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Politics

Drive to recall Guinn unlikely to succeed
While folks in Las Vegas may be out busily collecting signatures to force a recall of Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn, the Reno area lacks a critical mass of recall activism.

Over at the offices of the Independent American Party on Rock Boulevard in Sparks, Janine Hansen seemed a bit dubious about the recall effort.

“We mailed out 500 petitions from here,” she said. “But I’m not committing big resources to it. The odds are extremely difficult.”

Collecting 120,000 signatures in three months amounts to getting some 2,000 per day. Even a huge volunteer force like army of matrimony defenders who worked to get the Protection of Marriage question on the ballot averaged about 121 signatures per day, Hansen said.

Getting 2,000 per day would be nearly impossible “without a lot of money or barring some revelation to make people really angry at the governor,” she said.

Angry doesn’t even begin to describe how Hansen and others in the Independent American Party feel about the governor’s role in the recent legislative session.

“He trashed the constitution by taking the legislature to the Supreme Court!” Hansen said. “He violated the faith of the people who voted to put the two-thirds majority vote [to raise taxes] in place.”

Even if it’s not successful, the ability to engage in an act like collecting signatures for a gubernatorial recall is a “good accountability measure,” Hansen said.

Hansen is more hopeful about the party’s plans to do a referendum on repealing the new taxes and starting an initiative drive to prohibit state and local government employees from serving in the legislature.

“These legislators don’t represent the people, but their own self-interests,” Hansen said in a press release. “Foxes get out of the hen house.”

Of Nevada’s 21 senators and 42 assemblymen, Hansen can list about 23 who work in government jobs or who have government employees in their households.

Still, you’ve got to wonder. If government employees are kept from holding elected offices, perhaps these roles would be filled with representatives of Nevada’s business community—a group that obviously can be trusted to make decisions selflessly for the betterment of Nevada’s children and families. Right?

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Posted inDennis Myers Memorial

Politics

Sam’s back
Tireless community activist Sam Dehne has been showing some of his old fire in recent weeks. But he’s kind of impatient with the rest of us.

Dehne, a persistent thorn in the side of local governments who has sometimes triumphed over those governments, filed a flurry of legal challenges to official actions by the Airport Authority of Washoe County, the Reno City Council and Nevada Secretary of State Dean Heller.

On July 9, Dehne filed a complaint with Nevada Attorney General Brian Sandoval accusing officers of the Washoe County Airport Authority of conducting business on July 8 even though their terms as officers had expired on July 1.

On July 14, Dehne filed a complaint with Sandoval contending that Secretary of State Dean Heller’s participation in a weekly radio program constitutes a violation of Nevada Revised Statute 281.481, which says, “A public officer shall not use his position in government to secure unwarranted privileges, preferences … or advantages to himself.”

On July 23, Dehne filed a complaint with Sandoval that argued the Reno City Council violated the open-meeting law at its meeting that day. His complaint says that the council went from an open session to a closed one, then came back into open session and suddenly started voting in lockstep. Dehne argues that this indicates the council members reached a consensus in the closed session, enabling them to sing in unison in open session.

But then Dehne wrote to Sandoval again and withdrew the July 23 complaint with a shot at public, media, and officialdom.

“I’m kinda tired of being the curmudgeon and making all the bureaucrats mad at me. And I’m kinda tired of fighting everybody else’s battles. Nobody else—county commission, folks from Cold Springs, Reno Gazette-Journal and rest of media, A.G., etc., etc., seems to care about this. So why should I?”

As it happens, Dehne chose to withdraw the one complaint with the greatest chance of success, since the attorney general’s authority over open-meeting issues is clear. Whether the A.G. has any statutory power in the case of the airport authority rules is far from certain.

Dehne is now a candidate for the Reno city council, though he says he wants to lose to his favorite member, Jessica Sferrazza.

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Dennis Myers

Dennis Myers was the news editor of the Reno News & Review. He was a journalist for more than four decades. In 1987-88 he was chief deputy secretary of state of Nevada. He was coauthor of Uniquely...