Gustavson is a termed-out state assemblyman. His claim to fame is his habitual “no” vote on almost all new legislation and his ongoing failed attempts to overturn Nevada’s state helmet law requiring all motorcyclist to wear head gear while traveling on Nevada roads and keeping everyone awake with their sounds of ignorance during Street Vibrations.
The death toll for motorcyclists is 37 times higher than occupants of automobiles. The leading cause of death is head injuries due to the absence of helmets. Research by insurance companies estimate that helmets could reduce the fatality rate by almost 40 percent. Still, Gustavson objects to government legislating laws that save peoples’ lives.
Edwards is an educator and one of her priorities is protecting family values and educating our children. Her political endorsements include the Nevada State Education Association, building and construction trades, Northern Nevada Central Labor Council, Professional Firefighters of Nevada and Planned Parenthood. She has more than enough endorsements and grassroots support to defeat Gustavson.
Gustavson is also opposed to gun control. I can see it now: On one side, Gustavson and his gun-toting cowboys mounted on their Harley steeds will randomly attempt to corral your vote. On the other side, Edwards with her well-organized supporters will be diligently and methodically knocking on doors of individual voters and actually campaigning on issues that affect the residents of Sparks and Reno. I wouldn’t sell Edwards short in this election.
Republican Phil Salerno will run against Shelia Leslie for state Senate District 1 seat. Salerno is a termed-out member of the Sparks City Council. Salerno will run on his record on the City Council and Leslie will run on her experience in the Nevada Assembly.
Leslie has been a member of the state Assembly since 1998 and ended her term-limited tenure as the majority whip. She is considered a liberal because she is an outspoken advocate for women’s rights, children, youth organizations, Nevadans who are homeless by circumstance (not by choice) and issues dealing with Nevada’s mentally ill.
Leslie was married to Bob Fulkerson, the co-founder and executive director of Progressive Leadership Alliance for Nevada, an organization dedicated and committed to improving the social status of the less fortunate and providing a “greater social justice” for everyone. As executive director of Citizen Alert from 1984 to 1994, Fulkerson led the crusade against storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain in southern Nevada.
The mayoral race in Sparks turned out as predicted. Incumbent Mayor Geno Martini garnered more than 65 percent of the vote. Gene Newhall received a creditable 1,247 votes and City Councilman Ron Schmitt had a 24 percent popularity rating. Not very high for a sitting councilman trying to unseat an incumbent mayor. With my ear to the ground, I hear that race might get a little nasty before it’s over. If Schmitt decides to sidestep the real issues and attacks Martini’s integrity, he’ll be lucky to get 20 percent of the vote. If Martini stays the high ground and runs on his realistic plans for the future of Sparks, he’ll win with the same 65 percent majority.
The battle between Democrat incumbent Sen. Harry Reid and Republican challenger Sharron Angle should be a textbook lesson on how politics really works. Angle defeated Sue Lowden in the primary. Lowden was a political protégée of state Sen. Bill Raggio and lost Republican support, in part because of her “chickens for health care” remarks that made her the center of attention nationwide. After her remark, Reno Mayor Bob Cashell, a Republican, labeled Lowden as “Suicide Sue.” If Lowden could have kept her ducks lined up in a row instead of letting her chickens out of the coop, she might have won the election.
Cashell may have contributed to Lowden’s defeat, but he is supporting the incumbent Democrat Sen. Reid. Cashell was quoted as saying Angle is an “ultra right-winger” who wants to end income tax and is in favor of closing the U.S. Department of Education.
Supporting a Democrat is not new for Cashell. At one time, Cashell was a registered Democrat. In 1982, as a Democrat he was elected Nevada’s lieutenant governor. Richard Bryan, another Democrat, was elected governor on the same ticket. A few months later Cashell switched his party affiliations to the Republican Party. Unfounded rumors were that he switched parties because he wanted to run against Bryan for governor. But Cashell never ran for state office again.
Thanks to Suicide Sue, the debate between these two extreme political philosophies of Reid’s liberalism and Angle’s Tea Party conservatism will be the nation’s window to the most contentious political battle in Nevada history. I wouldn’t miss it even if I possibly could.
David Farside is a Sparks resident and political activist. The polemics of his articles can be discussed at firstname.lastname@example.org. His Web site is www.thefarsidechronicles.com.