Gov. Brian Sandoval followed the standard advice to write about what you know and delivered his best speech ever by all accounts, sharing the kindness and wisdom of the self-effacing gaming attorney Bob Faiss.
Sandoval wrote his own tribute to Faiss, who died June 4 at age 79.
His memorial service took place Friday. People sat on chairs atop the gym floor of the Historic Fifth Street School where Faiss played basketball in elementary school. More than 500 people packed the gym.
Sandoval and other speakers told of Faiss’ ability to always be positive and never speak unkindly about others.
When Sandoval was chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission and Faiss appeared before him, the governor said, “Bob never, ever said a cross word about anybody.”
“If Attila the Hun was his client, Bob would say he was a man sometimes misunderstood, a man of action,” Sandoval said. With Faiss, it was not a used car, it was a pre-enjoyed, pre-loved car, Sandoval said, drawing laughs.
Faiss created the specialty of gaming attorney and wrote laws regulating gaming when he was working for then-Gov. Grant Sawyer. “He never held public office, but he had a lasting impact on this state,” the Republican governor said about the longtime Democrat who worked for President Lyndon Johnson before turning to the law.
When Sandoval was on the Assembly Judiciary Committee and knew Faiss would be testifying on a gaming matter, he always prepped extra hard because Faiss had written the laws. “Trying to argue with him would be like trying to argue with Matthew, Mark, Luke and John about the gospel,” he said.
When he had to testify on a gaming bill in Congress, Sandoval turned to Faiss for help to get it right.
When Sandoval was running for attorney general, he stayed in the casita outside the home of Linda and Bob Faiss in Boulder City. “I may be one of the few people who knows what Bob looks like with bed head in the morning.”
But when the joking was done, Sandoval asked the question: What motivates such a man?
“Pure goodness,” Sandoval answered. “Bob felt everyone had a obligation to make the world a better place.”
He told of visiting Faiss in the Boulder City Hospital recently. “I wanted to tell him how much I loved him, and how much we all loved him. How good would this world be if we had more Bob Faisses. He’s a example that nice guys do indeed, finish first.”
— Jane Ann Morrison
MI FAMILIA, HECK TALK IMMIGRATION
With immigration no less a flashpoint in Southern Nevada politics, there was a brief resumption of talks recently between an advocacy group and Republican Rep. Joe Heck on a possible reform bill.
Heck said he met in late April with representatives of Mi Familia Vota expressing renewed interest in a DREAM Act bill he was drafting late last year with input from Las Vegas and national advocates.
Talks at that time collapsed after the draft drew mixed reaction from the groups, but Mi Familia Vota wanted to try again, Heck said.
“I said you find me 10 Democratic co-sponsors and I’ll bring 10 Republican co-sponsors and I’ll introduce the bill,” Heck said. But he said after five weeks there was little to show on June 1, and talks ended.
Leo Murrieta, the Las Vegas-based national field director for Mi Familia Vota, confirmed the meeting. But as far as outcome, “It’s been difficult with the partisanship taking place to get a good dialogue with either side of the aisle.”
“We are trying to continue to have talks with (Heck) to see what can be done and how we can be helpful,” Murietta said.
The attempt at compromise illustrated the touch-and-go relationship between Heck and activists increasingly frustrated at inaction in the Republican-controlled House.
The sometimes cooperative, sometimes testy rapport was tested anew on June 4 when roughly 30 activists staged a protest at Heck’s office on Eastern Avenue and Pebble Road, chanting and reading letters from Heck constituents.
Five activists arranged to be arrested after giving Las Vegas police advance notice of their planned civil disobedience. Later, Heck’s re-election campaign said he “will not be bullied into amnesty!”
For Heck, who has maneuvered carefully through the political minefield of immigration reform, the blunt statement was striking.
In an interview Heck said he was frustrated.
