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Raggio’s bid to continue tenure in state government was a nail biter
by Harry Spencer - Tribune Columnist
Aug 19, 2008 | 873 views | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As many political savants predicted, Tuesday’s primary election feature race, between incumbent State Senator Bill Raggio and former Assemblywoman Sharron Angle, proved to be a close and exciting match-up. As of 10 o’clock Tuesday evening, three hours after the polls closed, Raggio was ahead by the slim margin of 201 votes. Later on he stretched that lead to some 500-plus votes, which was the margin reported in the Wednesday morning paper. Champagne corks popped at about 10:40 p.m. in Raggio election center headquarters in the Eldorado hotel when it looked as if the longtime senator had the win wrapped up. At no time during the celebration was there a concession call from Angle, who, according to published reports on Wednesday morning, had gone to bed long before the final tally was announced.

Raggio was surrounded by a large throng of longtime friends and supporters during the evening, as well as political consultants who were monitoring the latest results, well before they appeared on the TV screens. All during the campaign it was feared that the predicted low voter turnout for the primary would impact Raggio more than his opponent. Many experts also reasoned that Angle would cut deeply into the female vote, an area where Raggio had run very strongly in the past. It was also felt that Angle had a very active and dedicated support group in the Ron Paul faction of the local Republican part — which again proved to be true.

As the precincts were identified it was clear that most of the votes from the northern portion of Raggio’s district were favoring Angle, while the southwestern precincts were solidly in the Raggio column. It was also learned that absentee and mail-in votes had given Raggio an edge which Angle was not able to erase.

One longtime Raggio confidante reminded the senator during the evening that it was almost 50 years to the day that Raggio had awaited election results during his first try at political office as Washoe County District Attorney in 1958. Since then, the senior senator has been in state government for nearly 40 years.

Lake Tahoe news

Recently a half page ad in the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza newspaper announced that the historic Stack enclave at Crystal Bay on Tahoe’s north shore had been put up for sale. The most striking part of the property is that it occupies 12 acres on the peninsula that juts out into the crystal waters that is also home to the fabled Cal-Neva Lodge.

The property was first developed by a James Stack, a nationally prominent advertising executive who listed Quaker Oats among his clients. The senior Stack was the father of two sons, Jim (the older) and Robert, who gained a great deal of fame as a movie actor.

When the Tahoe Raquet Club opened at nearby Incline Village in 1965, both of the Stack brothers were regular attendees at the summer sessions. To reciprocate they invited several of us over to their Crystal Bay property for libations and food. The most interesting thing about the Stack compound was that it was made up of a series of separate cabin-like structures that were tiered down the steep hillside. Each structure served as a separate room. One was the living room, one was the family room, one was the kitchen/dining room and several others were self-contained bedroom/bathrooms. The architecture reeked of old Tahoe and a long, steep path led down to the spacious beach and shoreline, complete with private pier and boat hoists.

In the recent ad no price was listed for the property but it was noted the 12 acres were zoned for other housing. There is a possibility it could become part of the Boulder Bay project, which is primed to reinvigorate Tahoe’s aging north shore area.

Celebrity Corner

Many films that have been shot partially on location in the Reno area have pretty much defined the impression of the Biggest Little City for millions of people who have never been here. Flicks like “The Misfits” and the recent “Sister Act,” as well as Clint Eastwood’s “Pink Cadillac” have shown only snippets of the true character of the area.

Tuesday of this week a motion picture aired on the Turner Classic Movie channel that was literally shot 100 percent in Reno. The title was “Five Against the House” and it was released in 1955. It starred the red hot Kim Novak and Guy Madison, who were given strong support by Kerwin Matthews and a very young Brian Keith. From the opening scene, when the four principal male actors drove down Virginia Street under the Reno Arch (which currently resides on Lake Street) to the now gone Harolds Club pigeon hole parking garage (on the north side of the railroad tracks at Third Street )the city was well established as the site where the rest of the movie would take place. Although it was a black and white flick, the scenes shot on the University of Nevada, Reno campus were spectacular as they showed a pristine and spacious traditional college enclave.

The plot was fairly simple in that the quintet hatched a plan to rob Harolds, which was then the most famous gambling establishment in the world.

Interestingly enough one of the writers of “Five” was Stirling Silliphant, who would return here some 10 years later when two segments of the popular “Route 66” TV show were filmed in Reno and Squaw Valley. A good movie to catch if you want a riveting picture of what Reno was like in its heyday.

Harry Spencer is a freelance writer in Reno. His column about the past and present of northern Nevada appears weekly in the Tribune.

Editor’s note: Harry Spencer’s column is sometimes a mix of reporting and opinion. Opinions expressed in his column are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Tribune.
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