Citizen November, 1997The Reno Citizen takes no responsibility for views expressed by its writers. (But we would if we could.)Comments happily accepted. Click on the Mailbox, Read Last Month's "Citizen Gadfly Asks" by clicking here. Why Did the Ethics Commission Whitewash the Mayor's Airport Kickback Contract?
By Sam Dehné
The Nevada "Ethics" Commission did not allow itself to be blinded by the facts... as it continued to whitewash the circumstances surrounding the mayor's plush kickback contracts with his political subordinates at Reno's Airport. They were forced to meet after the mayor was caught with both hands in the cookie jar...
On 18 October, 1997, this long-time clique of good 'ol boys (and a few token girls) huddled into a small room at Nevada U. and asked almost all the wrong questions. And when honest answers were thrown at them, they either ignored them or reverted to innocuous gobble-dee-gook to circumvent the facts and arrive at their obviously pre-ordained decision. A decision to merely slap the cookie crumbs from the mayor's fingertips... in abject defiance of the SPIRIT of city and state laws that define and control good and honorable government.
Their inane conclusion was: It is all right for the mayor to do whatever is necessary to get plush government-funded kickback contracts for his private company, but once he has those contracts, then, and only then, must he keep an arm's length away from his cronies at the Airport and at EDAWN (Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada).
Some of you are probably thinking by now; There you go again, Sam... Okay - how about this? How about running through just a few of the facts that were presented as sworn testimony... evidence that totally underwhelmed this Commission:
1. The mayor got a plush $27,500 contract from the Reno Airport Authority.
2. The mayor and city council hand out plush part-time jobs to 4 of the 8 people on the Airport Authority Board... the controlling body.
3. The political subordinates "serve at his pleasure".
4. Within days of the recent appointment, his personal favorite, Sue Camp, paid him back by seconding the plush government contract that his private company had been seeking, unsuccessfully, for several years. (This, by the way, was her only day as a Airport "trustee"... as she was immediately re-appointed to an even "plusher" part-time position on the Washoe County Commission... paying $40,000 plus those standard government perks. Whew!! Busy, busy.)
5. The plush Airport contract was not offered to others... such as UPS and FedEx, via the normal legal bidding process.
6. There was no disclosure by the mayor or the Airport of his ownership of the company that was receiving the plush government kickback contract.
7. As an example of the clandestine nature of the proceedings, when somebody queried about who owned the company, there was a pause, followed by, "a man called Jeff Griffin". This was the mayor... the man who helped appoint them to their plush part-time jobs.
8. When asked why he went for what had to be a questionable contract, the mayor alibied by saying that he wasn't making enough money on his mayor's salary and needed another "arrow for his quiver".
This, and other facts and evidence presented to the Commission, succinctly revealed there was a plan concocted between the mayor's company and some of his subordinates at the airport to feather the mayor's nest... of arrows.
As a VERY MINIMUM, shouldn't the Commission have immediately:
a. declared the mayor's kickback contract with the Airport null and void?
b. directed the state attorney general to investigate further as to the implications of skullduggery between the airport and mayor?
c. asked the mayor to voluntarily take a lie detector test... to examine the dimensions and legality of his wheelings and dealings?
The Commission has probably made some honorable decisions in the past, but in this instance, by refusing to take honorable and effective action, the Commission effectively conducted a Kangaroo Court... and declared ITSELF null and void in the eyes of the public.
If this had been an Honor Code meeting at the United States Air Force Academy, the Commission would probably have been expelled or disbanded... as it ignored the fact that its job is to examine violations of the "SPIRIT OF THE LAW"... Another Frank Prank!
By Sam Dehné
There you go again, General Partlow, painting a less than accurate picture of life in Northern Nevada... as in Northern Nevada Network.
Columnist Frank Partlow, in his Oct 12 propaganda piece for Reno's ruling class, skewed reality once again in trying to alibi for Reno Mayor Jeff Griffin's conflict of interest in seeking and accepting a government contract from Reno's airport for his private business.
