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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Blog round up suckas!!! 12/29

I love my progressive blogging community, I really do, and you should too. Check out some blog entires from this week, and add their blogs to your readers and bookmarks!

Andrew "Nerdrock" Davey at the Nevada Progressive breaks down 2012.it will be an extremely important election year for Nevada. Control of our state senate hangs in balance as well as Harry Reid's status as Senate Majority Leader.

Is it 2012 Yet?
Since hardly anything could be accomplished in Congress as our own Legislature kept kicking the can further down the road, focus turned quickly to the big election year that will begin in just 5 days in the snowy fields of Iowa. And back here in Nevada, the G-O-TEA is in full panic mode after the last R-J/8 News/UNLV poll delivered plenty of holiday cheer for President Obama and Shelley Berkley.


Desert Beacon's blog is the kind of blog other blogs aspire to be when they grow up. Her blog about the tax situation in Nevada is another example of her ability to throw out all the platitudes and partisan bullshit and get right to the point:

Nevada Tackles the T-Word
If we move beyond the No-Tax, or The We Want Something For Nothing, Crowd the questions might be focused more productively on how Nevada taxes can be structured to raise revenue while relieving the burden on small independent businesses and families. The big box retailers have been successful beating back attempts to tax their operations, and the resulting modified business tax reflects a win for the giant national franchises and a relative loss (or greater burden for) smaller independently owned businesses.


The Gleaner has long been my favorite blogger, but he is becoming more cynical and more critical of the Democratic party than any GOP operative, but he does make good points (especially the one about Harry Reid not having the need to "meddle" if the state party would take a Wellstonian approach to politics). The most amazing news for our dear Gleaner: his punchy progressive commentary is now available few times a week on My News 3's "The Agenda". He called Dean Heller "His Accidency" hahahaha.

Gleaner still has his City Life gig, check out The Year That Wasn't, his "counter-factual narratives of things that might have been."

Assemblyman and minority whip Mark Sherwood--who is extremely strange and has hilariously taken on a one-man jihad against Chuck Muth--has decided not to run again. It's funny when redistricting makes your district a little more Democratic and suddenly you discover the policies you think will help Nevada won't even get you reelected in your own district. Nevada State Employee Focus has the scoop on Sherwood retirement, as well as the Assemblyman's drag name.

The next blogger is not from Nevada, but her blog is a must read. Joy Reid writes for the Miami Herald, blogs, is the managing editor of thegrio.com and an MSNBC contributor. Her blog is pointed at Salon blogger Glenn Greenwald, but all you idealistic Ron Paul supporters need to read it. You wanna support Paul? You're accountable for everything he's about, not just the stuff you agree with:
his racist newsletter business and opposition to civil rights legislation, his desire to outlaw abortion, his extreme gun nuttery, or his belief that not only was World War II not worth fighting just to save a few (million) Jews, that the civil war wasn’t worth the lives it cost, when Abe Lincoln could have just bailed out the slave owners by having the federal government buy up the 4 million slaves still in shackles as of 1865 … thus saving 600,000 lives. He has yet to weigh in on Paul’s apparent heebie jeebies over people who, like Greenwald, are gay, including not wanting to use their bathrooms or shake their hands, and freaking out when he thinks one is coming onto him.




Happy reading :)

--

Laura

Where the heck have we been?

Yuck! I can't believe there hasn't been an update for three months. Might be something to think about when writing out those New Years resolutions.

The last blog was about Governor Brian Sandoval's endorsement of Rick Perry. With the Iowa caucuses just a few days away, that choice still looks like an enormous blunder. Perry has flip-flopped and flapped on abortion, released an anti-gay 30 ad (where he's hilariously wearing the same jacket as Enis, the closest gay cowboy from the movie Brokeback Mountain) and is now battling Rick Santorum--the ex senator from Pennsylvania who lost his reelection in 2006 BY 18 POINTS--for fourth place in Iowa.

That information has nothing to do with the intent of this entry, I just felt like pointing out Sandoval's endorsement failure :)

Anyway, a blog round up is on its way.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Governor 'Sunny' endorses unethical, ineffective governor of Texas

Tonight was supposed to be Mark Amodei's night, but that all changed this afternoon when Governor Brian Sandoval announced he was endorsing Texas Governor Rick Perry in the Republican presidential primary.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who was a little surprised. As the highest ranking Republican in the state, it's kind of bitchy to step on what's supposed to be a fellow Republican's good news night. And many of Nevada's Republican elected officials (and activists) have already glommed onto Mitt Romney.

And no, Sandoval endorsing Perry had nothing to do with Perry being the chair of the Republican Governor's Association because Perry was not chair while Sandoval was running for office in 2010. And even if he was, Mitt Romney was chair of the RGA when Sarah Palin was elected governor of Alaska in 2006. Quite a bit of RGA resources were devoted to the race (some illegally) and Mitt even traveled to Alaska to meet with Palin. How did she repay him? By voting for Mike Huckabee in the 2008 Republican primary and taking several swipes at poor Mittens this go around. Being RGA chair has little to do with loyalty later on.

But what's more important is who exactly has Governor Sandoval just endorsed. The press release Sandoval sent out was full of GOP talking points that would probably get a "pants on fire" from one of those fact-checking websites.

So who is the real Rick Perry? Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington rated Perry as one of 11 governors "who pride their self-interests over their states'." Describing Perry as "unethical" and "incompetent".

What did Perry do that's so bad? Take a look:



[And just a side note, on CREW's list is Haley Barbour and Mark Sanford, RGA co-chairs when Sandoval was ran in 2010, and Sandoval's predecessor Jim Gibbons.]

And another great website, meetrickperry.com gives a rundown of Perry's achievements that Sandoval thought worthy of endorsing:



The insider game of what Sandoval's endorsement means--what it means for Perry, what it means for Nevada and what is means for Romney--is inconsequential. The questions that should be asked are what does Brian Sandoval want for Nevada? His endorsement shows he wants the federal government to make it rain on Nevada. Brian Sandoval wants Nevadans to be employed but only at or slightly above minimum wage jobs with no benefits. Brian Sandoval wants to kill Nevadans who break the law, including juveniles and the mentally disabled. Brian Sandoval wants to force your tween to be vaccinated but won't allow your family to make their own decisions when it comes to family planning.

Brian Sandoval didn't endorse Rick Perry because they're buddies. He endorsed him because he felt his policies and record as governor of Texas would be good for the United States. If that doesn't have you second-guessing the "Governor Sunny" persona, you're hopeless.

--

Yep, I spelled governor wrong

Friday, August 12, 2011

Joan Walsh needs a reminder

Joan Walsh, former editor of Salon and MSNBC contributer, has been in a lot of trouble lately. From her embrace of the 'Professional Left', to trying to subdue and beat back Black Obama supporters and openly howling that someone (re: Hillary Clinton) would've been a better president than Obama.

This week she whined that it was the Obama campaign who "accused" the Clintons of attacks during the 2007/08 Democratic primary.

Miss Joan, no one has to "accuse" anyone of anything. Attacks on Obama's religion and teenage drug use are easily traced back to the Clinton campaign.

Lets take a trip down memory lane:

Hillary Clinton's campaign passes around this photo of then-Senator Barack Obama in traditional Somali clothing:


Hillary Clinton campaign co-chair accuses Obama of dealing drugs:


Hillary Clinton says Obama is not a Muslim "as far as I know."


Hillary Clinton campaign advisor accuses Barack Obama of being an affirmative action candidate:


Keith Olbermann had to put together a Special Comment to try and put a lid on the Clinton campaign dirty tricks:


Yes Joan, that's your girl, Hillary Clinton.

