Not just dead horses & dog meat
A Day in 'Cowboy' Politics
By Tim Findley
The Courier (Hatch, N.M.)
|Notwithstanding uncontrollable population growth, there's still something "West" about Nevada politics.|
newer people living in the seams-busted developments
around Las Vegas and Reno may not quite get it, but they
can't really be expected to catch on right away --
especially when the daily press in the cities postures as
too sophisticated to take seriously Nevada's old
Particularly in Reno, if you read it from that version, you might come to the conclusion that the recent meeting of the State Legislative Committee on Public Lands was a sort of throwback, a mistaken public identity.
"Three dead horses and dog meat" was the way the Reno Gazette-Journal tried to portray the hearing. But even that might have been close enough, if only the newer Western urbanites had been given a chance to sample some of the meeting's texture.
There was, after all, the Channel 8 TV-star-cum-Virginia-City-range-manager who "cowpokes," among his other sidelines. There was the pretty blonde ex-New Yorker, who admits she knew nothing much at all about horses before taking charge of 40,000 wild ones in the state. There was the Elko State Senator nodding incongruously at the bald-headed Time-magazine-cover cowboy in the front row. There was the boots-and-blue-jeans
line at the back of the
room. And there were the federal bureaucrats bustling in
and out, as though from personal offices where coffee was
brewing, elsewhere in Nevada's historic old state capitol
of all the desert
states, but two guys roaming around east of Elko last
October insist that's what they saw -- a bull moose, and
a big one, by anybody's standards.
his credit, Rhoads is no pushover for federal okey-dokes.
He was one of the early movers in the so-called
"Sagebrush Rebellion" in the '70s that laid
state claim to public lands hoarded by the feds in
Nevada. And even though it was Presley, not Rhoads, who
demanded that Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa be
fired for calling the "Rebellion"
unconstitutional, Rhoads won some vindication in November
when state voters approved a ballot question essentially
restating the same thing -- that Nevada ought to have
more control over its public lands.
decides if they protest
is valid or if it should be dismissed. The Secretary [of
the Interior] approves that."
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