A Clark County commissioner gets Donald Stirlinged, a rapper says Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is “super sketchy,” and the AG dodges what could have been a tense situation. It’s the SlashPolitics Week in Review!
No, really, edit yourself. Clark County Commissioner Tom Collins is well-known for his blunt talk. (He once told me to “go [expletive] yourself” on Twitter, although I think he meant it in a nice way.) And his disdain for some of his fellow commissioners — Steve Sisolak in particular, but Mary Beth Scow and Susan Brager in general — is also old news.
But a recording obtained by the Review-Journal’s Ben Botkin of Collins trash-talking his commission colleagues with outgoing Constable John Bonaventura has resurrected bad feelings that came to a head at a public meeting not long ago. (It’s not clear how the recording was made, but somebody should sure look into that, because intercepting a wire communication without the consent of the parties is a federal crime, if I’m not mistaken.)
Why Collins would confide in super-sketchy Bonaventura — especially when the commissioner voted with his colleagues to abolish the constable’s office, an action that is now subject to a legal battle in which Collins is a defendant and Bonaventura is a plaintiff — is mind-boggling. (Collins actually signed an affidavit for Bonaventura’s side of the case recently!) But Collins’s isolation and disaffection on the board is clear in the recording.
Reid “super sketchy”? No, it wasn’t a certain former Review-Journal publisher’s Reid-obsessed blog saying it, it was rapper Wale, who does not appreciate the Senate majority leader’s push to re-name the Washington Redskins to something less racially offensive. (My suggestion, the “Washington Crackers,” was shot down because it turns out that’s the legal name of an organization known popularly as the “United States Senate.”)
Wale brought up Reid’s infamous quote from the book “Game Change,” in which the senator praised Barack Obama as “light-skinned” and “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.” (Reid later apologized for the remarks.)
So now what do Reid critics such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., or Tom Coburn, R-Okla., do? On the one hand, they agree with Wale (Coburn once called Reid an “absolute a-hole.”) But on the other hand, Wale is a rapper, so…
This could have been uncomfortable. Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto showed up at The Center to address a crowd of gay community activists on a wide variety of issues on Wednesday. But there was one question on everybody’s mind: Did she really compare gay marriage to bigamy and incest in a court filing?
The answer: No, of course she didn’t. But you may have gotten another impression from reading the Washington Blade, which misinterpreted the language of a brief Cortez Masto filed in a case that seeks to repeal Nevada’s constitutional ban on gay marriage. (After a Ninth Circuit decision in an unrelated case, Cortez Masto has decided to withdraw her defense of the ban.)
After going through several other issues, including reminding the crowd that it would still be necessary to fight underage sex trafficking even if prostitution were legalized outright in Clark County, an audience member finally popped the question: Did you really say gay marriage was like incest? Cortez Masto said no, and that was that. The crowd moved on to other issues.
(A somewhat more involved explanation: In defining marriage in Nevada, the AG’s brief noted that a person could not have more than one wife, and could not marry a close relative, and, under Nevada’s current constitutional scheme, cannot marry someone of the same gender. But nowhere does the brief argue that gay marriage is similar to incest.)
Meanwhile, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says it will hear Nevada’s gay marriage case in September.
Also, no comment. Cortez Masto also had no comment when I asked her about a recent column in Nevada Lawyer magazine by the president of the State Bar that offered a bizarre and legally questionable critique of her decision to stop defending the gay marriage case. Since pretty much everybody else has already come to her defense, she said, she really had nothing to add. (C’mon, Madam AG! A Collins-esque “[expletive] that guy!” would kill you?)
Who says the Review-Journal is always wrong? If you vote the opposite way the R-J tells you to, you’ll really miss the boat on this one: Today, the paper came out for legalized recreational marijuana. That pretty much makes it unanimous.
Odd coalition for a top lawman. Rarely will you see a longtime Metro Police officer embrace, and be embraced by, some of the department’s toughest critics. That’s especially true of a high-ranking member of the department’s leadership. But former Assistant Sheriff Ted Moody did just that this week, accepting endorsements from the families of two people who died in officer-involved shootings. Both families at one time were suing the department over the incidents.
Moody, who retired from the department after Sheriff Doug Gillespie ignored a recommendation by a use of force review board to fire an officer, may sense that he needs a boost to get into the general election. Assistant Sheriff Joe Lombardo (who has the endorsement of Gillespie) and former Capt. Larry Burns (who has the endorsement of the officers’ union) are the front-runners thus far.
If Moody does make it into the general, I can’t wait to hear what the officers’ union has to say about his primary endorsements.
U.S. Sen. Dean Heller looks prescient. Heller calls on Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign on Wednesday, Shinseki goes on Friday. So there.
Area man’s decades-long quest for attention, cry for help to deal with hoarding, enters yet another chapter. Seriously, is there no code enforcement in Clark County anymore, or is everybody too busy measuring the size of medical marijuana dispensaries and figuring out how to screw over Dotty’s?
North Las Vegas leaderless again. Jeff Buchanan, the latest person to lead North Las Vegas, abruptly gave his notice as city manager this week. But not before the city submitted a balanced budget and worked out deals with its major employee unions to settle the unmitigated mess that the last city manager left in his wake.
Oh, why the hell not? A panel of Nevada lawmakers rejected a proposal to allow gambling on elections, although the idea may still come up in the 2015 Legislature. “Frankly, I think that something as import as elections, as opposed to games, should not be the subject of wagering in our state,” said state Sen. Greg Brower, R-Reno. (Brower’s a 2:1 favorite for re-election, by the way.)
Frankly, I think something as ridiculous as elections, as opposed to games, would be the least serious thing anybody in Nevada would ever wager on. But what do I know? It’s 500:1 that I’ll ever get elected to anything.
Hey, Andy Hafen! Why shouldn’t we kick you out of office? That’s not exactly how the state Supreme Court worded an order issued Thursday in a term-limits lawsuit that may cost the Henderson mayor his job, but it’s not far off. Henderson city employee Rick Workman, whom Hafen beat handily in a 2013 mayoral primary, is arguing that a February court ruling makes Hafen’s mayoralty illegitimate, as opposed to the rest of us, who think giving a drunk-driving city attorney a nice severance package and cutting a senior citizen Saturday lunch program make Hafen’s mayoralty illegitimate.
Although the court could have dismissed the matter out of hand, justices instead asked the attorney general and Hafen for briefs as to why they shouldn’t give credence to Workman’s claims. (I’ve explained some of the problems with his argument on the blog.)
Hafen shouldn’t look at this as a setback, although the court could conceivably rule that he shouldn’t have been allowed to run in 2013 and order him ousted. (No, really, there’s such a thing as a judgment of ouster in Nevada law.) Instead, he should look at this as a second chance to talk some sense into the high court, a chance that, say, the Nevada League of Cities passed on when it had the chance.
And that’s all you need to know. See you next week!