Tell us, Frank, what bizarre logic system conjured up your belief that the airport authority is "an entity entirely separate from the Reno City Council"? Surely you're aware that half of its trustees are appointed by AND ACCOUNTABLE TO the Reno council? They "serve at council's pleasure" and are required to report back to council. They ARE political subordinates of the council.
Additionally, the Nevada Revised Statutes are filled with laws prohibiting Griffin-type "nest-feathering"... such as 281.481. 2, which says that a public official shall not participate in contracts between government and his own private business.
Come on, Frank, even you can't believe what you have written. You're an intelligent... though agenda-directed... person. You also can't possibly think that Nevada's so-called Ethics Commission deserves any credibility or respect. A fancy name tag can't mask stupidity and worse.
Why didn't you name the "self-appointed citizen activist" you attempted to slam with flapdoodle? If you didn't have Sam Dehné in mind, do the honorable thing and name your target. Your readers also deserve to know who your Northern Nevada Network clients/employers are. Putting you in clear focus will help your readers better understand the positions you promote. And, for crying out loud, don't ask us to believe that you can possibly take off your Northern Nevada Network hat when you write for the RGJ. Citizens doubt that the NNN guys you work for, as a de facto lobbyist and publicist, would allow any Partlow offering that went against their grain.
Also please explain who, in your value system, is empowered to appoint citizen activists. Where should one apply? Have you ever stopped to reflect that American citizens are OBLIGATED to challenge corruption and incompetence in government? It also follows that we must challenge columnists and propagandists who distort the truth about citizen participation in government.
If, as you suggest, an apology is owed, it is the mayor who owes it. He has been caught with his hands in the cookie jar, and should resign.
Your recognition of this lone "citizen activist's" positive effect on government... is better than any medal. Gaining the wrath of NNN is irrefutable evidence that I am heading in the right direction.
Thank you! WHO'S TO BLAME FOR 2nd HAND SMOKE DISEASE?
ARE AIRLINES AND CASINOS PASSING (SMOKY) GAS? By Sam Dehné & Doctor Hubert Unsevidor
For some years workers in the airline (and recently the casino) industry have been filing law suits against tobacco companies... because 2nd hand smoke has been proven dangerous. Why, though, are the airlines and casinos being left off the hook in these mis-directed legal challenges?
For instance... if bad food found its way into an airliner or casino, the producer would be held liable and sued. But if the bad harmful food continued to be served, shouldn't the business, itself, then be held responsible? This certainly appears to be the case these days... especially in smoke-filled casinos.
If employees can successfully sue the makers of the harmful cigarettes, then by any sense of logic, the BIG BUSINESSES that force their workers to expose themselves to the danger are also culpable.
These, and other businesses, know the harmful effects of the smoke... yet they do nothing to protect their workers. The workers' lawsuits are right... just partially misdirected.
LARRY, CURLY & MOE PICK ON JUDY By Guy Felton (internet commentary)
Councilmember Judy Herman recently commented during a council meeting that Citizen Advisory Committee seats were already pledged at that point in time. Mayor Griffin and Councilmember Hascheff, etc., took affront at this... evidently misperceiving such comment as an allusion to backroom politics... and attempted to squelch Mrs. Herman.
Judy, being the class act she is, took the antics of her colleagues in stride with a smile on her face; we can understand her amusement and admire her determination to bring sanity and integrity to a city council dominated by wheeler-dealers and fools. Attention fools: Was a seat not pledged to Ernie Martinelli by way of reappointment? Was a seat not pledged to architect Barada by way of reappointment? Was a seat not pledged to the Arts 2000 folks? Were two seats not pledged to the River Corridor folks? Are Shelly Warner and John Metzger not "in line" for appointments? Hang in there Judy; don't let the bastards get you down!
AND...MOST RENO CITIZENS DON'T WANT THE DONE-DEAL THEATER FIASCO Guy Felton [http://abcsn.com] "Click"
Even the fools on the Reno City Council must realize by now that most Reno citizens and taxpayers are strongly opposed to the downtown theater project for which the council has already committed $$millions of public dollars. The fools' position, however, is the usual "So what!"
According to the Declaration of Independence, "... governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed." Council fools are abusing their powers and will be held accountable.
