The first step is for someone to say you can’t have your cake and eat it too. The time has come to make some hard decisions. Those decisions go to the core of Nevada life as we know it. Perhaps anyone currently raising a family here should consider moving somewhere else. Our school systems in Nevada — from kindergarten to graduate school — are shamefully underfunded now and have been for years. The governor said that he has yet to receive a letter or postcard telling him that there is an alternative to cutting education budgets. Funny, he never said a word opposing new sports pavilions at UNR and UNLV. Now comes a report that Nevada ranks dead last among 51 states (behind DC, Puerto Rico or perhaps Guam) in the amount of state support for higher education.
Why let UNR and UNLV degenerate into Reno State and Las Vegas State colleges? Why don’t we consider shutting both schools down altogether? Let’s make Nevada live up to the reputation it already has all across the country: that of a 20th century boomtown mining camp.
Let’s forget all those wonderful plans for economic diversification. Hewlett-Packard wouldn’t touch Reno a decade ago because of what they considered a substandard educational environment for high tech. More recently, Las Vegas lost a major new industry because it was viewed as a cultural wasteland — and they walked away even though all other conditions were right. It was just that the area was perceived as a poor place to bring up a family and the company thought that its people would not want to move their families to Las Vegas. Maybe we should stop being such hypocrites, trying to change an image we really deserve.
Perhaps it’s time to realize that we really don’t have a state government and that we’ve never had one. Nevada’s state government is still basically a territorial administration. We could probably rescind statehood, go back to territorial status and be better off. We’d probably end up with a better share of our federal tax dollars that way.
Monopoly milk and dairy pricing is currently happening with the full knowledge and acquiescence of the Nevada Dairy Commission. Insurance regulation in Nevada is non-existent. Health care costs are totally out of control. (The mentally disabled) are still left to die through improper care.
Déjà vu all over again
All of the above was lifted from an Oct. 5, 1982, speech I gave at the appropriately named Depression Deli, now a Reno topless joint.
More than a quarter-century has now passed. That economic crunch was followed by another a decade later in which the budget was again balanced on the backs of the physically and mentally disabled. Now, here we are again in the same damned place, only worse. Gov. Jim the Dim is every bit as weak and horny as his 1982 predecessor, List the Lustful.
Was I overstating the case when I said we might as well close the universities?
“We might just as well close the campuses down,” said Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley, D-Gomorrah South, reacting to Gov. Gibbon’s (2009) Rape of the State Address.
Sen. Joe Neal, D-North Las Vegas, has proven entirely correct when he said a decade ago that growth had stopped paying for itself and it was time for gambling to pay its fair share. Never happened. Ditto with mining.
The Legislature will again fail to discharge its constitutionally mandated duty to adequately fund education. I am talking to people about preparing legal action, as has been done in 37 other jurisdictions, especially in the deep south. The Mississippi West of Nevada would then have a federal judge permanently running its educational system. Fine by me. The federal district court has run western Nevada’s water system since 1944.
Nevada has gambled too often and lost. We are now out of chances and plunging ass-first toward Tap City.
Déjà vu too
All the above appeared in the Barbwire of Jan. 18, 2009. It ranks high among my dire predictions of the past year or so that have had a depressingly perfect record of coming true.
I printed a simple checklist of how to fix things last month in “The Crabby Cure for What Ails Us.” Details at NevadaLabor.com and at this Saturday’s Truckee Meadows Democratic Alliance Crab Feed at Sparks Parks and Recreation, 98 Richards Way. Tickets are $50. Call 323-VOTE for info.
Make a day of it
Before the crustaceanfest, attend the Reno-Sparks NAACP Youth Martin Luther King, Jr., Talent Show at 3 p.m. this Saturday at the Sibayan Youth Center, Yori and Bresson across from Reno’s Vaughn Middle School. Entries in various age groups are open through Wednesday. Cash prizes will be awarded. For tickets and more info, call Dolores Feemster at 323-3677 or go to RenoSparks NAACP.org.
Be well. Raise hell.
Andrew Barbano is a 41-year Nevadan, a member of Sparks-based Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO, editor of NevadaLabor.com and second vice-president of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.