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Longing for the wisdom of the grateful dead
by Andrew Barbano
May 22, 2013 | 2085 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mr. Wynnderfull and the Ghost Rider have served notice that the peons shall again grovel for crumbs falling from the feast of the fat.

The Nevada Legislature is performing as ordered, subsidizing the businesses of Steve Wynn and Nicolas Cage at the expense of their lessers without lobbyists: little kids who can't vote or shoot back as supposedly wise elders play cowboys and Indians in three-piece suits.

BALLOT BOXING. Local citywide voting was imposed after Reno notoriously spawned the most corrupt government in the country a half-century ago. The police chief even got defrocked.

Chicago-style "ward heelers" could trade votes and avoid blame. A councilman could impose something unpopular on his own district while voting against it. That's how the current Reno-Sparks convention center ended up in a field surrounded by dirt roads rather than downtown where it belonged — much to the enrichment of friends and relatives who had purchased land around it.

The cure has become the disease and at-large elections now allow the powerful to impose their will by richly funding the campaigns of their minions. Which is why Senate Bill 457 should pass.

THE GRATEFUL DEAD. Last Saturday marked the anniversary of the death of the greatest radio host the world ever heard, former Tribune columnist Travus T. Hipp. His fans have been visiting his memorial section at

I'll be posting their comments and have uploaded the last column he e-mailed to me. I also dug out the first three copies of his short-lived newspaper, the Bullfrog Times-Picayune (1987-88), the voice of the short-lived township with no population, Bullfrog County, Nevada. It was created by the legislature to shunt federal nuke dump money (which never materialized) into the hands of the state rather than Nye County.

The little publication represents some of Travus' best-ever writing. A fan in Gomorrah South says a few more may be archived at UNLV. I'll keep you posted.

The current legislative session lies brain-dead in an iron lung, frozen in the 1950s.

I wish Travus and his favorite lawmaker, the late Dr. Marvin Sedway, D-Las Vegas, were around to resuscitate the beast and remind it of its responsibilities.

From the den of iniquity…

TO THE HOLY OF HOLIES. On May 29, Little Flower Church at Plumb and Kietzke in Reno hosts a huge path to citizenship assembly sponsored by a broad range of regional organizations. For info, call (775) 560-2233.

IN MEMORIAM. This Monday would have been the 68th birthday of Alliance for Workers Rights founder Tom Stoneburner. He died in 2005 fighting for Nevada workers who have no union ... A few weeks ago, labor legend Harry Kelber (1914-2013) died in New York City. On his 98th birthday last year, he declared his candidacy for the presidency of the AFL-CIO. I aspire to be half the advocate and commentator he was.

Solidarnosc, brother.

Esté bien. Haga infierno.

Be well. Raise hell.

Andrew Barbano is a 44-year Nevadan and editor of  E-mail Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.

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