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A Valentine for Tura Satana
by Andrew Barbano
Feb 13, 2011 | 800 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Her movie name was Tura Satana, 1960’s cult movie star of Billy Wilder’s “Irma La Douce” (with Jack Lemmon and Shirley McLaine) and Russ Meyer’s “Faster, Pussycat, Kill! Kill!”

To us, she was Tura Jurman, union sister who stood in solidarity in the hardfought and ultimately successful campaign to organize Reno Hilton security guards. She was illegally fired, blackballed with her fellow union members, and celebrated victory when the Security, Police and Fire Professionals of America beat Hilton in court several years later.

I knew Tura as a lovely, unassuming, dark-haired fifty-something lady. Only when one of her colleagues started talking with her about her film career did I find out about her other life. Her website and fan base abide after lo, these many years. Google her yourself.

Angelina Jolie had nothing on Tura Satana when it came to high-kicking action, and Tura sported a couple of assistants that Angelina just ain’t got. Which is why Billy Wilder hired her to play one of Shirley McLaine’s red light colleagues in “Irma La Douce.”

Dear Tura Jurman passed away of heart failure in Reno on Feb. 4. She was 72.

Clinging to the

ledge at high noon

on Monday

On Feb. 14, state employees will rally in front of the legislative building in Carson City. Public workers have taken an especially bad scapegoating rap of late. If you’d like a dash of truth, see Robert Reich’s recent upload at and Hugh Jackson’s latest piece in Las Vegas CityLife. Both will be linked to the expanded web edition of this column at

Be there or be square on Valentine’s Day.

I was there and

it was square

I actually turned the trick (it’s hard to avoid talking dirty with the legislature in session) of being in two places at once last Thursday. I left my video colleague taping the Nevada Ethics Commission grilling of Washoe County D.A. Dick Gammick to attend a Public Utilities Commission conference.

It looks like the PUC is going to fully investigate charges from International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1245/AFL-CIO. The union alleges that super-profitable SPP/NP/NV Energy has cut staffing back so far that system reliability is in jeopardy, especially given an aging workforce. Atty. Gen. Catherine Cortez Masto’s consumer advocate office sent representatives to the hearing both in Carson and in Gomorrah South. Bueno. Perhaps somebody over there read the Jan. 16 Barbwire.

The ethics commission exonerated Mr. Gammick by a 5-1 vote. When I left, I thought at least three of six were  leaning toward conviction before the board went into closed session.

Gammick made the hassle for himself. He testified that when he took over as DA in 1995, he found a row of binders over two feet thick containing office policies from his 1979-83 predecessor Cal Dunlap.

“We threw them all away,” Gammick said. Not having policies governing intermingling of campaigning for re-election with office work and staff caused a huge expenditure of time and treasure. It speaks volumes about Mr. Gammick’s autocratic attitude toward properly managing his office.

Looks like he’s in for life.

Not since the

cartwrights walked

the Ponderosa

The inaugural Big Bonanza Days Dinner and Awards Ceremony will take place on Saturday, March 5, at Virginia City’s Silverland Inn & Suites. It revives a traditional event last celebrated in the 1970s. The Silver Strike Award will be presented to an organization or an individual for outstanding commitment to Nevada historical preservation. For more information, go to

Viva huelga!

César Chávez Day IX takes place on what would have been his 84th birthday, Thursday, March 31, 2011, at Circus Circus-Reno. Dinner is at 7 p.m. The new legislative Latino caucus has been invited. As always, we expect a large representation from César Chávez’s immediate family. Go to for news, ticket and sponsorship info.

The Cory story

KJFK Radio just axed Cory Farley to save a few hundred a week. The station is owned by Tom Quinn, former chief of staff to Jerry Brown during his first stint as California guv. They never gave it a chance. A fully-formatted local talk station knocks Lush Rambo and KKKOH into a cocked hat every time. Travus T. Hipp, Eddie Anderson and I did it twice. Insider tip: Something new is in the works.

Back from the

ashes department

Support the return of community radio/TV. Go to Barbwire.TV for more information, to join the club and contribute via the web. It’s important.


welfare watch

The City of Reno just canned a bunch of cops and firefighters in order to make payments on the Downtown Events Center. Right now, it’s a horse race to see whether Reno or Sparks will be the first to fulfill my hope-they-don’t-happen predictions of several years ago: municipal bankruptcy.


Last week, I related the story of my first media experience in these parts four decades ago. I neglected to give the full name of Bob Brown’s fellow principal in May Advertising, Inc. The Big Kahuna and former Reno professional gambler was Irving “Jerry” May, still a legend after lo, these many years.

Be well. Raise hell.

Andrew Barbano is a 42-year Nevadan, chair of the Nevada César Chávez Committee, member of Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO, and editor of E-mail Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks Tribune since 1988.
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