Thursday, March 31, 2011

It's the Schools, Stupid!

How many times have I had to say this? The Sun has yet another article pointing this out, and even Ralston is admitting the obvious on Twitter.


How many more times must I explain this? With inadequate schools, new companies won't move here. Businesses are now looking for a more educated workforce, and Nevada can't provide that with underfunded, overcrowded, underperforming, overburdened, and all around collapsing K-12 schools and colleges. Without good schools, we'll never have the foundation needed for a more stable economy and lasting jobs.

But do enough legislators understand this? Do they really want to continue being penny wise and pound foolish? Do they want to force Clark County School District to sue them for inadequate funding? Do they really want to "beggar thy neighbor" by forcing unfunded mandates onto local governments? Or are they finally ready to make a change and do the right thing?

Everything we "know" on the budget is wrong. The revenue is there. The mining industry can certainly afford to pay its fair share, and so can other large multinational corporations taking advantage of our consumer dollars while refusing to pay what we pay. Our system is broken, our state is failing, and we can no longer afford to ignore this crisis.

Bills like AB 428 must be passed this session. The mining industry must pay its fair share, and other large corporations must pay their fair share. Small businesses can't be forced to bear the burden of a collapsing state, and working class Nevadans can't afford to be taxed by way of the rising costs of failing schools and crumbling public infrastructure.


There's a reason why over 1,500 students from throughout Nevada, from Elko to Reno to Henderson, stormed Carson City last week. There's a reason why more and more business leaders are speaking the truth on the state of Nevada's schools. And there's a reason why mining industry lobbyists are now running scared. They all know the key to a successful Nevada is good education, and they all realize we must raise revenue in a fair and just manner to save our state. They also know we have the power to make it happen. Let's do it.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Stonewall Democrats' Equality Days Closing Luncheon

SDCSN did the closing luncheon for Equality Days yesterday at The Carson Nugget in Carson City, right after everyone was down in the legislative chambers.

Special guests included Courage Campaign's Rick Jacobs, legendary LGBTQ equality activist and labor organizer Cleve Jones, and newly elected Nevada State Democratic Party Chair Roberta Lange. Take a gander at the above videos and feel the power of those spoken words!

Mr. H8 Rears His Ugly, Bigoted Head... AGAIN!

In case you were wondering when perpetual professional bigot Richard Ziser would start attacking Nevada families again, we now know he's back and he's trying to shove more than a few anti-equality zealots down our throats in this year's Clark County Municipal Elections. What? You don't believe me? Here's the voter guide!

Now just to be clear, the candidates supporting #6 are saying LGBTQ families deserve no legal recognition and no human dignity. The candidates opposing #7 and #12 want our schools to do nothing as LGBTQ kids to be bullied to death (often literally!). Basically, the candidates who are standing with Richard Ziser agree to carry out his agenda to attack many thousands of Southern Nevada families just for who they are.

In addition, these candidates want to take away women's right to make their own health care decisions. And they want to take away our religious freedom. And they want to waste time (and our local tax dollars!) on xenophobia.

Here in Henderson, city council candidates Ed Hamilton, John Simmons, Ron Hubel, and Mike Mayberry are pro-bigotry. In North Las Vegas, Carl Gatson and Wade Wagner are pro-bigotry. In Las Vegas, Steve Ross is apparently pro-bigotry again. And you can read the rest of the list to see who to watch out for in other Clark County cities.

I just thought you should know.

Behind the Scenes (& Behind the Curtain) in Carson City

Woohoo! Moi w/ my fave #nvleg #nvp2 Senators! (Breeden & ... on Twitpic

Moi & @AnjeanetteDamon in #nvleg cafe #nveq #nvp2 #fb on Twitpic

@RubenKihuen rocking it @HRC_LASVEGAS #nveq reception on Mond... on Twitpic

#NVleg right here! #nveq #nvpolitics #nvp2 #fb on Twitpic

It's one thing to read Jon Ralston's musings on what's happening behind the scenes in Carson City, and it's something else to read Anjeanette Damon's reports on what may actually be on the legislative agenda. However, there's really no substitute for actually being there in person and seeing first-hand the negotiations and political games being played behind the scenes.

I was actually on The Senate floor right after they had "committee of the whole" to discuss the budget. I could sense the relief of Sandoval's new plan to restore a bit of the funding he wanted cut, but there seems to be broad agreement that it's still not enough, and that the only real solution is to ditch Sandoval's gimmicks and look at actual revenue solutions.

I actually talked with a Republican legislator who admitted all this (and more!) to me. This legislator said that Sandoval's proposal is a non-starter, that the 2009 tax deal will likely have to be extended, and that there's a possibility of further taxes being agreed upon... If they are satisfied with union concessions.

There really is an intriguing game of political chess happening in Carson City right now. Democratic leadership is figuring out where to find the votes to pass an actual balanced budget, and Republican leadership is trying to find "cover" so they can provide enough votes for a budget that won't anger "we the people" too much.

I had a chance to talk with three of my favorite legislators this week on what's happening up north. My Senator, Shirley Breeden (D-Henderson) (the first photo on top is of me with her and Parks), is busy doing her "homework", studying the numbers, and pressing for a final budget that keeps kids in school and keeps our hope for a better economy alive. David Parks (D-Paradise) is working hard on a number of LGBTQ equality bills (that you will be hearing more from me on soon!) and hopes for agreement on these as well as the budget. And as part of the new wave of Latin@ legislators providing some much needed representation in Carson, Ruben Kihuen is already off to an amazing start in The Senate... He even expressed some hope that his fellow legislators, especially on The Senate side, can work together this session.

Interestingly enough, there may actually be some opportunities for just that. That Republican legislator I spoke with was willing to keep an open mind on AB 211, the transgender inclusive workplace non-discrimination bill. Another Republican legislator apparently expressed concern over Sandoval's proposed budget cuts this week, and signaled support for the LGBTQ equality bills. And even though GOP leadership are playing "hard to get" right now in demanding some of the same union busting run amok in Wisconsin and Michigan, they may also be realizing that they can only ask for so much, and that it may not be too smart to antagonize working Nevadans when they've already sacrificed plenty and are ready to share in even more sacrifice this year.

Hopefully, what I saw behind the scenes in Carson City this week are real signs of hope that our Legislature will be working on actual solutions that will make Nevada an even better state. The "sausage making process" may be messy, but let's keep pushing them to ensure the final product is safe for human consumption.

