I have a confession to make…
I really do enjoy making the self-righteous Jon Ralston, Nevada’s #2 liberal blogger-without-a-TV-show, look like the liberal water-carrying fool he is. And so…
On Monday, His Royal Haughtiness scribbled on his Ralston Flasher Report…
“I don’t usually do this, but because of the chatter generated by The Failure Caucus of Citizen Outhouse, Tony Dane and Michele Fiore, who basically talk a lot and accomplish little, their support for recalling people who have yet to cast one vote persuades me to pull my morning rant from behind the paywall.”
Ralston went on to declare that recalls “are nearly impossible, especially in modern urban Nevada.”
Ralston then linked to a document clearly prepared by someone else on his behalf that lists the history of recall attempts in Nevada over the last twenty years or so. The vast majority of them weren’t serious efforts and, indeed, failed. But that’s not the point.
The point is, Ralston criticized Tony Dane as being a member of what he calls the “Failure Caucus.”
Now get this. Here’s one of the few successful recall attempts on Ralston’s list…
Las Vegas Councilwoman, Janet Moncrief
Notice of Intent filed September 2, 2004 (1st)
Petition submitted November 23, 2004
Election held January 25, 2005
Now for the punchline…
Guess who led that successful recall effort in “modern urban Nevada”?
So in the long, long list of failed recall attempts, one of the only successful efforts was by the guy Ralston maintains is a serial failure.
Here, Jon, take this towel to clean that egg off your face.
When he first ran for the state Assembly, Speaker-of-the-Weak John Hambrick – I believe under advice from his political genius consultant Nathan “Anything for a Buck” Emens – refused to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.
Two years later, when facing a serious primary challenge from a conservative who signed the Pledge, Hambrick pulled a “me, too.”
And for the most part, he’s honored his promise to the citizens of Nevada to “oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes” over the last two legislative sessions, including votes against extending the “temporary” tax hikes known as the “sunsets.”
Then Hambrick maneuvered himself into the top dog position as Speaker-designate at a meeting of the Republican Assembly Caucus in December.
The very next night, he did an interview on a little-watched public affairs TV show – since cancelled – and declared that he might break his promise and vote for Gov. Brian Sandoval’s (R&R-Advertising), at the time not-yet-announced, tax hike and said he’d take the hit for breaking his word.
A couple weeks later, Hambrick appeared on the Alan Stock radio program and said he only intended to honor his Tax Pledge to his constituents “by and large.”
Then some of those constituents recently began organizing a recall campaign against Hambrick for not only waffling on his signed Taxpayer Protection Pledge, but for his decision to remove conservative Assemblywoman Michele Fiore as chair of the Taxation Committee.
And lo and behold, on Tuesday Hambrick told Associated Press reporter Riley Snyder, “I signed the no-tax pledge, and I’ll live up to that.”
If only we could believe him.
The man just waffles too much. He’ll probably change his tune yet again after Sandoval puts the strong-arm on him…if he hasn’t already.
Nevertheless, just the threat of a possible citizen recall apparently has Mr. Hambrick, at least for the moment, thinking “right” again.
As Ronald Reagan said, if you want them to see the light, you have to make them feel the heat.
Jon Ralston, Nevada’s #2 liberal blogger-without-a-TV-show and unofficial Press Secretary for Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R&R-Advertising), is obsessed with attacking conservatives. Thus, it’s no surprise that he came at conservative Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt this week with fangs bared.
Laxalt, as you may have read, has joined a multi-state lawsuit which is challenging President Barack Obama’s “executive amnesty” order allowing certain illegal immigrants to remain in the U.S.
Laxalt’s authority to do so, according to Ralston, is questionable under Nevada Revised Statutes.
According to armchair-attorney Ralston, writing in his Ralston Flasher Report blog, “NRS 228.180 indicates the attorney general can take such actions ‘with the consent of the Governor’…”, which in this case, according to Ralston, Laxalt didn’t have.
Now here’s where Ralston makes himself look like either a boob or intellectually dishonest (I say both).
NRS 228.180 does, in fact, stipulate that…
The Attorney General, with the consent of the Governor, is authorized to commence and maintain, or defend, in the Supreme Court of the United States, or in any court having jurisdiction of the action, in the name of the State of Nevada, or otherwise, such proceedings at law or in equity as in the judgment of the Attorney General may be necessary or expedient for the purpose of establishing and determining the rights of the State of Nevada, or the residents thereof, in and to:
Now here’s the part Ralston either missed or intentionally hid from his readers to advance his agenda…
1.) The waters of all interstate streams located partly in the State of Nevada, where such waters, or part thereof, are claimed by any other state or the citizens thereof.
