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What the Legislature hath wrought
by Harry Spencer
Jun 05, 2009 | 806 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
That collective sigh of relief you heard emanating from all four corners of the Silver State on Tuesday morning was due to the Nevada State Legislature having adjourned on time.

With the plethora of new taxes that the Legislature was able to push through, you will now be paying more gas tax at the pump, more when you buy retail goods and, if you are an upper-tier business person, your payroll tax will be going through the roof. All of this in the worst economic times that Nevada has seen in decades.

Strangely enough, because of the Legislature’s override of Gov. Jim Gibbons’ vetoes, the governor’s stock has risen strongly in the latest polls. Most savvy political pundits, like Chuck Muth, have publicly stated that because of the onerous tax burdens that the Democrat-controlled Legislature created, Gibbons, who has announced that he is running for a second term, has vaulted past his announced Democrat opponent, Barbara Buckley.

Buckley, who controlled most of the action at the 2009 session, was the lead spokesperson for the 120 days of turmoil in Carson City. Insiders in Carson’s halls of power have noted that Buckley is extremely miffed over the reported news that a contingent of powerful Republican lobbyists have signed on to support Rory Reid (son of U.S. Sen. Harry Reid) for the Democratic nomination for the upcoming gubernatorial race in 2010.

As far as Gibbons is concerned, the new taxes will be levied on Nevadans may have given him some good campaign ammo. One of his slogans might well be “Give me a Legislature I can work with to reduce your taxes!” If he is successful in delivering his message that Democrats have put the state in a hole for the next two years, it could not only prop up his chances for re-election but also may buoy up the fortunes of other Republicans who will be seeking Senate and Assembly seats in 2010.

One of those might well be Assemblyman Ty Cobb from Washoe County. The inside word in Carson, as the session wound down, was that Cobb — who had been seen as a likely successor to state Sen. Bill Ragio, who is termed out after the 2011 Legislature — has now readjusted his thinking and will likely run for the vacated seat left by Sen. Randolph Townsend, who is termed out for the 2010 election. If there is a significant backlash to the new taxes in the next 16 months, both Cobb and Gibbons might do handsomely at the polls.

Again according to Muth, there is also a very strong possibility that state Sen. Steven Horsford, who was the majority leader in the Senate this past session, is under consideration to be named to a high post in President Barack Obama’s administration.

However contentious and bipartisan the 2009 Legislature was, most savvy observers note that the 2011 Legislature will make its predecessors look like a picnic.

Celebrity corner

Two of the all-time superstars of Hollywood had birthdays within a few days of one another during the past week. The first was Clint Eastwood, 79, and the second was Tony Curtis, turning 84.

Both had something in common in that they were initially in the Universal Studios stable of performers. Curtis, who was older, got there first and immediately became a teeny bopper heartthrob to millions of young American girls. Some of his early efforts were not too demanding as he played Middle East princes and other “pretty boy” roles. Sticking with the Hollywood system, he began to get his acting chops with films like “The Boston Strangler” and “Houdini.” Pairing up with Kirk Douglas, who had his own production company, he did a great job in “The Vikings.” His most notable work will probably continue to be “Some Like it Hot,” which was voted best comedy of the 20th century.

Eastwood, on the other hand, pursued a different path to the top as he opted for early TV work in “Rawhide” and then took the ultimate jump to spaghetti Westerns, which made him a superstar. Early on in his career, as he recounted to in 1975, when he brought his Celebrity Tennis Tournament to Lake Tahoe, he decided to form his own Malpaso Production outfit and while he was in Incline Village he consummated a deal to move his company from Universal to the Warner Bros. studios.

Now in the sunset of his career, he has turned into an Oscar winner and contender. His most recent appearance in front of the camera, “Gran Torino,” shows he still has a commanding presence on screen.

Both Curtis and Eastwood have been frequent visitors to this area, with Curtis here for a long shoot in the early 1950s for a flick called “Johnny Dark” and then later as one of the stellar celebrities at the 1960 Winter Olympics.

Eastwood was also a frequent guest of good friend Rod Campbell at Incline and shot his film “Pink Cadillac” mainly in downtown Reno.

Two legitimate film icons.

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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