Who’s the real state Sen. Michael Roberson? Yet another bad week for Constable John Bonaventura. And Henderson gets a new famous neighbor. All that and much more, in the weekly Friday Slashback!
• OK, I give up! First, it was a clean-shaven Republican state Sen. Michael Roberson, advocating in 2011 against taxes and voting against his own fellow-Republican governor’s budget because it merely extended — not raised — taxes. Then, two years later, it was a bearded Roberson advocating for extending taxes, backing the governor on expanding Medicare and even proposing a brand-new tax on mining.
Clearly, the clean-shaven guy was the evil Roberson, the one from the mirror universe, and the bearded one was his kindly twin, from our universe, and they’d somehow crossed over (transporter accidents during ion storms may do that occasionally, or so I’ve heard).
But now, it’s the clean shaven Roberson, advocating for taxes, more education funding, class-size reduction, better teacher pay, expanded Medicaid and even forcing insurance companies to pay for birth control! He’s actually touting all those things in a campaign flier he’s giving out to voters! I just can’t keep track of this guy and his bearded twin anymore!
Clearly, something’s going on here. And I think it just might be something more than Roberson intentionally trying to make conservative activist Chuck Muth’s head explode with I-told-you-so fury!
Maybe instead of “Mirror, Mirror,” the Star Trek episode we should be consulting for wisdom is “The Enemy Within,” in which another transporter accident splits Capt. James T. Kirk into two separate people, one the docile humanitarian, the other the savage beast. Ultimately, the good Kirk realizes both halves are needed to make him the commander his ship needs.
Perhaps Roberson has harnessed the fury of his 2011 freshman session, subtracting the anti-tax rhetoric and ill-considered anti-tax pledge, and merged it with his innate political skill and ability to tread onto Democratic turf and steal issues like a bully taking lunch money from a bewildered Majority Leader Mo Denis. Roberson declares in his flier that “Michael Roberson isn’t your typical Republican state senator.” That’s for sure.
Conservatives will scoff, and Democrats will scream and question Roberson’s true commitment to what they see as their issues. But Roberson is charting his own course, one he hopes will lead him to the nice, downstairs majority leader’s office, just off the state Senate floor.
Just do me a favor, will you, senator? Stay away from that damn transporter. That thing is clearly malfunctioning.
• Is there a more pathetically corrupt public official in all of Nevada than Las Vegas Township Constable John Bonaventura?
In the last three years, he’s seen a reality-show (!) pilot bomb, been accused of sexual harassment, argued with the county over money, hired lawyers by deputizing attorneys as constables so he could pursue lawsuits the county never authorized (and that he lost) against fellow constables, was arrested (but never charged) for alleged drunken driving, watched as the county dissolved his office, sued to stop that dissolution and lost, tried to run for county commission and lost, saw a federal judge enjoin the allegedly unconstitutional collection of an administrative fee, saw associates also run for office and lose, come under investigation for allegedly taping telephone calls in violation of state law and, now, stands accused of demanding kickbacks from his deputies.
Seriously, how did this not get made into a reality show?
But at least one, small aspect of this one-man crime spree has been stopped, metaphorically speaking. Bonaventura filed an amended campaign contribution report after the Review-Journal’s Ben Botkin uncovered a cancelled-and-endorsed $1,000 campaign contribution check from 2011 that Bonaventura never disclosed.
That still doesn’t excuse Bonaventura from not reporting another, $250 contribution from Clark County Commissioner Tom Collins, which Collins listed in his campaign finance reporting but Bonaventura did not.
Whoops. Time to find some more lawyer-deputies. Preferably ones with election law experience.
• Quotable: “Flav really loves America. There was no intention to hurt anyone.” — Defense attorney Kristina Wildeveld, explaining why her client, Flavor Flav, set off tons of illegal fireworks before Metro Police arrived to confiscate the last 100 pounds (!!!) of illegal pyrotechnic ordnance.
