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Bill Raggio, Governor of Nevada 2011
by Andrew Barbano
Jan 23, 2010 | 917 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It’s been largely ignored by the northern mainstream media, but has anyone noticed that if former federal judge Brian Sandoval wins the governorship this year, it means that State Sen. Bill Raggio, R-Reno, becomes de facto CEO of Nevada?

Local wags have been chuckling that Sandoval’s recently announced plan to save the body politick is comprised largely of Raggio talking points. Raggio’s law firm is Sandoval’s current employer, providing him with a place to perch and from which to campaign.

Anyone familiar with the revolving door realities of politics as practiced by the Silver State’s large juice law firms is familiar with such arrangements.

One image will suffice to show how the game is played. If you get invited to a meeting in the imposing law library or cherry wood conference room of some of the biggies, you can’t help noticing the prominently displayed photos of former members of the firm who sit in judgeships or other high offices.

An officeholder becomes a permanently brokerable commodity. Once you’re in, you don’t get out. You just return home at the conclusion of your public service. As the Eagles once put it, you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.

Raggio supporters may try to sell the idea that increasing his power is good for northwestern Nevada against all that dastardly power from Gomorrah South. Actually, Raggio has consistently sold out his constituents on major issues, from losing local tax money to Las Vegas to sending legislative seats southward, diminishing northern influence at the Legislature.

I’ve documented all this many times over the decades and will continue to do so even if others continue to ignore the fact that the man whose bust graces our local airport terminal has been a bust for those he purports to represent.

Light-guv may light out for greener


The jungle has been rumbling that Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki may jump into the crowded Republican primary for the right to face U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., this fall.

Atty. Gen. Catherine Cortez-Masto crashed and burned a couple of weeks ago in trying to explain why her office’s indictment of Krolicki was thrown out by a Las Vegas judge. In an interview with Sam Shad on KRNV TV-4’s Nevada Newsmakers, Cortez-Masto gave a rambling law class lecture and never got to the point.

Without the legally required legislative approval, then-state treasurer Krolicki diverted  more than $1million, which should have gone for Nevada university tuition, and spent it on TV spots featuring his wonderfulness. Other powerful Nevada pols have done the same, a way to make yourself a household name on the public dime just in time for your next move up the political ladder.

Krolicki’s successor, current state treasurer Kate Marshall, uncovered the scam and brought it to the proper officials. Apparently, the wording of the grand jury indictment was deficient, so Krolicki walked on a technicality.

What is not generally known is that those cute kids who appeared with Krolicki on the publicly funded TV campaign were not his but actors hired for their looks.

Got a hunch this may become an issue in the next few months.


The Nevada labor movement lost one of its most colorful individuals last month. Rob Chambers, former Northern Nevada Central Labor Council delegate from American Federation of Government Employees Local 2152, died suddenly at his home in Spokane, Wash., on Dec. 31. He was 61 and retired from the Reno’s Ioannis A. Lougaris Veterans Medical Center. Remembrances may be sent to his wife, Patti, care of Hennessey-Smith, 2203 N. Division, Spokane, WA 99207.

The song goes on.

American music lost a voice that touched millions of hearts last week with the death of silver-voiced country-folk singer Kate McGarrigle. A victim of a rare form of cancer, she died at her home in Montreal at age 63. I first saw her perform with sister Anna on Saturday Night Live some 30 years ago. I only heard their slightly bawdy folk-spiritual once but never forgot it because of the McGarrigles’ heart-piercing harmonies.

Long may you run, lady.

Community media update.

Sierra Nevada Community Access Television is on the verge of doing some great things, including the launch of a new full-power fm community radio station. But times have been tough all over.

New management is beginning a long delayed and very necessary fundraising campaign.  I’m aboard, as are the station’s many longtime producers and supporters. We need all the help we can get. If you’d care to volunteer, please let me know. Watch this space and ReSurge.TV for details.

This is important. Fewer and fewer communities are blessed with non-commercial grassroots media.

Be well. Raise hell.

Andrew Barbano is a 39-year Nevadan, member of Sparks-based Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO, political action chair and webmaster of NAACP Reno-Sparks Branch 1112, producer of the César Chávez celebration and editor of As always, his comments are strictly his own. E-mail Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.
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