Can Reno's Airport Trustees Hone their Skills? By Kora Makitaka
Among some determinations from a huff & fluff airport audit committee were findings that trustees need to "communicate" better... and that they must become "consensus" oriented. Therefore, a training course, attempting to "hone" these skills, was held at Hidden Valley country club. The instructor (* Idora Silver) conducted an interesting and enjoyable 4 hour seminar.
The problem, however, is not so much communicating skills... recent chairs Luther Mack and Glen Carano run/ran fine meetings. The real problem is that the appointed Airport Board refuses to listen to, and act responsibly on, the advice, warnings, and pleadings of the citizens it is supposed to serve. Example: At their Retreat earlier this year they refused to adopt as a goal... "The safety and well-being of Reno's citizens"... as proposed by The Reno Citizen.
And how can there be a "consensus" when most of the trustees cater mainly to the cancerous growth agendas of the special interest groups who pulled the strings to get them appointed to their plush positions?
Critical issues are presented time and time again at Board meetings... and even in the other media now and then... to little or no avail. Deaf ears hear about:
# Private planes flying over schools, churches, and houses at dangerously low altitudes,
# Improperly funded landgrabs.
# Refusals to properly mitigate airline noise,
# Unilateral flood plain displacement schemes,
# Airport kickback contracts to political "bosses",
# An irrational decision to build a huge military complex in the middle of Reno.
# Continuous failure to act upon public input.
Until these, and other, problems are corrected, all the communications training in the world won't do any good. RENO GOVERNMENT RESOLUTION
Whereas effective communication at the Reno City Council table requires understanding of the English language including definitions of many terms such as "guilty," and
Whereas a Reno citizen, speaking before the council on October 28, 1997, was put at serious disadvantage due to the lack of understanding of at least one council member relating to the definition the word "guilty,"
Be it therefore resolved that members of said council shall take a course/test in English vocabulary so that they will not make foolish and sometimes false statements at table... thereby interfering with due process, specifically the right of each citizen under the 1st Amendment of the Constitution to express his opinions and concerns to his elected representatives... directly or indirectly... even in sarcastic terms, and
Be it further resolved that each member of said council shall equip himself with an English dictionary at the council table to mitigate any possible language deficiency. ###CITIZEN GADFLY ASKS: by Sam Dehné
29. A man with a secure government job paying $75,000... with a known stash of $35,000 cash in a private account... had a $6,000 loan he owed discharged (canceled) in the most bizarre court in America... the bankruptcy court. The judge opined he did not have the ability to pay. The court of "fresh starts"... Yesireebob!
29a. But then... the rules HAVE changed... when an "ethics" committee says a mayor can have kickback contracts with government agencies.
28. People ask why we call Michael Lee Smith (the young man who attacked the Reno Airport in his '97 Cadillac on 11 May) an "amateur terrorist". Because the goal of a "terrorist" is to wreak havoc. And that is what Smith did that night... endangering himself, all those around him, and hundreds of airline passengers.
27. Did you know that when a stock (or the market) drops 50%... it takes a gain of 100% to get back to where it started? Check it out... works similarly with smaller loss and attempt to regain previous value... always takes a higher percentage to get back where it started. Is that fair?
26. Colorado is contemplating a law banning adult smoking in cars... when children are with them. Studies indicate that up to 50% of addiction is caused by little children being forced to suck in the smoke of their parents. Great law!
26a. You would think in this day and age parents would realize the horrible effect the nasty smoke has on their very own children. But they don't. This law will protect the health and safety of millions of innocent children... and save taxpayers $$billions in Medicare/Medicaid taxes.
25. Reno's downtown Parking Meters continue to gouge citizens (ax potential) some $75,000/Mon.. since rates were unilaterally doubled in August.
24. Why aren't there more complaints about the fact that to get from the West side of Reno to the East side (or vice versa)... a distance of about 1 mile... a citizen has to drive about 10 to 12 miles? What should be a 3 minute drive is turned into a 30 minute waste of precious time. Why? Because Reno's Un-american airport is right smack in the middle. Can anybody think of anything more "stupider"?
