Much like cockroaches, many politicians prefer to operate in the dark. And they go scurrying for cover when light is shined on them.
OK, fine. I apologize for the insulting comparison.
And hope the cockroaches will forgive me.
At issue is the leadership circus presently entertaining Nevada citizens, bloggers and taxpayers within the Republican Assembly Caucus. To be fair, Republicans have not found themselves in the majority since 1985 and the 25-member group generally finds itself fractured irreparably between moderate, go-along establishment Republicans and conservative, boat-rocking newcomers.
As presently constituted, the caucus has 12 establishment members being led by moderate Assemblyman Paul Anderson and 12 conservative members, mostly freshmen, being led by conservative Assemblywoman Michele Fiore. Republican Speaker-designate John Hambrick is the tie-breaking ringleader.
He’s called “Speaker-designate” because the election for Speaker of the 2015 Legislature won’t take place until opening day of the session on February 2 when the entire body, including the 17 Democrat members, will make it official.
By tradition, the Speaker-designate – chosen by the caucus of the majority party – is elected Speaker by acclamation. But this is not a traditional legislative session coming up.
As such, the rumor mill is rampant with speculation that five or more old guard moderate Republicans – reportedly led by ousted Minority Leader Pat Hickey – are mulling what has been termed the “nuclear option,” whereupon the Democrats and the discontented Republicans would vote as a coalition for a Republican Speaker other than Hambrick; probably Hickey himself.
Fueling the rumors are the non-denial denials some members of the suspected “Collaborator Caucus” are providing to grassroots Republicans who are asking about a possible nuclear option power-play.
“I will not vote for a Democrat Speaker,” one suspected collaborator wrote to a constituent – conveniently neglecting to say if he would vote with the Democrats for a Speaker other than the Republican chosen by the Republican Assembly Caucus.
Another forked tongue has stated that the nuclear option is “not on the table.” No, not now. But the election isn’t until February. So the question is whether he would sell out once the option IS on the table. To that question the legislator has given no answer.
No wonder nobody trusts anything any politician says.
That nuclear option discussions have taken place, and continue to take place, is undeniable. The skullduggery is being conducted secretly – behind closed doors – in dark alleys – far away from public scrutiny – and certainly not in the light of day. And when the GOP collaborators finally unsheathe their political knives, they will stab their victim in the back, not his heart.
I’d have more respect for these “Benedict Arnolds” if they’d just be honest, direct and open about what they’re doing. Is that really too much to ask?
Lots of conservatives, with reason, are decrying the bad – and in some case, downright ugly – aspects of the budget deal, nicknamed “Cromnibus,” approved by Congress over the weekend. But here’s a point I think many are missing…
This was a bill passed by a Republican House of Representatives and a DEMOCRAT Senate.
Harry Reid’s Democrat Senate!
Republicans won’t be in charge of the Senate until NEXT year. Not this year.
And they’ll STILL have to deal with a Democrat president in the White House until 2017; a Democrat with enough votes in the Senate to sustain a veto.
Most conservative grumbling – again, understandably so – centers on the bill’s failure to immediately override “executive amnesty.”
But what many are missing is that unlike the rest of government, the Department of Homeland Security budget was NOT funded through the end of the fiscal year, but is scheduled to come up again in late February.
“So unless President Barack Obama is willing to go to the mattresses over his plan to give 5 million illegal aliens temporary legal status,” writes conservative columnist Peter Roff in U.S. News & World Report, “and many people are betting he isn’t, the legislation makes a government shutdown highly unlikely.”
And this puts “executive amnesty” back on the possible GOP chopping block less than three months from now – when we’ll have both a Republican House AND a Republican Senate.
That said, there are some good – no, VERY good – things included in the “Cromnibus” bill for conservatives. As our friend Grover Norquist, Father of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge and Preside of Americans for Tax Reform explains…
“This spending bill is a solid win for conservatives, as it lives within the Budget Control Act’s post-sequester caps, cuts an out-of-control IRS, and guts Obamacare’s bailout of Big Insurance.
“The bill contains a real year-over-year $345 million spending cut to the out-of-control IRS — the lowest level of funding since 2008.
“No Obamacare bailouts for big insurance. Under existing Obamacare law, health insurance companies that lose money over the next three years are eligible for a taxpayer-financed bailout of their losses. This bill prevents any taxpayer funds from being used to bail out health insurance companies that participate in Obamacare.
“Finally, the bill contains a one year extension of the Internet Tax Freedom Act, a moratorium on Internet taxation.”
Also, consider the following as outlined by Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers…
The House Appropriations Committee today unveiled the fiscal year 2015 Omnibus Appropriations bill, the legislation that will provide discretionary funding for the vast majority of the federal government for the current fiscal year.
The bill includes full Appropriations legislation and funding for 11 of the 12 annual Appropriations bills through the end of the fiscal year, September 30, 2015. The 12th bill, which funds the Department of Homeland Security, is also included in the legislation, but is funded under a temporary “Continuing Resolution” mechanism that expires on February 27, 2015.
The package also contains emergency Overseas Contingency Operations funding to combat the emerging real-world threat brought by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and a total of $5.4 billion in emergency funding to address the domestic and international Ebola crisis.
“This bill will allow us to fulfill our Constitutional duty to responsibly fund the federal government and avoid a shutdown. The 11 Appropriations bills in this package reflect specific, thoughtful, line-by-line decisions to target funds to critical programs, make reductions to lower-priority areas, and wisely invest the taxpayers’ hard-earned money. And by continuing current funding levels for the Department of Homeland Security, we allow the agency to maintain essential security functions for the next few months,” House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said.
