weather icon Clear

Is Nevada losing its edge?

The Silver State is known for legal gambling, breathtaking Western vistas, outdoor recreation and, in certain rural counties, legal prostitution.

But we’re also known for our quirky politics, things that happen here that just don’t, or wouldn’t, or couldn’t happen elsewhere.

Lately, however, it seems like other states are outpacing us. And we’re really going to need to catch up.

For example: We have an outspoken, conservative candidate running for attorney general, Sigal Chattah, who mused in a text message to a person she thought was a friend that incumbent Attorney General Aaron Ford — who is Black — should be “hanging from a (expletive) crane.” Yes, the supposedly private comment was deliberately made public to embarrass Chattah. Yes, Chattah apparently uses the phrase all the time, even about herself. It’s still fairly breathtaking.

But in Texas, there’s an outspoken, conservative incumbent attorney general who is actually running for re-election while under federal indictment. That hasn’t happened in Nevada, at least not yet.

Speaking of Las Vegas Councilwoman Michele Fiore, she once shocked the entire Assembly and was sent to her room after she exclaimed on the floor to another member “sit your ass down!” She was temporarily expelled from the chamber and later made to apologize.

But in Washington, D.C., Congresswomen Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., and Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., heckled the president of the United States during the State of the Union, like they were drunken soccer moms enjoying a rowdy night out at the Comedy Store. Nobody in Nevada ever thought to heckle the governor during a State of the State.

Which is not to say he doesn’t get heckled. Gov. Steve Sisolak was confronted in a restaurant recently by a man angry in part over pandemic restrictions, which included until recently a mandate to wear a mask indoors.

But in Florida, the governor of the state yelled at children for wearing masks. That’s some next-level craziness that no Nevada governor, past or present, would ever dream of doing.

The worst thing is, it used to be us setting the trends.

When the late carpetbagging Hollywood producer Aaron Russo came to Nevada to run for governor against Republican Kenny Guinn in the primary in 1998, an unhinged videotaped rant helped take the air out of his sails.

That was long before ex-Vermont Gov. Howard Dean nipped his 2004 presidential run in the bud with the infamous “Dean scream,” which made some people think he was unhinged. And we can’t have unhinged people in the White House.

Speaking of Donald Trump, years before his old interview with “Access Hollywood” was revealed in 2016, then gubernatorial candidate Jim Gibbons was allegedly actually trying to grab a cocktail waitress on a rainy Friday the 13th in 2006. Gibbons denied the charges, and video evidence — released after a suspiciously long delay — backed him up. And, in an only-in-Nevada twist, Gibbons won the governor’s race a little more than three weeks after the alleged incident.

Boy, those were the days Nevada.

It used to be Nevada was the only place you could go in the country to gamble. Now, legal gambling is nearly everywhere, including your cellphone. It used to be that Nevada was the only state where you could legally elect “none of these candidates” on your ballot. Now, nobodies regularly win office and go on to object to perfectly legal Electoral College votes.

Nevada, we’ve got to get our quirky groove back. We’ve got to do something to prove to the rest of the nation that we have not lost our ability to shock, surprise, disgust and amuse, usually all at the same time. There’s got to be something we’ve done that no other state can match, so that when people think crazy political antics, they think Nevada.

Well, hold on a second.

In 2018, Nevadans in the 36th Assembly District did elect a dead pimp to office: Dennis Hof, who was found deceased at his signature Love Ranch South brothel in Pahrump a full three weeks before Election Day that year.

Sure, other states have elected dead people over live people before. But a pimp? Who was found dead in a brothel? His body discovered by a porn star? Mourned by, among others, Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss and Fox News’ Tucker Carlson? And who then went on to win the general election by a margin of 63 percent to 37 percent, despite the disability of no longer being alive?

Oh, Nevada. You’ve still got it. Don’t ever change.

Contact Steve Sebelius at SSebelius@reviewjournal.com. Follow @SteveSebelius on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Electric vehicles not really friendly to environment

As somewhat of a gearhead, I am fascinated with the newest technologies relating to electric-powered vehicles, otherwise known as EVs. Tesla is thought to be the leader in these technologies. Still, others, such as Hyundai, Honda, Toyota and Kia, along with the major car manufacturers in the USA, have been making significant strides in developing electric vehicles with outstanding performance.

Pictures of past tell many stories

I know this is an opinion column and what I’ve written here is less of an opinion piece and more of an amusing anecdote. I hope you’ll forgive me for that. It was simply too good not to share and I think it’s a nice, if mundane, example of why Boulder City is such a lovely place to live.

Water conservation efforts to thwart drought delusional

I was entering my junior year at Boulder City High School when Lake Mead reached its top elevation of 1,225 feet in 1983. Water rushed over Hoover Dam’s fully extended spillway gates with such force that even an umbrella didn’t keep us dry from the downpour caused by its rebounding spray. Since then, the lake has dropped 185 feet, including a 170-foot decline over the last 22 years during the worst Colorado River system drought in recorded history.

Guest commentary: Are fair elections possible in digital age?

I am wondering whether or not we should be paying attention to how our elections are being conducted in Nevada as to whether or not our votes are actually counted fairly. I suspect that the voting machines have a lot to do with the situation.

A retreat to push us forward

Succeeding in today’s business climate is not an easy task. It’s even more challenging for women, who have had to overcome decades of inequality in the workplace while juggling traditional roles of keeper of the home and family.

Keep ‘wet blankets’ out of water talks

“Blanket statements” are usually meant to cover wide swaths of a topic. A “wet blanket,” on the other hand, implies stifling everything it touches or, in this context, greatly limiting a topic’s discussion. If this column comes somewhere between one or the other, I’ll consider it a success.

Reparations needed from president’s supporters

What exactly are reparations? The Merriam-Webster definition is: “The act of making amends, offering expiation or giving satisfaction for a wrong, injury, or something done or given as amends.”

Human presence essential for meaningful conversation

For those I speak to in person, I am better able to receive kindness, love and meaning. The consciousness of the soul is available from our hearts. For those who are willing to continue to communicate in person, there can continue to be love flowing from the hearts of each person in any conversation.

Balance between work, school volunteering tough to find

Back-to-school is one of my favorite times of the year. I loved school supply shopping as a kid and now, as a parent, I love taking my kids shopping for their school supplies. Watching my daughter choose from the colorful folders with her supply list in hand is too adorable for words. I genuinely enjoy attending the back-to-school nights, meeting my children’s teachers and learning about their curriculum for the year. But guilt often overshadows that excitement when the teachers try to rope parents into joining the parent-teacher organization.