23. Who was that man the TV's showed (the bottom half of) playing the guitar at the Rewana Farms wake ceremony? The other half of Elvis? No! It was none other than Citizen Gadfly, aka a... protest-musical performer, Sam Dehné. Why didn't the TV's want people to see his head? Are they that threatened by his notoriety?
22. Now the Reno brass wants to put a huge portable "dam" (inflatable water bladder) around the airport... to further divert flood waters.. to homes of innocent citizens! WHO gives them that right?
21. Why has the Reno Gazette's normally astute reporter, John Stearns, suddenly become that newspaper's propaganda minister... when it comes to Reno Un-american Airport brainwashing flapdoodle? Does he know that the airport brass continues to have as one of their goals the ignorance of the "safety and well-being of Reno citizens"? Is there any particular reason he hasn't reported on that... as opposed to continuously espousing their cancerous growth schemes? Why does he rely mainly on Fat Cats when asking for quotes about airport policies?
21a. Why doesn't Mr Stearns report about, for instance;
@ The illegal $$multi-million landgrab scheme concocted between the airport and the FAA to confiscate land from innocent citizens... and the subsequent deaths of 7 of those landowners?
@ The airport's refusal to adopt any reasonable and safe noise mitigation policies?
@ The stupidity of building a huge military complex in the middle of what his Fat Cats want to be the "gaming capital of the country"?
@ The Reno mayor's kickback contracts from his political subordinates at the airport???
@ The fact that the airport is continuously displacing the "flood plain" and flooding thousands of innocent citizens... who otherwise would be living in peace?
@ And problems... so on and so on and so on?
20. Isn't it about time to bring the boys back from Bosnia... and station them on America's southern borders?
19. Are other citizens tired of the way the local news media tries to spin the truth away from stories... and brainwash the masses... with its misleading headlines and inculcating comments... like "the Reno airport has to grow"? Local media is a classic example of Fat Cats having control of the resources that control citizens' thought processes. 18. If this city council (with exception of Judy Herman) had its way, section 2.020.2 of the City Charter law would read; "Reno city council members shall have no, direct or indirect, contracts, leases, or agreements with Reno... unless they can get away with it."
17. The Reno Gazette reported that "citizen activist" Sam Dehne "admitted" he had no evidence to offer in his testimony before the ethics commission on 17 October. They could not have been further off the mark. The transcript will portray that reams of evidence were presented to those deaf ears... as they continued the whitewashing of the mayor's plush kickback contracts.
16. Now that the Hilton car races are finished with their attack on Reno's ambiance, (interneteers) "scroll" back up top and check on the REAL race at Reno earlier this year... on the airport runway.
15. The flapdoodle that emanates from Reno city hall never ceases to amaze... especially when it comes to their views about government operations. Interneteers please click here, but read while seated.
15a. For more questions about city hall gibberish, click right here with your mouse button.
14. City hall agenda item of 14 Oct; "Proposal for Reno Intl. Resources Center". What happened was city council voted to give local businesses $41,600 (as a starter) of Corporate Welfare money... from local tax coffers... to increase their businesses (especially that of the mayor). These businesses couldn't even say for sure that this scheme might benefit the city (aka citizens) of Reno...
14a. Shades of the Parking Meter fiasco... which, in case you forgot is still gouging citizens up to $87,000 every month. Staff admitted to council back then that they didn't know why they did that either... council approved the gouging anyway... with a 3 month "look see". It's before council again 18 Nov.
14b. City Hall also voted to include Guadeloupe as a "sister city". Do you wonder how much $$$ that is going to cost citizens? As council takes those "fact finding trips" down there. To test the Margaritas?
13. And then there is city council critter, Herndon. His new-found writing skills are portrayed... with honest answers to his flapdoodle by cyber-linking (interneteers) here... Click with your mouse. (Please don't miss this.)
12. Will the city government EVER make developers pay the impact fees for the negative things that happen because of their often blightful over expansion? Why not? Is it because these Fat Cats provide the vast amount of funds for re-election campaigns? Spanish Springs, Double Diamond... a few of the 480 developments (at last count) that are invading the area... AND THEY DO NOT PAY THEIR SHARE FOR THE PROBLEMS THEY CREATE.