--
ETA: The original blog said Joan worked for The Nation, it's actually Salon. Thanks to Joan for pointing it out. I guess i'm on the list of mulattoes who disappoint her. At least I'm in good company :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

We Made the List!

A few weeks ago we asked you to vote for us in Washington Post blogger Chris Cillizza's "Best State-Based Political Blog" contest.

He was compiling a list of the best political blogs in each state. We asked you to vote for us, and you came through, we made the list!



Thank you for your support and readership. Chris, Derek and I try our best to provide regular updates while juggling our "real" jobs and other obligations. We hope to have The Sausage Factory show back up and running real soon too.

Stay tuned!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Twitter spam accounts for dummies

If you're going to create a fake account to mock Democratic candidates, don't use your own personal information in the profile.




http://twitter.com/youth4shelley



http://twitter.com/hipstervative

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Nine registered voters in Wade Wagner's household

This was sent to me earlier today. It's a voter data base screen cap of the nine registered voters in Wade Wagner's household. Either Wade's got a big house or--as was suggested to me by the sender--he's committing voter fraud by allowing people to register to vote using his address.

The only change I've made is editing out his home address:


Maybe those private detectives who staked out the Adriana Martinez residence(s) can pay a visit to the Wagners.

And going on right now in North Las Vegas, a meeting with state officials to discuss how completely fucked the once fastest growing city in the nation is.

Why didn't you hear about this meeting? Mayor Shari Buck apparently forgot to send out a release and there's nothing on the city's website when I checked early this morning. But she did remember to send out a press release announcing the swearing in of Wade Wagner, who also just happens to be her dentist and her husband also just happened to be a Wagner paid campaign staffer, who was never listed on campaign finance reports...which happens to be illegal.

But don't fret, you have another chance to hear from Mayor Buck and the council. Tonight at 6:00pm (July 20th) head down the the city hall on Civic Center and Las Vegas Blvd N. On tonight's agenda under "news business"? Mayor Buck is going to shut down all the recreation centers in North Las Vegas.

North Las Vegas is starting to resemble my hometown of Colorado Springs.

It's too bad Mayor Buck didn't put as much effort into being an effective mayor as she did trying to elect her dentist.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Vote for the best blog in Nevada

Do you love The Sausage Factory? Vote for us in this Washington Post poll so we can have a chance to be featured as one of the top blogs in the state!

The best state-based political blogs, 2011 edition

Click the link above, log in and comment that The Sausage Factory is one of the best state-based political blogs in Nevada.

Also, check out out blogroll for some more recommendations --->

This blog has made news, it's made some friends and some enemies (and gotten us in trouble) but we always appreciate your readership and we'd really appreciate your vote!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mark Halperin's obsession with genitals -- our political discourse

In 2008 Mark Halperin had to apologize for claiming disgraced politician John Edwards called Barack Obama a “pussy” (he didn’t, it was Mark’s own character association) and today he’s apologizing for calling the President a “dick” live on MSNBC’s three hour brain drain, Morning Joe.



Halperin, political analyst for Time and Drudge-worshiping Morning Joe troglodyte, apologized on air only after Morning Joe co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski giggles died down and they all realized the hyperbolic comment would not be edited out.

Halperin also apologized on Twitter and MSNBC later suspended him indefinitely:





Why did Halperin call the President a dick? Because the President used his bully pulpit to call out Congressional republicans for their debt ceiling demagoguing.

Washington Post blogger Greg Sargent missies the point of the suspension. Halperin wasn’t suspended for calling the president a dick, he was suspended for saying dick on live TV which may very well result in an FCC fine. But Sargent does make some good points on our political discourse, what’s acceptable and who makes these unwritten rules:

I care less about Halperin’s use of the word “dick” than I do about the argument he and Joe Scarborough were making — that Obama somehow stepped over some kind of line in aggressively calling out the GOP for refusing to allow any revenues in a debt ceiling deal. This notion that Obama’s tone was somehow over the top — when politics is supposed to be a rough clash of visions — is rooted in a deeply ingrained set of unwritten rules about what does and doesn’t constitute acceptable political discourse that really deserve more scrutiny.

This set of rules has it that it should be treated as a matter of polite, legitimate disagreement when Michele Bachmann says deeply insane things about us not needing to raise the debt limit, but it should be seen as an enormously newsworthy gaffe when she commits a relatively minor error about regional trivia. This set of rules has it that it should be treated as a matter of polite, legitimate disagreement when Republicans continually claim that Dems cut $500 billion in Medicare in a way that will directly impact seniors, even though fact checkers have pronounced it misleading, but it should be seen as “demagoguery” when Dems argue that the Paul Ryan plan would end Medicare as we know it.

Halperin has certainly done his part to encourage these unwritten rules, and so maybe there’s a certain poetic justice in the fact that he’s now been suspended indefinitely for violating them, but still, this is over the top. I care that Halperin uncritically claims that Drudge rules the media world, and acts accordingly. I care that Halperin published a book that accused public officials of using explosive, racially charged quotes that were paraphrased, without guaranteeing their accuracy, in order to gin up media controvery. I care that Halperin does dumb things like parroting GOP predictions of a big victory when all available evidence is pointing the other way, as he famously did in the runup to the 2006 elections. I don’t care as much that he used the word “dick.” Suspending Halperin indefinitely for this only reinforces the bogus idea that a crass and dumb slip into foul language is worse than all this other stuff we see on a regular basis.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Has the pundit class fallen asleep?

I was going to post something about the photograph the Las Vegas Sun chose to accompany the article about former Assemblyman Morse Arberry's misuse of campaign contributions, but I was distracted by this in the comments section:

Have our journalists lost their way? Is a tip from a lobbyist more valuable than a gut feeling?

The June 24th Nevada Week In Review roundtable agreed that Morse Arberry's campaign finance reports (and paperwork in general) have always been fishy. Las Vegas Review Journal columnist Jane Ann Morrison even said:
"When I started looking in the late 80s at his campaign finance reports they were always just hand-scrawled, you could hardly read them. But there was something-you know, when you go through as many as we do, some jump out at you as...suspicious and his always jumped out at me as suspicious."

Always suspicious? Did she ever report her suspicions in the past 20+ years, or ask Arberry about them? Is it her role as a journalist to do so?

What is certain, thanks to Secretary of State Ross Miller, it will be a lot easier for all of us to look through these reports and speak up when something looks fishy.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Something shady is brewing in North Las Vegas

When North Las Vegas Mayor Shari Buck's dentist, Wade Wagner, won the Ward 4 City Council race by one vote over the Democrat incumbent, Richard Cherchio, North Las Vegas prepared itself for a recount.

During the Clark County election department's audit, it was discovered that someone voted in the wrong ward. The election might be invalid. Shit got real.

A city council meeting was called. The decision was made by the council to re-do the election in the precinct where the "mis-vote" was cast. Mayor Buck abstained from voting because not only is Wagner her dentist, her husband worked for his campaign. Cherchio also abstained from voting.

As expected, the Wagner campaign is suing over the decision. And for some reason, former North Las Vegas mayor (and failed gubernatorial candidate) Mike Montandan filed a restraining order. But to be quite honest, as a resident of unincorporated Clark County, I didn't care. I don't live in North Las Vegas and I never plan to.

I have nothing against Wagner because I have no idea who he is except that he's a republican. I had no opinion of Cherchio except he had a strike against him for hiring Bradley Mayer, a campaign manager to conservative candidates, including Carolyn Goodman. Mayer was running Carolyn's campaign for mayor of Las Vegas, and I knew not much attention would be given to Cherchio. Cherchio knew from the beginning his reelection was not going to be easy. He was going against the current mayor's personal friend and Cherchio needed a campaign manager who woke up in the morning and went to bed at night thinking about him.