(By the way, I just want to thank Senators Breeden, Kihuen, and Parks for the warm welcome, as well as those GOP legislators who are willing to do their "homework" and put the people of Nevada first. Oh, and PLAN lobbyist and legislative whiz Jan Gilbert is awesome... Go follow her on Twitter @jangilbert1. NOW!) ;-)

#Nevada Controller Kim Wallin joining us @nvstonewalldems #nv... on Twitpic

#nveq now in Senate chambers #nvleg #nvp2 #nvpolitics #fb on Twitpic

Jan Gilbert & @PLANevada in the house! #nveq #nvleg #nvp2... on Twitpic

#NVLeg in action #nvpolitics #nvp2 #nveq #fb on Twitpic

Guess where I'm going later this AM! :-D #nveq #nvleg #n... on Twitpic

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Wild & Wonderful Equality Days Experience

Right now, I'm working my way through the rural wilderness on my way home from Equality Days. And oh my, do I have stories to tell!

What's interesting about Carson City is that it keeps its secrets close to its chest. But this week, I got a sneak peek behind the scenes and uncovered some fascinating discoveries.

Starting tomorrow, I'll start to share those secrets here with you. Perhaps a functioning Nevada is closer than we think.;-)

HRC's Equality Days Reception

Last night, I had the great pleasure of joining HRC Las Vegas and other LGBTQ community organizations at their evening reception at Equality Days here in Carson City. As you can see below, we had some very special guests joining us.

And after the presentation, the legislators started arriving! I'll tell you more about that later. ;-)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Live from Carson City...

It's Nevada Progressive! I've been running crazy since this morning. Today is the first day of Equality Days, and I've already spoken in depth with three legislators, greeted a couple others, and dared one to not avoid me.

If you haven't done so yet, please follow me @atdleft on Twitter to catch all the latest #nveq & #NVLeg updates. And tomorrow morning, I'll have a fuller report here. And come Thursday, I'll have a full debriefing of my Northern Nevada adventure.

Until then, wish me luck! :-)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Programming Note: Road Trip!

Starting tomorrow night, Nevada Progressive will be taking a road trip up north. Saturday and Sunday, I'll be reporting from Reno. And Monday and Tuesday, I'll be giving first hand reports from Equality Days lobbying in Carson City.

Yes, you heard me right. I'll be right there in The Capitol. Watch out, lobbyists! ;-)

So stay tuned through the weekend and next week for some exciting news and views from Northern Nevada.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wait, There's an Election in Henderson, Too?

Heh. Last night, I caught this on TV...

At last, a campaign ad NOT from one of the usual Vegas Mayoral suspects! ;-)

And not only is Debra March now on TV, but she's also all over Henderson! Here she was at a recent house party...

And here she was at The Sons of Erin St. Patrick's Day Parade last Saturday.

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@retaindmarch @ #Henderson #StPatricksDay parade #Vegas #fbh on Twitpic

And I know she's been walking all over the place and meeting with voters regularly to talk about what they want to see in Henderson city government. And even better, she has actual answers, rather than the usual canned candidate crap. Stuff like this obviously warms my crazy policy wonk heart. ;-)

(Disclaimer: I will be voting early today, and I intend to vote for Gerri Schroder, Debra March, and Sam Bateman for Henderson City Council. Yes, my dears, you may consider this my one set of official 2011 election endorsements!)

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Sam Bateman was also at the parade last weekend. He gathered some friends to walk with him there, then he gathered more friends to walk with him in Solera (just UP the hill from Sun City Anthem!) after the parade.

And interestingly enough, folks there are now realizing we have our own election here. They're realizing Henderson has its own issues, and that we need sound, sane leadership to keep Henderson running smoothly. Sam got some good reception last Saturday among what's usually a tough audience in Solera.

And now that early voting is underway, we can finally make our voices heard in this election. If you haven't done so yet, please remember to vote early if you're in Henderson... Or if you're in one of the other Clark County cities with municipal elections for that matter!

Remember, the city you save with your vote may be your own. ;-)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

In Case You Were Missing Her...

Here's some of Sharron Angle yesterday at her very finest.

Reporter: What is your position on Yucca Mountain in the wake of Japan?

Angle: “When we have 20 percent of our energy coming from nuclear sources, when we have a military committed to nuclear reactors … we need to be looking at the role we play as a state in what goes on with the nuclear energy industry and those spent fuel rods.”

Reporter: So you still support accepting the waste?

Angle: “What we need to do is we need to find a safe place to put that, and obviously in the wake of Japan, it’s not on our seacoasts.”

Reporter: Is that safe place Yucca Mountain?

Angle: “That’s what our Congress voted. That’s what they said and if we are going to change that we need to revisit that.”

Reporter: But you still support accepting the waste at Yucca Mountain, that’s the right thing to do?

Angle: “The right thing to do is to make sure we have the safety of our citizens in mind, and we don’t leave waste in places that can be dangerous to us.”

Reporter: So Yucca Mountain would be the place to store it?

Angle: “It’s not susceptible to a tsunami, that’s true.”

Ah, Sharrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrron!

But wait, there's more! The comedy continued!

“I'm not sure I have ever seen a campaign, less than a week old, having to justify its existence so quickly,” said Ryan Erwin, a GOP consultant and spokesman for [possible NV-02 contender Brian] Krolicki. “It is clear that neither voters nor donors think this is a viable campaign or the campaign wouldn't have scheduled a press conference simply to throw out a few statistics about why they think they can win. It might be good theater but it wasn't convincing.”

Reid beat Angle by 6 percentage points in November after a bitter campaign. But she put up a fight in the high-profile race, raising $14 million in one three-month fundraising quarter and becoming a tea party leader.

Angle shrugged off criticism from Nevada GOP National Committeewoman Heidi Smith that Angle's chances of winning were poor because of her election track record.

Angle, a former state assemblywoman, previously ran for the same House seat in 2006, but lost to Heller by 421 votes. Angle also lost to then-Republican state Sen. Bill Raggio in 2008 before her race against Reid.

“(Abraham) Lincoln and (Ronald) Reagan had losses, and what would have happened to our country had they'd quit?” she asked. “A true leader leads by example, and I'm no quitter.”

Angle denied that she dodged the news media in her race against Reid, telling reporters “I know you had that perception.” She had 100 news media requests for interviews a day and simply couldn't accommodate reporters and run a campaign, she said.

So Sharrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrron is the next Abe Lincoln? Hey, I guess it could have been even better. She could have said all the reporters looked "a little Asian" to her, or she could have caused a scene with her "Second Amendment remedies" and "best friends, Smith & Wesson".

Please, Nevada GOP, oh pretty please nominate Sharrontology for NV-02! She clearly wants to turn up the batshit crazy again run the kind of highly esteemed campaign that she did last year.


The People vs. "Sando-Gibbons"

Last night, Brian Sandoval went on "Face to Face" and told Jon Ralston he still refuses to look at anything other than "No New Taxes"...