2.) The public lands, and to the waters therein and thereunder, located in the State of Nevada.
The “with the consent of the Governor” stipulation in NRS 228.180 ONLY relates to lawsuits dealing with interstate waters and public lands, NOT executive orders by the president granting amnesty to illegal immigrants.
Stick to pontificating and bloviating, Jonny Boy, and leave the Perry Mason imitation home.
I am so sick of hearing the Clark County school district and education monopolists whine about supposed over-crowding in public schools. The latest from Monday’s Las Vegas Review-Journal…
“With 319,072 students there are 61 schools that are overcrowded and 21 schools that face possible rezoning due to overcrowding in the nation’s fifth largest school district, he said. (Superintendent Pat) Skorkowsky said the district could build 26 new elementary schools and still have overcrowding issues.”
This issue is so easy, fast and cost-free to fix it ain’t even funny.
Let’s say you have a school that is overcrowded by 500 students. Simple. Offer 500 parents $5,000 vouchers if they will remove their child from the overcrowded public school and enroll him or her in a private school of the parents’ choice.
Voila! Problem solved.
Since the school district gets more than $5,000 per child as is, they would actually have money left over to spend on the remaining kids in the school that is no longer over-crowded thanks to kids leaving.
And by the way, this is not some unprecedented idea. This solution has already been implemented in Douglas County, Colorado.
“Under the program,” reports the Education Policy Center, “scholarship recipients could receive as much as 75 percent of state per-pupil funding (approximately $4,600 in 2011-12, just over $5,000 in 2014-15) or the amount of nonpublic school tuition, whichever was less. The Douglas County School District was to issue quarterly checks payable to the parents of Choice Scholarship recipients, which the parents then restrictively endorsed to the participating nonpublic schools that accepted their students for enrollment.”
“But,” I hear the liberal defenders of the status quo bleat, “there aren’t enough private schools to accommodate the kids who would be leaving the public school.”
Such an objection betrays a total lack of understanding of how the free market works!
I GUARANTEE you that if 500 parents suddenly started waving $5,000 voucher/scholarship checks around in the air, the private sector would find room to accommodate them.
The 500 seats may not be in what is considered a “normal” school – the school might be set up in a vacant building or strip mall – but the seats WILL be found and the kids WILL get an excellent education.
And as for the silly complaint that vouchers will result in the “cream of the crop” students leaving the public schools for private schools…so what?
The public schools are already tasked with the responsibility of teaching students with various learning challenges. Under my plan, those same schools and same teachers will be able to devote MORE personal attention to those students who need extra help thanks to the smaller class size!
So let it be written; so let it be done.
And while we’re on this subject of education and school choice during School Choice Week…
In his State of the State address, Gov. Brian Sandoval (R&R-Advertising) proposed a laundry list of new feel-good/cost-a-lot education spending programs. Some $800 million worth of tax dollars to be flushed down the failure factory toilets.
Now here’s the thing…
In his first four years in office, Sandoval has hired or appointed only one readily identifiable movement conservative. That would be Dr. Jim Guthrie as Superintendent of Public Instruction for the Nevada Department of Education.
Guthrie was a true, bona fide, card-carrying conservative education reform champion.
Indeed, he had this radical idea that the way to fix our lousy public schools in Nevada wasn’t to simply dump more money into the system, but to implement various real education reforms directed at parental choice and holding teachers more accountable.
As such, Sandoval fired Guthrie after only about one year on the job.
Or I guess the official line was that Guthrie was allowed to resign against his will. Yeah, that’s the ticket.
In any event, it’s now clear that Sandoval only wants to get hosannas from liberals for spending more money on education rather than pushing for true reforms that would actually fix education and help our children.
And that’s why he canned Guthrie and installed one of his tax-and-spend cronies in the job instead.
Personnel is policy.
FAMOUS LAST WORDS
“Gov. Brian Sandoval is shirking his responsibility to reform a public school system that is staggering under a top-heavy layer of overpaid, nonteaching bureaucrats. He is instead proposing huge new tax hikes to fund his vanity education programs, none of which will improve learning.
“Worse, Gov. Sandoval and his political cronies have been working with Republicans-in-name-only to interfere with the Nevada Assembly leadership selection process. Maybe you thought the governor’s job-killing tax-and-spend initiatives would come under cross-examination in the crucible of the new Republican-controlled Legislature. Sorry, the fix is in. After the vote-buying and arm-twisting, it’s doubtful there are enough ‘nays’ to stop him.
“There are plans afoot to recall Republican lawmakers who betray their voters and their party’s core principles to vote with Democrats to hike taxes. Your only hope to avoid getting fleeced is to tell Republican legislators that you’ll hold them to their party’s principles and no-new-taxes campaign promises.”