After a conversation with a friend in North Las Vegas who is emotionally invested in this election and is "in the know" when it comes to North Las Vegas politics (disclaimer: said friend works for neither campaign or any political campaign or consulting firm), I suddenly became very interested.

You think the city of Las Vegas has problems? Let me tell you about what's going on in North Las Vegas:

Wade Wagner is Shari Buck's Dentist, and hand-picked candidate for her former City Council seat

The two PACs that sent direct mail pieces attacking Cherchio have never filed Campaign and Expense reports. They have been fined by the Secretary of State and the matter has now been referred to the Attorney General's office. [Delen Goldberg of the Las Vegas Sun with details LINK]

The Precinct with the illegal ballot happens to be that of both Mayor Buck's parents and former NLV Mayor Mike Montandon

An ethics complaint was filed against Cherchio in December by a Jay L. King. King lives on the same street as Mayor Buck, and shortly thereafter was appointed to two City Advisory Boards – the Citizens Advisory Board and the Utility Advisory Board.

On June 15th, when the City Council was slated to canvass the vote, the Mayor chose to abstain from the vote because she donated to the Wagner campaign and her husband worked on the campaign "and was paid". On both of Wagner's C&E reports, Keith Buck, the Mayor's husband, is not listed as a Campaign Expense.

On June 23rd, former Mayor Montandon and Jay King waited until after the filing deadline for Temporary Restraining Orders. As mentioned, Montandon lives in the contested precinct. Initially, Montandon was claiming that he would have been "disenfranchised" by the new election but in fact, he would be super-enfranchised.

Wade Wagner has 9 registered voters in his residence. Six are clearly family, but three have different last names. Does the El Dorado HOA allow that? Might be a zoning violation.


It should be no surprise to anyone that there is now talks of recalling Mayor Buck. How realistic are those threats? We'll see.

--

Laura

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

As #NVleg draws to a close, we finally have a budget

Governor Brian Sandoval, surrounded by beaming legislators, announced that a balanced budget exists, the session would end on time. Legislators congratulated each other for being able to work together for a common sense budget, despite not even a week ago it seemed bitter partisan divides would keep this day from happening, and Governor Sandoval threatened to shut the state government down rather than call a special session.

The #Mar21 and #Sandoville activists asked for it: a balanced approached to our state's budget and compromises on taxes and much needed reforms. Thanks to the Nevada Supreme Court, we got it. Legislators did their jobs, worked together and compromised. And I'm sure, everyone will do their best to take credit in some way.

Our friends on the right will try their best to explain that by Governor Sandoval (R-Jones Vargas) raising taxes he is in no way breaking his pledge not to raise taxes.


President Barack Obama takes a sip from a glass of cool, refreshing conservative tears.

"Non-partisan" Nevada Propaganda Rhetoric Institute will fudge numbers and whine about Florida.

Conservative purity police will have their say.

And some lefties will still be upset with some of the cuts and the damage done to unions.

But like the song says, you can't always get what you want.

In the end, it's Nevada who comes out the winner. Our budget is balanced, some of the cruelest reforms softened, much needed education reforms are agreed on and the sunset taxes passed in 2009, that Nevada's fragile economy has recovered under, have been extended to 2013.

Here's the numbers via the Las Vegas Sun (pdf)

I'll update this entry as more news about the budget comes out.

--

Laura

Sunday, May 22, 2011

What actually happened at Sandoville



If a direct action you’ve planned doesn’t go accordingly, you should never admit it. At least not to the press. They will gleefully print your failures and ignore the accomplishments. And, you most likely take away the opportunity for that action to be accomplished in the future.

But as I’m going through the clips of the coverage from our three day camp out on the grounds of the Nevada legislature, I've seen a few mischaracterizations and assumptions (some are just plain "untruths") about what we were planning to do.

I want to take the time to clear a few things up.

A few weeks after the now infamous March 21st student rally in Carson City one of the organizers told me that next time we go to Carson, we’re sleeping outside on the lawn.

But Sandoville wasn’t just a bunch of students. And we didn't go to Carson City demanding Governor Brian Sandoval raise taxes to save education, as many reported. We wanted our legislators to break the gridlock, work together, compromise and come up with a balanced solution to Nevada’s economic crisis.

We know that cuts have to be made. We know that there are needed reforms. We are willing to share the sacrifice. But it’s the wrong approach to only look for cuts while ignoring opportunities to raise revenue. And some cuts are simply too drastic and possibly unnecessary. What does it say about Nevada’s values if we’re willing to take away breakfast from poor children yet maintain extravagant subsidies for foreign mining companies who makes billions every year?

And its also very suspect that the groups bearing the brunt of the cuts (public employees, teachers and Clark County) happen to be the same groups who voted overwhelmingly against Brian Sandoval in the 2010 election.

But I digress.

Here is what Sandoville planned to do:

Originally we planned to stay a full week, but compromised with various agencies involved with the legislature to set up camp Monday and take it down Wednesday.

We identified legislators--Republicans and Democrats---to target with lobbying teams or for individuals to target their own legislators who needed some prodding.

Everyone was asked to give testimony during committee hearings that had to do with revenue and education. Some campers had prepared remarks, others read from statements they typed up on their smart phones and some just spoke from the heart. After committee hearings we stopped legislators in the hall, asking them to come to Sandoville or at least make a one on one appointment.



As for direct actions, we played with several options.

Having been involved in an action that successfully shut down the Las Vegas Strip and resulted in about a dozen arrests last summer, I made the suggestion of shutting down Carson Street.

I saw a report that we were going to block the highway. That’s not only wrong, but would be recklessly dangerous on our part.

The symbolism of shutting down a street was: if legislators are willing to bicker and fight and block progress, we were going to block them from getting to work. We decided not to do that because of the collateral damage (Carson City residents).

We also planned a sit-in at the Governor’s capitol office. It was scheduled for 3pm on Tuesday, but the Governor decided to take a quick trip to Vegas. So we set our sights on Senate Minority Leader Mike McGinness instead.

We asked McGinness’ secretary when he’d be in the office (she didn’t know) and then asked for an appointment, which she refused because (she claimed) he has already met with students once this session. I’m sure he meets with lobbyists multiple times a day, I guess students only get one shot. 40 people crammed themselves into the Minority Leader’s office and sat silently on the floor. His secretary, shaking with anger, was taping out emails and calling security. Capitol guards swooped to the office and you could tell by the looks on their faces, they had no clue what to do.



McGinness’ secretary announced that he was in committee and wouldn’t be back in the office for at least an hour. Some people seated on the floor pulled out their laptops and logged onto NELIS to see if he was in committee, a few others went to the committee room. All came to the same conclusion, McGinness was not there. So everyone continued to sit in silence.

A guard pleaded with us to leave. Some people moved into the hallway to allow more room for McGinness’ staff to go in and out of their offices. Eventually, McGinness appeared in committee and the sit-in moved to the committee room.

I saw a report that one of our direct actions was cancelled because we didn’t want to get arrested. That is also wrong. People who were willing to be arrested signed up to do so. Several news crews filmed our “Sandoville Schedule” white board and some reporters even tweeted pictures of it. On the schedule was a “peace training” I was going to help lead to explain what would happen when folks got arrested, how to prepare and what to do. We had lawyers on stand-by. We were ready to be arrested in McGinness’ office.



The pressure we put on McGinness resulted in a meeting with him and Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford post-committee. We were able to talk about a balanced approach to the budget, asked the two men to work together, communicate and compromise.

