Sorry about the delay in reporting back on Opening Day of the 2015 Legislature, but I had a long 7 hour drive back to Vegas from Carson on Tuesday – pleasantly broken up by a lunch stop in Tonopah at the Mizpah Hotel with my longtime friend Joni Eastley, who is the one of the most pleasant and well-informed public officials you’ll ever want to meet.
The first day of the 2015 legislative session started out with a meeting of the Republican Assembly Caucus in which Assemblywoman Victoria Seaman raised a question about whether or not Assemblyman Chris “Let’s Make a Deal” Edwards “was wearing a wire” and recording caucus meetings.
According to Ray Hagar of the Reno Gazette-Journal, Speaker-of-the-Weak John Hambrick “said he was sure Edwards would not record any caucus conversations during the 2015 session” and said he trusted him.
As Julius Caesar trusted Brutus!
I also heard that Majority Leader Paul Anderson generally ran the caucus meeting and is the real power behind the throne. He apparently has almost complete and total control over Hambrick and the caucus now, even if he doesn’t hold the title of Speaker.
Call him the “Shadow Speaker.”
Is Chris Edwards wearing a wire? Only the Shadow knows!
And speaking of the Speaker, Hambrick was, in fact, elected Speaker despite empty threats by ousted Minority Leader Pat “The Appeaser” Hickey who, after being kicked to the curb by conservative members of the caucus back in November, rattled his saber over possibly collaborating with the Democrats to make himself Speaker.
In the end, Hickey lacked the huevos to attempt his threatened “nuclear option.”
So the guy conservatives elected instead of Hickey or Anderson was elected Speaker. And the moderates and the Democrats ended up voting for the conservative pick – although a reckoning with Hambrick is still in the offing since Hambrick double-crossed the conservative after they got him the nomination!
And speaking of Hambrick, I was standing in the doorway to his new posh Speaker’s office catching up with some old friends when he peaked his head out. But kinda like the groundhog on Groundhog’s Day, he saw me and immediately retreated quickly back into his office, portending at least six more weeks of waffling and vacillation on the Governor’s billion-point-three dollar tax hike.
Later in the morning, I passed Edwards in the hall. I called out, “Hey, Chris, are you wearing a wire today?” He grew beet red in the face and muttered what I assume to have been a profanity, but I couldn’t make it out. He then slithered down the hall to the Assembly Chamber.
Met conservative Assemblyman David Gardner (R-Clark) for the first time. Very impressive and well-informed fellow. His only flaw appears to be that he’s a lawyer. Well, nobody’s perfect.
Also ran into an old nemesis, Roger Stockton.
Roger and I had quite a social media battle going on a year ago over the Nevada GOP’s pre-primary endorsement process. But as Roger said, he and I agree on probably 90 percent of other issues. As such, we buried the hatchet…and not in the back of each other’s skull!
Passed Jon Ralston, Nevada’s #2 liberal blogger-without-a-TV-show, in the hallway a few times. Had to correct him – almost a full-time job – on something he tweeted about conservatives and Assemblywoman Fiore “losing” in the Hambrick vote.
This guy is either intentionally obtuse or in clinical denial. It was Fiore who got Hambrick elected as Speaker-designate! Even Hambrick admitted it. On Ralston’s since-cancelled old public affairs TV show!
When I pointed out that he was wrong, again, he got that irritated look on his face – like he’d just eaten a rotten cumquat – and mumbled something about “Go write about the scandal.” I passed His Royal Haughtiness in the hall again a little while after and asked what scandal he was talking about. “You know!” he barked.
Well, I didn’t.
But I later found out that some others in the building were talking about a scandal in Carson City involving Ralston over a dozen years ago that I had never heard before. But since it has nothing to do with Jon’s inability to cover politics in a truthful and professional manner, I couldn’t care less and have no desire to write about such “old news.”
On the other hand, there was another scandal unfolding in Carson City while I was there.
For dubious reasons, city elders decided to cut down a giant 200-year-old cottonwood tree in Fuji Park. The tree was enormous. My kids used to climb it and play under its shade when we lived up there. Indeed, you couldn’t go to Fuji Park for any reason, day or night, without seeing that tree.
A lot of folks have a lot of fond memories and had a lot of fun times around that tree in Fuji Park. RIP.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch…
As for the rest of Day One of the opening session, I did leave early. There’s only so much of this kumbaya stuff I can take. And I did need to get to Red’s Old 395 Grill to host a conservative happy hour. Priorities, you know!
But after the day was done, several people told me that almost every decision Hambrick made from the dais had to be corrected by the Clerk, Susan Furlong.
Now, I know it was only Day One and this was the first time Hambrick performed in his new role, but to get so many things so wrong right out of the gate having already served three previous sessions?
Thank goodness The Shadow is around!