Funding for programs within the 11 regular Appropriations bills were weighed individually and prioritized, with dollars targeted to the most important and effective programs, while lower-priority programs were cut. Also included in these 11 bills are important policy provisions to improve accountability and transparency, to ensure good government, and to put the brakes on harmful overregulation by federal agencies.
“This package makes the most of each and every dollar, roots out waste and abuse, reins in bureaucratic overreach, and provides stable funding for important national programs – including our national defense – for the remainder of the fiscal year. It reflects conservative priorities, yet it is also a compromise bill that can and should have wide bipartisan support in both the House and Senate. This is exactly the kind of legislation and bipartisan cooperation that the American people called for in the voting booths last month. Passage of this bill will show our people that we can and will govern responsibly,” Rogers continued.
Bill Highlights –
Funding Level – The bill abides by all the terms set by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 (the “Ryan-Murray Agreement”), providing a total of $1.013 trillion for the operation of the federal government, and meeting the $521 billion defense and $492 billion non-defense budget caps.
The legislation contains full funding for fiscal year 2015 for 11 of the 12 regular annual Appropriations bills, with the exception of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Homeland Security portion is funded under a temporary Continuing Resolution (CR). This CR maintains DHS funding at the current fiscal year 2014 level, and expires on February 27, 2015.
National Security – The Omnibus contains the fiscal year 2015 Defense Appropriations bill, providing funding for our nation’s security, military readiness, and resources for our troops at home and abroad. The bill will fund important Department of Defense programs and projects, a pay raise for our troops, and the advancement of our military operations to protect the nation from current and future threats.
The bill also includes $64 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding to provide needed resources and training for our troops in the field, to combat the threat presented by ISIL, to train and equip our Iraqi allies, and to reinforce European countries facing Russian aggression.
Bolstering Job Creation and Reining in Bureaucratic Overreach – The legislation prioritizes funding for important programs that strengthen U.S. innovation and competitiveness, and that help our businesses thrive, such as small business loans, science research funding, resources to expedite domestic energy development, and critical infrastructure investments.
The bill also includes many provisions to rein in regulatory overreach that causes job loss and harm to our economy. Some of these provisions include:
- A provision to prohibit the Export-Import Bank and OPIC from blocking coal and other power-generation projects – helping to increase exports of U.S. goods and services;
- A provision prohibiting funds for the Army Corps of Engineers to change the definition of “fill material,” which could have harmful effects on many U.S. industries;
- A restriction on the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) from implementing regulations harmful to the livestock and poultry industry;
- Language amending Dodd-Frank swaps pushout requirements to protect farmers and other commodity producers from having to put down excessive collateral to get a loan, expand their businesses, and hedge their production;
- Provisions restricting the application of the Clean Water Act in certain agricultural areas, including farm ponds and irrigation ditches; and
- A provision prohibiting funding for the Fish and Wildlife Service to issue further rules to place sage-grouse on the Endangered Species List – an action that could have severe economic consequences in Western states.
ObamaCare – The bill provides no new funding for ObamaCare, and holds the line on funding for the IRS and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services – the primary agencies responsible for the implementation of ObamaCare.
Life – The Omnibus maintains all existing pro-life policy and funding provisions that have been carried in Appropriations legislation in previous years, including the Hyde Amendment, a ban on public funding for abortions in the District of Columbia, and a ban on abortion funding for federal prisoners.
The bill also includes new language allowing states increased access to abstinence education funding, new language directing the HHS Secretary to increase the transparency of abortion coverage within federal exchange health care plans, and new language directing HHS to quickly respond to claims filed by health care providers on conscience clause violations.
Other Policy Provisions – Many other important policy provisions are included in the Omnibus, such as:
- A ban on the Administration’s onerous “light bulb” standard;
- Provisions to protect Second Amendment rights, including a prohibition on funding for the EPA to regulate lead content in ammunition or fishing tackle;
- Bans and limitations on federal agency conferences and awards;
- Provisions to stop the transfer or release of Guantanamo detainees into the U.S.; and
- A prohibition on funding for the IRS to target organizations for regulatory scrutiny based on their ideological beliefs or for exercising their First Amendment rights.
Savings and Oversight of Tax Dollars – The bill includes program cuts and oversight provisions to ensure the responsible use of taxpayer dollars. Some of these items include:
- No funding for high-speed rail;
- A $345.6 million cut and extensive oversight requirements for the Internal Revenue Service;
- A $60 million cut and extensive oversight requirements for the Environmental Protection Agency;
- Oversight and monitoring requirements to weed out waste and abuse in nutrition programs;
- No funding for contributions to the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO);
- A pay freeze for the Vice President and senior political appointees;
- No funding for the Administration’s “Race to the Top” program; and
- No funding for the International Monetary Fund.
This may have only been a 10-yard gain, but we did move the ball down the field and earned another set of downs. And we’ll come back in the second half with a MUCH stronger team.
Was it a great deal? Heck, no.
Was it about the best we could have hoped for with the Democrats still in charge of the Senate and Obama still in the White House?
All I know is what’s done is done. I’m gonna eat my half a loaf and be back in line for the other half after the holidays.
Bravo to Silver State Confidential reader Jeff Bobeck of Pahrump for capturing the simplicity of demonstrating the charade that we can’t cut Nevada’s government by $400 million so as to live within the means of a $6.3 billion budget that can be funded with existing tax revenue and WITHOUT extending the “sunsets.”
“Are they trying to tell us that nothing can be cut on this list?” Bobeck wrote to me on Saturday. “Any rational person reading this list of agencies and departments would realize that Nevada’s state government is way too big already. The problem is not tax revenue, it is spending.”
Amen and hallelujah!
