Citizen September, 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 This Month's "Citizen Gadfly Asks" by clicking here.
What Has THE RENO CITIZEN Done for Reno's Citizens?
Special Staff Report
As we pass the 2 1/2 year mark of publication, it is time to reflect.
We are not going to name the best restaurants and coffeeshops or movie theaters or "make-out" spots. Nor are we going to nominate the best/worst city council critters or the most watchable personalities... although, if he could be found, it might be interesting to find out a little more about Michael Lee Smith, the amateur terrorist who crashed the Reno Airport and military base and took a joy ride on the Reno airport's main runway... expertly dodging huge airliners trying to land around him.
Instead we will list a few areas where The Reno Citizen internet magazine, and its vigilant staff, have tried to make a difference in Reno... tried to make Reno a better city:
Our help in correcting the Air Guard Mission from the noisy, defunct, and tax-wasting RF-4 to the quieter and more practical C-130.
Our forcing of the Reno's Carpetbagger Government to rescind the Parking Meter tax-gouging of Reno's citizens... saving a maximum of $2,262,000 per year... with still more corrective work to be done with that mess.
Our steadfast opposition to, and reports on, the silly "recall" attempt against councilwoman Pruett (Herman) that was aborted.
Our role in the Grand Jury's ordering of an Audit against the Reno-Casino Airport. And while the audit was too skinny of scope, it has helped force the airport to start correcting its audacious and arrogant attitude toward Reno citizens.
Our role in exposing the non-payment of Bonds by the Reno Spark Convention Authority (RSCVA).
Our role in focusing community attention on the badly corrupted Air Guard Relocation Study... which up to this point has found the questions to the answers the airport already had... the planned confiscation of homes from innocent citizens with federal corporate-welfare dollars... and the construction of a huge military complex right dab in the middle of Reno. (This is one of the most atrocious airport-concocted schemes yet... and there have been a lot of them.)
Just this month, our exclusive exposé (on the internet the same day) of the Reno mayor's attempted clandestine "sweetheart" contract between the Reno airport and his private company... in violation of everything that "good" government is supposed to stand for... and in violation of the Laws and Ethics of Reno AND Nevada. Note: He was caught with both hands it the cookie jar. Shouldn't he resign immediately?
Our uncovering of the Reno airport's attempted cover-up of the break-in at the Air Guard and airport by amateur terrorist, Michael Lee Smith... who continues to be on the lam as of this date... evading the law, probably because the airport would not want the truth about this cover-up, by the Airport, the FAA, and many other entities, revealed at trial. Did they buy him that one-way ticket and load him down with cash... as rumored?
Detailed investigations of, and reports on, these and many other stories can be found in The Reno Citizen on the internet. Our archives contain 18 months of readable and intriguing data... as well as dozens of other timeless features. Get yourself a cup of coffee and check it out.
The Reno Citizen continues to thank all citizens for their enthusiastic and patriotic support. What Part of Conflict of Ethics-Interest Don't You Understand?
What Part of Cronyism Don't You Understand?
By Sam Dehné, FlapDoodle Evaluator
The Reno Airport has awarded Reno's mayor a clandestinely concocted $27,500 taxpayer financed contract under the haziest of circumstances... and in direct violation of Section 2.020.2 of the Reno City Charter... arguably the most important statement in the Charter.
One simple question: Did the mayor ask the City Attorney if there was a "conflict of interest"... prior to entering into this extremely dubious contract? If not, why didn't he? Wouldn't a "reasonable public officer" be concerned? Was he hoping (along with his new "bosses" down at the airport) to slip another one by the citizens?
And while he has been busily feathering his own personal nest with plush contracts with his new "bosses" down at the Reno-Casino Airport, most of the Reno-Casino council and Reno news media have been busily alibiing for him. Laws of honorable government have been created to expose, nab, and punish public people who try to bilk the citizenry. Review a few of the pertinent laws of the Nevada Revised Statutes... and see if you qualify as a rocket scientist:
ETHICS IN GOVERNMENT, General Provisions, Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS)
"Public officer" defined. For purposes of Nevada Ethics in Government Law, the term "public officer" includes (1) elective officers and (2) persons appointed to positions created by law whose duties are specifically set forth in law and who are made responsible by law, for the direction, supervision, and control of their agencies, including part-time officers and those who serve without compensation.