But legislators may now be realizing that reality just hit their doorstep yesterday, and we won't be going anywhere any time soon.

“We need to provide political cover to lawmakers,” said Kyle George, chairman of the Nevada Student Alliance. “We have to tell them that we are the people who got them elected.”

Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-North Las Vegas, said the sheer number of people in Carson City can’t be discounted. They and their families are voters.

“Lawmakers will ignore their constituents who say we have to preserve education at their own peril,” he said. “This budget will not pass gutting education the way it does.”

Still, it seems like the moneyed corporate interests that have dominated Carson City dealmaking for decades won't go down without a fight.

Students had entered the “Carson City bubble,” a place where a few hundred people in suits — lawmakers, lobbyists, staff and media — influence the outcome, and the final budget is crafted behind closed doors by about a dozen lawmakers and high-powered lobbyists.

Influence is measured in $10,000 campaign contribution checks, walkers you can mobilize at election time or political scalps collected of those who made you unhappy.

Lobbyists — notorious cynics, and the ones who don’t want to part with their power — say it’s naive to think citizens will affect the outcome. Young people don’t vote. The same legislative leadership and politically powerful interest groups will go behind closed doors and make the decisions based on personal values or crass political calculations.

Privately, many legislators, with political futures to worry about, roll their eyes at long lines of average citizens wanting to testify to committees.

To have a lasting effect, both cynics and optimists say, Monday’s rally has to be part of a bigger effort.

“What they’re trying to do doesn’t end with this demonstration,” said Guy Rocha, a state historian and supporter of the rally against cuts. “This doesn’t get them their outcome ... To have clout isn’t to be noisy — it’s to make people uncomfortable about their political future.” [...]

“We’ve never tried a mass mobilization of students in Nevada before,” said Erin Neff, executive director of Progress Now Nevada, a liberal group that helped organize the rally. “If they’re going to ignore them, they’re going to have to do it to their faces.”

Neff, a former journalist who covered the Legislature, knows that chanting and shouting aren’t enough. She said students will target lawmakers who are potential swing votes, such as Sen. John Lee, D-North Las Vegas — who has expressed doubts about a tax increase — and perceived Republican moderates such as Sen. Michael Roberson of Las Vegas.

As Al Gore would say, it really is a case of the people versus the powerful.

The people spoke yesterday, but Sandoval refuses to listen. Instead, he seems to be enjoying the same "la-la land" of teabagger delusions of grandeur that Jim Gibbons often stayed in. He just doesn't get it.

However, he doesn't have to get his way. The facts simply don't support his otherworldly claims. Legislators really have to choose whether to jump off the crazy cliff with Sandoval or look at new and more stable revenue sources to make our state functional again. Legislators must listen to us... Or face the consequences of letting the failed ideology of "Sando-Gibbons" bankrupt our state.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Reality Bites... Will Brian Sandoval Feel It?

(H/T RGJ for video)

Apparently, today's rally in Carson City was the largest in State Capitol history!

I know quite a few of the students who were there. I know they're struggling with full-time jobs, and sometimes family obligations as well. They're doing everything humanly possible to survive...

Including working on higher degrees. But under Sandoval's proposed budget, higher education would not just be decimated and blown to shreds, but whatever is left of it will be forced to become completely unaffordable to even more thousands of Nevadans. What does that mean? Instead of going to school to prepare for good jobs, more of us will be forced to fend for ourselves using whatever means possible.

Long story short, all these education cuts do in the longer term are strain our social services and prison budgets. Yes, you heard me right. Without good education, our workforce will never be attractive to companies that typically pay well. And without good jobs, our people will either continue needing "welfare" (unemployment, food stamps, Medicaid, etc.) and/or end up in prison.

Is this what Sandoval wants? Is this what our legislators want? Or do they need to ditch the silly political games and look at real solutions? We need to keep letting them know we demand real solutions that save our schools and save our future!

Our Schools, Our Future

This is what happens when our state is dangerously close to trashing its own future.

More than 1,000 university and community college students from across the state rallied in front of the Nevada Capitol and the Legislature on Monday in protest of proposed cuts to higher education.

"If these cuts go through and the tuition rises, I won't be able to stay in school," said Becky Scott, a freshman at UNLV, who rode one of five busses overnight from Las Vegas.

Hundreds of students chanted "Come out Brian," in front of the Capitol, however, Gov. Brian Sandoval was not in his office Monday morning.

As we've talked about before, many thousands of students from throughout the state have begged Brian Sandoval and The Legislature to let them continue learning. Under Sandoval's proposed budget, entire departments are set to be eliminated from UNLV and UNR, UNLV will likely go bankrupt, and entire colleges, like Western Nevada College in Carson City and Nevada State College in Henderson, may be permanently closed. Now what would that say about our state planning ahead for a better economic future?

As I've repeatedly exclaimed here before, the ONLY way for Nevada to survive is for us to diversify our economy and bring in companies looking for an educated workforce. But as long as we continue to defund our schools, Nevada will be nothing other than a third world society slowly unraveling as casino conglomerates look elsewhere to profit off gambling going global.

This year's budget really is a life or death decision for Nevada. Will we decide on economic and social murder-suicide by way of destroying what little public infrastructure we have? Or will we choose life? Will we decide to build on that very public infrastructure that the vast majority of the private sector has told us is critical for them to do business here?

These aren't just students in Carson City today. This is the tipping point that may very well decide the life or death of Nevada. Do we want our state to live?

V for Sharrontology?

He seemed to arrive as a benevolent suitor, as someone who was "here to help". But slowly as time goes by, he reveals his true self.

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"V for Victor" Chaltiel turns out to be just another Sharrontology clone!

Victor Chaltiel, the local businessman outspending all of his rivals on TV, is out with a mailer labeling four other candidates as liberals. He has brief descriptions of each in the piece, which I have posted at right.

My guess is this was sent to Republicans and independents, although his campaign won't confirm.

How do I know it is V for Victor? That's his home address on the piece.

I always knew he'd reveal his true intentions at some point. He really is running to be Sheldon Adelson's radical right lackey in City Hall.

So do Las Vegas voters really want teabagger insanity plaguing local government? Do they want a Sharron Angle wannabe running the show? Or would they like more effective government for a change?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Just What Nevada Needs: FEWER Voters??!!

Apparently, Assembly Member Crescent Hardy (R-Afraid of Democracy) thinks it's just "too convenient" to vote. Has he been taking Jon Ralston's pleas against early voting way too seriously?

(I would quote the article, but it's from "the newspaper" that need not be named... Sorry, but I don't want Righthaven suing me!)