Here’s the list of Nevada state agencies and departments Mr. Bobeck is talking about. If you’re a true limited-government conservative, read it and weep…
Alcohol Drug and Gambling Counselors
Architecture, Interior Design and Residential Design, Nevada State Board of
Audiology and Speech Pathology, Board of Examiners of
Bar Examiners of Nevada
Barbers Health and Sanitation Board, State
Bicycle Advisory Board
Business and Industry
California and Nevada Fire Notification Service
Certified Court Reporters
College of Southern Nevada
Colorado River Commission of Nevada
Conservation and Natural Resources
Construction Education, Commission on
Deferred Compensation Program, Nevada Public Employees
Dental Examiners of Nevada
Desert Research Institute
Employment, Training and Rehabilitation
Engineers and Land Surveyors, Nevada State Board of Professional
Ethics, State of Nevada Commission on
Gaming Commission, Nevada and State Gaming Control Board
Great Basin College
Health and Human Services
Hearing Aid Specialists, Nevada State Board of
Higher Education, Nevada System of
Homeland Security (See Emergency Management)
Homeopathic Medical Examiners Board
Information Technology, (Enterprise IT Services, Dept. of Administration)
Judiciary, The Nevada
Liquefied Petroleum Gas
Long Term Care Administrators
Marriage and Family Therapists and Clinical Professional Counselors
Merit Award Board
Nevada State Climate Office
Nevada State College
Occupational Therapy Board
Off-Highway Vehicles, Nevada Commission on
Oriental Medicine State Board
Osteopathic Medicine Board
Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission
Physical Therapy Examiners
Podiatry State Board
Prostate Cancer Task Force
Psychological Examiners Board
Public Employees Benefit Program
Public Employees Deferred Compensation Program
Public Employees’ Retirement System of Nevada
Registered Environmental Health Specialists
Secretary of State
Silver State Health Insurance Exchange
Social Workers, Board of Examiners
Tahoe Regional Planning Agency
Tourism and Cultural Affairs
Truckee Meadows Community College
Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Agency
University of Nevada Las Vegas
University of Nevada Reno
Veteran’s Services Commission
Veterinary Medical Examiners, State Board
Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education
Western Nevada College
FAMOUS LAST WORDS
“Raising taxes is what politicians do when they don’t have the strength to actually govern.” – Grover Norquist, president, Americans for Tax Reform
With “nuclear option” talk in the air – whereby five or more Republicans would collaborate with the 17 Democrats in the Nevada State Assembly to elect a Speaker for the 2015 legislative session other than the Speaker-designate elected by the Republican Assembly Caucus – a special meeting of the Executive Board of the Nevada Republican Party was convened today to address the threat.
In short, the party’s leaders declared “open season” on any Republican member of the Assembly who is foolish enough to push the nuclear button and side with Democrats against their own elected caucus leaders.
“This morning the Executive Board of the Nevada Republican Party passed a resolution calling for members of the Republican Assembly Caucus to unite or face a recall election for any efforts to usurp the duly-elected leadership of the Nevada Assembly,” declared the party elders in a press release following the meeting.
According to the release, party leaders have learned that some GOP members of the Assembly are “intending to work with Assembly Democrats to unseat the incoming Republican Speaker Designate in exchange for committee assignments and bartering of legislative bills.”
Thirty pieces of silver will be a bonus.
The resolution, as adopted, didn’t name names. But I’m reliably told that a number of members wanted to specifically single out former Minority Leader Pat “The Appeaser” Hickey, widely suspected of being the ringleader of the “Collaborator Caucus.”
The resolution warns Assembly Republicans “who are working against their own caucus leadership to stop these destructive actions or face consequences, up to and including a recall election, due to any efforts to usurp the duly elected leadership of the Nevada Assembly.”
The resolution reads, in part…
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Nevada Republican Party asserts that any Nevada Republican Assembly Caucus member who works with Democrats to undermine the elected leadership of their own caucus is acting counter to the intent of Nevada voters, and demands that any caucus members engaged in these actions immediately cease these dishonorable actions or they shall be censured by the Nevada Republican Party; and
RESOLVED That the Nevada Republican Party will call upon the NRAC to immediately remove any Republican Assembly member who fails to support their leadership from the NRAC; and
RESOLVED That the Nevada Republican Party will support any efforts, up to and including recall, to hold any NRAC member who fails to support their leadership accountable.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is Defcon 3.
I understand a majority of county chairmen were part of the meeting, as well, and also voted in support of the resolution – with the exception of Washoe County, the home turf of two of the suspected prime “nuclear option” collaborators, Hickey and his thin-skinned sidekick, Randy “Kirner Tax” Kirner.
It’s unclear if Washoe GOP Chair Sam Kumar voted against the resolution or simply wasn’t on the call.
In any event, Hickey is truly playing with fire here. And if he continues, he ain’t the only one who’s gonna get burned.
Officially-sanctioned recall efforts by the Nevada Republican Party – likely to be fully funded by conservative donors who are tired of this crap by the moderate crybabies who didn’t get their way – are far more likely to be successful than not, especially considering the relatively tiny number of signatures needed to qualify for a special election.
Oh, and the fact that those targeted for recall (a) will be in session and unable to campaign to save their bacon in their districts, and (b) will be unable to raise any money to stave off the recall effort thanks to the fundraising “blackout period” they’ll be under.
But even if not successful, the recall effort alone will be enough to entice serious, credible and viable GOP primary challengers for the next election – and the campaign mailers will write themselves! It will cost the collaborators a fortune to defend their seats.
To tell you the truth, part of me hopes Hickey & Company are actually stupid enough to go through with the “nuclear option.” I’d love the chance to get rid of them BEFORE the end of the legislative session when Gov. Brian Sandoval’s tax hike votes come up rather than wait until June 2016.
Go ahead, Pat. Make my day.
