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All that’s missing is an enemies list
by Andrew Barbano
May 13, 2012 | 838 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Richard Nixon, call your office. You’re back in style.

Washoe County School Superintendent Heath Morrison departs for the land of St. Jesse Helms this month and may not see much difference between us and them.

A half-century ago, apartheid Nevada was rightly nicknamed as Mississippi West. We still suffer from that hangover.

A few days ago, outgoing Democratic North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue said “We look like Mississippi.”

Helmsville just passed a queer-bashing constitutional amendment.

“I think it’s wrong for North Carolina, clearly and simply,” Perdue said.

“People around the country are watching us and they’re really confused, to have been such a progressive, forward-thinking, economically driven state that invested in education and that stood up for the civil rights of people. Folks are saying what in the world is going on in North Carolina,” she added.

The anti-same-gender marriage amendment passed with nearly 61 percent of voters in support, glory hallelujah. Worse than Nevada’s already-festering apartheid law, the Southern crackers even banned civil unions giving partners equal rights. The South has risen again.

The governor of Mississippi quickly responded by trashing Perdue for criticizing the wisdom of the voters. Hmmm ... didn’t the same voters elect Perdue in 2008? Who said logic and follytix had anything in common?

I love reading the Charlotte Observer. On the same page as the newest echo of late racist GOP Sen. Jesse Helms (“the liberals and the homosexuals are opposing my re-election”) was this Yahoo ad: “Jesus Upheld Gay Rights! New Finding: Jesus purposely revoked Moses (sic) prohibition on homosexuality.”

Did they get an e-mail?

News tip: Monitor this weekend. Dr. Morrison will.

He ruled the Washoe education apparatus with an iron fist and reacted with unreasoned anger against those who dared communicate with elected board members. His underlings warned offenders never to repeat their transgression if they ever wanted anything from the school district again. With elected officials kept in the dark like mushrooms, it’s been easy for Morrison to originate or change policies without board approval.

No school trustee has responded to this now six-part Barbwire series, although one ostrich asked to be deleted from all further communications. Staff has not responded to innocuous information requests.

Sit down and shut up

Morrison ordered a library rally canceled last Monday. Back in 1997, a group of local activists and former NFL players led by NAACP stalwart Darryl Feemster and former UNR football star Charvez Foger raised money to build a library between Glenn Duncan Elementary and Traner Middle School. About 96 of every 100 students thereat qualify for free lunches because their family incomes are so very low.

Teachers at the school scheduled a rally to save the library but apparently failed to clear it with the Gestapo. Morrison not only ordered it stopped but also told his subordinates to stonewall it Nixon-style.

A meeting was scheduled for Tuesday between school staff and Washoe County Library System boss Arnold Maurins. Educators, defying Morrison, spread the word. Maurins kicked out everybody, including Feemster, the Reno Gazette-Journal, KOLO TV-8 and KRNV TV-4. RGJ education writer Michael Martinez reported the incident online but somebody deleted that critical information from the next day’s print edition.

Media types keep focusing on Maurins’ spin that he’s only talking about eliminating funding to keep the library open an extra five hours a week. Not so.

“Librarian Marilyn Jones says about one-third of the items in the library currently belong to the Washoe County School District, while the remaining two-thirds belongs to the Washoe County Library System,” KRNV TV-4 reporter Dina Kupfer stated. “Jones is concerned that if the county withdraws from the partnership with the district, many of the resources available to students would be taken away.” That includes computers.

Feemster expresses the same concern but Maurins still wants to close the place, stating that he needs to best allocate library resources. Where better than in the most deprived part of town?

The library board meets Wednesday at 4 p.m. at the Reno Town Mall branch, but the last word will come from the Washoe County Commission, which controls the purse strings. They next convene at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the county complex, at the corner of Wells Avenue and Ninth Street in Reno.

If you can, show up and speak during public comment and ask that they keep the library funded both for the students and the entire neighborhood. You may also speak on Item 6B authorizing transfer of surplus county property to the library system. The commission will open a second session beginning at 6 p.m. with public comment also available.

As former Sen. Joe Neal, D-North Las Vegas, once memorably expressed, “A library is a poor man’s university.”

Support the Nevada Citizen TV Project

To re-establish a people’s television channel hereabouts, you can contribute via ReSurge.TV or call me. 

Help give the gift of non-corporate TV to your community. We are making real progress toward returning a citizens station to Reno-Sparks. Your support is both needed and sincerely appreciated.

The Barbwire TV show remains in reruns around the state and region. Check the expanded web edition of this column at

Be well. Raise hell.

Andrew Barbano is a 43-year Nevadan, editor of and first vice-president of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988. E-mail
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