- Lynn Muzzy of Minden, Las Vegas Review-Journal, 1/27/15
Jon Ralston, Nevada’s #2 liberal blogger-without-a-TV-show, has taken to Twitter to do keyboard battle with citizens in the trenches pursuing recalls of certain elected state legislators, referring to them disparagingly as “clowns” and “serial failures.”
As is his wont, The Great Ralstonsky has apparently peered into the minds of the founders of Nevada’s Constitution and hath declarethed that mounting a recall against state legislators who refuse to openly oppose and commit to voting against a billion dollar tax hike that wasn’t announced until two months AFTER the election is “not what recalls are for.”
Ralston is the Humpty Dumpty of political punditry in Nevada. “Recalls” mean what Ralston says they mean; nothing more, nothing less.
Fortunately, what the Nevada Constitution says has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Ralston’s opinion of what it means. It means what it says. In plain English.
“Recall of public officers: Procedure and limitations. Every public officer in the State of Nevada is subject, as herein provided, to recall from office by the registered voters of the state, or of the county, district, or municipality which he represents.”
Article 2, Section 9. You could look it up.
One last point on this…
Ralston is parroting a line that conservatives are pursuing recalls before legislators have cast even a single vote. But like most of Ralston’s pontificating when it comes to conservatives, he’s wrong.
The first vote cast – as in Congress – is for leadership. And both Assemblyman Chris Edwards and Assemblyman Stevie Silberkraus, who already have Recall Committees established against them, voted with the liberal wing of the Republican Assembly Caucus for Speaker-designate rather than with the conservatives.
Had they voted with the conservatives, conservative Assemblyman John Ellison would Speaker-designate today and conservative Assemblywoman Michele Fiore would be both the Majority Leader and the Chair of the Taxation Committee.
With that first vote, Edwards and Silberkraus both set the table for Gov. Brian Sandoval’s billion dollar tax hike. And that first vote alone is sufficient to warrant a recall before they do any further damage to our wallets and checking accounts!
Let’s be crystal clear on who is really responsible for all these recall efforts…
Gov. Brian Sandoval (R&R-Advertising).
Opponents of the recalls are arguing that no vote has been taken on the governor’s billion dollar tax plan; therefore, it’s premature to launch a recall based solely on the fact that elected legislators are refusing to come out with public statements in opposition.
That argument would have weight except for the fact that the governor didn’t tell voters and candidates that he intended to push for a billion dollar tax hike until two months AFTER the election.
Therefore, voters went to the polls without having all the information they needed about such a massive tax hike to make an informed decision.
If the governor had run on raising taxes a billion dollars, that issue would have been prominent in all legislative races, but especially GOP primary races.
But since the governor chose to keep his tax hike hidden until well after the ballots were cast, the ONLY option left to voters who oppose it is to either (a) force their legislator to take a clear position in opposition now, or (b) assume said legislator is in favor of the tax hike.
This is no time to be wishy-washy. And a recall is the only option voters and taxpayers been left with thanks to Sandoval “hiding the ball” (though it’s unclear if he deflated it first).
Seriously, if anyone’s to blame for all this recall stuff, it’s the governor who listened to his political guru, Mike Slanker, and others who refused to level with the voters despite the fact that Sandoval had no real opponent – just like Gov. Kenny Guinn v. Joe Neal in 2002.
There is simply no electoral mandate for these tax hikes and we, the taxpayers, need to know where our legislators stand NOW, not after they’ve already voted with the governor to raise our taxes.
Indeed, you don’t exterminate termites AFTER they’ve destroyed your house! You get them BEFORE they have a chance to destroy your house.
What part of this is too deep for Ralston & Company to understand?
One of Jon Ralston’s 27 remaining paid newsletter subscribers forwarded to someone who forwarded to me the following quote from Monday’s edition of Ralston’s Flasher Report or whatever it’s called…
“After reading all of the stuff in the weekend papers, and comments from my broad range of weekly insiders, I really wonder why we are paying attention to what can only be called The Failure Caucus, Not to diminish real terrorism, but these folks – Tony Dane, Citizen Outhouse, Michele of the Thousand Tax Liens – are nothing more than political terrorists, who are relentlessly unsuccessful but have loud enough voices to keep being heard.”
Far be it for me to correct the Grammar King, but there should be a period after “Failure Caucus,” not a comma.
And Jon really thinks it’s cute calling conservative political activists “political terrorists,” so be prepared to hear him use that the term ad nauseum for the duration of the upcoming legislative session.
