Gibbons, always quick to blame the Legislature for his own failures, said the legislature, led by Republican Sen. Raggio, was at fault for the short fall because they over promised and overspent.
Raggio, in return, refused to deal with Gibbons’ tax cap and said, “The special session is not the place to start debating additional spending caps.” And he is right. Looks like Raggio is separating himself from our governor’s 21 percent approval rating. Raggio will face some tough competition from Sharon Angle this election season and the last thing he wants is to be pinned on the political coattails of Gibbons. Anyway, how can you put a spending cap on a budget that far out in the future? Maybe, one of Gibbons’ lady friends is a clairvoyant.
Raggio demonstrated his political bipartisan skills and negotiated a reasonable compromise to the state’s cash crises. The school textbook fund will give up about $48 million. The temporary delay or cancellation of proposed transportation projects will provide another $50 million and state agencies will have to cut their budgets by 3.3 percent.
More than 200 protesters representing the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees demonstrated at the legislative building in opposition to some of the governor’s recommendations, mainly, the deferment of the 4 percent cost of living adjustments (COLA) already promised to state workers and his proposed cut in the purchase of new textbooks.
One sign read: “Don’t cut textbooks, cut text messaging.” Another read: “Text Gov. Gibbons and tell him no.” Two great signs highlighting two different meanings. One was in reference to the proposed elimination of new textbooks and the deferment of a 4 percent COLA increase for state employees, most of them teachers. And the other referred to the rumor that Gibbons sent almost 900 text messages to a lady friend in Reno on a state-provided cell phone.
Reminds me of the good old days. In 1999, I filed a complaint against then Republican Sparks Mayor Bruce Breslow with the state ethics commission. At the time Breslow had a cell phone provided by the city of Sparks. He used the city-owned phone for his own personal use, which was in violation of Nevada Revised Statue 281.481 (7) which states: “A public officer or employee, other than a member of the legislature, shall not use governmental time, property, equipment, or their facility to benefit his personal or financial interest.”
The statue allows for some exceptions, but under any circumstance the use cannot interfere with the performance of his public duties. And the use cannot create the appearance of impropriety. I think when the governor has time to text personal messages to a lady friend 30 times a day, it has to interfere with his public performance. Although, it might enhance his personal performance.
If Gov. Gibbons did illegally use the state-owned cell phone he broke Nevada law, which means he could be fined and has to reimburse the state for the cost of the phone calls. He should reimburse the state for his salary.
There was some humor to Breslow’s conviction. After Republican Gov. Guinn was sworn in, he appointed Breslow to a state position at a reported salary of $80,000 a year. I saw Republican Sen. Bill Raggio at our favorite coffee shop one morning, and asked him why Guinn gave Breslow, a convicted ethics violator, such a soft job.
Raggio replied, “Where are you going to find good people to work for $80,000 a year?” I think half the people in the restaurant could have handled the job at half the price. And that includes the bus boy, waitress, cooks and dishwasher.
If you want to read about the Breslow hearing search “Breslow ethics commission” on Google.
This week I will be in touch with the ethics commission. If records show that Gibbons did illegally misuse his state-owned cell phone for personal use, I will file an ethics complaint against him and we will see what happens. I should probably call his wife, Dawn, first.
David Farside is a Sparks resident and political activist. The polemics of his articles can be discussed at farsidian2001@yahoo. com. His Web site is www.thefarsidechronicles.com.