If passed, AB 311 would eliminate early voting. That means we would all be forced to vote on Election Day... That is, if we can manage to get time off from work/school/travel/life to do it! It would make voting far more cumbersome and exclusionary, making voting a privilege for the fortunate few instead of a right all of us can exercise.

Hundreds of thousands of Nevada seniors, students, disabled people, casino workers, and plenty more regularly use early voting to let their voices be heard. Without it, it would be close to impossible to vote. It's disgusting whenever those in power try to make us powerless in silencing our voices by preventing us from voting, and that's all this chicanery is all about! Remember this whenever Crescent Hardy or Mark Sherwood (R-Sigh, My Assembly Member!) waxes poetic about the "tradition" of election day voting. Remember that this "tradition" means excluding most Nevadans from participating in what's supposed to be a participatory representative democracy.

If anything, we need to find more ways to encourage more Nevadans to perform their civic duty and vote, NOT discourage them by making voting so difficult. Early voting is a great way to get more Nevadans to participate, and it saves money by reducing the need for more county poll workers and voting machines on Election Day! The only reason these Republicans (and Harvey Munford, for gawd knows what reason!) are doing this is because they're being sore losers over Harry Reid winning last November. Let your legislators know AB 311 is a waste of everyone's time and money.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bye Bye DOMA?

Apparently, some good things have been happening since Tuesday. Legislation to repeal DOMA has been introduced, and now there's a chance it might actually pass the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Now in case you were wondering why this is so important, take a look below.

The so-called Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, purports to give states the "right" to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. A number of authorities, including Laurence Tribe, a Harvard University law professor, have challenged the constitutionality of such a move. The full faith and credit clause of the U.S. Constitution requires states to recognize the "acts, records and proceedings" of all other states. For example, marriages performed today in Mississippi are considered valid in Wisconsin, Oregon, Arizona and every other state. Under this law, same-sex marriages that are legal in one state may or may not be legal in another state.

DOMA also creates a federal definition of "marriage" and "spouse" for the first time in our country's history. This is an unprecedented intrusion by the U.S. Congress into an area traditionally left to the states. Marriage is defined as a "legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife," and spouse is defined as "a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife." Marriages that do not fit this description would not be eligible for any benefits offered by the federal government. Under DOMA, even if a state were to recognize same-sex marriages, the federal government would not. The people involved would be unable to receive a number of benefits, including those related to Social Security, survivorship and inheritance.

Basically, Congress mandated federal agencies in 1996 to treat LGBTQ families as second-class citizens. This blatant and disgusting discrimination must end. And for the first time ever, there's real momentum to make it happen.

According to HRC's new poll, a full 51% of Americans oppose DOMA, while only 34% still support it. So why does House Speaker John Boehner (R-Spray Tan) still want to waste our tax dollars defending it in court, as well as waste everyone's time whining about this rather than doing anything on job creation?

This is why this legislation matters. As I've said before, it's about damned time we do some offense after being beaten to death with no real defense. We need to keep reminding our members of Congress to do what's right for all our families instead of using our community as political footballs for any longer.

LGBTQ Equality Takes Center Stage at OFA Nevada

Last night, I dropped by Organizing for America's Las Vegas office. They do "Community Action Nights" every Wednesday, and this week it was all about LGBTQ equality. Oh, joy.

#LGBTQ #equality action night @OFA_NV #nvp2 #fb on Twitpic

@CMillerTSF @OFA_NV @NVStonewalldems #LGBTQ #equality night #fb on Twitpic

@LauraKMM @OFA_NV #LGBTQ #equality action #nvp2 #fb on Twitpic

@OFA_NV #LGBTQ #equality action night #nvpolitics #nvp2 #fb on Twitpic

@iamderekw @OFA_NV #LGBTQ #equality #nvp2 #nvpolitics #fb on Twitpic

Actually, there was room full of people ready to discuss important issues, then take action. When OFA calls their weekly event their "Community Action Night", they really aren't kidding.

While there was plenty of talk of policy, many also stayed to share their own stories and get working. Stonewall Democratic Club of Southern Nevada Communications Whiz Laura Martin started preparing her own story to write on why many straight folk care about equality for all. Others were outside calling neighbors and fellow Nevadans about what we just learned. Nevada Stonewall Democratic Caucus President Chris Miller even took to the phones himself to talk to fellow Nevada voters!

As we've talked about here before, there are still so many issues that need to be addressed, such as workplace discrimination, marriage rights, bullying, and health care. I was pleased to see the local, grassroots arm of the DNC actually having that conversation on these very issues at the local office.

I hope we continue to see more of this in the future.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

DOMA Be Gone? Start Here.

Amidst all the crazy political buzz today, there was some actual good policy news coming out of DC. Here, take a gander.

Today, I will be introducing legislation to repeal the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) once and for all. I will be joined by my colleagues Sens. Leahy, Gillibrand, Blumenthal and Coons. I have opposed DOMA since I voted against it in 1996 and it’s time to erase this stain from our history books once and for all.

[...] I don’t take these things lightly. As I survey the field, I will tell you straight-up: I will need your help as I mount this campaign. I can work from the inside, but I need your help on the outside. We need a mass movement that can make calls, write letters, and mobilize your fellow citizens at a moment’s notice if we’re going to win this battle.

Yep, you saw that right. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) is introducing The Respect for Marriage Act in The Senate as a companion to the House bill. This is the first time this bill has ever seen the light of day in the upper chamber, so just this introduction alone is a historic event!

As I said last month, this fight won't be easy. But with the stakes so high, a legal challenge to DOMA already pending in federal court, and House Republicans trying to politicize the issue already by mounting their own legal defense of DOMA, we might as well go on offense here.

So please join Senator Feinstein and Courage Campaign as a citizen co-sponsor of The Respect for Marriage Act, then encourage our Nevada Congresscritters to follow suit. It's really past due that we dump DOMA once and for all.

NV-02: Sharrontology Is Back!

Oh, joy!

Sharron Angle will run for the U.S. House seat now held by Rep. Dean Heller, Sun columnist Jon Ralston reported this morning.

Ralston said a knowledgeable source confirmed that Angle will run for the seat. Angle lost her bid to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in November 2010. [...]

The Republican Party’s top elected officials — Gov. Brian Sandoval and Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki — quickly closed ranks around Heller on Tuesday. Other Republicans are on the shortlist for the seat: Nevada Republican Chairman Mark Amodei; state Sen. Greg Brower of Reno; Kirk Lippold, former commander of the USS Cole.

While I was hoping she would cause mayhem in the Senate race, I guess that just wasn't to be...

But hey, look on the bright side! Our Sharrrrrrrrrrrrrron might just cost the Nevada GOP a district they never lost before (but came close to in 2006, thanks to Our Lady of Perpetual Campaigning)!

Frankly, I think this is a MUCH better ad for her!