Now, as a homeowner, I realize that a fireworks display that requires pallets to deliver is undoubtedly annoying to your neighbors. But you’ve got to respect a guy with this kind of ambition and commitment to celebrating America’s birthday. And, since he wears that huge clock around his neck all the time, you know he’s got no excuse for knocking things off at a decent hour!
• The city of Henderson continues what’s possibly the worst campaign to sell a property tax increase ever. This week, the Review-Journal’s Arnold Knightly reported that the city’s non-union employees will get bonuses that will cost taxpayers $1.1 million. City Manager Jacob Snow said the money was a pay-for-performance move for employees.
In the meantime, the city is planning to bring a ballot question to Henderson voters asking for up to a 20-cent property tax increase, money the city pledges will be used for infrastructure upgrades and not employee salaries. But notwithstanding the fact that a.) the city really needs the additional money, b.) the city can’t keep up with infrastructure needs because of the dip in revenues due to the recession and the slow recovery due in part to property tax caps and c.) even if approved, the money couldn’t be used for salaries, the city is still shooting itself in the foot.
Why? Because the average person on the street thinks that if the city has money for bonuses for employees (Snow earlier aborted a plan for bonus pay for top employees) then it doesn’t need more property tax money. And when the ballot question fails, and top officials ask why, that should be on the top of their list of answers.
• This week, the Heartland Institute held its climate-change-denying convention at the Mandalay Bay hotel-casino. They invited me to go, via Twitter, but I could not tear myself away from other pressing business to do it.
Ironically enough, in early September, the Mandalay Bay will also play host to Sen. Harry Reid’s annual Clean Energy Summit. Man, it would have been fun to merge those two events! But whether people are denying climate change exists, or figuring out ways to stop it, it’s nice to know MGM Resorts makes some coin.
• Speaking of Reid, he’s moving to Anthem! I knew it! I knew Reid’s brief public flirtation with Summerlin would not bear fruit. (I mean, who moves to Summerlin when you could live in Henderson?) After all, there are tons of Reid family living in the great city of Henderson, including son Josh Reid, who is the city attorney. That will come in handy when Reid refuses to remove the pink flamingo from his front yard, despite HOA rules that clearly prohibit that kind of decoration.
Anyway, as a proud resident of one of Henderson, allow me to be among the first to welcome the senator to town. It’s a good choice, especially because property taxes are low and look to remain that way for the foreseeable future. Oh, one thing: If you go to the Heritage senior center on Saturday, you’ve got to bring your own lunch. City officials suspended lunch service there to cut costs. Employee bonus pay doesn’t grow on trees, after all!
• In international news, Abdullah Abdullah, a candidate for the presidency of Afghanistan, objected to the election results, claiming fraud. “Unless the clean votes are separated from those that are fraudulent, we will not accept the election results,” said Abdullah.
• Drones trailing long banners bearing advertising messages will soon be flying down the Strip, although the FAA considers such activity illegal and the rest of us consider such activity as annoying as those video ads that start playing automatically on the Review-Journal’s website. But at least you can shoot at the drones, right America?
• Diversity of Voices/High-Quality Journalism Update: Las Vegas Sun owner, editor and publisher Brian Greenspun announced when he took sole ownership of the newspaper last week that it was important for Las Vegas to maintain two separate, distinct editorial voices. So how’s he using that editorial voice, which just happens to be subsidized by the Review-Journal?
This week, the Sun on Tuesday featured a five-day old story about how to keep your kids safe around the pool, a feature that ran with a charming photo of a youngster clad in what appeared to be an inflatable drown-proofing vest and that contained a reference to a back page full of photos about people enjoying the new Cowabunga Bay water park in Henderson. One suggestion not included in the otherwise-comprehensive story? Teach your kids how to swim!
But aren’t you glad we have a diversity of voices and high-quality journalism in town? See you next week!