Sunday, June 13, 2010

Bonanza Column 189 – The November Elections

Well, the primaries are over and the threat of no seaplane landings on the lake has been repelled, so now we can get down to the serious business of summer, which may have, however tentatively, arrived. Schools are out, the tourists are arriving, and Independence Day is on the horizon.

Still, though, it is an election year, one that is shaping up in an interesting way. The media wisdom about anti-incumbent rage mostly did not pan out in the primaries, though we won't have Jim Gibbons to kick around anymore. Who we will have is, of course, still up for grabs between Brian. Sandoval, and Rory Reid who is, at least for us in Northern Nevada, not exactly a household name. While I am constitutionally inclined to support Reid, I've been impressed with Sandoval when he was Attorney General and that he gave up a lifetime appointment to the Federal Bench to run for Governor is a strong statement, though what that statement is remains to be seen.

More interesting to me is the race for the U.S. Senate. I've said it before and I will continue to say it, Nevada would have to be crazy to trade the most senior position in the Senate for electing what will be one of the most junior Senators in that body. Wherever you stand on Harry Reid's national leadership, there is not denying the facts that he has brought jobs to the state, been proactive on behalf of our senior population, and held Yucca Mountain at bay. If you don't like Reid, put your dislike on hold for as long as it takes to review his actual accomplishments, then see if you want to give up that level of influence for our state.

Then look who you'd be giving it up to get. I can't imagine the Reid campaign would have been unhappy had Sue (chickens for doctors) Lowden had won the primary, but they've got to be ecstatic about Sharron Angle. While she is the darling of the tea party crowd, even if you are a tea partier again set that aside for a few minutes and look at what (besides cutting taxes, which she'll hardly be in a position to do) Ms Angle has publicly advocated – from making alcohol illegal to cutting Social Security, to less (yes, less!) regulation for the banks and oil companies that have been running rampant over the economy and the environment.

Finally, I agree with Jim Clark that it's time for a change in the Washoe County District Attorney's office, though at the end of the day we will probably disagree about who to replace him with, DA Gammick seems to think his job is to stall and obfuscate rather than to execute on the court's decisions in the matter if Incline's tax overpayments. It strikes me as very strange that the chief legal officer of the County seems to think it is his job to use legal chicanery to subvert what the courts, through due process, have found to be the appropriate legal action.

Lord Acton famously said "power corrupts," and for the most part we think of this as moral corruption. Officials of the Minerals Management Service cavorting with oil company executives comes to mind as an example. But there is another, more pernicious form of corruption that occurs when highly placed officials forget who they work for. When corporate executives put profits ahead of the public good (think BP) or when an elected official like Gammick thinks it is his job to protect the county's coffers rather than execute the office to which he was elected, it seems to me that that is as corrupt as any of the other actions.

The question to be asked of the candidates for DA in November election is "do you intend to execute the courts' orders with regard to refunding tax overpayments from IV/CB?"If you are not satisfied with Gammick's response, I recommend to your attention Roger Whomes – he has stated that he is on our side, so let's give him a chance to prove it;

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