281.421 Legislative declaration and findings.
1 (b) A public officer or employee must commit himself to avoid conflicts between his private business interests and those of the general public whom he serves.
CODE OF ETHICAL STANDARDS
281.481 (with highliting)
1. A public officer or employee shall not seek or accept any gift, service, favor, employment, engagement, emolument or economic opportunity which would tend to improperly influence a reasonable person in his position to depart from faithful and impartial discharge of his public duties.
2. A public officer or employee shall not use his position in government to secure or grant unwarranted privileges, preferences, exemptions or advantages for himself, any member of his household, and business entity in which he has a significant pecuniary interest, or any other person.
3. 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 significant pecuniary interest.
5. If the commission finds that a violation of a provision of this chapter has been committed by a public officer removable from office by impeachment only, it shall file a report with the appropriate person responsible for commencing impeachment proceedings as to its finding. The report must contain a statement of facts alleged to constitute the violation.
ETHICS IN GOVERNMENT? An oxymoron? There is an Ethics Commission down in Carson City. If something is not done to correct this scheme between Reno's mayor and the airport brass, then, folks, isn't it time for that Commission to pack its bags? And where are the Nevada Attorney General, and the District Attorney, and the Reno City Attorney... while this mess is going on? And where is the United States Attorney General? The airport receives $$millions of federal dollars to operate every year.
Air Guard move to Rewana Farms? Any and all airport issues? Notwithstanding the schemes outlined above, that demand correcting... the mayor can never vote on an airport issue... ever again!
Furthermore, he admits he has been negotiating on this for 5 years. Every decision he has been involved with PREVIOUSLY has to be overturned... including his recent vote for members to the Airport Board.
What a greasy can of worms this web has woven...
MEMO FROM SAM DEHNE TO PATRICIA LYNCH,
VIA CERTIFIED US MAIL:
27 August, 1997
Dear Mrs Lynch,
Per 2.020.2 of the city charter, and Chapters 281.411 and 281.421 and 281.481
of the Nevada Revised Statutes, Mr. Griffin has engaged in a violation so serious
that he should be required to resign as mayor: accepting a plush business
contract from political subordinates.
Per 2.020.2 of the city charter, and Chapters 281.411 and 281.421 and 281.481
of the Nevada Revised Statutes, Reno's appointed members at the Airport
Authority, and several of their subordinates have engaged in violations so serious
as to require their removal: granting a plush contract to a political boss.
If these "Public Officers" are permitted to remain in office, you and the city
council should issue a notice to the effect that the city charter is no longer
in effect., and that the city of Reno is no longer abiding by the statutes of the
State of Nevada. Citizens can have no confidence in government officials
who disregard "inconvenient" regulations when it is to their benefit to do so.
No public relations budget of any amount can restore public
confidence in Reno government when public officials are permitted to
arrogantly disregard the law. Mrs. Lynch, your integrity and competence
are clearly on the line. A conspiracy of silence will not make these
outrageous acts go away.
Sam Dehne, A Reno Citizen
cc Nevada Attorney General
Nevada Ethics Commission
Washoe County District Attorney
Nevada Senators Bryan and Reid (via FAX and email)
Reno city council
Reno Gazette Journal (via FAX and email
Reno News & Review (via FAX and email)
To What Depth Will Cronyism Be Allowed to Sink in Reno's Carpetbagger Government?
By Sam Dehné, Flapdoodle Evaluator
The specter of cronyism, nepotism, and just plain good 'ol boyism at the mayoral level of Reno's city council is sinking ignorance of the Reno City Charter to new depths. To describe the mess as "flapdoodle" is far too kind. Potentially scandalous reports have the mayor at the government trough receiving huge contracts... contracts being paid for with public funds - citizens' taxes.
(Confirmed) On 14 August, 1997, the company owned by, and named after, Reno's mayor was "awarded" a contract by Reno's Airport Board of Trustees. The full-page clandestinely concocted Board Memo contained no disclosure statements and referred only to a "front" company... in obvious attempts to hide the truth about just whom the contract was really intended for. Is this not a blatant insult to the citizens of Reno and a gross conflict of interest and ethics? Note:
a. Jeff Griffin is a member of the Reno city council.
b. The Reno city council appoints 4 of the 8 members of the Airport Authority Board; who "serve at the city council's pleasure".
c. That Airport Board voted unanimously to give $27,500 of Public Funds to the company that Griffin owns. (Folks, the bottom line, after flapdoodle is removed, is that the mayor is using citizens' taxes to enhance his private company.)
d. The Reno city attorney has not reported on conflict of interest yet... but, in actuality, schemes like this are what conflict of interest is all about.
e. As an added insult, the Airport document contained no competing bids.
