The Reno Report

News for America's Mayors About Reno, Nevada ... Site of 1998 Mayors' Conference
Please mail comments to: Reno City Council, Box 1900, Reno, NV 89505

University study criticizes Reno government
"In its long history, Reno has almost never dealt effectively or
decisively with growth and development issues." So states a study report
from the University of Nevada, Reno, concerning increased railroad
traffic through the heart of Reno's gambling district."The railroad gave
birth to Reno, and the city created, then ignored, the problems downtown
railroad crossings caused," according to an overview of the report
printed in the Reno Gazette-Journal on July 11, 1997.
Reno City Manager sees need for $680,000 public relations budget
Stating "bad press" for such need, Charles McNeely, has convinced the
Reno City Council that the city must spend heavily to tell its story.
Taxpayers, however, point out that simply telling the straight facts
about happenings at city hall can't possibly justify the need for
$680,000 in a town the size of Reno. The specter is that heavy funding
will be used to employ hired guns as spin doctors and damage control
managers. The city earlier this year announced a program to show city
employees doing their jobs on huge billboards in many locations around
International airport not a priority according to Reno City Council
Although Reno's tourist economy is critically dependent upon Reno-Tahoe
International Airport, located in the middle of town, and although
Reno's sister city, Sparks, recently requested a grand jury
investigation into 18 alleged wrong-doings by airport management, the
RCC has formally declined to view the airport as deserving priority
treatment in its deliberations and machinations. Citizen activists,
including Sam Dehne, Lt. Col., U.S. Air Force (Retired), are exceedingly
concerned with increasing airport traffic, noise, and expansion ... as
well as the specter of outright corruption by airport officials. In the
instance of Col. Dehne, Reno Mayor Jeff Griffin clearly resents this
citizen's questioning the city's posture that all is generally well at
the airport, political rhetoric not withstanding. Interesting to note
that Sparks' officials are far better respected than Reno officials by
their respective constituents. Griffin was elected mayor by less than
16-percent of Reno's registered voters at the time ... and has a bad
habit of blowing up at Reno's council table when Dehne displays his
right to free expression under the First Amendment. Griffin's
special-interest backers equipped him with a campaign warchest which was
more than three times that of his closest competitor; in spite of this,
he gathered only about 600 more votes than his closest competitor.
Griffin is not expected to be re-elected.
Reno City Council members face possible class action over lack of growth controls
By permitting excessive construction of new homes in recent years, the city council has caused a glut of residential units thereby skewing supply-demand and values of existing homes. A small group of citizens is now laying the groundwork for a class action suit against the council to prove council negligence in not protecting property values. "Sales of existing homes in the Truckee Meadows have dropped for the sixth consecutive month compared to last year" according to a July 8, 1997 article in the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Reno City Council settles wrongful death case without concern for truth
and justice

Following the killing of John Paiva Junior in his own home by a hail of
Reno police bullets several years back, Reno officials hired a small
army of special attorneys to defend involved police officers against
wrongful death charges brought by Paiva's family. Death scene evidence
was lost, stolen, or destroyed resulting in strong criticism of local
law enforcement by a federal judge. Immediately following Paiva's death,
involved officers were permitted to discuss the incident among
themselves, contrary to Reno Police Department procedure. When their
resources and faith in the justice system ran out, Paiva's mother and
father decided to accept a token settlement, rather than maintain false
hope for their day in court. Without any public display of concern over
what actually happened when Paiva was gunned down, and without any table
discussion of substance, the Reno City Council approved the token
Reno Council not friendly toward open meeting law
Even though a representative of the Nevada Attorney General lectured the
Reno City Council on the existence of a state open meeting law within
recent memory, reports continue from reliable sources (plural) inside
city hall regarding various methods used by city officials to circumvent
the letter and spirit of such law. The council is widely seen as
pandering to gambling barons and growth barons. In this context, council
members evidently do not want the general public to know about their
suspected monkey business behind the scenes. As for the city attorney,
it has become public knowledge that she failed to enforce a key
provision of the city's charter for about ten years having to do with
council members not being permitted to have "any lease, contract, or
other agreement with the City of Reno." Trustworthy government is not
alive and well in Reno.
Reno police officers demonstrate at city hall
Angered by the Reno City Council's refusal to extend an acceptable Chief
of Police contract to a widely-respected acting police chief, a large
group of Reno police officers attended a council meeting to demonstrate
their dissatisfaction. Some members of this contingent displayed
behavior which can be fairly characterized as unprofessional and rowdy.
When one council member criticized this behavior, local police mounted
an effort to recall the council member, but failed to gather necessary
petition signatures. The rowdy demonstration caused Mayor Jeff Griffin
to be visibly shaken.
City Council decides police parachute training is okay after officer is