After the committee room we headed to other Senator’s offices. Much to his surprise and displeasure, we ran into Senator Gustavson in the hallway. He curtly answered our questions but after about five minutes he’d had enough and briskly walked away.

We walked down the long hallway of senate offices, stopping at each to make an appointment. We eventually sat outside of Senator Barbara Cegavske’s office, waiting for everyone to come back committee, lunch, the bathroom or whatever excuse their secretaries gave us.

What happened next was another first for the Legislature. Senator Michael Roberson brought us Girl Scout cookies then sat on the floor for a debate. He was soon joined by Senator Cegavske and Senator Ben Keickhefer. Senator Elizabeth Halselth and Senator Greg Brower stood and watched but did not participate.



There was a lot of back and forth. Mostly mutual understandings with a few heated moments (and some yelling) sprinkled throughout. Senator Roberson proved he was a text book conservative (blaming public workers for the state’s problems) with endless confidence. He complained that he’s shared more words with us than Senator Horsford. But much like the governor, he’s made himself irrelevant by refusing to compromise.

Then there was the donut summit.

It was mischaracterized as the governor winning over “students” with treats. No one was won over by anything the governor said or did. Sure, some people got in a picture with the Governor, but it was because his staff asked us to. Most of us refused. The Governor did not come to Sandoville to sell his budget, he came there to maintain his brand. Even his staff looks “sunny” and happy. A group of non-threatening people with warm smiles who, like the Governor, look like they were cast for the roles they play.



Governor Sandoval was unable to provide any perspective or answer questions with anything other than useless empty GOP “we hate taxes” rhetoric. And if the whole thing wasn’t ridiculous enough, he was wearing cowboy boots with his suit.

It’s safe to say that donuts are the only thing of substance the Governor will deliver to the people of Nevada this legislative session.

Sandoville is no longer on the lawn of the legislature, but it is not gone. On the bus ride down we were planning out next trip up north. At the end of each day in Sandoville we had checkin-in and planning meetings and a major wrap-up meeting was held Friday once everyone was back home.

We have new friends, a wider network, new targets and better perspective. With less than three weeks to go before the end of the session, and with the Governor threatening to shut down the state government, we have a lot of work to do.

--

Laura

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Why you should ignore Carolyn Goodman's poll

A bit of controversy erupted last week in the mayor's race (I know, shit breaks out every other day) over some dueling polls. Chris Giunchigliani's campaign released a poll conducted by Beneson Strategy Group showing the race statistically tied. Carolyn Goodman's campaign was forced to release their own Magellan Strategies conducted poll--after spending the weekend telling reporters they can't release the numbers because they're so good no one would vote--that showed Carolyn up 53-31.

Freelancer Steve Friess was skeptical of Chris G's poll, airing his frustration on Twitter that Goodman's numbers weren't being reported as breathlessly as Giunchigliani's. But anyone familiar with Magellen Strategies knows they have a poor reputation. And that could explain why no one is giving Carolyn's polling numbers any credibility.

Take for example:
“Tom Tancredo will become Colorado's next governor,” predicted David Flaherty, president and CEO of Magellan Data and Mapping Strategies, a Louisville, CO, pollster that works for Republicans around the country.

That statement was made Friday before the 2010 gubernatorial election in Colorado. Democrat John Hickenlooper went on to beat Tancredo 51-36 four days later. Magellan also predicted Meg Whitman would win the governor's race in California. She lost to Democrat Jerry Brown.

Another "oopsie" in 2010 by Magellan, they had to issue an apology for their flawed polling in the Kentucky senate race. Their polls showed Republican candidate Rand Paul beating his closest competitor by 20-30 points. What they forgot to mention: the poll they conducted did not mention any candidate but Rand Paul. Rand Paul went on to win the election 55-44.

In 2010 Magellan released a flurry of poorly conducted polls, all benefiting Republican candidates. Their website at the time had the tag line: Magellan Strategies Helping Republicans Win Elections. Magellan is on the payroll of the Republican National Committee and Koch-funded astroturf conservative organization, Americans for Prosperity.

I've been told that Magellan's bad results are due to bad methodology. One person was polled by Magellan at an office number. They pollster did not ask for a specific person nor did they ask any screening questions ("Are you registered to vote in Las Vegas?") either. Magellan is simply a disaster.

I should start my own polling firm. Get paid tens of thousands of dollars to produce crap? Light Skinned Polling is open for business.

But hey, if you want to trust Magellan, be my guest.

Everyone else who lives in a place called reality, keep knocking those doors and making those calls. It's making a difference.

--
Laura

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Governor Brian Sandoval welcomes Urban Outfitters and their legacy of racism and anti-semitism

On May 4th Governor Brian Sandoval "proudly tweeted" ("proud to" and "honored to" is Brian Sandoval's "this one time, at band camp" twitter tick) that Urban Outfitter's would be setting up an "internet fulfillment center" in Reno.



The gov claimed the 650 news jobs would come to Reno. But the reality is (Gov seems to have a problem with that) this "internet fulfillment center", aka warehouse, will provide maybe 150 full-time jobs and 650 temporary construction jobs.

150 jobs is better than no jobs. But why is Sandoval happy about gaining 150 when he plans on firing 7,000 teachers?

Also, why is Sandoval proud of a warehouse being built in his hometown by a company known for its racism and anti-semitism?

2003: Ghettopoly: Get your neighborhood addicted to crack, you earn $50. A parody of Monopoly labeled "racist" by the NAACP and African American clergy organizations.

2003: 'Everyone Love a Jewish Girl' t-shirt. Jewish girls are pretty awesome, but a t-shirt with that phrase, coupled with dollar signs caused the Anti-Defamation League to express "outrage and disgust" at this and other incidents of Urban Outfitters insensitivity. The shirts were discontinued.

Read a full list of products that were pulled from Urban Outfitters shelves. The company our governor is so proud of.

Is this what Nevada values?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Governor Creeper

It appears Governor Brian Sandoval has been placed under the same trance as Michelle Bachmann.

Pitiful performances like this are why I roll my eyes and laugh when people call Governor Sandoval a "strong leader". He obviously has many people orbiting around him (painfully apparent that Michelle Rhee and/or her staff had a hand in crafting this speech) helping herd his doggies in line and outside groups are more than willing to kick the asses of Nevada's weak GOP legislators.



Watch for yourself, Governor Sandoval's speech where he tries to convince us he cares about education, but instead, through forced smiles and wandering eyes, shows us that he just might be Nevada's #1 Creeper



Side note: It's painfully obvious he's reading from a teleprompter, so why is he shuffling papers? More pomp and showmanship from our creeper gov.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The College Republicans are full of shit

It goes without saying. I know.

A former Joe Heck staffer, who is in his mid-thirties, decided to enroll at UNLV after the campaign ended. As a sophomore he is now the new president of UNLV's college Republicans. Since his election, this student organization has launched a full-scale attack on Dina Titus. Complete with bird-dogging, a media campaign and website. How they find time to go to class between disrupting Dina's classes, harassing her in her office and tabling in UNLV's student center is a mystery.

What's also a mystery: they attack Dina for her salary and the fact that she teachers one class, yet they fail to mention that their own academic adviser is THE HIGHEST PAID FACULTY MEMBER at UNLV's College of Business, excluding the chair.



Associate Professor Ken Peffers raked in $173,376.54 (that's $67K more than Dina!) in 2009-2010 school year. And guess what? HE IS ON PAID LEAVE. You're mad Dina teaches only one class full of students? HE TEACHERS NO ONE and has no other assignments.

Why would College Republicans leave that out? Rumor has it they have no one else to advise them. I am told that no other professor will touch the group. And if they have no faculty adviser, they have no organization.