So don't count Sharrrrrrrrrrrrron out just yet! Remember, both Nevada GOP Chair Mark Amodei AND Lt. Gov Brian Krolicki want to run in NV-02 as well. If they both run and split the GOP establishment vote and $$$$, much like Dean Heller and Dawn Gibbons did in 2006, Angle just might slip through. (She came within 500 votes and a federal law suit then!)

We'll have to see how far Chuck Muth gets in pushing Kirk Lippold as "Mr. Tea Party". That's the only big worry for Angle in the primary, other than Krolicki possibly convincing Amodei to bow out.

But for now, I'm so happy we have Queen Obtuse Angle of the Teabaggers to mock again.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Revisiting Redistricting: All About Shelley... And Sharron?

(Also at Swing State Project)

Here we are again. What, you thought one map was enough? Now that the US Senate race is heating up and speculation is picking up on who will be doing what, I wanted to explore alternative scenarios to one I posted earlier this month. So here's another option... But I have to warn you, it isn't pretty.

So what if Shelley Berkley doesn't run? Last time, we just assumed she was, and certain legislators hope she will so that they can redesign the 1st Congressional District (and form the brand new 4th) to their liking. But hold on, what if Shelley doesn't run? Certain folks in DC have already been whispering they prefer someone else run for Senate. And now that Dean Heller is officially in the race, they're making their views more public that they want someone, like Ross Miller or Catherine Cortez Masto, who has already proven ability to win statewide.

So what if Shelley doesn't run? This is the scenario I explore in the map below.

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NV-02 (The Dark Green District)

Population: 674,966
69.3% White (73.8% voting age)

The State of Play

The geographic map hasn't changed since last time, but the political one certainly has!

Who's All In?

Again, it's now official that Dean Heller is running for US Senate. And now that he's endorsed Heller for Senate, current Lieutenant Governor Brian Krolicki (R) just may be angling to replace Heller in this seat. And on paper, he seems like the ideal candidate: libertarian-conservative, but not too extreme, and very focused on Nevada issues. However, there are three drawbacks for him:

The Wild Cards

- One, Sharron Angle hasn't yet figured out where she will run. (And yes, it's pretty much settled that she WILL run for federal office again!) If she runs for Senate again, it will mean extra heartburn for Heller. But if she runs for this seat again, it will mean extra trouble for Krolicki.

- Two, the outspoken and controversial former USS Cole commander Kirk Lippold has already hinted he'll also run in NV-02, and Nevada "tea party" icon Chuck Muth may already be anointing him as "THE Tea Party's Favored Son". So if Sharron Angle runs for Senate instead and Nevada GOP Chair Mark Amodei remains adamant about staying in the race (and potentially siphoning away critical GOP establishment support for Krolicki), this could be a recipe for yet another embarrassing setback for Krolicki and the Nevada GOP.

- And three, the unexpected may finally happen: A prominent A-List Democrat, State Treasurer Kate Marshall (D), is now considering running. If this comes to fruition and the GOP nominee is either weakened by a brutal primary and/or someone that the GOP establishment won't be happy to support, then NV-02 just might do the unthinkable for the first time ever (elect a Democrat).

2010 US Senate Results
49.6% Angle (R)
43.8% Reid (D)

Estimated 2008 Presidential Results
49% Obama (D)
48% McCain (R)

Estimated Cook PVI: R+4

Early Race Rating: Leans Republican for now, Tossup if Sharron Angle or Kirk Lippold is the GOP nominee

NV-03 (The Purple District)

Population: 675,257
66.4% White (69.7% voting age)

The State of Play

This district is just slightly more Democratic than its last incarnation, and that's due to the return of the ritzy Summerlin North and Peccole Ranch (home of Shelley Berkley) Las Vegas neighborhoods to NV-01. The rest of the district remains intact, and the partisan makeup wasn't too altered thanks to the remaining rural territories and the addition of some semi-rural (Las Vegas) West Side precincts along Sahara and west of Rainbow. And other than forming an even more disturbingly gerrymandered Reno-to-Vegas district, there isn't anything more that can be done to save Joe Heck. And considering Heck's recent vote to preserve the FHA program assisting homeowners with underwater loans (which is badly needed in the district with the highest foreclosure rate in the country), he now realizes he will need to tack to the middle at times and at least pay some lip service to issues Southern Nevada cares about most (like housing and jobs) to win this still closely divided district.

Who's All In?

See above. Heck looks to be preparing for reelection already. And since there's a penchant for close elections and for ticket splitting here, he certainly shouldn't be counted out in a district that President Obama will probably only narrowly win next year.

The Wild Cards

Should Heck prove to be "too independent" for teabaggers' liking, or if/when he runs for another office later in the decade, State Senators Elizabeth Halseth (R-Northwest) and Barbara Cegavske (R-Summerlin) will likely remain waiting in the wings. But with the removal of Summerlin North, it may be a little harder to find a West Side Democrat to run here. However, Democrats may want to look at the other end of the valley (particularly at a couple folks on the Henderson City Council) for future recruits.

2010 US Senate Results
48.2% Angle (R)
46.5% Reid (D)

Estimated 2008 Presidential Results
51% Obama (D)
46% McCain (R)

Estimated Cook PVI: R+2

Early Race Rating: Leans Republican

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NV-01 (The Baby Blue District)

Population: 675,092
43.7% Latino (38.1% voting age), 32.2% White (37.6% voting age), 14.4% African American (14.4% voting age)

The State of Play

Shelley is back... Or at the very least, this seat is hers as long as she wants it. If Shelley Berkley does decide to sit out the Senate race next year and stay in The House for now, she still has a super safe seat ready for her.

This seat is just slightly more Republican than the last version, but still slightly more Democratic than the NV-01 drawn in 2001. And again, that's just because the district (once again) has to stretch west toward Red Rock Canyon to dip into Shelley's elegant stomping grounds of Peccole Ranch and Summerlin North. However, this does very much alter the ultimate state of play here.

Who's All In?

Without Summmerlin, this district can finally send a North Las Vegas politico like State Senators Steven Horsford or Ruben Kihuen to Congress. But with this configuration, high turnout West End 'hoods like Summerlin and Desert Shores will probably remain quite dominant in the primary, meaning Shelley will go untouched as long as she wants to remain in NV-01...

The Wild Cards

And should she finally run for higher office or retire later in the decade, a Summerlin area Democrat like State Senator Allison Copening (D-Summerlin) or Clark County Commissioner (and Future Las Vegas Mayor?) Larry Brown (D-Las Vegas) definitely has a good chance here. But if Ruben Kihuen can be patient and turn out his enthusiastic "NorTown" base, he will still have a strong fighting chance as this district continues to inch toward becoming majority Latino and supermajority minority-majority. And honestly, neither can Horsford be counted out, especially if he can wait another cycle or two for Shelley to step aside.