“It came from the fact I have met with all of those individuals and all those groups that continue to show up at my office on this issue,” he said. “They know where I am on this issue. In fact we’ve worked cooperatively on many of these issues and for them to continue to show up at my office … and disrupt operations not just in my office but in the entire public office building, it does them a disservice.”
“The fact is, if they were truly concerned about true immigration reform they would put their effort someplace that would be better spent than showing up outside my office and using a bullhorn to yell into the office building from the parking lot.”
Laura Martin, communications director for the Progressive Leadership Alliance that is part of a Southern Nevada activist coalition, said immigration reform is too important to let up pressure on Republicans to act.
“I get that it can be frustrating because (Heck) is trying to present himself as pro-immigration, but the point of the matter is we do not have a (House) immigration bill,” Martin said. “We can’t stop pestering him until we have a bill. Nothing is happening but we are seeing our families continue to be deported.”
— Steve Tetreault
THE COST OF WINNING
The price per vote for some Republican state Senate primary winners was steep, although not record-breaking by any means.
Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson of Henderson spent $234,625 or $78 a vote in District 20.
Patricia Farley spent $171,020 or nearly $61 a vote in Senate District 8’s GOP primary.
Republican candidate Becky Harris in Senate District 9 spent $207,994 on her 1,830 votes, not quite $114 a vote.
But her main challenger, Vick Gill, has to be hurting. He spent more than $70,000 of his own 15031 to come in second and spread his message to fight tax hikes ad oppose Obamacare. That has to smart a bit.
Aren’t Republicans supposed to be the ones who advocate not spending what you don’t have? All three Senate candidates who advanced to the general election spent more than they raised.
— Jane Ann Morrison
INTEREST OR LACK THEREOF
Check out the votes cast for unopposed judges. They all run countywide, so the number of voters would seem to be alike. But they’re not. The judge with the most votes was Chief Judge Jennifer Togliatti with 88,930. The judge with the least votes was Judge Jessie Walsh with 83,823.
A win without having to run is a win, no matter what. But more than 5,000 Clark County voters, for whatever reason, couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Walsh.
Of course, there were 122,541 voters eligible to vote in the nonpartisan judicial races, so obviously a lot of folks skipped those judicial candidates who had no opponents.
So what competitive judicial race drew the attention of the most voters? Department 2 where Richard Scotti, John Watkins, William Skupa and Phung Jefferson drew 104,130 voters. Scotti and Watkins advanced to the Nov. 4 election.
— Jane Ann Morrison
SANDOVAL FOCUSING ON DROUGHT
Gov. Brian Sandoval said he will focus on drought issues during his term as chairman of the Western Governors’ Association.
Sandoval was named to the position last week during a meeting of the group in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Nevada and many other Western states are facing severe drought conditions.
“It’s a great opportunity because many of the Western governors share the same issues, and this drought forum is going to be my issue for the Western Governors’ Association for the next year,” Sandoval said.
The goal of the Western Governors’ Drought Forum will be to bring Western states together to combat drought, and to recommit the association to play a leading role in these efforts.
Part of the initiative will include a series of meetings to facilitate a dialogue about best practices for drought management, water, energy, and agriculture.
“Drought still threatens this country’s recovery from one of the worst economic recessions any of us have known,” Sandoval said. “The goal of the Western Governors Drought Forum will be to foster partnerships and collaboration between Western states to better predict and manage drought in the years ahead. We will look to and embrace local, state, and private sector expertise to assist our states and the WGA in achieving these goals.”
Established in 1984 through the merger of two organizations, the Western Governors’ Association is an independent, nonpartisan organization of governors from 19 Western states and three U.S.-flag islands: the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam and American Samoa.
— Sean Whaley
Contact Steve Tetreault at email@example.com or 202-783-1760. Follow @STetreaultDC on Twitter. Contact Jane Ann Morrison at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0275. Contact Capital Bureau reporter Sean Whaley at email@example.com or 775-687-3900. Follow @seanw801on Twitter.