12a. Need for schools, roads, cleanup, policing, air, water, jobs... to name just a few of the terrible problems that are neglected by local government... as they pander to their special interest cronies...
11. It was amusing to watch the Un-american Reno city council whining about the railroad. Truly a taste of their own medicine... as the tables are turned. They would not listen to the pleading of their own citizens. Why should they expect the railroad to listen to their hypocritical whining?
10. Why does the airport use ill-gotten FAA tax dollars to steal land from citizens who are not complaining about noise... and refuse to listen to those who are complaining?
9. The Reno Airport IS part of the city of Reno! To state otherwise is just plain stupid... Not one important move can be made down there without the direct or indirect rubberstamp of Reno government.
8. Contrary to airline and airport brainwashing propaganda attempts, stage III jets are not quiet... not even close.
6. The Fat Cats' new buzzphrase is "economic engine". RenoAir's Airport rep has an interesting way of explaining the Reno Airport "corporate welfare" program... of which RenoAir is one of many recipients... most recently to the tune of $400,000. He claims that RenoAir is an "economic engine"... as if that justifies wasting more public funds to support its (supposedly private) operation. NOT! If such is the case, then let's all declare ourselves "economic engines" and get in line for some of that Airport money. The Reno Citizen wants about $30,000 for advertising. What is on YOUR wish list?
6a. Reno's Un-american Airport is an expert at both receiving ($$$millions) and handing out ($$$hundreds of thousands) "corporate welfare". If citizens attended the rubberstamp meetings (caucus and regular) they would begin to wonder if the "trustees" really have a handle on where this $$$money is coming from... OR where this $$$money is going.
6b. And isn't it time to eliminate that word "trustee"? There is something nasty about the sound of it... when it refers to political subordinates who vote to provide kickback contracts to their Reno city hall bosses. Sparks' city hall removed an Airport "trustee" for violations that were far less obvious...
5. Once again the Reno city attorney is trying to close the barn door after the pigs are out. Telling the mayor [NOW THAT HE HAS A KICKBACK CONTRACT WITH HIS SUBORDINATES AT THE RENO AIRPORT] to NOW ABSTAIN FROM AIRPORT ISSUES... is pure evidence and proof that she considers the airport to be part of Reno government. Where was she when the mayor was NOT ABSTAINING from appointing his subordinates... subordinates who immediately paid him back with a lucrative kickback $$$contract for his private company... subordinates who are now his bosses? Who IS in control?
5a. Does anybody doubt that numerous laws have been violated by the Un-american Airport and the mayor? Try this one: Nevada Revised Statute 281.481, 2. "A public officer or employee shall not participate as an agent of government in the negotiation or execution of a contract between the government and any private business in which he has a pecuniary interest." If you want more, just pull out that section of the NRS and browse through it... then ask the city attorney to dust off the Reno city charter and read it to you... Section 2.02.02.
5b. We, the People, have met the enemy... and the enemy is the Reno City Council! Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. Why is it standard policy for the Reno council to ignore the will of the people and force unpopular policies on Reno citizens?
5c. Reno's mayor has been caught with his hands in the cookie jar... taking airport government kickbacks by misusing his authority as their "boss". Shouldn't he resign in shame? Why the on-going conspiracy of silence by the rest of city council concerning this violation of city and state laws?
4. Reno's Great American Airlines was shafted by the lethargic and monolithic FAA... the same Reno FAA that did not know about the attack on Reno's Airport by an "amateur terrorist" on the night of May 11th. No wonder they didn't know about it. They were too busy destroying poor Great American. Isn't it time for the FAA to stop its cowardly bullying... to stop playing the part of the unwelcome government bureaucratic yokel?
3. Readers ask, "What is Flapdoodle?" Try this... the primary finding of the Reno Airport Huff & Fluff audit was that the Board of "trustees" should reach a consensus on issues. How can there be a consensus when some members are honorable and some members are not honorable? Participating in an illegal tax-financed kickback scheme with the mayor's private company is crooked. Can you imagine an elected official in the United States not knowing, or pretending not to know, right from wrong? That is nasty flapdoodle. (Interneteers please click here for details)
3a. If Reno's Un-american Airport had honorable people running it, there would be no need to pay for $2,700,000 worth of taxpayer-funded lawyer help. The Airport's premeditated participation in violation of Nevada Law... is built-in job security for those lawyers protecting the Airport. But, folks, isn't there something basically unethical about defending law-breakers?