2010 US Senate Results
62.5% Reid (D)
33.1% Angle (R)

Estimated 2008 Presidential Results
66% Obama (D)
32% McCain (R)

Estimated Cook PVI: D+13

Early Race Rating: Safe Democratic, regardless of who ultimately runs here

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NV-04 (Light Spring Green)

Population: 674,936
48.6% White (53.2% voting age), 27% Latino (23.1% voting age), 11.8% Asian American (12.3% voting age)

The State of Play

It's still open season here... Perhaps even more so if Shelley indeed decides to stay put next door. The district hooks into The West Side to take whiter neighborhoods left out of NV-01, then jumps down to the increasingly diverse Spring Valley, then hops across The Strip to The East Side and some of East Las Vegas (and ultimately to Lake Mead), then climbs uphill to grab the more Democratic leaning Henderson precincts of Green Valley and Green Valley Ranch, then sweeps through the diverse and increasingly Democratic friendly Silverado Ranch communuity, then hops back across The 15 to snatch some minority-majority neighborhoods in the once rapidly growing Southwest.

Who's All In?

Need we ask? Rory Reid is probably out of the running for good, and Dina Titus' political stock continues to rebound. This time, she just might get a seat she can get comfy in.

The Wild Cards

However, Dina also can't take this seat for granted. Both Former Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley (D-Spring Valley) and current Assembly Speaker John Oceguera (D-Silverado Ranch) are eyeing this district, and both have far better relationships with the Nevada Democratic establishment than Dina Titus.

2010 US Senate Results
56.0% Reid (D)
39.3% Angle (R)

Estimated 2008 Presidential Results
60% Obama (D)
37% McCain (R)

Estimated Cook PVI: D+7

Early Race Rating: Likely Democratic, and will probably be downgraded to Safe Democratic so long as the eventual nominee isn't caught in a Rory-like scandal

Suffice to say, a whole lot changes if Shelley Berkley decides to stay in The House rather than run for Senate. The Clark based districts will probably have to be gerrymandered at least somewhat to keep everyone happy.

And up north, the fate of NV-02 may very well rest on what Sharron Angle decides to do, and what her once ardent "tea party" supporters think of Brian Krolicki and Mark Amodei. If Angle can regain their trust, or if she runs for Senate instead and allows someone like Kirk Lippold to consolidate the tea tinged Northern Nevada far right base, Krolicki may not be in for an easy ride regardless of whether Dean Heller decides to anoint a successor. And with Kate Marshall now eyeing a run here as well, Democrats may actually have a pickup opportunity up north next year.

NV-Sen: He's In... But Who's Heller Doing This For?

It's official.

In a statement teeming with conservative shibboleths, Rep. Dean Heller announced his candidacy this morning for U.S. Sen. John Ensign's seat in an email to supporters. Heller has been widely expected to run since he released a poll a few weeks ago showing him crushing Ensign, who announced his retirement last week.

So Dean Heller is now in. And we're all supposed to be in awe of his wondrous glory.

Yeah, right.

Does he still think we're "hobos"? Will he go along with his fellow Republicans continuing to try shoving a Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump down our throats? Will he still stand with his GOP colleagues in OPPOSING vital renewable energy projects set to create jobs here in Nevada and making our state & country more energy independent?

Is Dean Heller really interested in serving Nevada in The US Senate? Or will he do or say anything to get another promotion?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Scenes from the Campaign Trail: Sam Bateman Talking to Sun City Anthem Voters

Not your typical #lvmayor drama: @electsambateman knocking on... on Twitpic

@electsambateman was walking here (Sun City Anthem) on Saturd... on Twitpic

In case you forgot, Las Vegas isn't the only Clark County city with an election coming up. We have our own here in Henderson as well! Sam Bateman is running in Ward 4, which encompasses most of Green Valley and all of Green Valley Ranch, as well as some of MacDonald Ranch. But even though he's running in this ward, the election (along with the two other Henderson City Council seats on the ballot this year) is citywide, so he went up to Sun City Anthem last Saturday to knock on doors and talk to local voters.

Again, like last weekend, a number of Henderson voters haven't yet made up their minds. Even though nasty mailers, robocalls, and attack ads have already started to fly, it seems most voters are oblivious to them. Rather, they had pointed questions on issues like property taxes, redevelopment, city staff.

We'll have to see how long this lasts. In this last week before early voting, the campaigns really ramp up. I'm wondering what Sam's opponents have in mind? (For the record, I haven't seen any of the other Ward 4 candidates out in the field.)

There were folks in Anthem who were quite impressed with Sam, and there were others who really haven't decided anything yet. So what will the final results be? I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Scenes from the Campaign Trail: Chris G House Party in Las Vegas

(As campaign season heats up in the final days before early voting begins, I'll be going around the valley and looking at who's doing what.)

@Giunchigliani @iamderekw b-day party/ house party @artsfacto... on Twitpic

@laurakmm & @juanobano kickin' it @iamderekw @Giunch... on Twitpic

guests @Giunchigliani @iamderekw @artsfactorylv house party #... on Twitpic

Last night, Chris Giunchigliani's campaign hosted a house party, debate watch party, and birthday party (for some special supporters) last night. Above and below are the sights and sounds of what happened at The Arts Factory.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Steve Ross' Response

After a firestorm of controversy erupted over his remarks on "not having an opportunity" to do a single thing to advance LGBTQ equality in Las Vegas, Steve Ross sent a letter to set the record straight (pun not intended).

[Due to a request that it be removed for reasons of privacy, the letter can not be posted.]

My Take on "The People's Debate"

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The bumper car ride came to Santa Fe Station last night, and I'm still a little shaken from it. Last night was "The People's Debate". And while some great questions were offered, not all the answers matched that caliber.

- Gadfly extraordinaire Larry Jeppesen talked on and on about his mini electric car and how horrible (he thinks) local government is. At one point, he wore a plastic firefighter hat with fake money attached to it. Need I say more?

- George Harris took this forum as an opportunity to just plain bash government. He demanded that "government get out of the way" of private investment, even though this may be the time when Las Vegas needs investment in public infrastructure the most.

- Ed Uehling also jumped on the "I Hate Guv'mint!!!" bandwagon, and kept obsessing over foreign tourists. Seriously, he's stuck in a time warp.

Hint: Our problem has been overdependence on casinos. And grandstanding on "big guv'mint" is just stupid.

- Marlene Rogoff was the only "minor candidate" with actual, serious answers on development, environmental preservation, and job creation. It's a shame a couple of the "major candidates" get more attention with their blathering nonsense.

