Critique of Harry reminiscent of classic movie quip

You could have watched the testimony or read the Las Vegas newspaper account, but you needed to pick up the Elko paper to get the full content of the most salient and well reasoned argument as to why McCarran International Airport should not be renamed for Harry Reid.

Senate Bill 174 doesn’t denigrate former Sen. Pat McCarran — as some testimony did, calling him an anti-Semite — but it provides a recitation of former Sen. Harry Reid’s accomplishments — as did several people testifying for the bill did as well.

Several testified as to Reid’s record of political divisiveness, but afterward Assembly Minority Leader Paul Anderson released a statement that was the lede for the correspondent covering the event for the Elko Daily Free Press.

“While we have gotten used to the political theater perpetuated by the majority party, this is a whole new level of farcicality,” Anderson was quoted as saying and then adding “former Senator Harry Reid’s legacy is one of bitterness, anger, petulance, divisive political maneuvering, and pure partisanship.

“Nevada has a long history of electing statesmen from both sides of the aisle to the Governor’s office, the U.S. Senate, and Congress. From Kenny Guinn to Richard Bryan, and from Barbara Vucanovich to Alan Bible. These were people of great accomplishments, dedication to country, family, and God. It seems only fitting that if McCarran Airport is to be renamed, it’s renamed after someone who best exemplifies Nevada values.”

That bit calling Reid bitter, angry, petulant, divisive and pure partisan reminds me of the lines from the movie “The Front Page,” when Jack Lemmon asks his editor if he should write of the sheriff: “I’m calling the Sheriff a hyena. What do you like with it? Vile, corrupt, unscrupulous, depraved?”

Walter Matthau fires back: “Yeah. And in that order.”

I always wanted to say that to a reporter on deadline, but never got the right question.

State Sen. Tick Segerblom explains his bill to rename McCarran International for Harry Reid. (Victor Joecks pix for R-J)

A little sunshine would do the Legislature good

Talk about the tail wagging the dog.

According to the morning paper, the lawyers for lawmakers in Carson City are telling those lawmakers what laws they can make and not make.

Democratic state Sen. Tick Segerblom of Las Vegas tells the paper he asked to have a bill drafted this session that would have made legislators’ emails and calendars public records and thus subject to perusal by the public. He said the Legislative Counsel Bureau told him it could not be done.

 

A time traveling reporter quotes a March 2018 memo as saying lawmakers and their staffs do not fall within the definition of “governmental entity” in the Public Records Law. Pay no attention to the fact that lawmakers wrote the Public Records Law and conceivably may rewrite that law and change the definition of “governmental entity.”

The LCB also was quoted as saying that putting lawmakers under the preview of the Public Records Law would “conflict and interfere with the constitutional doctrines of separation of powers and legislative privilege and immunity.” Such doctrines may be widely embraced but they are not spelled out in the state Constitution, except that lawmakers may not be arrested during a session.

Finally, the memo eventually will say lawmakers’ emails and calendars “do not come within the ordinary definition of ‘public books and public records’ as those terms are used in the Public Records Law.” See above: Lawmakers can change the definition in the law.

But, according the morning paper, the American Civil Liberties Union will plow ahead anyway and try to amend a bill already pending by adding language similar that Segerblom had proposed.

 

The chances of lawmakers voting to expose their own backroom dealmaking and horse trading is slim to none, but it is good to see someone trying to shine a little sunshine into the dark recesses of the Legislature.

Legislative building in Carson City

 

State senator wants to rename airport for Harry Reid

McCarran Interrational (R-J photo by Jeff Scheid)

Democratic state Sen. Tick Segerblom’s proposal to rename McCarran International Airport after Sen. Harry Reid smacks of a pot calling the kettle black mentality.

According to KTNV-TV, Channel 13, Segerblom plans to ask lawmakers in the next legislative session in 2017 to make the change, even though the naming of the airport is probably up to the Clark County Commission instead of lawmakers. The airport is named for longtime Democratic Nevada U.S. Sen. Pat McCarran, who was ardent anti-Communist after World War II in the same vein as the now much reviled Joe McCarthy.

“I think people it may take a few years to adjust, but we don’t want our town and our major airport named after somebody who’s history is just so repulsive,” the television station quotes Segerblom as saying.

In fact, Reid himself has been railing against having anything named after McCarran for years. In 2012 he called for the airport to be renamed.

“Pat McCarran was one of the most anti-Semitic … one of the most anti-black, one of the most prejudiced people ever to serve in the Senate,” Reid was quoted by the Las  Vegas newspaper as saying. “It’s not a decision I am going to make, but you asked me to give you my opinion. I don’t think his name should be on anything.”

County commissioners at the time balked at the idea of a name change — though they were contemplating changing the name to Las Vegas International — due to the millions of dollars it would cost to make the change in signs and literature and online, etc.

Reid has also called for removing the statue of McCarran from the U.S. Capitol.

Segerblom told the TV station, “As Democrats, we owe it to our state to acknowledge what he’s done for us. He’s preserved more land as far as federal protections, he’s brought the solar industry through, he has put us on the map, nationally and internationally, and so I think it’s important to recognize that.”

He took federal land out of economically productive use and jacked up all our power bills by demanding coal-fired power plants be replaced with expensive and expansive swaths of solar panels. I thought Bugsy Siegel and Moe Dalitz put Nevada on the map.

Bugsy Siegel International sort of has ring to it.

Harry Reid is a self-serving gaffe machine. He rants against free speech. He has made himself a multimillionaire while in public office. He has improperly interceded on behalf his family and friends. He already has an empty research park named for him. Peter Schweizer’s book, “Extortion,” contains a whole chapter on Reid.

Reid called for removal of McCarran statue.

Now the Democrats want to compromise?

All government, indeed every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue, and every prudent act, is founded on compromise and barter.
Edmund Burke

So, no Republicans showed up at state Sen. Justin Jones’ office to talk compromise about finding ways to fund public education.

Now the Democrats know what it is like to be a wallflower at the legislative dance.

Justin Jones (AP photo)

According to Ed Vogel’s story in the Review-Journal, Jones asked Republicans to meet and work on a compromise, because on Tuesday state Senate Majority Leader Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, threw in the towel on efforts to raise taxes $300 million for education.

The question is: Where were the compromising Democrats when Republicans offered proposals that would slash wasteful spending and possibly free up existing revenue to fund education?

The answer: AWOL.

Republicans couldn’t even get bills to repeal at least part of the prevailing wage law and reform public employee pensions and collective bargaining out of committee. Most proposals didn’t even have a hearing. Repealing the prevailing wage law alone could save state and local governments $500 million a year on the costs of public works projects.

“On prevailing wages and PERS, it’s hard to compromise,” the Reno newspaper quoted state Sen. Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, as saying earlier,  “And as far as construction defects, we have offered compromises that they don’t want.”

He said these issues were brought up in the past and got nowhere, so why should Democrats bother to deal with them?

Perhaps, because you need at least four votes to reach the two-thirds majority to raise taxes. Reforms and repeals require only a simple majority. Is no Democrat willing to compromise and risk the ballot box ire of the unions?

The answer: Apparently is no.