Still smarting at being ousted as Assembly Majority Leader and defeated by Assemblyman John Hambrick for Speaker-designee, moderate Assemblyman Paul Anderson is now in full attack mode against conservative Assemblywoman Michele Fiore in particular, and conservative members of the caucus in general.
Anderson went on KNPR Friday and conducted what can best be described as a political “fragging” of Fiore, who organized the votes against Anderson in the caucus election a couple weeks ago and will be chairing the Taxation Committee next year.
First he falsely suggested that the Tax Hiker Caucus, led by Gov. Brian Sandoval (R&R Advertising) “won’t get a fair hearing” by Fiore’s committee. But that is a patently false statement. Fiore, who has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, has nevertheless said from the get-go that her committee will hear all tax hike proposals.
Of course, hearing them and voting for them are two different things. But the tax hikers will get their day in court.
Anderson then pulled out his gas can and stoked the flames of controversy by saying he wouldn’t talk about the issue surrounding Fiore’s tax liens. He did this by…talking about the issue surrounding Fiore’s tax liens, saying he’s not sure how many “second and third chances the public is willing to give someone.”
What Anderson meant by that statement is anyone’s guess.
What he meant by saying it, though, is unmistakable. He’s trying to kill Fiore’s ability to remain Majority Leader and/or Taxation Committee Chair, or at least wound her to the point of making it almost impossible to successfully perform her duties.
Anderson then went on to attack fiscal conservatives in general and Tax Pledge signers in particular. From KNPR News’ website…
“He (Anderson) told KNPR that some of the people who signed the pledge haven’t had the chance to see some of the state’s budget numbers and when they do they’ll have to determine where they stand. ‘The idea is not to go in with decision made before you have the information at hand. And that’s the difficult part,’ Anderson said.”
These are the kinds of pious, holier-than-thou, my-s***-don’t-stink statements tax-hiking moderate Republicans and defrocked liberal TV pundits love to make to try and portray fiscal conservatives as unthinking automatons. But here’s the truth…
Every legislator who has signed the Pledge knows the numbers. The Economic Forum has been giving us the numbers for years. The most recent number is $6.3 billion. That’s how much of an allowance Nevada taxpayers are giving Nevada’s state government.
Problem is, Gov. Sandoval has been overspending his allowance for four years and now wants Mom and Dad to give him more. Of course, the only responsible thing for Mom and Dad to do in such a situation is to, you know, say “no.”
Of course, the irresponsible child will throw a temper-tantrum and go to great lengths to rationalize why he should be given more money even though he irresponsibly spent the money he already had.
In the governor’s case, he’s been expanding Medicaid, rushing to implement a Nevada version of ObamaCare, spending money he didn’t have on feel-good education programs, etc.
No, Assemblyman Anderson, the “difficult part” isn’t going into the session determined not to reward the government for spending tax dollars it doesn’t have. The difficult part is staying true to your philosophical convictions and doing the hard work of reforming and reducing the size and scope of government instead of taking the easy way out and raising taxes.
When you know what you believe in, Assemblyman Anderson, what you call the “difficult part” really isn’t all that difficult at all.
The hard truth is, the difficult job of reducing and reforming government SHOULD have been done years ago when Obama’s Great Recession first hit. Instead, lazy legislators such as Assemblyman Anderson simply kicked the can down the road by passing and extending a series of “temporary” tax hikes.
Well, those “sunsets” have come home to roost. It’s well past time to remove those budgetary crutches and cut the budget instead of raising taxes. It’s time for Nevada’s government to live on the allowance taxpayers have given it.
Our Tax Pledge signers are the true responsible legislators, not the spend-and-tax cabal.
No new taxes. Or expansion of existing taxes. Or extensions of temporary taxes. So let it be written. So let it be done.
On November 24th…three days before Thanksgiving…29-year-old Galina Kilova ran down and killed a man who was walking his granddaughter on the shoulder of Rainbow Boulevard in Las Vegas. It was a hit-and-run.
The POS didn’t bother to stop to see if the man or the 18-month-old baby, Brooke, were OK.
After media stories of the roadside slaughter, Killer Kilova lawyered-up and had her attorney tell police she was going to turn herself in.
But not until after Thanksgiving.
That would be the same Thanksgiving that the man she plowed over, Michael Grubbs, wouldn’t be spending with his granddaughter and the rest of his family.
Maybe she just needed the time to sober up. Guess we’ll never know now, will we?
Anyway, after Killer Kilova finally turned herself in, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that she had been “arrested in December 2007 on charges of drinking and driving, failure to use due care and driving without a valid license.”
Wait, here comes the punchline…or rather, the punch in the gut line.
Why do you think Killer Kilova didn’t have a valid driver’s license?
Because, we learned on Friday, she’s an ILLEGAL ALIEN!
And back in 2007 Nevada didn’t give driver’s licenses to illegal aliens.
Which raises the natural question: Why wasn’t she deported immediately after she was caught?
According to press reports, Killer Kilova entered the U.S. in 2006 on a six-month, non-immigrant visa. But instead of leaving when her six months were up, she stayed. Illegally. She was picked up, drunk and driving, just a few months after her visa expired. I mean, it wasn’t like she’d been here for 20 or 30 years with a family and kids and grandkids.
You know, like Mr. Grubbs.
Instead, this illegal alien killer was allowed to remain living among us.
So here’s another question…
Did Killer Kilova have one of those new “driver authorization cards” the Legislature authorized last session (SB303) for illegal aliens? If so, how’d that work out for Mr. Grubbs and his granddaughter? If not, why not?
Passage of that bill was supposed to take these illegal alien drivers and get them licensed and insured. If Killer Kilova didn’t comply, what’s that say about this feel-good bill?
