THUMBS DOWN to Andy Wirth, chairman of the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority Board, for his disdain of free speech.
Wirth criticized two fellow board members for speaking to the press about a bonus and pay hike for the airport’s CEO prior to the board’s meeting on the issue, saying he was “deeply saddened and disappointed” by their conduct.
“I would strongly recommend that no discussion—ON or OFF the record—be taken on relative to any/all calls from reporters by individual board members,” he wrote in an email to board members. “It is neither appropriate nor is it in keeping with our principles for any board member to speak on this matter prior to the board meeting.”
No appropriate? Seriously?
Not in keeping with the board’s principles? What principles are those? Keeping the public in the dark until the official meeting? Muzzling free speech? Giving the silent treatment to journalists?
We are “deeply saddened and disappointed” by Mr. Wirth’s silly and outrageous comments.
Thankfully, Adam Mayberry, the city of Sparks’ representative on the airport board who spoke to a reporter prior to the meeting, didn’t see a problem and put the matter in its rightful context.
He said if “I’m called upon for comment on how I feel about issues pertaining to board governance, it’s my fundamental duty to address that.” Exactly. Mayberry knows a thing or two about the importance of free speech and open government through his role as the city of Sparks’ spokesman and community relations manager.
THUMBS UP to members of Donald Duckett’s family for their perseverance and for making sure Duckett’s death in a traffic accident in Sparks wasn’t ignored. Their story was reported by the Sparks Tribune last month.
Duckett, 77, died in September after he was struck by a car while riding his motorized wheelchair in a crosswalk on Prater Way. His daughter and other family members wondered why the accident wasn’t reported in the media. They also understandably wanted details about the accident from Sparks police.
They made repeated calls to police but didn’t get any answers. They didn’t give up, however, and hired a lawyer, who got a copy of the police accident report. They learned the driver paid a $175 fine for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.
They also participated in a demonstration later to draw attention to Duckett’s death and crosswalk safety.
It would have been easy for them to give up when getting the silent treatment. But they just wouldn’t because they said Duckett’s life mattered.