2. Has anybody heard even one more word about the near-tragic airplane crash into the Pine Middle schoolyard? Local media spent more time reporting the local weather than that airport blunder. You can bet that the FAA will not place any of the blame on Reno's Un-american Airport... even though it was the Airport that told the pilot to fly his emergency airplane over the densely populated neighborhood.
2a. Do you think the Un-american Airport learned anything? Nope! Day after day, dozens of amateur pilots are directed to fly over those schools, churches, and homes at extremely low altitudes.
1. Recently we reported that RenoAir "owns" one airplane. Well, they just bought another... bringing the total to 3 "owned" versus 27 leased. This should still makes employees nervous... Now RenoAir has announced it will buy a few more airplanes.Catalyst for Change...
By Guy Felton
Whereas a majority of Reno citizens hold little respect for the Reno City Council believing it to be dominated by the backroom politics of powerful special interests, and
Whereas the Reno City Council makes many decisions which are not supported by a majority of Reno citizens, and
Whereas some members of the Reno City Council would like to pretend that the foregoing statements are not true, and
Whereas the citizens of Reno deserve a municipal government which is committed to sounding and honoring the will of the people, and
Whereas the citizens of Reno deserve a government which they can trust and respect,
Be it therefore resolved that the Reno City Council shall hold a series of town meetings at city hall ... open to all persons ... to simply ask for public questions and input regarding improving Reno government, such meetings to not be orchestrated by city officials or district councils in any way to achieve predetermined outcomes, and
Be it further resolved that the Reno City Council shall hold a workshop to review the Constitution of the United States of America and its guarantees of citizen rights which are, in practice, abused by city policies and by certain members of the council, and
Be it also resolved that the Reno City Council shall encourage each and every citizen to submit written proposed resolutions having to do with overhauling Reno municipal government to make it more citizen friendly and more responsive to the will of the people, such resolutions to be publicly aired and considered by the council. ###
BALLAD OF RENO'S RIVER
Words AND Music by Sam Dehné
You might not find this song on the charts, but start listening for it soon... unless city hall changes its blundering ways... which is not very likely.
HERE'S A STORY OF RENO'S RIVER.
IT FLOWS THRU THE MIDDLE OF TOWN
MOST PEOPLE THINK THAT IT'S A BEAUTIFUL THING.
BUT THE BIGGEST NEWS IN RENO
IS MIGHTY CITY HALL... THAT
DOESN'T GIVE A HOOT OR A DANGALY DING.
THEY TALK ABOUT CASINOS
THEY TALK ABOUT THE TRAINS
PAY FOR PROPAGANDA...
THEY NEVER CAN EXPLAIN.
THEY TAKE TRIPS TO DIEGO
TO CONJURE UP A PLAN...
TO BUILD A CINEPLEX... THAT
CITIZENS ALL DAMN.
SO LISTEN TO YOUR HEARTS
STOP BELIEVING THOSE LIES.
LISTEN TO YOUR HEARTS
AS THE RIVER FLOWS BY.
LET THE CITIZENS VOTE! DEMOCRACY!
LET THE CITIZENS VOTE! NOT ANARCHY!
WHO WINS, WHO LOSES, WHO PAYS?
WHAT DO THE PEOPLE THINK?
THESE QUESTIONS ASKED OF CITY HALL
AND ALL THEY DO IS STINK (up the joint).
THE MAYOR GETS AIRPORT KICKBACKS.
AS HE CIRCUMVENTS THE LAW.
BLAMES SNIVELING MALCONTENTS...
AND FEEDS THEM MORE HE-HAW.
SO LISTEN TO YOUR HEARTS,
STOP BELIEVING THOSE LIES.
LISTEN TO YOUR HEARTS,
AS THE RIVER FLOWS BY.
LET THE CITIZENS VOTE! DEMOCRACY!
LET THE CITIZENS VOTE! NOT ANARCHY!
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