By the way, only 10 legislators, all Republicans, stood tall for the rule of law and voted against SB 303 last year. They were…
- Sen. Don Gustavson
- Assemblyman John Ellison
- Assemblywoman Michele Fiore
- Assemblyman Tom Grady
- Assemblyman John Hambrick
- Assemblyman Ira Hansen
- Assemblyman Randy Kirner
- Assemblyman Pete Livermore (deceased)
- Assemblyman James Oscarson
- Assemblyman Jim Wheeler
But wait, this story gets even worse.
Killer Kilova was released from jail after turning herself in EVEN THOUGH the U.S. Immigration & Custom Enforcement (ICE) agency “asked Metro for notification before Kilova was released but never got that word.”
The Review-Journal reported on Friday that “Las Vegas police announced in July that it would no longer honor federal immigration hold requests unless it was ordered by a judge.”
By the way, nobody knows what Ms. Killer Kilova’s nationality is, so don’t give me any of this crap that this is all just anti-Hispanic racial hatred. Her nationality is irrelevant. I couldn’t care less. Fact is she didn’t belong here. She broke our laws. She should have been deported 7 years ago.
If she had, Little Brooke would still have her grandfather to take her for stroller walks today.
Do we need immigration reform? Damn straight. But not the kind of immigration reform where we excuse violations of our immigration laws and, unbelievably, give illegal aliens driver’s licenses.
The Nevada Legislature should repeal SB303 next year. Call it “Brooke’s Law.” It won’t bring the little girl’s grandfather back, but it might stop another illegal alien from killing somebody else’s grandfather.
As noted in yesterday’s Muth’s Truths, the situation in the GOP Assembly caucus changes from hour to hour, not day to day. Indeed, just a couple hours after reporting that conservative Assemblywoman Michele Fiore had been removed as Chair of the Taxation Committee…she was reinstated.
And, I’m told, conservative Assemblywoman Victoria Seaman will remain on the Taxation Committee, as well.
That said, the “Collaborator Caucus” of moderate Republicans are still moving forward with the “nuclear option,” in which a half-dozen of them would vote on opening day of the Legislature with the 17 Democrats to oust Assembly Speaker-designate John Hambrick and replace him with moderate Assemblyman Paul Anderson in a “coalition” governing body.
The “Dirty Half-Dozen” that I’m hearing are former Minority Leader Pat “The Appeaser” Hickey (naturally), Assemblyman James Oscarson, Assemblyman Randy “Kirner Tax” Kirner, Assemblyman Chris Edwards, Assemblywoman Melissa Woodbury, and Assemblyman Lynn “The Bug Man” Stewart.
But there may well be others, including freshman Assemblymen Derek Armstrong and Stephen Silberkraus, both of whom have been on Team Hickey/Anderson from the beginning.
BTW, I’ve heard reports that Oscarson and Edwards, both Hickey/Anderson supporters, are telling people they’re not part of the “nuclear option” effort. Sorry, but neither has proved to be trustworthy in this fouled up business. So until I see something in writing…
Ditto Hickey and Kirner. Both have reportedly told the Washoe County GOP chairman that they wouldn’t support any effort to elect a Democrat Speaker…HOWEVER…they refuse to say whether or not they’d join with the Democrats to knock out Hambrick and install Anderson. That’s apparently a nuclear option they can both live with.
For her part, Fiore fired a shot across the bow of every possible member of the “Collaborator Caucus” on Thursday with this email…
“Anyone who would show such blatant disregard for the will of the voters of their district by joining with the Democrats to select a new speaker will face an immediate recall election as well as face removal from our caucus. We have been elected to do a job, and it is imperative that we quit playing politics and get to work for the people of Nevada.”
For the record, a recall of state legislators is not allowed to commence until 10 days after the start of a session. That would be February 12, 2015 for anyone who joins Hickey and Anderson in going nuclear.
And it won’t take much to get a recall on the ballot for a special election. Thanks to the exceptionally low turnout in last month’s general election, here’s how many recall signatures would be needed in certain districts…
Assembly District 26 | Randy Kirner: 5,163 signatures
Assembly District 19 | Chris Edwards: 3,266 signatures
Assembly District 36 | James Oscarson: 3,412 signatures
And here’s the ironically fun part: If the GOP collaborators collaborate with Democrat assembly members to kick Hambrick out of the Speaker’s chair, it would be Democrat voters who would be most interested in signing a recall petition and voting with conservative Republicans to oust a GOP incumbent.
Talk about what goes around coming around!
FYI, although former Assemblyman Wes Duncan was originally in the pro-Hickey/Anderson camp, he has officially resigned his seat to go work for our new conservative Attorney General, Adam Laxalt. He is no longer part of the matrix and folks should stop emailing him about this situation.
The leading candidate to replace Duncan, by the way, is rumored to be former Taxi Commish Charles Harvey, a black Republican with reportedly solid conservative street cred. I wonder where he stands on Uber?
Back to the Fiore flap…
There was talk that her ouster was because she’s a women. No it wasn’t. And wish she hadn’t played the “gender card” the way Democrat Erin Bilbray-without-the-Kohn did in her failed congressional campaign.
Look, the long knives are out for Fiore, not because she’s a woman, but because she’s an outspoken, unapologetic conservative who will drive the governor and the rest of the GOP establishment bonkers as they try to pass their billion dollar tax hike next year.
They’re also gunning for Fiore because Fiore has been so successful in organizing and managing a coalition of freshman conservatives who have been successful in first ousting Hickey as caucus leader, and then stopping Anderson from becoming Speaker-designate.
And Jon Ralston, Nevada’s #2 liberal blogger-without-a-TV-show after tonight, is after Fiore because Fiore treats him like the annoying pest he is instead of bowing at his feet, cowering in his presence and kissing his caboose.