Failure to oversee Reno Police Department management practices and
policies recently resulted in Reno taxpayers having to pay death
benefits for an RPD officer who participated in a parachute acrobatics
session at a nearby U.S. Navy station. Without any policy justifying or
authorizing parachute training for RPD officers, Officer Keith Hashimoto
died when his two 'chutes failed to open. A fellow RPD officer, who was
with Hashimoto during the acrobatics session, refused to comment on the
"accident" even to representatives of Nevada's Attorney General. To
protect Hashimoto's family, the city council decided that he was
officially on duty when he died ... even though there was no justifying
policy and Hashimoto was on his day off.

Reno Government_Watchdog

The price of liberty ... and good government ... is eternal vigilance
11 August 1997
The City of Reno has announced a $680,000 budget for public relations.
There is no doubt that taxpayers would deny this insult to the public
treasury if given the opportunity to do so. Simply telling the plain
facts about happenings at city hall could not possibly justify more than
a very liberal $100,000. Obviously, the decision makers at city hall
are not concerned with representing majority consensus of Reno citizens.
The overriding agenda at city hall is pandering to the gambling and
growth industries.
As important as these industries are, the common
good and the will of the people are more important.
Critics of Reno government are not appreciated by key persons at city
A clear example of this is the case of Sam Dehne, a tireless
citizen advocate and retired Air Force officer ... whose First Amendment
right to free expression has more than once been suspended by Mayor
Griffin during council meetings. One of Sam's current concerns with
city hall antics is the downtown parking meter fiasco. Figures on the
reverse (at bottom) of this page reveal the city's recent changes in parking meter
fees and regulations would have translated into a potential
400-percent-plus increase in meter revenues. Prior to this newsletter
summarizing the meter fiasco in an upcoming issue, the following
questions are herewith asked of each member of the Reno City Council.
Will any member reply?
1. Did any member of the Reno council reveal, in any documentable way,
concern over the new parking meter regulations before Sam Dehne raised
such concern at a council meeting?
2. Did any member of the council formally request council agenda time
to discuss the new parking meter regulations before Sam raised related
3. Did any person other than Sam present hundreds of signatures of
persons opposed to the new parking meter regulations?
4. Did any person other than Sam propose a resolution for council
consideration regarding modification of the new parking meter
5. Was Sam promised a time-certain slot to discuss the new parking
meter regulations at the council meeting of August 5, 1997 ... by Kris
Forest, a Reno office staff employee?
6. Did Mayor Griffin emphatically state at the council meeting of
August 5 that Sam had not been assigned a time-certain slot to address
the council?
7. Why does the City of Reno NOT have ONE person assigned to
monitoring and coordinating ALL facets of parking meter operations?
(According to the City Clerk's office, questions regarding parking
meters must be directed to at least THREE city departments.)
8. Why could no Reno official at the August 5 council meeting answer
the fundamental question: Why was the hourly parking meter fee raised
from 25-cents to 50-cents?
Correspondence should be addressed to:
G. P. Felton, Editor, Reno Government Watchdog, Box 50093, Reno, NV
Simplification of potential meter revenues under old system:
9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday ........................54 hrs. weekly
52 weeks yearly .............................................................2808 hrs. yearly
Potential revenue per machine at 25-cents per hour .........$702 yearly
Times 1500 meters ......................................................................$1,053,000 yearly

Simplification of potential meter revenues per blooper proposal:
8 a.m. to Midnight, Seven days weekly ............................112 hrs. weekly
52 weeks yearly .............................................................................5824 hrs. yearly
Potential revenue per machine at 50-cents per hour ............$2,912 yearly
Times 1500 meters .......................................................................$4,368,000 yearly

The potential meter revenue increase: Over 400 percent !!!

4,368,000 divided by 1,053,000 = 4.148

Variables which must be considered include:
* Number of meters at various locations
* Rate at which meters are changed from old system to new system
* Actual hours of operation and enforcement
* Days when meters are not in operation (holidays)
* Somewhat-reduced use of meters due to public anger
* Weather
* Special events
* Fines collected as result of overtime parking
* Increase in overtime parking fines due to shorter time limits
* Cost of staff time to manage meters including repair costs
* Cost of purchasing new meters or upgrades
* Etcetera
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