Most members of the Reno city council are sitting idly by, watching and ignoring these self-indulgent travesties unfold. Citizens anticipate that the city attorney will not alibi for Griffin... she will not defy Section 2.020.2 of the city Charter... and she will not defy the simplest code of ethics.
The Reno City Charter, SECTION 2.020.2 reads, "No Reno city council member shall have any interest, directly or indirectly, in any lease, contract, or other agreement entered into with the city of Reno."
The Nevada Ethics Commission has Statutes that outlaw "nest-feathering" outrages by "Public Figures" (elected officials).
As Reno Citizens, ask yourselves:
Is Reno government honest?
Is it out of control?
What will you do to correct it?
Thank you, Judy Pruett Herman for being brave and honest.
"Click" to read Resolutions designed to stop Cronyism in Reno Government
"Click" here to read how the airport czar is directly involved in this scheme.
"Click" back to The Reno Citizen.
[PARKING METER] Two Bits for the Little Guys!
CITIZEN-DRIVEN INITIATIVE Forces Reno Council to Correct Another of its Blunders
By Kathy Sununguru (UPU)
On 5 August, 1997 the Reno-Casino city council outdid... even themselves.
Knowing full well, that Sam Dehne and his 780+ Citizens' Petitions were the "Driving Force" behind the exposé of this city's huge Parking Meter Fee Increase scheme, this council broke as many rules of honorable government as they could find... in a curious attempt to take credit for "undoing" their very own blundering fiasco. Anybody watching the brouhaha on SNCAT chan 13 TV, could see through them like a cheap piece of fishing net. What an embarrassment to the governmental process. Here are the numbers, simplified so that even this city council should be able to understand them... maybe:
Potential Meter Revenues under OLD system (simplified):
9a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.......................54 hours weekly
52 weeks yearly..................................................................2808 hours yearly
Potential revenue per machine at 25-cents per hour........$702 yearly
Times 1500 meters............................................................$1,053,000 yearly
Potential Meter Revenues under NEW system (simplified):
8 a.m. to Midnight, Seven days weekly................................112 hours weekly
52 weeks yearly.....................................................................5824 hours 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 is on the magnitude of 400%:
...................4,368,000 divided by 1,053,000 = 4.115 = 415%
The pure simple fact is that this council had no more idea that staff was about to gouge Reno citizens with a gigantic tax increase of 400%... than the woman in the moon... until Dehne informed them back on 24 June. That day, this council was "wide-eyed" at Dehne's charge.
Subsequently, this city council and this city manager and many of their cohorts then did everything they could, including playing games with the truth, to stall Reno Citizens... despite continuous efforts to have a Petition-Driven Citizen Initiative Resolution placed on the agenda. A Resolution that would correct the terrible mess at the earliest possible moment. This city council hoped they would go away. They didn't... the petitions kept pouring in...
Then in a classic attempt at subterfuge (after they said prayers over a "battle plan" that was concocted by staff), this council scheduled its staff, ahead of Dehne's Citizen Initiative... in an attempt to take credit for correcting their very own blunder... a blunder that the Citizen Initiative was forcing them to address.
Only after a vote, did they allow Dehne (who had far more honest statistics than staff... plus those 780+ Citizens' Petitions) a measly 5 minutes to talk... versus staff's 50 minutes. (This staff couldn't even tell this council why they had doubled the fees. When queried by this council, the engineer didn't know, and then his assistant didn't know. They told council... they would have to get back to them with that answer. THEY COULD NOT TELL THIS COUNCIL WHY THEY RAISED PARKING FEES 100%!!!)
In an even more "incredibler" display of audacity... immediately after voting to accept the basic demands of the Citizens' Resolution, this council then voted down (rejected) Dehne's Petition-Driven Citizen Initiative Resolution. They voted down the VERY Resolution that exposed the whole scheme in the first place!!! THEY VOTED IT DOWN... simply because they were afraid to to give the citizens any credit.