These people would be going after her even if she was a man.
Just ask Assemblyman Ira Hansen.
COLLABORATOR CAUCUS CONTACTS
Nye County Republican Party Chairman Bill Carns sent out an email “Call to Action” Wednesday night about the possibility that some GOP assembly-critters might vote with the Democrats and pull the trigger on the “nuclear option.”
“Several Republican Assembly members are at risk of making such a vote,” Carns wrote to grassroots GOP activists. “We need to contact each and every one of them with a demand that party treason is not an option and will not be tolerated. Working within the Republican Caucus is always the answer where committing party treason and siding with Democrats against the Republican Caucus is never the answer.”
Ronald Reagan once said, “When you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat.”
Go get ‘em, gang!
Chris Edwards – firstname.lastname@example.org
James Oscarson – email@example.com
Pat Hickey – Pathickey@dataclonemail.com
Derek Armstrong – firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul Anderson – email@example.com
Randy Kirner – firstname.lastname@example.org
Lynn Stewart – email@example.com
Melissa Woodbury – firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephen Silberkraus – email@example.com
The brouhaha involves Pinecrest Academy, an excellent charter school in Henderson, Nevada. As a charter school, parents choose whether or not to send their kids there…and there’s a waiting list to get in.
The school has an excellent principal, an excellent teaching staff, an excellent administrative staff, an excellent student body and an excellent board of directors.
Nevertheless, there’s always somebody kvetching and bellyaching about something. At Pinecrest that person is a parent named Teicha Ashcroft, who is unhappy with the school’s recess policy.
And Ms. Ashcroft was able to get a blogger named Karen Gray to write a blistering, biased and one-sided blog post voicing Ashcroft’s complaints which was published on the highly-regarded conservative think-tank Nevada Policy Research Institute’s (NPRI) website.
Ms. Gray is an employee of NPRI. She’s also the mother of Ms. Ashcroft. A detail that Ms. Gray unethically neglected to mention in her hit piece on Pinecrest, its board chairwoman and its award-winning principal.
SIDENOTE: The award-winning principal’s name is Dr. Carrie Buck. And before taking over Pinecrest Academy last spring, Buck was principal of C.T. Sewell Elementary School. You may recognize the name of C.T. Sewell. That’s the school where teacher Brenda Moynihan just won that $100,000 grant to fund a new technology center. Moynihan, along with Sewell’s current principal, Holli Ratliff, both worked for Buck last year when the whole grant idea first germinated. Go figure.
But back to our story…
Once the hit piece on Pinecrest and Dr. Buck was brought to my attention – and the fact that the author had failed to disclose her relationship with the star complainer of the story – I contacted NPRI President Andy Matthews.
Andy immediately investigated the matter and advised me that, yes, a serious ethical breach had occurred in not disclosing the relationship between Ashcroft and Gray in the story.
Unfortunately, rather than do the right thing – remove the blog post from NPRI’s website – the decision was made to instead put lipstick on a pig. So at the end of the blog-o-smear, the following “Editor’s Note” from editor Steven Miller has been added…
“The initial version of this story failed to include notice that Tiecha Ashcroft is the writer’s daughter. By the editor’s oversight, that fact was not deemed germane, as both the editor and the writer were focused on the evidence that dysfunctional CCSD patterns of board behavior appeared to be migrating into Nevada’s charter-school community. Belatedly, we recognized that the amount of space given to the departing parents’ views required more balance. Thus the article’s subsequent revisions.”
“Editor’s oversight”? You mean Miller KNEW that Ashcroft was his employee’s daughter yet somehow didn’t notice that the relationship was completely hidden from the public in the story?
“Not deemed germane”?!!! Is Miller serious?
How could the fact that a highly critical column attacking the reputations of so many highly-regarded pillars of the community doing absolutely fabulous things for children was written by the mother of the discontented parent who was raising the whole stink not be “germane”?
“Evidence”? What evidence? The entire story was based on hearsay complaints and opinions of two parents without disclosing that one of the parents was the daughter of the writer!
In fact, there was no “evidence” presented whatsoever to justify the accusation – repeated in Miller’s “Editor’s Note” – that “dysfunctional behavior” was being displayed by Pinecrest’s board of directors. As I pointed out in Part IV of this series, that accusation has been completely overblown and disproven as false.
In fact, Gray’s story was so biased and one-sided that the board chairwoman whose reputation was being besmirched wasn’t even interviewed for the story!
“Belatedly, we recognized that the amount of space given to the departing parents’ views required more balance”? Hello???
If Miller “recognized” – after I bought to NPRI’s attention that the biased, one-sided, ethically-challenged story was in fact unbalanced – then the only fair and ethical thing to do would be to delete the entire offending story, not try to make it better after the fact.
Here’s an example of the “revisions” that Miller is talking about. This is an excerpt from the original story…
“On the other hand, it was Principal Buck’s philosophy — ‘sitting these kids at computers and teaching them to test,’ says Franks…”
Amazingly, that hearsay accusation was allowed to be published without so much as the courtesy of a phone call to Principal Buck to see if it had any validity. It was only AFTER it was disclosed that Ms. Gray hid her relationship with Ashcroft that Miller bothered to contact Dr. Buck who, in the “revision,” “vehemently denies that she holds any such ‘philosophy,’ calling the charge ‘absolutely not true.’”
So you have a disgruntled parent making an unsubstantiated accusation…and an impossibly conflicted “reporter” publishing it as fact without even bothering to contact the accused for a response…and NPRI is going to leave it up on its website because they contacted Dr. Buck after the fact and she DENIED the accusation?
