I hadn't really expected to spend part of my Tuesday afternoon in a smoky
East Fourth Street bar, but there I was at Abby's Highway 40, sitting
shoulder-to-shoulder with a couple of blokes already a few drinks in.
Still on the clock, I sadly had to decline bar owner Donny Schwartz's
offer of a shot.
"Oh, you're here to see The Chadillac," he said when I introduced myself.
"The Chadillac," otherwise known as Chad Dehne when he's not on stage
strumming a guitar and singing, had asked me to meet him on "neutral territory"
to talk about his fifth attempt to be elected Reno mayor.
Of the 20 candidates running for Reno mayor this year, Dehne was one of
only two who hadn't called me back earlier this month as I was writing my
initial candidate profiles.
Dehne harbors a long held resentment — one shared with his father Sam
Dehne — toward the Reno Gazette-Journal. His campaign platform includes the
promise to "Dismantle the Reno Gazette."
"Well, the better word would be 'cleanse' instead of 'dismantle," he said
as we sat at the bar.
He's frustrated that he hasn't been given more credit for the 21,000-plus
votes he won in his 2010 race against Mayor Bob Cashell. He feels he warrants
more coverage and that the RGJ has basically ignored him each time he runs for
But Dehne momentarily suspended his deep distrust of the newspaper to meet
with me. The fact his profile wasn't included in last Sunday's take out on the
mayoral candidates drew the attention of his friends and supporters who
questioned whether he was serious about the race, he said.
(As a side note, Dehne's father was significantly more put out about his
son's absence from the story. At his biweekly Reno City Council appearance he
described the RGJ as "corrupt, mendacious, perverted, rotten, evil, wicked,
sleazy and slimy.")
As it turns out, Abby's Highway 40 was an almost ideal spot to interview a
mayoral candidate. The bar sits at the heart of three of the largest projects
undertaken by the city in the past decade.
And it hasn't been pretty for Abby's, at least in Dehne's view.
Abby's is one of Reno's iconic dive bars, home to loyal, blue collar
regulars — the kind of guys Dehne wants to represent at city hall.
Out the back window, the city's shiny new baseball park looms. The park —
a centerpiece in the city's redevelopment efforts — brings crowds of tourists
and hometowners to the heart of Reno.
But Abby's sees little benefit. In Dehne's view, that's because the city
gave tax breaks for new bars and restaurants to open up next to the park.
"These guys got slammed," Dehne said of the businesses along East Fourth
Street. "The guys who have been battling out here in the trenches for years. You
give the new guys tax cuts? How is that fair to the businesses who have been
Another problem: Abby's is quite literally on the wrong side of the
tracks. The city's $282 million train trench runs just a couple hundred feet
from the back of Abby's, separating it from the bustling ballpark.
And then there's the homeless shelter. Abby's side of the track is
bustling with the homeless, who spill out of the overcrowded shelter into the
street. A parade of human suffering floats past Abby's daily. Some will stop in
for a brief bit of respite. Schwartz doesn't seem to mind.
"They stuck tent city right here in between all of these businesses,"
Dehne says he wants to be mayor, not because he has the solution for all
of the problems that plague the city. But because he understands the plight of
businesses like Abby's and the blue collar workers who frequent it.
Dehne was recently unemployed for eight months with no income. A dispute
over how he was terminated resulted in unemployment benefits being denied,
meaning he didn't even get an unemployment check. He now drives trucks for
Western Nevada Supply.
"I want to be a voice for the working people," he said. "I may not have
the answers, but I guarantee you I understand what it's like to struggle."
DEHNE? "SIGNIFICANTLY PUT OUT"
Sam DEHNE had several more adjectives to describe
the RGJ and its many-decades of trying to dumb-down
the citizens of Reno. But he ran out of time in the
measly 3 minutes of Public Comment that Reno city
council concocted several years ago.. to try to
How's that working?
So now FINALLY, after months and months of ignoring
the 10 ton elephant, the RGJ "admits" that DEHNE
(the Marine Corps Veteran DEHNE.. as opposed to the
retired Air Force Fighter/Bomber Pilot DEHNE) is the
frontrunner for mayor. They finally acknowledge that
there are 21,000+ voters who voted for DEHNE in the
Championship Finals in last mayor election against
And folks those hard working "blue collar" workers
still loyally support him. Probably more.
ON FURTHER REVIEW:
This reporter can do a pretty up
and walking good
job of writing...
when she is allowed to tell the
About DEHNE, Reno's next mayor:
Here's DEHNE (with cameo by
current mayor) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ho7hws3oBsk
Editor’s Note: Chad Dehne was one of two candidates not included in last
Sunday’s feature on the 20 candidates running for Reno
mayor because he didn’t initially respond to a request for an interview from the
Reno Gazette-Journal. He has since been reached.
His profile is below.
Elevator Pitch: “I am a Marine Corps veteran. I’m a great voice for
working people and families. I’m honest, have integrity
and I’m not a yes-man. When the Aces make my bobble-head, it will bounce
Persona: Gruff perennial candidate for mayor and champion of the
Residence: $200,000 home in Southeast Reno.
Family: Married 28 years, three sons.
Education: High school diploma.
Occupation: Truck driver.
Pet: Two dogs and two cats.
Interesting tidbit: This is his fifth run for mayor. In 2012, he won
21,180 votes to Bob Cashell’s 41,117 votes.
Vision and Experience:
Big idea: He’d hire an outside auditor to examine Reno’s finances.
First move as mayor: He’d sell city hall.
Management experience: Platoon leader in the Marine Corps.
Political experience: Ran for mayor unsuccessfully four times.
Voter registration: Non-partisan.
What do the insiders say: He’s long fought “insiders” and isn’t taken
seriously by them.
Baggage: Run four times and lost.
Major backers: Unknown.
Money raised: First report due May 21.
Number of Twitter Followers: Not on Twitter. (DEHNE talks - not tweets)
EPIPHANY OR ABERATION?
Finally an honest report from RGJ.
Now they need about 75 more to make up for ignoring one of the best
mayors Reno will ever have.
DEHNE already has more voters who want him to be mayor than all the
other candidates added together.
Here's DEHNE in action.. extemporaneous and enjoyable to watch. (click)
DEHNE will be as good an ambassador
for Reno as there has ever been.
This reporter should have mentioned
the Forward-Looking/Soothsaying Commemorative Stamps that were created 6 years
ago to Honor 2 Reno Mayors.