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Clinging to the Ledge: Cold War
by Andrew Barbano
May 22, 2011 | 799 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The best thing I did last week was kidnap a girl. After setting up for my Tuesday live TV show in  Carson City, I headed to the frigid tent campground on the legislative lawn to see if I could convince one of the university freedom riders to participate.

Her fellow students nominated Emma Guerrero, 18, a UNLV sophomore majoring in political science who wants to go to the Boyd law school after graduation.

“What will my degree mean if UNLV isn’t there anymore?” she told me.

She was born in Tijuana and is a legal resident, having lived in southern Nevada most of her life. She is a true Nevadan who cringes at the thought of having to seek education and a livelihood elsewhere.

Ms. Guerrero represents all the young people the Silver State stands to lose if the assassination of our education system is completed by state lawmakers and our retro governor.

My other guests were equally as eloquent. Sheralynn Kern, a DMV employee and member of AFSCME Local 4041/AFL-CIO, told heart-wrenching stories of state employees working for minimum wage and in constant danger of homelessness. Paul McKenzie, executive secretary-treasurer of the Sparks-based Building and Construction Trades Council of Northern Nevada/AFL-CIO, previewed many of the points included his moving Thursday speech before the legislature.

In the finest Nevada tradition, lawmakers are poised to penalize the victims and reward the perpetrators of the crime.

Charter cable victims may view reruns of the program on Carson/Dayton channel 226 or Sparks-Reno channel 216. Those with digital converters for analog over-the-air TV sets may be able to get the show on 80-295. Here are days and times this week: Sunday, May 22, 8 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Saturday — 11 p.m. Friday — 8 p.m. You may also view the show online via the web edition of this column at Reruns are being scheduled on a network station. Watch the website for details.

Turn on, tune in and tell a friend.

Strange bedfellows

And then some. Last Wednesday, I met a young man with a clip board standing in front of the Washoe voter registrar’s office.

Non-partisan candidates had until midweek to submit at least 100 signatures of registered voters to qualify for the September congressional ballot. B. Harding Gremban, 50, wants to start a neo-Federalist Party. The last one of their guys to occupy the White House was John Adams some years ago.

Gremban is the son of an old adversary of mine, the late Joe Gremban, former CEO of Sierra Pacific Power/NV Energy. I signed the younger Gremban’s petition.

While we were talking, a group of people came out including another young man with a clipboard. Yep, just filed. Christopher Simon, 28, is big on the economic development potential of the Yucca Mountain nuclear dumpsite. Ah, impetuous youth.

Earl Ammerman IV also filed. Soon to graduate from UNR with an anthropology major and political science minor, he grew up listening to the long lost talk radio shows of Tribune denizens Travus ‘n’ Andy. He’s anti-war and pro-universal health care. My kinda kid.

I like all of them because their candidacies threaten to monkey wrench the system. I am not alone in that observation. According to Mr. Simon, one of his potential opponents, Democrat Nancy Price of Sparks, signed his petition a few days ago. The former university regent and wife of 28-year former Assemblyman Bob Price, D-North Las Vegas, Nancy wields a mean wrench herself. She singlehandedly strengthened the state open meeting law by taking her fellow regents to court for violating the statute.

Alas and alack, Price may not make it to the ballot if Judge James Todd Russell’s ruling stands. Unless the Nevada Supremes sing a different tune, all partisan nominees will be selected by party central committees, which means most Democrats and Republicans will not make the starting gate.

The statewide congressional district has never been held by a Democrat since it was established in 1981. Currently, Republicans hold a registration edge of more than 30,000.

Democrats have had only three realistic chances to win. In 1982, former State Sen. Mary Gojack, D-Reno, let a 23-point lead slip away in the last month. Barbara Vucanovich, longtime office manager for U.S. Sen. Paul Laxalt, R-Nev., defeated Gojack and held the seat for 12 years.

Reno Mayor Pete Sferrazza ran against Vucanovich twice, in 1986 and 1992. He had her beaten the second time, but mistakenly took his negative TV spots off the air three weeks before the election.

In 2006, Vucanovich’s successor Jim Gibbons filed for governor. Republican secretary of state Dean Heller defeated former university regent Jill Derby to replace Jim the Dim. Derby’s  campaign never used the unspeakable label of Democrat in presenting herself as an anti-Washington sorta-Republican cowgirl.

Gojack, Sferrazza and Derby proved that the statewide congressional seat is winnable by a Democrat. Their campaigns were proof of legendary football coach Vince Lombardi’s most basic observation: The team that makes the fewest mistakes wins.

I’d rather see a multi-candidate free-for-all rather than Republicans running their streak to 15-0, which would basically mean that the mining industry keeps the congressional seat in its gold-lined wallet.

Be well. Raise hell.

Andrew Barbano is a 42-year Nevadan and editor of E-mail Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks Tribune since 1988.
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