What school of journalism taught Mr. Miller that this is acceptable and professional behavior?
Ryan Reeves, Chief Operating Officer for Academica Nevada, which is the professional management company retained by Pinecrest Academy, emailed Miller pointing how egregious the ethical lapse was in not disclosing the Ashcroft-Gray relationship, as well as the “inappropriate content and tone of this article.”
Mr. Reeves wrote…
“I am aware of some minor additions and changes made to the article. However, the entire basis for the article is a misrepresentation that no amount of editing can fix. Furthermore, allowing an article to be written and published by one of the involved/interested parties is simply unethical. The article must be retracted and removed.”
“I believe you mischaracterize the article in question. While it does have some warts – primarily my own egregious decision to initially ignore Karen’s relationship to Ms. Ashcroft…”
“Some warts”? Are you kidding me?
There ain’t enough Dr. Scholl’s in the galaxy to remove all the warts in this article!
Including the fact, acknowledged in his response, that Miller knew about the Ashcroft-Gray conflict and IGNORED IT!
Nevertheless, Miller told Reeves that the wart-infested article “will not be taken down.”
Sorry, Charlie. Nothing short of removing the article completely from NPRI’s website is sufficient. Gray’s smear, with Miller as an accomplice, is an inaccurate and unfair representation of the school, the principal, the board and the entire situation that should never have been published in the first place.
Leaving it on their website discredits NPRI every bit as much as Gray and Miller have been discredited.
Although I assured Andy Matthews that our conversations – which took place over a period of three days leading up the start of this series – would remain private, I can tell you that I literally BEGGED him to take this highly-offensive and ethically-challenged article down before it did further damage to the reputations of Pinecrest Academy, Principal Buck and everyone else involved.
For whatever reason, he has, to this point, chosen not to. Probably under pressure from Miller, who got caught in a royal ethical screw-up and is now desperate to save face…no matter how unfair or harmful it is to the Pinecrest Academy community.
But now that this series in finished and the truth about Ms. Gray’s undeserved smear of Dr. Buck has been exposed, I will make one last formal and public request that NPRI do the right thing and take the article down.
And if they do, I will similarly remove all five of my posts on this matter, as well.
I’m posting the text of my letter to Mr. Matthews online. If any of you would like to add your name to it before I send it off after I get back from Washington, DC this week, please do so by going to…
Here’s hoping that soon we all can get back to fighting the true enemies of education reform instead of wasting our time arguing over the recess policy of an excellent charter school run by an excellent principal and administered by an excellent board of directors.
Shortly after I sent out yesterday afternoon’s Silver State Confidential, I was informed that the secret plans for a Throw-Michele-Under-the-Bus meeting of the Nevada Republican Assembly Caucus for tomorrow had been scuttled.
Public exposure appears to have the same effect on political conspirators as a flashlight turned on cockroaches. Go figure.
The GOP establishment is absolutely horrified at the prospect of going into the 2015 Nevada Legislature with conservatives holding every one of the leadership positions in the Republican majority, as well as several of the key committees – especially the Taxation Committee.
You see, Gov. Brian Sandoval (R&R Advertising) is preparing to propose the Mother of All Tax Hikes: The Sequel, and the last thing he wants is 15 conservative Republicans blocking it in the Assembly the way they did in 2003 when then-Gov. Kenny Guinn proposed the original Mother of All Tax Hikes.
And what is really giving him nightmares is the prospect of conservative Assemblywoman Michele Fiore not only chairing the Taxation Committee where his tax hike will be heard and considered, but as Majority Leader of the Assembly, as well, where she’ll have even greater clout and a bigger megaphone to rally public support in opposition.
Here’s the problem in the GOP Assembly: There are two very distinct, evenly-divided camps.
Camp A is led by conservatives Fiore, Assemblyman Ira Hansen and Assemblyman Jim Wheeler.
Camp B is led by GOP establishment moderate Assemblymen Paul Anderson, Pat “The Appeaser” Hickey and James Oscarson.
Each camp has 12 members. Speaker-in-Waiting Assemblyman John Hambrick is the tie-breaking vote.
The conservative bloc supported Hambrick for Speaker. The moderates backed Anderson.
Hambrick won. Fair and square. And by tradition, the Speaker-elect of the majority party is elected Speaker by acclamation by members of both parties on the first day of the legislative session.
But Anderson and his side refuse to accept their defeat. So instead, they’ve been whining and threatening Hambrick all week with the “nuclear option.”
The nuclear option would be for Anderson and his band of moderate Republicans to vote with the 17 Assembly Democrats to deny Hambrick the Speakership.
Anderson and, presumably, Democrat Assemblywoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick – who served as Speaker in the 2013 session – would serve as co-Speakers and the various committees would be reassigned with new Democrat-Republican co-chairs instead of Republicans chairing those committees outright.
Meaning Fiore would be ousted as Chair of the Taxation Committee.
That this gaggle of crybaby moderate Republicans would sell out to the Democrats for an unprincipled power-sharing arrangement with the Democrats after some 30 years serving as the Assembly’s minority party is simply outrageous.
Even more so when you recall the Great Cobb Convulsion of 2007.
Hearken back, dear reader, to the start of the legislative session that year. The Democrats were the majority party. Their Speaker-designate was uber-liberal Assemblywoman Barbara Buckley.
But when the vote for Speaker came up on opening day, Buckley was elected 41-1 rather than by acclamation. The lone vote against her was cast by conservative freshman Assemblyman Ty Cobb of Reno. For which Cobb was pilloried unmercifully by both Democrats and go-along-to-get-along establishment Republicans.
As the Las Vegas Review-Journal described it at the time…
“You would have thought he’d danced naked into the chambers, painted blue and started slaughtering livestock.”
