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Petition pandering: Just Say No, a Nevada tradition
by Andrew Barbano
Mar 06, 2013 | 2266 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Nevada Democratic lawmakers have a historic opportunity to join their Republican colleagues in the kind of bipartisanship that always pays political dividends. In the grandest tradition of GOP grand dames Nancy Reagan and Barbara Vucanovich, they can just say no.

Nevada has already promulgated a presumably successful campaign, implementing that time-honored approach to public policy. The Nevada State Division of Health, probably with (gasp!) Obamacare funding, currently broadcasts radio and TV spots advising teenagers to maintain their respective virginities.

Paying to tell teens not to do it. (How about just paying the teens?)

Unoriginal, but politically safe. Denial builds character, right?

Lawmakers can perform a similar exercise in character building by saying no to the teachers' union tax petition. According to law, they must pass the Nevada State Education Association measure as submitted by the Ides of March or it advances to the 2014 ballot.

What are the benefits of ignoring the petition? Let me count the ways.

1. Gov. Veto El Obtúse will nuke any tax increase, so why write the last chapter of What's the Use?

2. Legislative Counsel Bureau research recently unearthed by former State Sen. Joe Neal, D-North Las Vegas, proves that the teachers' petition must meet a higher standard at the polls than has been imposed in more than 100 years. (See the Feb. 28 Barbwire at for the drudgingly delightful details.)

3. Dance with the Supremes. Should it pass, but not by that higher standard, taxophobes and corporations can proceed to the friendly folks at the Nevada Supreme Court to blow out the tax hike. Score one for the conservative moonhowlers.

4. Something for everybody. If the court enforces the higher standard, more than 100 statutes approved by the initiative and referendum process get wiped out, including term limits for state and local lawmakers and the union-busting right-to-work-for-less law.

So what's not to like? All lawmakers have to do is what they have always been best at — Just Say No.

Of course, they could always pass the tax hike to help the most underfunded schools in the country, but where's the fun in a jobs program for lawyers and accountants?

STATE OF THE CITY. In his address this week, Sparks Mayor Geno Martini stated that the Rail City's economy will not recover to pre-recession levels for a decade. This comes as the tracks are vibrating that RED Development, the welfare queens, who continue to bleed taxpayers with the Marina project, are baking another pie-in-the-sky proposal to hit the city for more millions. Stay tuned.

PARDON THE CHAMP. UAW boxing manager George "Battling" Nelson was undoubtedly heartened to learn of Sens. Reid and McCain's renewed efforts to pardon Jack Johnson, the heavyweight champion convicted of the crime of being black about a century ago.

Nelson will expand on the subject at the March 28 César Chávez event at Circus Circus.

Be well. Raise hell.

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