Be well. Raise hell. / Esté bien. Haga infierno.
Andrew Barbano is a 49-year Nevadan and editor of NevadaLabor.com. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988. E-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>