So when one lone conservative Republican opts not to vote for a liberal Democrat as Speaker…well, that’s a mortal sin and all hell breaks loose.
But when a dozen moderate Republicans threaten to vote with the Democrats to block a conservative-backed Speaker even though Republicans are in the majority…well, that’s OK.
No, it’s not.
And Anderson & Company should be ashamed of themselves for continuing this ongoing hissy fit. It’s time for them to grow up and suck it up and get with the program. It’s time for them to be what they always chastise conservatives to be when conservatives lose a leadership fight…
Good team players.
TODAY’S ASSEMBLY GOP LINE-UP
As the old saying goes, you can’t tell the players without a scorecard. And many of you have written asking which Assembly Republicans are on which team.
So with the understanding that some players might very well switch teams at any time in the future, here’s how they match up as of this morning…
Assemblywoman Michele Fiore
Assemblyman Ira Hansen
Assemblyman Jim Wheeler
Assemblyman John Ellison
Assemblywoman Jill Dickman
Assemblywoman Victoria Seaman
Assemblywoman Robin Titus
Assemblywoman Vicki Dooling
Assemblywoman Shelly Shelton
Assemblyman Brent Jones
Assemblyman John Moore
Assemblyman David Gardner
Assemblyman Paul Anderson
Assemblyman Chris Edwards
Assemblyman Pat “The Appeaser” Hickey
Assemblyman Randy “Kirner Tax” Kirner
Assemblyman Lynn “Bug Man” Stewart
Assemblywoman Melissa Woodbury
Assemblyman Wes Duncan
Assemblyman James Oscarson
Assemblyman Stephen Silberkraus
Assemblyman Derek Armstrong
Assemblyman P.K. O’Neil
Assemblyman Erv Nelson
Assemblyman John Hambrick
As regular Muth’s Truths readers know, a very special teacher named Brenda Moynihan at C.T. Sewell Elementary School in Henderson, Nevada, entered a contest sponsored by Farmers Insurance to win a $100,000 grant to build a technology learning center for her school and students.
Sewell’s student body is mostly low-to-middle income kids “who rarely have access to computers or tablets at home.”
Ms. Moynihan’s and her grant proposal made it to the Final Three in the southwest region, going head-to-head with schools from Arizona and California – states with FAR BIGGER populations than Nevada.
Voting for the grand prize winner began back in October and many of you joined me in voting for Ms. Moynihan and C.T. Sewell over the past several weeks.
Well, yesterday the school’s principal, Holli Ratliff, received the following email from Bob Compan, the Government Affairs Manager for Farmers…
“Principal Ratliff: The Dream Big Teacher Challenge winners were announced today and although Ms. Moynihan was not a grand prize winner, we appreciate her dedication and participation in the two month challenge. We would like to recognize her with a $2,500 contribution to be used toward her classroom to benefit her students. When would be a good time to visit CT Sewell and give her a personal thanks for her efforts in this challenge? We would also like to record a short message from Ms. Moynihan thanking all of her voters that can be used on the Farmers website. Sewell did a great job representing the state of Nevada. We hope Sewell continues to participate in the grant opportunities available at www.thankamillionteachers.com. Let me know if tomorrow would work or if there is a better time next week.”
Principal Ratliff forwarded Mr. Compan’s email to the staff yesterday afternoon with this note attached…
“Staff: Although we did not win, I am so extremely grateful to all of you for your support of our school and students!! Congratulations, Ms. Moynihan for being a national finalist and for earning money for your students!!! Such a great way to shine and share positive news about our school nationwide!!! I have confirmed with Mr. Compan to join us and our other special visitors for Sunrise Ceremony tomorrow morning…. One busy, fun-filled morning. :) Keep shining, everyone!!!!”
Ms. Ratliff was kind enough to invite me to the ceremony to thank all of you for your support and votes. So even though I was in San Diego at a conference, I cut my trip short and drove back last night to be there.
What was really cool is that all of the major television stations were there this morning, as well, to cover the presentation of the $2,500 consolation check from Farmers and thank Ms. Moynihan for her efforts.
All the kids and teachers and some representatives of the school district were there in the playground area, as well, lined up in front of a small podium and where Mr. Compan spoke and invited Ms. Moynihan up so everyone could thank her and give her the $2,500 check.
It was all a ruse.
Ms. Moynihan didn’t get the $2,500.
With your help…
And with your votes…
Mr. Compan announced that…
She actually won…
THE $100,000 GRAND PRIZE!!!
Ms. Moynihan had NO IDEA.
Everyone who knew she’d actually won the grand prize, including yours truly, played it to the max right up to the check presentation.
To say she was stunned would be a gargantuan understatement.
And indeed, plenty of tears of joy were shed as the students and staff realized what had happened and erupted in the kind of sustained applause usually reserved for rock stars.
But is my book, Brenda Moynihan IS a rock star.
She had no grant-writing experience before this project. On her own time and her own initiative she took grant-writing classes and attended grant-writing workshops.
And wrote a grant to help her students that she never in her wildest dreams thought would actually win.
Brenda Moynihan is the kind of person Willy Wonka was referring to when he said, “We are the music makers. And we are the dreamers of dreams.”
Or as Walt Disney said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”
And as Dorothy sang in the Wizard of Oz, “The dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.”
Congratulations, Ms. Moynihan. Congratulations C.T. Sewell Elementary.
And thank each and every one of you who cast votes in this contest to help make this dream come true!
Here’s a photo of (l-r) me, Bobby Ellis (who brought this project to my attention), Brenda Moynihan, Principal Holli Ratliff, Jerry Carnahan and, of course, the check for $100,000!
FAMOUS LAST WORDS
“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” – William A. Ward