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Power politics & prescient predictions
by Andrew Barbano
Jan 09, 2013 | 1581 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Only fools make predictions about follytix. So let's get foolish.

Even the most optimistic dreamers never make a book on anything good coming out of the Nevada Legislature.

During fat years, a few crumbs fall off the table to tantalize the deprived

During lean years, those groveling on the floor are left to chew on the carpet.

When it's time to cut, Nevada makes the least among us suffer the most. The physically and mentally disabled are always the first hit and last helped.

The state mental health system has never recovered from the depredations of 1991.

Years ago, Sen. Joe Neal, D-N. Las Vegas (1972-2004), told me that former Gov. Mike O'Callaghan, (D, 1971-79) "lived to see his two greatest achievements undone by his successors."

Those accomplishments improved the lot of the mentally ill and the injured worker. Their deprivation continues.

Where has the National Rifle Association been? Since they apparently know that psychiatric care is the one effective preventative to gun violence, why haven't they been lobbying for better mental health care and funding?

Will we see the awesome NRA in Carson City next month making common cause with the politically weak social service lobbies?

Politicians only react to pressure.

My virgin voyage in clinging to the ledge came 40 years ago. A couple of old lobbyists who had elected, corrupted and betrayed a lot of politicians gave me some timeless advice.

1. Keep your own counsel — the modern version of "loose lips sink ships." Now with most every lobbyist and lawmaker able to tweet from the john, backstabbing rumors spread at the speed of light.

2. Never underestimate the power of being able to use people's names. This was uttered in the context of a powerful lawmaker who was also a news director and filed daily reports from his office. He had consummate clout. (Clout is the principal reason to support the return of a Reno-Sparks community TV station. See Barbwire.TV/)

3. When lining up votes, get legislators (and lobbyists) to say "you have my commitment" or statements to that effect.

Don't just say thanks after hearing weasel words like "I'll consider it" or "I really like that." Push. Politics does not reward the shy.

"Commit" means they have given their word. Those who break commitments soon rue the day as their pet projects curiously die hard deaths.

So does 2013 offer any hope for education or the least among us?

Most probably not.

But I predict here's what you will see: Surprising and deadly serious challenges to both term limits and longtime union-busting laws, among many others. And not necessarily from lawmakers.

Stay tuned to the Barbwire for more.

VOTE FOR THE LUCKY 13, the most powerful Nevadans of  2013. Send nominations to Last year's winners will be linked to the expanded web edition of this column at

Be well. Raise hell.

Andrew Barbano is a 44-year Nevadan and editor of E-mail Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.
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