Yes, there is a Santa, even for public officials


Some Nevadans in the news have been naughty this year. Some have been nice. And some, to no one’s surprise, have been downright stupid.

Santa is awfully busy this time of year, so I thought he could use some help in finding perfect gifts for the state’s public figures. Hey, it’s the thought that counts, right?

Rep. Joe Heck is the favorite target of the Democratic Party’s attack machine. Next year brings another re-election campaign, which means the Republican will face a constant spray of mud, slime and excrement on everything from immigration to health care to spending. To navigate this mess, the physician and Army Reserve officer will need much more than scrubs or fatigues. Get Heck an air-tight hazmat suit. And a hose.

Assemblyman Jim Wheeler, R-Gardnerville, made national headlines this year for proclaiming he’d vote to legalize slavery, if that’s what his constituents wanted. To give Wheeler some much-needed perspective on just how awful an idea that is, get him a copy of Alex Haley’s novel “Roots: The Saga of an American Family.” And the miniseries DVD set, too.

State Sen. Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, is Nevada’s political champion for decriminalized marijuana. His legislation this year built the regulatory foundation for legal medical marijuana dispensaries — and honored the will of voters — so the sick finally can have access to the drug. For the potential gubernatorial candidate, a garbage bag full of weed and a supporting role in the “Cheech &Chong” reboot, whenever that happens.

State Sen. Mark Manendo, D-Las Vegas, loves pandering to pet owners with legislation that, in the eyes of animal lovers, elevates critters closer to personhood. His latest idea: an animal abuse registry to try to prevent the cruel from ever owning pets again, a bill that’s sure to help him raise money and win votes. Never mind the state’s larger challenges. Remember the bunny suit Ralphie unwrapped in the classic film “A Christmas Story”? Santa, please bring Manendo an adult-size “pink nightmare” for use during the 2015 Legislature.

For years, Nevada’s mental health officials improperly discharged patients and transported them out of state, sometimes to places where they had no ties and no support system. The problems were uncovered this year by a Sacramento Bee investigation into one man shipped out of Las Vegas to California’s capital. Discipline and policy changes weren’t enough. For those behind this travesty, Santa should bring a one-way bus ticket outta here — and a strait jacket.

Clark County’s Family Court marshals have made the already-miserable experience of navigating the system that much worse for the taxpayers they’re supposed to protect. The Review-Journal’s Jeff German has reported extensively on the ongoing federal grand jury investigation into allegations of excessive force, groping, choking and general oppression by marshals. For Christmas, give these guys the same treatment they were too happy to hand out.

Term-limited Clark County Commissioner Tom Collins certainly appears to be in his last rodeo as an elected official. He’s getting louder and ruder by the day. Santa, please bring Collins a pot of hot coffee and a six-pack of O’Doul’s.

For Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie, who has dealt with more crisis management, more lobbying of fellow elected officials and more political challenges than most of his predecessors combined, a 2014 calendar. That’ll help him count down the days of his final year in office.

For state Sen. Mark Hutchison, R-Las Vegas, who faces a GOP primary next year against former state Sen. Sue Lowden in the lieutenant governor’s race, a chicken suit. Hey, it worked for Harry Reid against Lowden in 2010, didn’t it?

Finally, what to get for Senate Majority Leader Reid, Nevada’s most powerful Democrat and Washington’s curmudgeon in chief, a man whose leadership has lowered Americans’ quality of life while lifting his own? A lump of coal seems appropriate, considering his desire to eliminate the abundant, affordable resource from the country’s power portfolio. A bigger, better idea: a coal-fired power plant, instead.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Glenn Cook (gcook@reviewjournal.com) is the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s senior editorial writer. Follow him on Twitter: @Glenn_CookNV. Listen to him Mondays at 4 p.m. on “Live and Local with Kevin Wall” on KXNT News Radio, 100.5 FM, 840 AM.