- Victor Chaltiel basically proved that he has no clue how to do the job he's running for, as he contradicted himself on public employee contracts, refused to answer questions he didn't want, and sometimes threw out totally nonsensical statements that I would have expected from the more unhinged gadflies. I guess Sheldon Adelson didn't give him the crib notes beforehand?

- And then there was Steve Ross. Where do I start? He contradicted himself on development, kept throwing out talk of "JOBS!!!" without much of any specifics, couldn't think of a single thing he's done to advance LGBTQ equality in Las Vegas, then bolted early. And this is "Working Man Steve Ross"? Give me a break.

- Carolyn Goodman had her good moments. She made a good point on "bigger not always better" when it comes to local government consolidation, and she had the best answer of the night on why Vegas isn't better at job creation. However on green collar jobs and local zoning, she punted with canned lines on "staying out of the private sector's way". Hey, isn't local government there for a reason? So she wasn't perfect, but she was also far from bad.

- Chris Giunchigliani clearly did her homework before last night, and it showed well. She handled questions on ecotourism, neighborhood redevelopment and reinvestment, streamlining business fees, and green collar jobs incredibly well. She was one of the only people on the stage last night who had me on the edge of my seat.

- Larry Brown was the other one. When he explained the intricacies of privileged gaming licenses, I knew he knew what he's supposed to do in local government. He also handled a question on keeping master-planned communities as planned quite well. He also talked about public-private partnerships on green-collar jobs, and getting public works projects on line soon.

And the verdict? I already gave mine. What's yours?

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Senator Dean Heller?

If we're to believe NNB, I guess so...

But wait, don't we still have an election next year?

Of course, I'd be foolish not to admit that Dean Heller looks to be the early favorite in next year's Senate race. However, plenty can change in the course of 20 months. Whatever happened to "Senator Sue Lowden"?

What if Heller loses the GOP primary? Or what happens if he survives, but is mightily weakened? And what happens if Democrats have a strong nominee who can easily win Clark and Washoe? And if President Obama again wins Nevada by double digits, as PPP's January poll shows is possible? (Remember: PPP's final 2010 Senate poll had Sharron Angle narrowly ahead 47-46, and their final 2008 Presidential poll had Obama only winning 51-47, so they have a history of underestimating Democratic turnout.)

One thing I've learned about Nevada politics in the last nearly 2 years of living here is not to assume I already know the answers long before election day. There's often far more happening behind the scenes. There really is more than what initially meets the eyes. Even Jon Ralston has acknowledged the DSCC made some good points about Heller's weaknesses both in Washoe and Clark Counties.

So is it "game over" in the Senate race? I think not. In fact, I think the fun and games are only beginning here. ;-)

Dina Strikes Back?

(Sorry for the shaky video quality... Again, multitasking!)

So what's next for Dina Titus? Well, you tell me. Here she was at Stonewall last night.

She certainly isn't taking a break! That's for sure.

So what's next? Was I really all that wrong last week? I guess it all depends on what the final lines look like. ;-)

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Dina Titus isn't one to give up. She's a fierce competitor, coming mightily close last fall in a race that most thought Joe Heck had wrapped up by then. She may never be an "insider favorite", but she always finds a way to rock the establishment anyway.

Nope, she's not going away.

Larry Brown for a Change?

I must admit it. I was surprised last night... In a good way. Watch.

Larry Brown has made a niche for himself as "The Budget Hawk", but there's much more to him than just that. He's been busy meeting voters throughout Las Vegas... When he's not ruffling feathers at the Clark County Fire Department or shooting down proposals for a Downtown "Red Light District".

What is he thinking? Does he expect to actually take this job seriously?

Larry Brown said some interesting things at Stonewall last night. Let's see if he actually can take Las Vegas in a new direction.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wednesday in Brief

Here's what I'm following today:

- Signs of the end being near? Perhaps not yet, but The Legislature and Brian Sandoval might actually agree on something. (Now let's see if they can build on this federal grants bill and eventually get a sane budget passed!) (RGJ)

- But here's yet another distressing sign of the times: Washoe County may start CLOSING schools. (RGJ)

- Will it or won't it? Western Nevada College may also stand on the brink of closing, depending on whom you believe. (NV Appeal)

- It's so easy to stereotype Las Vegas as a "silly place", but Clark County Commissioner and Las Vegas Mayoral Candidate Larry Brown (D) is looking to hit that out of the park should he win. (Sun)

- And guess who wants to fix Las Vegas' schools? She may not have any direct role in public education policy, but that isn't stopping Las Vegas Mayoral Candidate Carolyn Goodman (I) from promising to fix it. (Sun)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Hey, Chuck. Eat Some Crow.

Last week, AP and NPR profiled a friend and neighbor of mine. I talked about her back in January.

And now, she is the target of Chuck Muth's vicious smear campaign. I won't quote any of it, as it's full of totally false assumptions and baseless lies. However, I will invite you just this once to click on the above link to see just how low Chuck Muth can go.

First off, why won't he even bother to talk to Teralee himself? She would have told him that:

1. She drives a beaten up Hyundai. (The other car in question belongs to an AP photographer.)

2. Cherrie is her sister. She works at Bass Pro Shops and helps out with family expenses.

3. Tera is a full-time student at UNLV, so please pardon her for not being the best housekeeper in the world. (Anyone want to inspect Muth's house? Or does he hire some maid service to take care of that for him?)

4. When certain politicians, such as Joe Heck and Sharron Angle, threaten one's livelihood by pushing for cuts to education, of course someone like Tera will get angry, get motivated, and take action! Isn't this what America is about?

5. Tera is one of the most amazing mothers I've ever encountered. She gives up her own luxuries so that her kids can eat and have regular lives. How dare that asshole question her parenting abilities! (And by the way, Trader Joe's really isn't "high-priced". And she'd be lucky if she could qualify for food stamps.)

So why is Chuck Muth going to such lengths to spread such disgusting lies about one person? Maybe because he's afraid of Nevadans discovering the gruesome truth behind his "Tea Party, Inc." friends? Maybe because people saw their own suffering when they caught a glimpse of Tera's life?

What Chuck Muth and his teabagger friends are out to do is divide and conquer. Simple as that. They want to distract us with lurid sideshows so we don't notice the failing state collapsing all around us.

All Muth & Co. have are lies. All the "tea party" has is batshit crazy fueled by lies. And if they see someone like Teralee Burbank, someone who's working her hardest to change her life for the better and provide for her family, as a "threat", then they really are sick and pathetic.

Ensign's Gone... Now What?

Heh. That didn't take long.