That said, it seems to me awfully conceited for Nevada’s #2 liberal blogger-without-a-TV-show to presume to tell his colleagues in the media who is newsworthy and deserves “paying attention to” in the political world and who is not.
It also smells of rank hypocrisy, since King Jon is obsessed with “paying attention to” and writing about me (though never by name) and conservative Assemblywoman Michele Fiore on a regular basis, and wrote extensively about Dane just last week.
And why is it that when conservatives try to hold elected officials’ feet to the fire and demand that they actually honor the campaign promises they make, we’re “political terrorists,” but when liberal GOP leaders strong-arm conservative legislators with threats to kill their bills and remove them from their committee assignments, that’s OK?
And by the way, here’s something political spectators like Ralston will never understand…
When you honestly and strongly believe in something – such as opposing tax hikes so as to deny the government more money to expand – it’s not a failure if you don’t win at the ballot box. It’s only a failure if you refuse to put on the uniform or quit.
Since Jon has never been in the arena himself, opting instead to criticize the players on the field from his perch in the peanut gallery, it’s no real surprise that such a notion is too deep for him to understand. And why he’s the real Boss Hog of the Failure Caucus.
In a campaign eerily similar to that of Jonathan Gruber – the MIT professor caught on tape admitting that it was necessary to mislead and deceive voters about ObamaCare due to “the stupidity of the American voter” – Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval is now pushing a billion dollar tax hike despite unmistakable and undeniable campaign promises to the contrary.
That’s not my opinion. It’s fact. Indeed, reporter David McGrath Schwartz of the Las Vegas Sun wrote the following about Sandoval’s “Broken Promises” on March 18, 2012…
“During his campaign for governor in 2010, Sandoval vowed that under no circumstance would he raise taxes. And extending the so-called sunset taxes, first passed in 2009 and set to expire in two years, amounted to a tax increase, he said. He broke that promise in 2011…”
Indeed, back in his 2010 Republican primary race against conservative Gov. Jim Gibbons, Sandoval sold himself as “A Conservative Leader We Can Trust.”
Guess it all depends on your definition of “Conservative” and “Trust.”
In his campaign brochure, Sandoval claimed to be the “only Republican candidate in this race to offer a plan to solve the state’s budget deficit in 2010 without raising taxes.”
Yes, that was Sandoval who underlined the words “without raising taxes,” not me.
He then got elected…and raised taxes in 2011 by over $600 million. And then did it again in 2013.
A serial promise breaker.
Sandoval also promised he would “Cut Runaway Spending” by fighting for “state spending camps that rein in government spending.”
This was a reference to a proposal – the Tax and Spend Control (TASC) initiative – originally pushed forward by former conservative State Sen. Bob Beers in 2006. Sandoval got elected…and hasn’t done a thing to impose spending caps to rein in government spending.
Another broken promise.
Sandoval promised to “Stop Job-Killing Tax Increases,” especially a “corporate income tax that will kill Nevada jobs and weaken our ability to compete for new business.”
But this month the governor proposed a new $440 million tax on Nevada corporations that will be based on…the income of the corporations!
Another broken promise.
Sandoval promised to “Reduce Government Bureaucracy,” claiming to be a “true conservative who believes limited government is the best government.” Yet under his watch, government bureaucracy has continued to expand, not retract.
Another broken promise.
Sandoval also promised to “End Illegal Immigration.” His campaign brochure declared: “From amnesty to driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants, Brian Sandoval says not now, not ever.”
“Not ever” turned out to be a very short time.
On May 31, 2013, Reuters reported that “Nevada’s Republican governor (Brian Sandoval) signed a bill on Friday to authorize driving privilege cards for illegal immigrants…in a ceremony at the state Capitol.”
Yet another broken promise.
Sandoval promised to “Defend Our Second Amendment” and claimed he “strongly supports the rights of Nevada’s law-abiding gun owners to protect their homes, families and businesses.”
Yet he dilly-dallied and waffled back and forth on whether or not to sign a gun control bill in the last session and never lifted a finger to help pass the Amanda Collins Law to allow conceal-carry permit holders to carry their weapons for self-defense on campus.
Another broken promise.
Sandoval promised to “Protect Nevada Values,” declaring his opposition to gay marriage while pledging to “work to preserve the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”
Now, I personally disagree with the governor on this issue. Nevertheless, he did make that promise. But when it came time to fight a court decision overturning Nevada’s constitutional ban on gay marriage, the governor quit the fight.
It might have been the right thing to do, but it was nevertheless another broken promise.
Overall, Sandoval promised to “Lead with Honesty and Integrity.”
