Geno, Geno, paisano mio. I didn’t know that I knew you so well until I saw last Wednesday’s Reno Gazette-Journal. You’re me. I’m you, save for one thing: I grew up and you didn’t.
At first, I hoped that some green reporter had simply misquoted you and your successor as Sparks mayor. Nope. The highly experienced Siobahn McAndrew is one of the best reporters in Nevada with a trophy case full of awards to prove it. (And she married into a red-chip Republican family, so let’s not play Donkeykong games.)
There you guys were, clueless and unclear on the concept as usual. I’ll bet you still think former UNR superstar Colin Kaepernick was protesting Betsy Ross’ flag or Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders.
Here it is as Ms. McAndrew reported it: “ ‘ So, boys and and girls, you kids that are so angry and so socially liberal, get a clue please,’ said Martini, who was the longest serving mayor of Sparks until he left office in 2018. He called in at the end of the (Sparks City Council) meeting.
“He said he had it ‘up to his ears’ listening to people complain about the police.
“ ‘ Walk a mile in a policeman’s shoes. Get off your collective butt. Go out and ride with a policeman sometime,’ he said. ‘You have no clue, really.’
“Martini said in reference to callers upset about the (January 2020 Sparks police fatal shooting of suicidal 18 year-old Miciah Lee) and other cases that have linked police brutality to race, ‘Murdering people, black, brown, whatever. It’s kind of funny how they got murdered doing something that was against the law.’ “
Madonna du Carmela! Go to confession. This is Lush Rambo/Fox Noise demagoguery at its faux finest.
Hate radio host Limbaugh’s local flagship, KKKOH, is in a severe ratings slump but he retains a substantial audience among moonhowlers. He so demonized the word “liberal” that Democrats are afraid to use it. It simply means open-minded, while “conservative” means to maintain the current situation. Which goes a long way toward explaining Geno’s back-to-the-future mindset.
He has forgotten where we came from. I don’t know if Barney and Elio, his forbears, were immigrants, but I’ll bet six bucks against a Starbux latte that somebody arrived from the old country. My dad came thru Ellis Island around 120 years ago.
Elio was a longtime member of Operating Engineers Union Local 3. He and his bro were great guys. Martini Mountain north of Reed High was the family’s piece of America.
Which brings me to Fresno Police Officer Studleigh McGillicuddy. I first met Big Stud (not his real name) when I was driving my mom to mass. A guy ran a stop sign and t-boned our Chevy, just missing my mother in the passenger seat.
Studley was the investigating officer who “indicated” the other guy as the cause of the accident, I later found out, but did not cite him.
Studley asked the perp for his occupation. “You know what I do, Studley,” said the dude. Wink. Wink.
Years later, I was in college and cooking the graveyard shift at a coffee shop. Studley moonlighted on weekends in FPD uniform. He didn’t remember me but had no qualms preaching to a college kid about what he’d do to all those hippies and Black Panthers demonstrating in the streets of America.
“One good round of machine gun fire and you’ll never have another problem,” said Officer Friendly, much more than once.
He forgot where he came from. The Irish and the Italians were a sore-oppressed class of immigrants. Through generations of hard work, they moved up the food chain to positions of respectability. It also helps to be white.
Old country feudal prejudices came over on the boats with them. Many of my elders were clueless racists because they had been raised that way. Nobody had taught them any better. All that stuff about Christianity and humanity they heard at St. Alphonsus on Sunday was left at the church steps immediately thereafter. (Limbaugh generates some of his highest ratings in California’s central valley.)
As Rogers & Hammerstein wrote in “South Pacific,” you’ve got to be taught to learn to hate. You’ve to be carefully taught.
Geno is up in years, suffering from the same slow-burning disease that took my father, a kind and generous man who never stopped learning. He was open-minded.
Geno created a Lush Rambo straw man to knock down — everybody a cop shoots is doing something illegal, so that’s simply street justice. Sad.
Tell that to the untold hundreds killed in the 1921 Tulsa, Oklahoma, pogrom, with cops participating. And so very, very many others. Their name is Legion.
Alas and alack, some refuse to see the world thru the eyes of the lowly. “No angel born in hell could break that Satan’s spell,” as Don McLean poetically put it long ago.
Mayor Ron Smith likewise showed little wisdom, unclear on the concept.There’s a word for painting people with a broad brush: Prejudice. It corrupts and corrodes. And occasionally kills.
Sparks’ last two mayors have thus proven their immunity to the virus of liberty and justice for all.
I despise the sin but love the sinners. I pray for their enlightenment.
IL DUCE UND DER FUHRER RISE AGAIN. Don’t try to psychoanalyze a psycho like Czar Donaldov. Our futile leader sent neo-SS stormtroopers to Portland (and perhaps Chicago by the time you read this) for one reason: He gets off on power plays, be it rape, pillage, theft, cheating, mass mayhem or literal and physical assassination. Ordering people killed rings his chimes and creams his jeans.
“The Trump administration has been consulting the former government lawyer who wrote the legal justification for waterboarding on how the president might try to rule by decree. John Yoo told the Guardian (London, UK) he has been talking to White House officials about his view that a recent supreme court ruling on immigration would allow Trump to issue executive orders on whether to apply existing federal laws…in areas beyond that, like healthcare, tax policy, criminal justice, inner city policy. I talked to them a fair amount about cities, because of the disorder,” Stanford (oxymoron alert) law professor Yoo stated.
“Alka Pradhan, a defence counsel in the 9/11 terrorism cases against inmates in the Guantánamo Bay prison camp, said: ‘John Yoo’s so-called reasoning has always been based on ‘What can the president get away with?’ rather than ‘What is the purpose and letter of the law?’
“’That is not legal reasoning, it’s inherently tyrannical and anti-democratic…The fact that John Yoo is employed and free to opine on legal matters is an example of the culture of impunity in the United States,” she said.
Mayors Smith and Martini, are you listening? Can you hear? Do you reason? Do you feel? You’re getting older.
Take care of each other and be careful out there.
¡Sí se puede!
Be well. Raise hell. Esté bien. Haga infierno.
Andrew Barbano is a 51-year Nevadan, editor of NevadaLabor.com and first vice-president of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his comments are strictly his own. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.