I first saw an online post about Kenosha, Wisconsin, shooter Kyle Rittenhouse having moved to these parts. Ho hum, another Internet rumor.
Last week came a tip from a reader saying someone identifying himself as Rittenhouse has been shopping big ticket items around town.
The teen who shot two men dead during riotous mayhem was acquitted of murder charges. Unlike the three crackers who executed black jogger Ahmed Arbery, gunny Rittenhouse had a defense fund that topped $2 million.
Perhaps he still has some left. Anyone having a Rittenhouse sighting, please contact me.
If it’s him, so be it. If not, he won’t be the first to skate on someone else’s fame in a faraway small town. I’ve seen a few.
OUTBREAK OF REASON AT RAIL CITY HALL? Who’da thunk it?
I was mildly surprised when Sparks councilcritters recently started a version of a diversity commission (see below) which their predecessors passed on Jan. 22, 2007, then let drift for 15 years. (Former Reno-Sparks NAACP Presidents Lucille Adin and Dolores Feemster attended with me.)
Sparks Mayor Ed Lawson, who represents the city on the Regional Transportation Commission, said “We need to blow the thing up and…build a better system” at last Friday’s RTC meeting.
He was talking about our collapsing mass transit system. I could not agree more and I’ve been beating that drum for 30 years.
Bus system mismanagement has its roots in a three-tiered structure built to bounce blame to somebody else. The five elected commissioners (two each from Reno and Washoe County, one from Sparks) sit atop the pyramid.
Below them, a large RTC staff responsible for the bus system and a lot of road stuff.
Tier three is the for-profit foreign contractor hired at an exorbitant fee to mismanage the system. Tier four at the back of the bus are the passengers, drivers and support staff.
“We are subsidizing something that is failing,” Washoe County Commissioner Bob Lucey echoed. “Why are we continuing to chase a broken model?”
I never thought I’d say it, but he reminds me of me. I’ve been chronicling RTC mass transit abuses since the 1990s, including four strikes and a few close calls.
RTC Executive (?) Director (?) Bill Thomas fell back on the same old excuses. He is not responsible for the cruel winds of fate that have sore abused his psyche while scoring $220,000 a year plus cushy benefits. See NevadaLabor.com for how he spawned a COVID-19 super-spreader.
Bob Conrad at ThisIsReno.com reported that “RTC has seen a drop of about 10,000 riders per day since the start of the pandemic.”
Actually, it’s worse. Ridership nosedived from the first day the current contractor, France-based Keolis transit, took over on July 1, 2019, fully eight months before the pandemic.
For 30-plus years of chapter and verse about this government boondoggle, see NevadaLabor.com/
OOPS DEPT. Last week, I printed an item about open seats on the newly formed Sparks Police Citizens Advisory Committee. SPD Chief Chris Crawforth has since let me know that I had been misinformed and that there are no slots available.
The first meeting of the Rail City panel is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. Monday, Jan. 31 at Sparks City Hall. It will not be livestreamed.
“We are utilizing PD personnel to manage the meeting and it is all new to them. We have it on the radar to implement live stream” on April 4, the chief noted.
COURTHOUSE BEAT. Stormy Daniels and Sarah Palin are both heading for court in the Big Apple. In case you’ve forgotten, one is a faithless opportunistic hussy and the other is a porn star. More next week.
SECESSIONIST SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK. Republican operatives in Gomorrah South are threatening an initiative to allow small communities to secede from larger school districts. Civics optional, book burning mandatory.
Before anyone starts singing that siren song, I refer you to my extensive coverage of Lyon County’s racist small town Yerington High School. Details at NevadaLabor.com/
NEWS ABOUT THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE, as it’s known in Reno, or the Equity and Inclusion Advisory Board in Sparks.
“The Mayor’s and Councilmembers’ appointments to the EIAB will be included on an agenda for one of the Council’s regular meetings but the date has not been set,” stated Assistant City Manager Alyson McCormick. I have received info on the Sparks applicants and will publish them next week.
Pre-pandemic, Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve tried to start a countywide human rights commission. Washoe County was not interested and told her they’d watch Reno. Sparks simply said “we’re broke.” So what else is new?
I can’t assert cause and effect, but the profile that I and former Reno-Sparks NAACP President Lonnie Feemster raised about the Sparks PD killing of suicidal 18 year-old Miciah Lee may well have played a role in thawing city hall. That, and getting a responsive police chief.
Look out, guys. Some moonhowlers may accuse the all-Republican mayor and council of (gasp!) liberalism.
SPARKS FAMILY UPDATE. The GoFundMe campaign to help local bus operator Michael Lansborough and his family has risen to $2,870 since last week’s paper. The announced goal is $4,000 but that remains quite modest when lost work and post-op recovery time are factored in.
My Sparks union brother faces mega-major next week. He is sole support of his wife and son, Logan, who has no lower legs due to a genetic flaw.
In his wheelchair, the intrepid 10 year-old supported his dad on Teamsters Union picket lines during last summer’s Hot August Strike. (Photos on the front page of NevadaLabor.com/)
Here is the link: https://gofundme/7eae2edo Be generous. If you would like to help by check, make it payable to Michael Lansborough and send to his attention at Teamsters Local 533, 1190 Selmi Drive, Suite 100, Reno NV 89512.
Join me in donating. Please. And tell your friends.
¡Sí se puede!
Take care of each other and be careful out there.
Be well. Raise hell. / Esté bien. Haga infierno.
Andrew Quarantino Barbano is a 53-year Nevadan and editor of NevadaLabor.com, SenJoeNeal. org and MississippiWestNV.org/ He is a longtime member of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his comments are strictly his own. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988. E-mail