Folks, this council's "battle damage" failed! Thus far the the numbers portray that Citizens' diligence has FORCED this city council to rescind a maximum of $$2,262,000 of tax gouging PER YEAR.
There's more... much, much more, and it gets "worser" and "worser". Watch it on SNCAT chan 13 TV at 1210 noon (one hour) on 7 and 10 August... you won't regret it.
Folks, Sam Dehne, just an ordinary, average, every-day citizen, (with tremendous support from dozens of irate citizens) uncovered and exposed this potential rotten $3,000,000 "tax-gougement" scheme... a scheme that citizens can only assume is the Tip of the Iceburg. Isn't it way past time for a Coalition of Citizens FOR Citizens to rise and unseat this (Special-Interest-Oriented) city council? A city council whose number one Special Interest has become... itself?
The best solution is to LOP THE HEADS OFF ALL 1500 METERS!
By forcing this city council to revert back to the previous time schedule, the citizens saved themselves a verified maximum $2,262,000... every year. LOPPITY-LOP GO THE HEADS... EVERY ONE...
Read more Ideas and read the Resolutions that started this Revolution, "click" here.
A Letter to: Air National Guard Director
Subject: Cover-up of Security Breach at Nevada Air Guard Base
Dear General Don Shepperd,
Thank you for your response to the request by the Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Shalikashvili, that you look into the terrorist attack on the Nevada Air Guard base on 11 May, 1997. This attack also included an eventual attack on the Reno Airport, itself, with the terrorist actually making his way onto the main runway and endangering several airliners attempting to land at night... quite a scene to behold.
You describe the "intruder" (good choice of words) as an ex - felon. We request that your investigator provide evidence or documents proving that this 21 year old young man is an ex-felon and that he was under the influence of drugs". (If he was an ex-felon, we find it surprising that he was out on $9200 bail.)
Our research does not support either of these facts. In fact, the closest the police could come was to surmise that he was "drunk"... under the influence of alcohol. And while many people refer to alcohol as a "drug", with reference to criminal activity there is a specific differentiation between drugs and alcohol.
Notwithstanding the questionable nature of the issues referred to above, citizens would like to know how this terrible breach of security was able to happen in the first place. When a military base is right in the middle of a large civilian city, it seems prudent that extra precautions would be taken. Just a few questions:
1. Did the guards at the gate (assuming there were guards) have guns?
2. If so, why didn't they at least shoot at the tires? They HAD to assume this "intruder" had nefarious plans in mind.
3. Why was this incident covered up... by the NAG and the Airport (and the FAA and FBI and others)? Was is because it would look very bad for the NAG/Airport ill-conceived and blightful plans to expand the military base further into the community? Was it because President Clinton and VP Gore were scheduled to land at the Reno Airport?
By the way, the attack was only "publicized in the local media" after continuous prompting by us... and even then it wasn't reported until a week later, in one article in the Sparks paper. (A "cover-up" is when an important event is not reported in a timely a manner and then when/if when reported, critical facts are obscured by quibbling and prevarication.)
General Shepperd, these are just a sampling of questions that need answering. This "intruder" failed to show up for trial and is still "on the loose", having busted bail back on 31 July. Yes, there are a lot of questions that citizens would think you, as the head of the Air Guard, would want answered as you prepare for retirement.
Thank you for thanking me for supporting the Air Guard. I do support the Air Guard, as proven by my role (and yours) in the correction of the Nevada Air Guard mission to the more practical C-130... eliminating the $35,000,000 per year that was being wasted on the defunct RF-4.
We await further information the investigation into this security breach an cover-up.
Signed, Sam Dehne, a Reno citizen
FOR YOUR INFORMATION:
The Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,
or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of
speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to
assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free
State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner; nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself; nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public
use without just compensation.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed; which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of common law.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
Folks, it seems as local governments gain more and more power, that they think they are exempt from sections of this document. Pick out any of these original 10 Amendments to the Constitution (Amendments that were actually part of the original Constitution because our founding fathers demanded their inclusion!), and start watching local "leaders" in action. Only with citizen WatchDogs can citizens, as a whole, live in peace and safety with their God-given rights. And it is not nice to fool will God... it makes her mad!
"Click" back to Reno Citizen front page.