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Carson City Trip

I spent last weekend in Carson City with my daughter, Jenna…and what a wonderful place it is, especially when the Legislature is NOT in session. A report…

* My first stop on the way up was in Tonopah for a thoroughly delightful lunch at the renovated Mizpah Hotel with one of my favorite people in politics, former Nye County Commissioner Joni Eastley. We stopped by Joni’s house on the way home, too…which is WAY cool and was featured on the Ghost Hunters show on cable TV.

Joni also educated me on the very interesting Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project just outside of town which is unique in that the technology will allow it to generate “on demand” power 24 hours a day. I need to learn more…especially as to how much this “green” power is going to cost us consumers.

* Friday night I had dinner with conservative freshman Assemblyman Jim Wheeler at Bully’s in Carson City. Wheeler was one of the very few bright spots in the 2013 legislative session. He’s safely ensconced in a very Republican district and may consider seeking a leadership position in the GOP assembly caucus in 2015…that is, if he doesn’t opt to run in a primary against the Reno RINO, Sen. Ben Kieckhefer. Both options are on the table.

* Had a wonderful breakfast meeting Saturday morning with Linda Barnett, former general manager of the Carson City Hampton Inn and a prominent opponent of last November’s library tax hike…which did, in fact, go down in flames.

Linda has a fascinating story about her political evolvement. She went from a volunteer on the McGovern presidential campaign to a top lieutenant to libertarian Ed Crane of the Cato Institute.

Barnett’s one of those unusual Nevadans who’s not only an informed, smart conservative but an active activist, as well. As such, she’s on our short list for this year’s Conservative of the Year Award. And the Hampton Inn is now the unofficial Citizen Outreach headquarters. In fact, look for future grassroots and candidate training seminars there!

* After meeting with Linda, I drove out to Silver Springs and caught the second half of the Lyon County Republican Party meeting, chaired by yet another charming and intelligent woman, Peggy Gray.

Amusingly, liberal-Democrat-turned-liberal-Republican Assemblyman Tom Grady almost fell out of his chair when he saw me walk in the room. He later proceeded to give a post-session report on all the great things he accomplished by working cooperatively with the Democrats in the Assembly, including passage of a bill he sponsored to discourage tax breaks for businesses.

Fortunately, Grady is finally termed out of office and won’t be making any such reports again in the future.

Also in the room was Lyon County Commissioner Bob “Pudd’nhead” Hastings. We’ll just leave that at that.

* After the meeting, I took my daughter and two of her friends to the Coconut Bowl in Reno. While they were bowling and playing miniature golf and other games, I sat back and read a short book lent to me by John Delaberta, “Stories in His Own Words: The Everyday Wisdom of Ronald Reagan.”

Boy, how this nation misses him. Pick up the book if you’re a Reagan fan.

* On Sunday morning I drove down to Wellington, past the big brushfire, and had coffee with Dr. Robin Titus. But before getting out of town, I was extended an official greeting by one of Carson City’s finest.

I’m traveling southbound on 395. Stopped at a traffic light. A sheriff’s deputy was in the left-turn lane, heading north. I proceeded through the light after it turned green. Looked in my rearview mirror. The deputy turned his lights on, made a u-turn, then turned his lights off…but still proceeded to pull up behind me.

I see he’s apparently running my plates. I’m not worried. I’m not speeding. Not texting. And my insurance and registration are up to date. Nevertheless, I pull over into the right-hand lane to allow him to go by. As soon as I did…his lights came on. Traffic stop!

Good grief. What the heck did I do?

Let’s face it…if a police officer really wants to pull you over in this day and age, they can come up with all manner of reasons. But it turns out, I gave him one. When I moved into the right lane to let him by, I failed to use my turn signal. Dang it!

License and registration, please. Yes, sir. Back to his car. Runs me through NCIC or whatever…and back to my car. Looking at the registration he asks, “Citizen Outreach? What do you do?”

Now, I have a stock answer to that that I’ve been using for several months now, but I’m never sure how it’ll be taken by a complete stranger.

“I irritate liberals, pretty much on a daily basis,” I replied.

With that, the deputy got a big smile on his face, handed me back my license and registration, warned me to use my turn signals…and sent me on my way!

* Back to Dr. Titus: The woman is a smart, energetic, conservative who is running to replace the aforementioned Tom Grady in the Assembly.

If elected she won’t be just a far better conservative vote than Grady, but you get the sense that she’s not planning on going to Carson City just to push the right buttons. When called for and appropriate, I suspect she’ll rock the boat and not follow in Tom’s go-along-to-get-along footsteps.

There may be other GOP candidates who enter the primary (this is a solid Republican district; whoever wins the primary will win the general), but my guess is Titus will emerge the victor…and what a vast improvement that’s going to be over Tom Grady!

* After leaving Dr. Titus (and her poor dog who was recovering from being bitten by a rattlesnake last week), I drove back to Carson City for a lunch at Red’s 395 Grill with the new editor of the Nevada Appeal, Brian Sandford, and a number of the paper’s columnists…liberal and conservative and non-political alike. A very enjoyable gathering…good food, good company.

All in all, a very busy, very productive and very enjoyable weekend in the great northwest!