No-taxes pledge helps conservative activist oust three Republicans

Call it Muth’s mugging.

Conservative political activist Chuck Muth is giddy after helping to derail the Assembly careers of Republicans Bob Beers and Francis Allen in the south and John Marvel in the north. Muth says his efforts came after the first two failed to sign a no-taxes pledge and the latter relented on a tax bill in a previous session of the Legislature.

It’s not a stretch to say the efforts of Muth and GOP veteran George Harris to move the Republicans in the Legislature to the right have done more to help embattled Gov. Jim Gibbons than all the chief executive’s high-priced help mates combined.

Sure, Allen, Beers and Marvel were damaged goods, but the message that emerges through the collective snore of Tuesday’s primary is that the hard-line, business end of the GOP plans to fight for every inch of ground against any potential tax increase.

With the state’s economy foundering and yet more budget cuts likely in the near future, it’s possible no one will call for more funding to assist even the most essential state programs.

NOT SO SWELL: So much for the belief that all the increased voter registration would dramatically increase voter turnout. It didn’t. It wasn’t a tsunami or even a groundswell.

Let’s be frank. Most newly registered voters have no great interest in politics, but are instead fired up about the presidential election.

And even Sen. John McCain admits his opponent is the world’s largest celebrity.

BANK NOTE: When banking community veterans scoffed last month about the sudden departure of McCain’s son from the board of Silver State Bancorp of Henderson, they laughed that “personal reasons” was a pretty vague excuse for the rapid separation.

Now comes word that Silver State’s holding company is reporting a $73.2 million loss in the second quarter. Sounds as if Andrew McCain’s departure came just in time to avoid being part of a story that might have generated big headlines nationally.

‘MATH’ PROBLEM: Never let it be said local advertising men Tom Letizia and Ken Rubino shy away from a fight. They have just issued a “cease and desist” letter to the general counsel of behemoth Wal-Mart Stores Inc. for its use of the phrase “Do The Math” to help sell its discount goods.

Problem is, Letizia Ad Team has created an extensive advertising campaign for numerous Hyundai dealerships that uses the same phrase. Letizia has already applied to the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office to register “Do The Math.”

More on this soon.

NAME RECOGNITION: Those who believe all publicity is good publicity haven’t watched District Judge Elizabeth Halverson’s hearing before the state Judicial Discipline Commission. It’s being broadcast nationally on In Session (Formerly Court TV.)

It’s hard to tell who has looked worse, Halverson specifically or Nevada’s judicial system generally.

The judge’s travails and alleged transgressions, which until going national had mostly played out on the pages of the Review-Journal, combined to sink her in the eyes of the voters in Tuesday’s primary. She was easily defeated. Win or lose before the discipline commission, she will be looking for work soon.

MAHEU INTERVIEW: Leave it to Ira David Sternberg to capture some special moments in his interview with the late Howard Hughes alter ego Robert Maheu. Those who met Maheu were always intrigued by his amazing contacts and career that ranged from World War II spy to a power broker on behalf of one of the world’s first billionaires.

Sternberg’s interview originally aired July 17, 2006, on “Lunchtime with Ira Live From The Las Vegas Hilton.” Portions of the interview will be rebroadcast at noon and 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday on Clark County Television, Cox Cable Channel 4. The interview also will air at 9 p.m. Saturday on KDWN-AM, 720.

THE GOOD NEIGHBOR: For many years I had the good fortune of living next door to Lamont Turner, who died Aug. 8 at age 66. Lamont was more than a Kyle Canyon neighbor. He was a friend.

Lamont was born in Ely and spent 24 years with the Nevada Division of Wildlife. He helped me in 100 ways with everything from plumbing to car repair.

The avid outdoorsman liked to say, “The worst day on the mountain is better than the best day in town.”

Lamont was as reliable as sunrise, and as honest.

Have an item for the Bard of the Boulevard? E-mail comments and contributions to Smith@reviewjournal.com or call (702) 383-0295.

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