The UNLV college Republicans are nothing more than a Joe Heck re-election shadow campaign using up UNLV's resources and good name.

--

Laura

Brian Sandoval's trained dogs

My mom used to cover the cops beat for our local paper. I was in elementary school at the time and she would drag me to many different ceremonial police activities. One of the most festive events was the graduating class of the police K9 unit.

German shepherds who were trained to perform were paraded in front of the adoring public and given their diplomas. The crowd would “ooh” and “aww” and clap as the dogs were taken through a few training exercises to show off to the crowd.

I thought the whole thing was sad.



These dogs were so convinced that they had no role in life but to do whatever their trainers said, they’d whine and squirm while anxiously waiting for the next command. Some would even pee on the floor in anticipation for the next order.


Legislative Republicans remind of those dogs.

Some are eager to please, like Senator Michael Roberson who yelps “GOV REC!” whenever asked about the budget. Or Mark Sherwood, who when given the challenge of thinking for himself and providing his opinion for all who are upset with cuts to education, simply replies “WE DON’T CARE! *ROO-ROO-ROOH*”

If anyone gets out of line, if someone wants to tax groceries to raise revenue or admits the truth that we must raise our almost non-existent taxes to meet our budgetary needs and keep the state running, if Governor Sandoval’s persistent phone banking of the Republican caucus (the other thing he does when he’s not reading to children), there’s always someone who will yank that choke chain. Sending the wounded legislator, whimpering and broken, back to their caucus. Eagerly awaiting their next chance to prove how well they've been trained.

--

Laura

Thursday, April 21, 2011

You won't have John Ensign to kick around anymore

I saw a tweet from Roll Call's Shira Toeplitzi, and Senator Ensign made it official on his website:
Press Releases
Media
April 21, 2011
ENSIGN TO RESIGN FROM OFFICE

Washington, D.C. - Senator John Ensign today announced his resignation as the 24th United States Senator from the state of Nevada. In a letter to Vice President Joe Biden tomorrow, Senator Ensign will state that his resignation from office is effective as of May 3, 2011.

"It is with tremendous sadness that I officially hand over the Senate seat that I have held for eleven years," said Ensign. "The turbulence of these last few years is greatly surpassed by the incredible privilege that I feel to have been entrusted to serve the people of Nevada. I can honestly say that being a United States Senator has been the honor of my life.


So now Governor Brian Sandoval has to appoint someone (re: Dean Heller) to that open Senate seat and a special election for the the now open congressional district 2 seat must be called in 180 days.

Why did this all happen, when only a month ago Senator Ensign said he'd finish his term? No one knows for sure. Ensign says it was to protect his family, but if he really cared for his family, he would've never cheated on his wife then given money and jobs to his mistress and her family.

Maybe Ensign knew the ethics investigation would not go well. If he's no longer a senator, there is no investigation.

Maybe Ensign was pressured by Governor Sandoval (side note: When Harry Reid involves himself in state politics he's called a meddler; when Brian Sandoval does it, he's a strong leader. I hate Nevada politics sometimes.) to get out because Dean Heller knows he can not defeat Congresswoman Shelley Berkley on his own merits. Being an incumbent adds some panache to your campaign, I'm told. Don't know if I believe that.

Now, who will run for #NV02? Sheila Leslie is the best option in my very humble opinion. I hear Debbie Smith is interested. And Jill Derby (two-time #NV02 loser) has been popping up at party events lately. She might want it too.

So much drama.

My dear friend Rhett sums it all up. I hope the Dems are smart enough to use this:
John Ensign resigning is a political stunt for Republicans to try to retain his Senate seat! First you cheat on your wife, now you cheat on Nevadans!


--

Laura

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Results of our reader poll

Sausage Factory readers voted for their favorite Nevada journo who covers the legislature (#nvleg) full time:

Here are the results:



Congrats to Andrew Doughman for taking first place!


Side note: I'm gonna guess that our readers either 1. Don't care about polls 2. Don't care about journos covering #nvleg or 3. Don't live in Nevada

A few hundred people visited the blog in the past 12 hours, but as you can see, only 36 people voted in our poll.

I was going to do a post with several polling questions (best #nvleg tweeter, best #nvleg analysis, etc...) but it looks like TSF readers aren't really into polls.

What are your thoughts?

Diversity fail

The Assembly republicans have a blog, and for some reason they decided to post a picture, featured right at the top, of all their GOP assembly members.

Reminding everyone that the NV GOP is a Grand ol Party of old white men.

And Melissa Woodbury



Does Nevada's GOP even try to recruit candidates of color? Or is Brian "my kids don't look hispanic" Sandoval enough for them?

I wonder how many LCB staff or Republican attaches up in Carson are people of color.

Monday, April 11, 2011

#OscarsWife doesn't know anything

Maybe the title is a a little unfair, but it seems that every time Carolyn "Oscar's Wife" Goodman is asked a question the response is either I don't know (re: DREAM Act) or some strange off-topic answer.



Carolyn Goodman is not good with details or facts. Perhaps she was too busy molding the young minds of the elite class' offspring to pick up a newspaper or watch the news and actually learn something about the outside world and how it might affect the city she now wants to be mayor of.

Local journalist Steve Friess was one of the first to expose her staggering ignorance. Despite claiming to be an educator and friend to Las Vegas' Latino community, she had no clue what the DREAM Act was and had no official position (and seemed to have no knowledge of) Las Vegas' Domestic Partnership law or gay marriage in general.

And now #OscarsWife has inserted her foot in her mouth once again.

Given a chance by Univision to clarify her DREAM Act remarks, she claims that students can find a pathway to citizenship by participating in the Teach for America program.



Teach for America does not provide you with a pathway to citizenship. Right now, the only way a non-US citizen can became a "legal" citizen is by going through the US' archaic, drawn out citizenship process.

From Teach for America's website:
About Us

Teach For America is the national corps of outstanding recent college graduates of all academic majors and career interests who commit two years to teach in urban and rural public schools and become leaders in the effort to expand educational opportunity.

Our mission is to build the movement to eliminate educational inequity by enlisting our nation's most promising future leaders in the effort. Learn more about who we are looking for.

In the short run, our corps members work relentlessly to ensure that more students growing up today in our country's lowest-income communities are given the educational opportunities they deserve. In the long run, our alumni are a powerful force of leaders working from inside education and from every other sector to effect the fundamental changes needed to ensure that all children have an equal chance in life. Learn more about our impact.

Nothing about citizenship. At all.

I attended almost all of the mayoral debates during the primary, and I noticed whenever Chris Giunchigliani talked about legislation or ordinances she worked on, #OscarsWife would roll her eyes or pass a look to her staff as if to say "Now here she goes with all those facts and shit"

Why the hate from OscarsWife?

Every time Chris G talks about her experience, OscarsWife if forced to admit that she has none. Every time Chris G describes in detail a bill, proposed legislation or policy, OscarsWife is exposed as not just a political neophyte, but a Sarah Palineqsue character who has no knowledge of current events and no ability to articulate any of the little knowledge she does have.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

We're still keeping an eye on this

Collective bargaining back in the news in Nevada (see TSF blog here):

Fight over collective bargaining looming in Legislature

But Sandoval’s newly unveiled education reform package might bring the collective bargaining fight to him.

Under the legislation, teachers unions couldn’t bargain for higher pay based on educational attainment or years of service. They would also be limited in bargaining on the processes for layoffs, other workforce reductions and termination.

The Nevada State Education Association sees Sandoval’s bill, Assembly Bill 555, as an end run around its collective bargaining rights.