But in addition to breaking all manner of campaign promises – including support for school vouchers – he ran for re-election last year and hid from voters his intent to sock us all with a billion tax hike.
I guess it all depends on your definition of “honesty” and “integrity.”
Back in 2000, a Clark County commissioner named Lance Malone promised to vote against an application to build a neighborhood casino in his district. He then turned around and broke his promise, which resulted in a mail campaign funded by Stations Casinos headlined “You Just Can’t Trust Lance Malone.”
Until that time, Malone was considered squeaky-clean. He was a former Metro police officer with pretty hair and a sunny smile.
A few years later, Malone went to jail for seemingly unrelated reasons.
But if a man’s word in no good; if he fails to honor the promises he makes as a political candidate, it should come as no surprise when that lack of honesty and integrity creeps into other aspects of his life.
And just as voters eventually discovered with Lance Malone, you also just can’t trust Brian Sandoval.
On Sunday morning, I faxed over the paperwork required to the Nevada Secretary of State to officially file a “Recall Edwards PAC” directed at Assemblyman Chris “Let’s Make a Deal” Edwards. Edwards is currently (mis)representing District 19, which largely encompasses the area of Mesquite, Nevada.
Edwards moved into the district just over a year ago for the sole purpose of running for an office in a district he thought he could win. It wasn’t so much that he wanted to be a state assemblyman; he just wanted to be elected. To anything.
This guy is the very definition of an opportunistic carpet-bagger.
In his campaign, Edwards refused to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge promising the voters of District 19 that he would “oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.” Yet he ran as a fiscal conservative.
“During each of the legislative sessions throughout the Great Recession, the Nevada Legislature has looked for ways to increase taxes,” Edwards said in an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “This is the wrong approach.”
Despite the fact that Gov. Brian Sandoval proposed in his State of the State speech to make permanent that $640 million “temporary” tax hike from 2009 that voters were promised would expire in 2011, as well as proposing a new $440 million gross receipts tax similar to the one that over 80 PERCENT of District 19 voters rejected at the ballot just two months ago…
Edwards refuses to come out publicly and oppose the governor’s proposal.
Before spending so much as one day in the Legislature, Edwards has already shown himself to be a fork-tongued, deal-making, double-talking, go-along-to-get-along, wishy-washy, stand-for-nothing-fall-for-anything Gumby Republican.
In fact, here’s a picture of me and Chris taken two years ago when he was foolishly running for a congressional seat he never had a chance to win…
If you woke up tomorrow morning and noticed a couple termites running around, would you wait until they did their damage and completely destroyed your home, or would you call an exterminator immediately?
From Sunday’s front page in the New York Times…
“My jaw dropped,” Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, a conservative Republican in Nevada, said after hearing Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican, propose a $1.1 billion tax increase for education this month. “Whether we kill it by five votes or 15 votes or 25 votes, we are going to kill it.”
The story concluded with the following…
If Republicans were distressed by Governor Sandoval’s speech, Democrats were nothing short of ecstatic. “I never thought I’d see the day when a Republican governor was proposing all the things we’ve been proposing for the last 20 years,” said State Senator Moises Denis, a Democrat from Las Vegas.
Oh, and apparently Sandoval isn’t finished hiking taxes yet!
Indeed, Citizen Outreach CEO Dan Burdish found the following in the cover letter the governor submitted with his budget…
“I am also including resources for the Department of Taxation to collect data necessary to evaluate the extension of sales tax to services. This must be done before this revenue option can be fully evaluated.”
So not only does Sandoval want to make the sunsets permanent. And not only does he want a new gross receipts tax. And not only does he want to jack up the tax on cigarettes. Now we find he’s also laying the groundwork to start taxing haircuts and auto repairs!
Indeed, the reality is that it wasn’t the Democrats who didn’t have a strong gubernatorial candidate in November. It was Republicans.
In Wisconsin, conservative Republican Gov. Scott Walker estimates that his efforts at collective bargaining reform for unionized government workers have “saved the taxpayers some $3 billion.”
Ah, the difference a conservative Republican governor makes!
Sean Whaley of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that the Nevada Policy Research Institute (NPRI) has outlined the kinds of necessary reforms to collective bargaining that would bring on that kind of savings for taxpayers in Nevada, including “ending compulsory collective bargaining,” as well as “end the use of binding arbitration and end the use of government resources to collect union dues.”
Alas, despite the GOP in Nevada having control of the governor’s office, as well as majority control of both the State Senate and State Assembly, our elected Republicans have proposed collective bargaining reforms “which likely would be described as modest by most observers.”
I accept that Republicans never blow an opportunity to blow an opportunity, but Nevada’s elected Republicans in the Legislature are even bigger weenies than normal.