The announcement that Reno and Washoe County will actively engage in consolidation talks has come to the forefront due to the economic conditions in northern Nevada. Merging of the city and county has long been the dream of many politicians since it would obviously result in money savings if various jobs, which now duplicate one another, could be replaced by a single position. As for Sparks, city officials long ago decided that they love their autonomy. One only has to go back to the long-ago unsuccessful campaign to have the city of Sparks renamed East Reno to see this.
Point man for the city of Reno in consolidation talks will be Mayor Bob Cashell. During his two-and-a-half or so terms in office, Cashell has been highly successful in establishing new and more cordial relations with the Sparks mayors, the late Tony Armstrong and the current Geno Martini. Political pundits, however, see little hope of Sparks ever joining in the consolidation talks. Nonetheless, should the merger between Reno and the county prove successful, there are certain countywide services that could enable the city of Sparks to participate in something that might help the currently strained Rail City budget.
Regarded as one of the most persuasive and effective politicians in the history of the Silver State, Cashell will have his work cut out for him in attempting to achieve a seamless joining of the city and the county. Which current employees will remain in their positions and which will see their jobs disappear in the coalition will no doubt be the biggest hurdle to overcome. Nonetheless, it seems like a worthwhile attempt because, as long-time Sen. Bill Raggio said many years ago, “We all live in the same valley (actually a high meadow) so it is essential that we take care of the air we breathe and the water we consume.”
Geographically, Raggio is dead on and as a native of the area and one of the most thoughtful legislators ever to trod the halls of power in Carson City, his words should be heeded and his influence with local elected officials should probably be a big part of the mix in any negotiations.
We only have to look a few miles south to see how consolidation works ever since the melding of former Ormsby County into Carson City.
Obama flies to Vegas
Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons turned down the opportunity for a token handshake with President Barack Obama on Tuesday when the president (despite what he said months ago about corporations shying away from traveling to Las Vegas for conventions or other gatherings) landed in Sin City for a fundraiser for U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, who faces election next year.
Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman was on hand to greet the president, despite being visibly riled when Obama made his original statement to avoid Las Vegas. Goodman, who sent Obama a sharp letter in response, has made no secret of the fact that his city was hit hard by the president’s remark and that it remains one of the hardest hit of any major city in the country when it comes to home foreclosures and business shutdowns.
Old-time movies on cable tend to bring back old memories of the celebrities who have visited this area in the past.
Such was the case the other night when a little-publicized Western called “Once Upon a Texas Train” aired. The mid-1960s oater starred Richard Wimark and Willie Nelson. Widmark is best remembered for a gala press conference here sometime in the mid-1950s that was held around the now-gone swimming pool at the Riverside Hotel.
The occasion came about because Widmark and several other lesser-known Hollywood players were here to film scenes for a flick entitled “Sixty Saddles for Gobi.” It was an action adventure that was supposed to be cast in the Gobi Desert, featuring a herd of camels wearing the saddles that Widmark was delivering. To emulate the starkness of the Gobi Desert, the producers of the movie had selected various locations around Pyramid Lake — a natural choice.
Back to “Once Upon,” Willie Nelson has probably had as many appearances in the Reno/Tahoe/Sparks area as any entertainer extant. He is an excellent actor, especially in Western films where his naturally twangy voice fits best. Probably Nelson’s best-known appearance in films shot in the Silver State was when he supported Robert Redford in “The Electric Horseman,” shot mainly in the Las Vegas area.
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.