“We certainly didn’t take the governor at his word that he was not going to mess with collective bargaining,” association President Lynn Warne said. “He said he wasn’t going to move to eliminate collective bargaining, but there’s lots of mischief to be made within the statute of 288. And he’s picked on two very important issues to us.”


I wonder why no mention of Legislative Republicans issuing a list of demands, including derailing collective bargaining.

Is it due to lack of resources or lack of will that no one is pointing out what Governor Sandoval and legislative Republicans are doing in Carson is happening in Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin and other states?

Conservative think-tanks and news services have been slithering around Carson for almost two months as part of a string of "non profit" franchise-type operations that have popped up in states with new Republican governors.

This is not all just a coincidence.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Early voters are lazy and uninformed. They must be stopped

Last Friday someone told me the Republicans in the Nevada legislature have a bill that would end early voting. I assumed they were kidding.

Nevada covets early voting.

But go to the website, look for assembly bill 311: AN ACT relating to elections; eliminating early voting in elections; and providing other matters properly relating thereto.

...yeah.

My friend Andrew over at the Nevada Progressive blogged about the bill first. What blows me is the bill's sponsor, Crescent Hardy R-Mesquite, claiming an unnamed group for unknown reasons asked him for this bill.

The fuck? Is this real life?

Just more evidence of Republicans attacking the least among us.

They know they can't win elections with high turn out. All across the nation Republicans are doing what they can to knock registered voters off the official record and suppress turnout. Remember the voter suppression bill I blogged about early this session? The one where Jodi Stephens whined that the evil Liberals didn't like that she and her Republicans friends wanted to prevent the poor and people of color from voting?

None of these bills will go anywhere. Aren't the Republicans the fiscally responsible ones? This is a huge waste of tax payer money and time. So why bother?

Because they can go back to their districts and toss this red meat at the seal-clapping masses: "I tried, but it was the Liberals and ACORN and SEIU and those illegals who stopped me. I was on your side!"

That's right you lazy, ignorant, good-for-nothing teachers, grandmas, students, single parents and government workers. You've had your fun participating in Democracy, now the Republicans and their allies are going to take those privileges back!

And your little dog too!

Oh, the irony

I've long complained that I have no congressman.

I live in Clark County but have the misfortune of living in Congressional District 2, the seat currently held by Dean Heller.

A CD2 resident since 2008, I've met my congressman exactly zero times. In the past three plus years I've gone to Washington, DC at least a dozen times and each request I've sent to his office to meet with him or to receive gallery passes has been ignored. Going to his constituent office in Las Vegas renders similar results. Usually no one is there. Just a locked office, lights off. Your tax dollars hard at work.

Today I caught Jane Ann Morrison's column in the Las Vegas Review Journal where Heller defends himself against the notion that he's become more conservative and less accessible.

The timing couldn't be more perfect.

I planned on going to Heller's office this morning with some seniors to ask him to stop threatening to kill the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, medicare protections and benefits with it. His office must know this column is coming out today. They surely had a staffer there so as not to prove the columnist's point. Or so I thought.

Waiting at security of Alan Bible building, I browsed the wall of the world's most evil terrorists (why isn't Bin Laden up there anymore?) and I could hear the security guard picking up the phone, dialing, waiting, hanging up, dialing, waiting...for almost a full minute. Finally, he said no one was in the office, so no one was going upstairs.

I really wish I knew who else was in the building so I could have told a little white lie, gone up and taken a picture outside his darkened office, on a weekday, at 10am.

Granted, Ms Morrison was mostly referring to accessibility of Heller to the press (more important than constituent accessibility, right?) in her column, but as I said above, as a constituent, no matter how hard I tried, I've had absolutely no access to my congressman.

Heller says he has a lot of work to do in Clark County if he wants to win Ensign's newly vacated seat (what happens if Ensign retires early and Sandoval appoints himself to that seat? No more election or Heller?) so far, he's off to a really bad start.

Not that I'm complaining or anything.

Republicans who support education and need a push

Anyone following #Mar21 #NVed and #NVleg on twitter (or following The Sausage Factory's live blog here) knows shit is popping off in Carson City.

A dozen buses packed with students left Las Vegas last night and they were joined in Carson City this morning by 7 buses from Reno and 1 bus from the rural Nevada.

There are Republican legislators who support education and will listen to our pleas to save it.

Here are there contacts. Email, call and if you're in Carson, go to their office. Put a face behind these cuts.

Save our state!

Assembly
Scott Hammond
775-684-8853
office in the legislature: 4111
shammond@asm.state.nv.us


Randy Kirner
775-684-8848
office 3130
rkirner@asm.state.nv.us

Melissa Woodbury
775-684-8503
office 4103
mwoodbury@asm.state.nv.us

Ira Hansen
775-684-8851 (cell: 775-221-2502)
office 3156
ihansen@asm.state.nv.us

Pat Hickey
775-684-8837 (cell: 775-762-8006)
office 4112
phickey@asm.state.nv.us



Senate
Ben Kieckhefer
775-684-1450 (cell: 775-223-9618)
office 2145
bkieckhefer@sen.state.nv.us

Mar 21: Students March on Carson City

A few months ago organizer Michael Flores told me he wanted to fill up buses with students and send them to Carson City to lobby the legislature.

Tonight I watched as hundreds of students piled into a dozen buses and headed north. And I have never been more proud.

Governor Brian Sandoval has pushed the students of Nevada too far. "Death by a thousands cuts" is what you often hear. But these kids aren't going to take it anymore.

Watch the events of the day unfold live right here:


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Brian Sandoval vs. the American Dream

While our press corps is distracted and Governor Brian Sandoval manages to avoid scrutiny with his nice smile and non-threatening hair cut, activists in Nevada and across the country are organizing and working to hold Sandoval accountable for the damage he is attempting to do to our great state.

The cuts are not a shared sacrifice. Like other republican governors across the nation, Sandoval's cuts target the least among us.

This was sent by MoveOn.org today:
Dear Nevada MoveOn member,

The battle of Wisconsin has awakened a sleeping giant—millions of people standing together to save the American Dream from severe budget cuts and attacks on the rights of working people.

We need to keep that momentum going here in Nevada, where a huge fight is brewing in Carson City over the state's budget.

Governor Brian Sandoval has proposed a budget that cuts public education, Medicaid, public safety and more—all while allowing corporations and the wealthy to avoid paying their fair share.1

Wisconsin showed that the people are not going to let corporations and their allies on the right trample the American Dream without a fight. Now we have to send that same message in Nevada.

Click here to sign the petition to Gov. Brian Sandoval and your state legislators.

Here's what the petition says: "Nevada's budget has already been cut to the bone. Corporations and the wealthy must pay their fair share for quality schools, police, health care, and other vital public services."

After you sign, be sure to share this petition on Facebook and email it to your friends and neighbors in Henderson and around the state.

This is about the budget, but it's also about something bigger. We need to make this the moment when regular people stand up and say "no" to the corporations and right-wing politicians who want to strangle the public investments needed to keep the American Dream alive.

Please take a moment to add your name to the petition, and we'll deliver it to Gov. Brian Sandoval and your state legislators by the end of this week.

Click here to sign the petition to Gov. Brian Sandoval and your state legislators.

Thanks for all you do.

–Anna, Marika, Stephen, Adam Q., and the rest of the team

Sources:

1. "Governors are Proposing Further Deep Cuts in Services, Likely Harming Their Economies," Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, March 3, 2011
http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=3389

After signing the petition, here is the email MoveOn will send to contacts of your choosing:
Subject: Nevada Budget Cuts vs. the American Dream

Hi,

Governor Brian Sandoval has proposed a budget that cuts public
education, Medicaid, public safety and more--all while allowing
corporations and the wealthy to avoid paying their fair share.

