“The chief justice has made his decision. Now let him enforce it.” — President Andrew Jackson
By Andrew Barbano
Why, Lord, why oh why did the only two presidents named Andrew have to be such freedom-loving racists? President Donaldovitch’s favorite predecessor ignored any executive branch duty he didn’t like. Which goes a long way toward explaining why Trump is so often pictured standing with a portrait of Jackson. And why Harriet Tubman will not replace Jackson on the $20 bill until well after the orange crusher has left office.
No less than Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak just entered a Twilight Zone flipside of Jackson’s scenario. Like Jackson and Trump, he’s the chief executive officer of his government, but freedom-loving law enforcement will not back his authority ordering facemasks in public.
The guv last week threatened “swift and decisive action” against employers in serious non-com- pliance. A Reno Gazette-Journal followup mentioned fines of “up to $135,000 if an employer is found in willful violation.”
So how and by whom? I’ve tried to get the attention of local government to absolutely no avail. I have e- mailed the Sparks and Reno mayors and city councils, Washoe County commissioners and health officers as well as the entirety of local law en- forcement. I’ve left voicemails in lots of places, including the governor’s office, the health district hotline and responsible(?) elected officials. Nada.
I am particularly concerned about my Teamsters Union sisters and brothers who carry upwards of 20,000 passengers a day on the three local transit services. Regional Transportation Commission man- agement has said screw the governor and ordered drivers to allow anyone aboard, masked or not. The main subcontractor, a foreign-owned out- fit named Keolis, could not possibly be giving priority to its annual bonus option if ridership and revenues hit targets, right?
The transit system is a double whammy for all service workers, let alone drivers and support person- nel. Many people who cannot drive or afford autos ride buses to get to jobs, medical appointments or per- haps fetch trifles like groceries.
A major share of service employees are black and brown who, not so coincidentally, generally have the highest rates of Coronavirus infections and deaths. (The health district released data of Washoe infections by zip code but not deaths by zip code. I wonder why.)
The guv hisself faces a double whammy this week: A special session of the legislature may start Wednesday with just about every person and organization in the state looking for relief from budgetary bloodletting. At the same time, he’s got to find a way to stop the surge in infections or in two weeks find that Independence Day was actually In- cubation Day. (I stole that line from PBS UK correspondent Malcolm Brabant.)
The cold, hard fact remains that the local bus system is playing with people’s lives and Kafkaesque gov- ernment apparently could not care less. Neither Reno police nor the county sheriff will enforce Sisolak’s mask mandate. (Ditto Lyon County’s lawmeister.) So how does the good guv bust anybody? Who assesses the big fines?
Doctors across the nation are incarnating Sarah Palin’s fabled death panels, forced to make dreaded deci- sions on who gets care and who’s left to die as hospitals are overwhelmed.
Veteran RGJ columnist Cory Farley presented the most efficient solution I have yet seen. “If you’re spotted unmasked, you’ll be detained” and taken to Renown Medical Center’s yet-unused parking-garage-turned emergency room. Barefacers will be busted “for a twoweek quarantine or until a COVID test, at your expense, shows you’re not infected.”
I would add that the cost of the stay in the most expensive hotel in town should also be the responsibility of baldfaced scofflaws at our local Guantánamo.
BACK TO REALITY DEPT
Mentally inert and morally obtuse citizens, freedom loving racists and other Trump cultists will continue to believe the virus is a hoax until someone they know has died of the new plague. Or perhaps when they personally get laid up for three months with a tube cut into their throats. Then maybe it will be safe to ride a far less-crowded bus. Not until.
POWER PLAY DEPT
Hit the five elected officials who rule the transit system: Sparks Mayor Ron Smith, Washoe County Commissioners Bob Lucey and Vaughn Hartung, Reno Councilcritters Neoma Jardon and Oscar Delgado. The latter three face re-election challenges this November. Contact info at NevadaLabor. com/
POWER PLAY PART DEUX
Transit passengers should use the power of iPhones to snap time-and-date stamped photos of maskless fellow travelers. Those who come down with the virus may thus build a body of evidence documenting how they got infected for future class-action lawsuits.
CARL REINER 1922-2020
He directed the greatest movie of all time, “Oh, God!” starring George Burns and John Denver. He originated one of the greatest TV sit-coms, “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” In those and many other ventures, Reiner used the gift of laughter to teach memorable moral lessons.
Rest in peace, great writer. You done damned good.
Be well. Raise hell. Esté bien. Haga infierno.