Higher education is a fruitful fallback for politicians

Term-limited state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto has found refuge in the lucrative end of Nevada’s higher education system, and now it appears departing Treasurer Kate Marshall is trying to follow suit.

Marshall, who lost a bid for secretary of state in November to Republican Barbara Cegavske, has been asking about the possibilities of a six-figure position at UNLV, reliable sources say.

Cortez Masto late last month was named executive vice chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education, an unfilled position that pays $215,000 a year. The appointment was so surprising it came as a shock to at least one member of the Board of Regents, the Review-Journal reported.

University system Chancellor Dan Klaich personally sought out Cortez Masto and in a statement called her “an outstanding addition to our leadership team.”

Klaich recently chatted with the job-seeking Marshall, I’ve learned. On Thursday, he downplayed the discussion.

“I have spoken with Kate about her desire to work in education,” Klaich said. “But I haven’t been a part of any discussions she’s had with anybody at UNLV.”

He described his conversation with Marshall as “very general” and acknowledged his name “comes up all the time” when positions in higher education are mentioned.

An attempt to reach Marshall on Thursday at her office was unsuccessful. Like Cortez Masto, Marshall is term-limited.

You don’t suppose the state’s higher education system is part of a Democratic Party Full Employment Act, do you?

FIREBRAND FIORE: The state’s political observers may wonder whether firebrand conservative Michele Fiore is ready for prime time after easily prevailing in a proxy skirmish for Assembly majority leader. Mild-mannered conservative John Hambrick emerged with the top spot of Assembly speaker, replacing an embarrassed but apparently indefatigable Ira Hansen.

Hansen, who I’m told played an integral role in the proxy vote, continues to pay for bigoted rhetoric he once espoused as a Sparks newspaper columnist and radio chat show regular. Dennis Myers of the Reno News &Review once again uncovered eyebrow-raising nuggets from Hansen’s past.

He’s probably lucky his many hours on the radio aren’t archived.

The jaw-dropper I’ll never forget from the Hansen clan is the bumper sticker they once proudly displayed: “No civil rights for sodomites.”

But that was a long time ago, right?

DEAD POET: Dead Poet Books, a beloved refuge for Southern Nevada readers, is closing. The store, located in a shopping strip at 937 S. Rainbow Blvd., has welcomed readers and writers for the past decade.

Owners Linda and Rich Piediscalzi opened their first bookstore in 1994. They somehow managed to survive the lingering recession, but now family issues have compelled them to close their friendly shop and put their stock up for sale.

COPYCAT OUSTED: This week the R-J reported UNLV professor Mustapha Marrouchi was fired last month for “serial plagiarism.” He had apparently been lifting the work of other writers for years.

Frankly, I’m sorry to see him go. He seemed very talented.

I really enjoyed his novels, “The Brothers Karamazov,” “The Sun Also Rises,” and “The World According to Garp.”

ON THE BOULEVARD: Failed county medical marijuana license applicants who complained of receiving an unfair hearing must be feeling vindicated now that the rushed process has jammed at the state level. … Have you heard the one about the Strip corporate casino vice president of security who keeps ducking service in a simmering civil litigation? Chances are you will soon. … It’s not often you hear about school kids from a poor neighborhood prevailing against heavy odds, but you’re about to. … Dept. of Shameless Plugs: I’ll sign copies of my recent books “Vegas Voices: Conversations With Great Las Vegas Characters” and “Even a Street Dog: Las Vegas Stories” from 1-3 p.m. Saturday at the Boulder Dam Hotel.

Have an item for the Bard of the Boulevard? Email comments and contributions to or call 702-383-0295. Follow him on Twitter @jlnevadasmith.

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