I signed a petition to the governor and my state legislators opposing
these cuts. Can you join me at the link below?

http://pol.moveon.org/nvbudget/?r_by=-5547254-wcBvX1x&rc=mailto

Thanks!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Dean Heller announces he's running for Senate; Clark County licks its chops

I have the misfortune of living in Clark County's 2nd congressional district.

I say misfortune because my congressman, Dean Heller, never comes to this part of the district. His Las Vegas district office is rarely open. Yes Nevada, your tax dollars are paying rent on a congressional office that is supposed to provide constituent services that usually sits empty, doors locked. He lost my assembly district in 2010 to challenger Nancy Price (Price had 63% of the vote in my precinct) and the Nevada Democratic Party didn't even try to win this election (no calling, no canvassing). Jill Derby beat Heller in Clark County in 2008 in an election where NV Dems actually put forth a little bit of effort.

I'm not sure this is going to be a cake walk for Heller. This will be the first time he faces the full force of NV Dems and its activists, including an assist from OFA and President Obama at the top of the ticket. And I know I'm not the only CD2-Clark resident who has been saving up Heller's racist anti-immigrant mailers, fact-less constituent letters and tax payer-funded official congressional correspondence that seem to only come out when he's running for re-election and look a lot like a campaign mailer.

But he's decided to run for US Senate anyway.

Here's the email I received today. The opening line is full of lulz.

Also included a screen print so you know the mangled first sentence was in the actual email.
Laura,

Your past support has meant a lot me and for this reason I wanted you to be among the first to know that I am running for the United States Senate.

It is difficult to see so many people hurting in my home state. As many of you know, I grew up in Nevada and my wife Lynne and I have raised our family here. We see the tough choices our friends, neighbors, and family members are making every day and I see how poor decisions in Washington are impacting their lives.

This is not the first time that Nevadans have endured tough times and it won't be the last, but I know that there are better days ahead.

Our strength as a state and a nation is bigger than the troubles of today. However, it is also incumbent upon us to effect change in difficult times to create a better future.

As families across Nevada struggle to pay their bills and fight to keep their homes, Barack Obama and his beltway allies are proposing record spending that will add to America's job-killing debt from a stratospheric $14 trillion to a staggering $20 trillion.

We cannot allow this to happen.

We can change the course we are on by taking action today. The choices we make can lead to big changes in our lives and the lives of our loved ones. This is a crossroad that will not only change Nevada, but significantly change the direction of our nation for years to come.

If we are to turn our economy around, we must remove impediments that have caused economic stagnation and the inability of businesses to create new jobs. Not continue with business as usual.

We cannot ignore our nation's very serious fiscal problems and continue to allow Obama's big government job killing agenda to continue.

I have long been an opponent of reckless government spending and continue to support a balanced budget. In 2008, I stood up to former President Bush, then Senator Obama, and Washington special interests and said no to the Wall Street bailout. In fact, I was the only member of the Nevada delegation to vote against the Wall Street bailout, not once but twice. My view then, just as it is now, is that debt fueled bailouts only hurts long-term economic growth and places taxpayers on the hook for the excesses of Wall Street.

Now I want to take this fight to the United States Senate.

Congress can no longer refuse to make tough fiscal decisions and stick our children and grandchildren with the massive debt that has been allowed to accrue for far too long. We must take control of government spending to instill long-term economic growth in our country.

There are those who believe government spending is not the problem and we should simply raise taxes and treat the American public as an ATM. Let me assure you that I believe Washington has a spending problem—not a revenue problem—and that tax increases are not the answer especially in our current economic environment.

Just like many families across our state, Lynne and I sit around the table and discuss the direction of our country, the future of our children, and the needs of the people of our great state who have endured in this struggling economy for far too long.

It is time to move beyond the failed policies of the past and create real economic growth in Nevada.

I know that the tough times are not yet over. However, I also know that there are better times ahead.

Together we can move our country in a new direction, get Nevadans working again, and create a more prosperous future for us and our children.

It has been an honor to serve you and our great state in the House. I hope I can count on your continued support. With your help, we can bring a new conservative majority to the United States Senate.

Sincerely,
Dean
Dean Heller

Photobucket

UPDATE: Updated to correct Price's winning percentage from 62% to 63%

--
Laura
laurakmmartin@gmail.com

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Re-Tweeting the Nevada Legislature

By far one of the most popular blogs on The Sausage Factory was 'Tweeting the Nevada Legislature'. I'm glad that my Twitter list of Nevada legislators has been useful for Nevada's tweeters who are trying to keep up with what their representatives are doing in Carson City.

I provided some gentle criticism for those whose Twitter skills are lacking and I am going to take full credit for the improvements that I've seen ;^)

Elizabeth Halseth @elizabethSD9 is no longer narrating her day with banal "I'm off to the bathroom" "Just got done washing my hands" "Heading back to my office" "Oops, toilet paper is stuck to my heel" type tweets. She is interacting more, asking questions and tweeting pictures. Twitter is not a community cork board where you just post information, to get the best experience out of Twitter that you can, you must be interactive.

I was also critical of Speaker of the House Oceguera @JohnOceguera and Senate Majority Leader Horsford @shorsford for their cold/impersonal tweets. But it has gotten MUCH better. Speaker Oceguera is sharing more articles and making comments on them. He's interacting more with his followers and people who "@" reply him. He even tweeted a video of his adorable baby boy Jackson walking; an inclusion in the #NVleg Democrat's #437Kreasons twitter campaign to bring awareness to the education budget in Nevada.

SML Horsford's account has also livened up. Tweeting questions, throwing out facts and providing #nvleg info to his followers. As Nevada's DNC committee representative, he recently traveled to DC for the DNC's winter meeting and live-tweeted a few meetings and shared pictures. Political nerds like me ate that shit up!

Lucy Flores @LucyFlores is still my favorite #nvleg tweeter. Providing information, asking questions, answering questions, talking about her personal life and refusing to take shit from anyone who tries to get crazy with her on Twitter. But I will say, I was hating on her a few days ago when she tweeted she tried Zumba, then did some yoga and finished it off with an hour of basketball! Trying to make us all look bad!

And here's an updated list of the #NVleg Twitter Follower Leader-board (for time's sake, only doing the top 10):

@JohnOceguera 550

@LucyFlores 513

@BobzienNevada 506

@ElliotAndersonv 483

@RubenKihuen 391

@MarcusConklin 372

@sleslienv 371

@Ben_Kieckhefer 356

@WILLIAMHORNENV 313

@elizabethSD9 283

--
Laura
laurakmmartin@gmail.com

What the hell RORY?

News broke Friday that Rory Reid for Governor crew found some creative--albeit legal--ways to get some campaign cash that involved creating 91 (NINETY ONE!!? GOT DAMN RORY!) PACs:
In one of the most brazen schemes in Nevada history, gubernatorial candidate Rory Reid’s campaign formed 91 shell political action committees that were used to funnel three quarters of a million dollars into his campaign, circumventing contribution limits and violating at least the spirit – and maybe the letter – of the laws governing elections.

Reid, who was fully aware of what was done, essentially received more than $750,000 from one PAC – 75 times the legal limit -- after his team created dozens of smaller PACS that had no other purpose other than to serve as conduits from a larger entity that the candidate funded by asking large donors for money. Indeed, the shell PACs were formed in the fall and dissolved on Dec. 31, after they had served their short-term function, which was to help the candidate evade campaign contribution laws.

Tio Rory said he was playing by the rules: he sought legal council and received guidance from the Secretary of State's office.

