Great Depression2 is now a lock, so let’s go get our money back.
In 2006, former Washoe County commissioners put a stop to the acquisition of the Ballardini Ranch via eminent domain. The Minnesota-based speculators would have gotten a fair market profit. Taxpayers would have preserved the last large swath of open space in the Truckee Meadows, 1,019 acres.
Alas and alack, only Commissioner and former Reno Mayor Pete Sferrazza supported the county’s in-progress legal action when the new panel was seated. The four Republicans on the body chickened out and gave the developers $15 million for hurt feelings – plus big bucks to two top-gun killer lawyers who scared the commission listless.
As I reported last week, new signs from the Minnesota boys now stand on southwest McCarran offering the acreage for development.
They’ve apparently been unsuccessful or they would not have resorted to roadside attractions.
The Tesla boom is over (Barbwire 7-4-2018). I recently spent two days on Teslacide with world class reporter Rory Carroll from the London Guardian (ONE BILLION page views per month). See Barbwire.US/
Unfortunately, my economic predictions usually prove prescient. I called the Great Recession of 2007-08 more than two years up front. (Barbwire 5-29-2005 et seq.) I warned of the 2016 Republican taking of the White House as far back as 1992. See “the 2016 election may bring the Year of the Living Dead.” (Barbwire 11-29-2012)
I’m no seer. I just read a lot.
Last Dec. 27, I said we’d go into recession in the third quarter of 2018. The stock market is legendarily six months ahead of the general economy. Wall Street crashed a couple of weeks later. The other major industrial economies of the world are already sliding into negative territory. Czar Trumpsky’s tax cut proved just a Q2 blip. Most of the biggies used the money for stock buybacks or executive bonuses. Now, Trump’s tariffs or fear thereof are stifling whatever capital investment potential remained.
Trump has put everything in place for instant replay of 1929-32. Tariffs were the last piece. He probably thinks Smoot-Hawley is an expensive cigar or scotch. Worse, The New York Times this week reported that big banks have done $600 TRILLION of derivative security speculation, ten times more than caused the 2008 debacle. How much is that? The value of the entire world economy was about $78.28 trillion in 2014, according to the CIA’s World Factbook. The US economy generates about $12 trillion annually.
Derivatives are a big slot machine, bets made on bets made on bets. No wonder Al Capone legendarily avoided Wall Street, stating that he knew a racket when he saw one.
Due to passing out corporate welfare like hotcakes on a cold morning, Reno is in no financial condition to fund fire trucks, let alone parkland. The county’s in good financial condition. Time to explore options.
In 2005, the county had taken the first steps toward eminent domain acquisition of the Ballardini family estate. Alas and alack, a week or two before the new county commission was seated in early 2006, Sen. Harry Reid got Steve Walther appointed to the Federal Election Commission. Steve immediately moved to DC.
Without our alpha-dog top-gun lawyer, the carpetbaggers intimidated the bureaucrats.
The developers hired top gun lawyer Frank Thompson who filed some vicious briefs. He did a helluva media job, too, asserting that he could bankrupt the county by alleging damages of projected developer losses. (How’s that working out so far?) They also hired Michael Chapman, the best eminent domain lawyer in town to back Thompson up.
Came the day of the commission vote to proceed with the acquisition, Sferrazza, the only Democrat on the body, stood for the people. He said he could vote for the settlement only if the public got something out of it. In this case, taxpayers would be out attorney fees and $15 million so that Mr. Thompson and his clients would drop legal action.
One commissioner who had stood with us betrayed his word, saying the only reason he had made a 3-2 majority in 2005 was that the county was already committed. The giveaway passed 4-1 with Sferrazza opposed. Norm Dianda’s Q&D Construction already had bulldozers and earthmovers on the ridgeline above where the signs stand today.
The gods of recession intervened as I predicted then and have again.
You may access the entire sordid saga of Love’s Labours Lost via ProtectOurWashoe.org/
The Great Recession killed the first attempt to bulldoze the bears and bunnies. Great Depression2 (Barbwire 12-27-2017 et seq.) will provide instant replay.
Washoe County taxpayers already anted up $15 million plus attorney fees for the land without obtaining title. Karma dictates that justice be done.
Sometimes, depression defeats depredation.
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>