In a final acquiescence to what many saw as the inevitable end to his scandal-scarred political career, U.S. Sen. John Ensign closed the door on a re-election bid Monday, dramatically improving his party’s chances of keeping his seat in a swing state that has been leaning more Democrat[ic].

The move accelerates the race for a seat that will help determine which party controls the U.S. Senate after 2012.

Ensign’s announcement intensifies the pressure on Democrats, who had been hoping the beleaguered incumbent would stay in the race long enough to weaken presumed Republican front-runner Rep. Dean Heller. [...]

Democrats must quickly figure out who their strongest candidate will be to run as they hope to resurrect the Obama wave and ride it once again to down-ticket victories.

Meanwhile, Republicans will try to quell a potential scrum of primary opponents who might view the open seat more favorably now, despite Heller’s presumed entrance.

So who's all in? Need we even ask? Dean Heller is running. He's wanted this for quite some time. And now, he has it...

Or at least, he thinks he has it in the bag.

What if solidly popular Secretary of State Ross Miller or Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto decides to run?

(Skip to 3:30 on the video.)

So will one of them step up and do it? Well, on the Democratic side, all depends on Shelley Berkley's decision. It looked likely Shelley would run when it also looked likely that Ensign would continue his vanity campaign, regardless of what his actual chances were. But now that Ensign was forced out by GOP power players is retiring "for family reasons", the race looks like less of "a gimme" for Shelley, and the DSCC has already sent smoke signals suggesting they don't believe she's the only game in town.

I suspect Shelley is now under intense pressure from the DSCC to make up her mind once and for all, and do so quickly. I'm sensing the DSCC prefers she bow out and let Ross Miller or Catherine Cortez Masto take a crack at this race, but they also realize Shelley has the full force of The Reids behind her and won't stand for a heated primary if she's that determined to run.

But does Dean Heller have that kind of luxury on the GOP side? Perhaps not. Guess who's already testing the waters!

It's possible that former Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle could mount another bid for a spot in the upper congressional chamber next year, an adviser to the Tea Party darling signaled to Ben Smith at Politico on Monday. [...]

On Monday, Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) announced that he would not run for reelection in 2012. It seems for Angle, the news could be just the opening she needed to mull another run.

"Almost 250,000 Republicans have already donated to Sharron Angle, probably more than any Republican in the country," wrote consultant John Yob in an e-mail to Smith. "She will be a tremendously strong candidate for whichever office she chooses to run for. A combination of a strong tea-party based grassroots operation and unprecedented campaign funding is a powerful combination in a Republican Primary."

During a recent trip to New Hampshire, Angle hinted that another campaign for federal office could be in her political future. According to the Union Leader, she ruled out a run for the White House.

Yes, my dears. "Our Lady of Perpetual Campaigning" returns! And she has a history of going toe to toe against Heller, so let the fireworks begin.

The Hill suggests that Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki might also want to run, but both Ralston and Roll Call suspect he's more likely to run for Heller's current NV-02 House seat. I think the latter two are right on this, as Krolicki probably doesn't want to take on Heller, and would rather ease his way into a cushy House seat.

So however this shakes out, Nevada is poised to yet again host the most topsy-turvy, thrilling, and exciting Senate campaign in the country. And of course, we'll be here to guide you through all the craziness of it. ;-)

Monday, March 7, 2011

RIP Johnny Casino's Political Career

@SenEnsign's Farewell to #nvpolitics #NVSen #nvp2 #fb on Twitpic

I was there for the bitter end.

(And I apologize for the shaky quality of the video. I was live tweeting while taping this!)

There he was. Johnny Casino. Saying goodbye.

@SenEnsign saying goodbye to #NVSen #nvpolitics #nvp2 #fb on Twitpic

Instead of facing the voters one more time, Johnny decided to go the "Deus ex machina" route of dropping out of the 2012 campaign due to "family concerns". Oh yes, inexplicably in this last week he and wife Darlene were concerned about how hard campaigning would be on their family. Funny enough, campaigning is more of a threat to his marriage than his own hypocrisy!

So goodbye, Johnny Casino. We'll miss your craven hypocrisy. And your presence in the campaign. And the possibility of soundly rejecting your failed policies in November 2012.

Oops, I Did It Again!

Yes, I did it. Again. I testified to The Legislature, in this case The Senate Judiciary Committee, in support of SB 180.

So what exactly is SB 180? Click the above link, then come back to this page to read my testimony below, then please contact your legislators and ask them to support SB 180. Thanks.


When a violent crime is committed, it may seem like a no-brainer to call the police. But when the victim is transgender, the situation all too often becomes much more complicated. The victim might be treated as the criminal, or the victim's case is not taken seriously, or perhaps the victim is too afraid to even report the crime.

This is why SB 180 is needed, and this is why SB 180 should not considered some sort of "special treatment". Rather, it levels the playing field and ensures that everyone in our state is treated equally. Many local law enforcement have had past problems handling crimes against transgender victims, and perpetrators have used excuses like "gay panic defense" to seek leniency from the courts, so there is critical need for state guidance to ensure transgender people are no longer easy targets for violent crime.

Human Rights Campaign has recently analyzed FBI crime statistics and estimated that one of every 1,000 homicide victims in this country is transgender. At least 15 transgender people are killed in hate crimes each year in this country. Just in 2002 alone, 27 known transgender people were killed in hate motivated murders. Remember that these are not just statistics, but real people as well.

I know people who have survived attacks, and I have close friends who have lost friends to violence. This is certainly no laughing matter. The passage of SB 180 may very well mean the difference between life and death, so I urge you to pass SB 180 and help save many Nevadans' lives.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Who's Listening to Us?

We see money scandals. We see discussions behind closed doors. And we see outrageous talk on some awfully funny issues.

Oh, and we hear about conflicting poll data.

But wait, what about us?

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Yesterday, I was out walking in Sun City Anthem with Sam Bateman, one of the candidates for Henderson City Council. What I heard up the hill yesterday was quite interesting. Despite who held which title and who's on whose team, people are still making up their minds.

This seemed to confirm what I've heard from friends and family around these parts. They're looking at failed development projects and wondering how to clean up the mess. They're looking at the challenge ahead of balancing redevelopment needs Downtown with ensuring other parts of town continue to age gracefully. They're looking at the city budget and want to make sure their tax dollars are being spent wisely.

And despite how some might interpret recent name recognition polls, a number of voters have yet to make up their minds.

And I suspect we're seeing similar dynamics at play in Las Vegas.

So who's listening to us? This may be the critical question going into the primary, which actually starts with early voting this month.

Who's listening to us? Who's doing the most voter outreach? Who's paying attention to what potential constituents are saying? Even in this age of digital everything, those regular one-on-one conversations with real people will likely make the difference, more so than any TV ad, mailer, or flashy event.