Check Out Our Sports Photo Galleries Contact Us
Fertilizing apples with citizens as mushrooms
by Andrew Barbano
Jun 30, 2012 | 1670 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I’ve been gathering TV news ratings to determine, among other things, if KRNV TV-4’s conversion to an electronic supermarket tabloid format paid off in the latest Nielsen ratings. (Apparently not. KOLO TV-8 leads in TV households in both morning and evening blocks.)

I was also curious if KRXI-11’s venture into the late news market has won any audience (doing OK, tied with KOLO in some key demographics. KTVN TV-2 still wins at 11 p.m. because of the strong lead-in from CBS prime time).

Alas and alack, the numbers game this week has been superseded or, pardon the pun, superseeded by applesauce.

Apple: hard-cored porno

The Washoe County School District, the Reno City Council and Washoe County Commission did their collective best to violate the spirit if not the letter of the open meeting law in approving millions upon millions in corporate welfare tax breaks for Apple Computer’s proposed server farm and purchasing office.

The school board, which just hired a new superintendent sworn to maintain the fiction that the graduation rate has actually increased (see “The Mythological Morrison Miracle” in the April 22 Barbwire at, listed the Apple agenda item as “Project Jonathan” (tee-hee).

The denizens of the downtown Reno black tower on the Truckee did ‘em one better: “Item J.11, Staff Report (For Possible Action): Discussion, direction and potential approval of Amendment No. 1 of the Reimbursement Agreement dated June 8, 2011, by and between the City of Reno and Northern Nevada Urban Development and Management Company.”

Huh? Franz Kafka, call your office.

Washoe County Manager Katy Simon blithely said, “Anybody who knew to look could have easily figured out what it was.”

This was an intentional attempt to hide in plain sight.

Smarting at being hornswaggled, the Reno Gazette-Journal printed the awful truth. The Reno City Council usually makes staff reports available with the required open meeting notice three days ahead. In this case, the staff report was withheld.

Gov. El Brúte Obtúse told Sam Shad on Thursday that all the secrecy was necessary and there was ample time for public comment at the three same-day public meetings.

Bullshit is good for mushrooms but bad for taxpayers.

The Apple deal reminds me of the 1985 theft of Washoe Medical Center (worth up to $120 million) for a mere $3 million. It was also ramrodded on short notice. At least that took place over several weeks, not 24 hours. Then as now, all info was tightly controlled.

The insiders intimated that their data showed that (notwithstanding the facts) the hospital was going to go bankrupt. The bandidos — who are now the Renown owners — said they’d take the white elephant off the county’s hands. Washoe Med was always profitable. Controlling the actual data was critical and they got a free hospital by doing so. (See the Washoe County Grand Jury report at

Things were much worse with the Apple coring. Apparently, only self-styled government watchdog Sam Dehne stood up for the public interest about what is, no matter its merits, an overnight railroad job.

“Sam said in plain sophisticated English that he is not against people having jobs,” he wrote in an e-mail, “but Apple will effectively be taking your taxes (the taxes Apple is NOT going to have to pay) and using your taxes to pay bloated salaries. Apple will take the taxes that moms and pops have to pay and use those taxes to drive the competition out of business. Shame on Apple, as if they couldn’t afford to play fair. Shame on RGJ. Don’t you dare ever write anything critical of welfare recipients again.”

He has posted his full speech on YouTube. Good job, old colonel.

The late, great RGJ columnist Guy Richardson told me that the profit-hungry Reno Gannett-Journal newsroom was and would remain understaffed. It was arguably the job of the major news source for the region to ferret out the Apple story. They failed, as did TV, which busied itself with dogs, bears, Colorado forest fires, murder, mayhem and rape.

Schools, parks, roads, police and fire protection lose desperately needed financial support when corporate welfare is doled out. (See It’s not like this wasn’t going to go through anyway.

Intentionally keeping the taxpayers in the dark like mushrooms is shameful. None of the elected officials on the three governing bodies are worthy of holding public office if they knowingly participated in the coverup.

Secrecy is bad public policy. Witness the Renown corporate octopus that once promised to lower health care costs and pay for indigent care in perpetuity. Ha. Ha. Ha.

RIP Ron Bell

The former advertising and marketing director (1976-77) of the Gold Dust Hotel-Casino and Gold Dust West passed away in Las Vegas from cancer a few days ago. He leaves a wife, Tanzy, and two daughters, one of whom became a writer on “Saturday Night Live.” Had he chosen to do so, he could have been one of the best standup comics in the world. I’m sure my old friend left ‘em laughing. Adios.

Support Nevada Citizen TV Project

To re-establish a non-corporate people’s channel to supplement education and public information among other things, you can donate at ReSurge.TV or contact me.

Be well. Raise hell.

Andrew Barbano is a 43-year Nevadan and editor of Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988. He can be contacted at
Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet
Featured Businesses