But just because something is legal, doesn't mean you have to run out and do it (hey Rory, kinda referring to your dad's speech about hookers) especially if it feels wrong.

I was rooting for you Rory, we were all rooting for you! *rips up Rory for CD4 bumper sticker*



But I do have a question about the timing of it all.

Tio Rory claims to have gotten the okay from the Secretary of State's office beforehand.

He loses the bid for governor on November 2, 2010 (over five months ago) to Governor Brian Sandoval (which news agency will go through Sandoval's campaign finances I wonder? Don't hold your breath).

On February 28, 2011 Secretary of State Ross Miller again submits a campaign finance reform bill. Similar bills have been submitted by Secretary Miller. This bill faces some resistance from the right, especially from underfunded political parties who feel Secretary Miller is raising campaign filing costs and increasing the number of reports to shut them out.

The ACLU has claimed Secretary Miller's bill is a violation of the First Amendment.

March 4, 2011 news breaks that Rory Reid for governor formed a Megatron PAC

What better way to get bipartisan support for a campaign finance reform bill (similar ones have failed twice) than to make an example out of a Reid who took advantage of the state's weak campaign finance laws?

Interesting how things just seem to work themselves out.

--
Laura
laurakmmartin@gmail.com

Revisiting SB41

By far the most controversial blog on The Sausage Factory was this one about holes in Governor Brian Sandoval's position on collective bargaining and lack of reporting on SB41. It's always funny to hear that people are calling around just to tattle on you over a blog. Man up!



This is a brief update/basic timeline:

Feb 4: Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval's adviser Dale Erquiaga says the Gov wants nothing to do with former Governor Jim Gibbons bill that would eliminate collective bargaining.

Feb 7: SB41, a bill that would eliminate collective bargaining in Nevada, finds its way to the state senate. Other bills left over from the Gibbons administration have yet to see the light of day. Somehow, despite the Governor's supposed lack of interest, SB41 is drafted and makes it to committee.

Feb 11: Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin introduces his budget that includes eliminating collective bargaining for public employees.

Feb 14: In Wisconsin, Labor Unions and members of the public begin to protest Governor Walker's union-busting budget.

Feb 19: In Wisconsin almost 70,000 people protest Governor Walker's union-busting budget.

Feb 21: Governor Sandoval attends the Churchill County Central Republican Committee's Lincoln Day Dinner and tells attendees he has Governor Walker's back
“We are all working together,” Sandoval told Walker. “No one is going to buckle, no one is going to blink.”

Feb 22: Governor Walker falls for a prank phone call and tells "David Koch" that Governor Sandoval says there is support for what Walker is doing in WI (busting unions) in the state of NV.

Feb 23: Republican governors in Ohio and Florida back off of collective bargaining.

Feb 24: Governor Sandoval tells the Las Vegas Sun “In regard to collective bargaining, there may be a bill,” Sandoval said. “I’ve not seen that bill. I’m watching the progress of such bills and waiting to see if they arrive here at the Capitol.”

Feb 27: The Las Vegas Review Journal reports there is no push by Governor Sandoval or Nevada Republicans to bother collective bargaining.

Mar 2: Assembly Republicans issue a list of demands, including "Strengthen management’s position in public employee collective bargaining rules."


updated to add gif, fix sentence

--
Laura
laurakmmartin@gmail.com

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Governor Brian Sandoval wants to end collective bargaining

On February 24, 2011 Governor Sandoval told Anjeanette Damon of the Las Vegas Sun:
“In regard to collective bargaining, there may be a bill,” Sandoval said. “I’ve not seen that bill. I’m watching the progress of such bills and waiting to see if they arrive here at the Capitol.”

On February 27, 2011 Laura Myers of the Review Journal, in one of her infamous rambling opuses declared Governor Sandoval and the Nevada republican party are not going after public employees or unions.

And today, Jon Ralston published a missive and he too fell into line claiming Governor Sandoval had no intentions (no stomach?) to mess with collective bargaining rights.

But over in Humbolt County, our friend Desert Beacon finds this:
In case citizens of Nevada were thinking that what happens in Ohio, Indiana, and Wisconsin would stay in Ohio, Indiana, and Wisconsin -- please see SB 41 (pdf), introduced into the Nevada State Legislature by the Legislative Committee on Operations and Elections at the request of the Governor.

What does it do?
In other words, if the local government doesn't "deem" collective bargaining "desirable" then all bets are off and there will be no collective bargaining. Period.

But surely it was introduced AFTER all those media reports claiming Governor Sandoval had no interesting in collective bargaining, right?
The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Operations and Elections on February 7, 2011.

You have to wonder why our press corps intentionally led the public to believe our governor was staying away from the collective bargaining fight while at the same time that same governor had requested a bill that would essentially do away with with those bargaining rights.

Maybe if SB41 included something about prostitutes they would have noticed


UPDATE:
Desert Beacon provides a SB41 timeline

UPDATE 2:
These questions still stand: if Brian Sandoval was not interested in a collective bargaining bill and wanted it ignored, why was the bill still drafted? Why is it in a senate committee? Why waste valuable legislative time to work on a bill the governor has indicated he has no intentions of passing (and there is not enough legislative support to override a veto)? Who brought Governor Gibbons bill back to life? Sure, the bill will not go anywhere, but why did everyone just roll over and accept Governor Sandoval's word? Especially since he was caught twice praising union-busting Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker. Sandoval may think a bill would never go anywhere, but either he and/or the Nevada republican party may think they have a chance to win an ideological fight in the process.

Check our Desert Beacon (here and here) and Nevada State Employee Focus for more analysis

--
Laura

Monday, February 28, 2011

Halseth seeks to deny voters access to elected officials by banning them from public hearings

Over 1,000 parents, students, administrators, staff and teachers made their way to Green Valley High School in Henderson to testify in front of their elected officials about Nevada's education budget. This did not please freshman senator Elizabeth Halseth: she has called for all Nevadans without student identification to be banned from future public hearings.

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In Halseth's defense, she might not have actually authored that tweet herself. As seen in her Face to Face interview, she is usually not that coherent, and its widely known that the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity chapter of Nevada assists with her blog and sends her questions to ask and comments to make during her committee hearings in Carson City.

Despite who was behind the tweet, Halseth or AFP Nevada, you have to wonder why they were so upset by the testimony they heard that they feel government must step in and prevent voters from speaking and having access to their elected officials.

Was it the 3rd grader with type 1 diabetes who didn't want his school nurse to be fired because he'd have no one to give him his insulin shot? The bus driver who faithfully performed her duties for Clark County School District for 30 years? The young man from Nevada Policy Research Institute who said Nevada's education system didn't need more money, the money we have needs to be spent wisely? Or the mother of three who wanted her kids education to mean something when they graduate and go out into the world?

And to further darken an otherwise uplifting evening of civic engagement and parental involvement, Halseth and freshman assemblyman Scott Hammond lied via their twitter accounts by claiming parents were shut out of the public hearing because the auditorium was full of union members.

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Anyone who actually attended the open hearing knows there was not one person wearing union paraphernalia in attendance. This may be news to Halseth and Hammond: members of Nevada's labor unions have children who attend public schools, and they care about the budget too.

Halseth and Hammond are the types to be first in line to lie about and demonize members of Nevada's labor unions then whine and cry that those same union members they want to ban from public hearings overwhelmingly support Democrats.

I doubt little Christopher Hughes, the 3rd grader with diabetes, is a union member, but Halseth and Hammond have dismissed his testimony just the same. They have to look past their conservative talking points and push politics to the side to help children in CCSD like Christopher.

All people who provided testimony had great ideas. Lets hope their words didn't fall or deaf, or even worse, partisan ears.

--
Laura

The Grind

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