John Barrette

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July 27, 2014
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Scene In Passing: Michelangelo paints a pretty clear picture

Nerve isn’t will power. It’s, actually, won’t power.

Nerve, for people and for communities, is knowing where you’re going and you won’t be driven off course. Every day, put your game face on and decline to be diverted from your purpose.

When people recently let game faces slip because the word Hyatt was uttered and appeared in print, it was a reminder Carson City’s message too often is like that of many communities trying to screw up collective will power without understanding that won’t power undergirds success. The most important key to unlocking this community’s greatness is refusing to shrink from the tenacious heritage upon which this city has been built.

Do you think Orion and Samuel (Mark Twain) Clemens saw today’s Carson City in their dreams when they arrived here? Did it stop them they were in the middle of nowhere with next to nothing? Or Abe Curry? And Henry Yerington?

Did Mayor Jim Robertson and his colleagues in the 1960s let naysayers stop the movement that led to folding Ormsby County into the consolidated municipality of Carson City, setting the stage for modern growth that took the community to more than 50,000 residents today? He wouldn’t be deterred and, if our mettle proves equal, we won’t settle for a community that stalls.

So it was heartening to telephone Steve Neighbors a few days back and learn, in effect, he viewed premature disclosure of Hyatt’s possible interest in downtown Carson City as a mere hiccup. Fear the hotel would walk didn’t seem to come up on his radar. Neighbors, steward of Hop and Mae Adams Foundation property galore downtown, after a 2012 setback over his last idea just moves on with recalibrated plans.

His vision is for a tech-oriented auditorium/convention facility with hotel attached. Hyatt would be great, but a right-sized facility will attract a right-sized hotel no matter what nameplate it bears. As Neighbors said, Carson City may be small but it’s a unique gem. Folks here need to stop selling themselves and the community short. Whomever comes gets us and this — a good deal. Whomever wants something else should go somewhere else.

Meanwhile, our won’t power needs to dig in on five big things: We won’t let Las Vegas steal our state capital status, a dunderheaded and costly idea; we won’t let Northern Nevada become water-starved; we won’t jeopardize our community’s fiscal integrity by overindulging in bonded indebtedness; we won’t think small time or second rate, opting for right size and key player; and, finally, we won’t ever just settle.

“The greater danger for most of us,” said Michelangelo, “lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark.”

John Barrette covers Carson City government and business. He can be reached at

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Jul 28, 2014 09:16AM Published Jul 30, 2014 09:25AM Copyright 2014 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.