Scene in Passing: Fishing grampa, deputy dog model civility in Sierra Nevada paradise

“Good morning Mr. Washington,” said Mayor Robert Crowell, exhibiting droll humor Thursday as Maurice White started to testify at the Board of Supervisors meeting.

Crowell’s greeting amounted, in part, to a fun shot across the bow of the scrivener who writes these words.

The mayor purposefully repeated a gaffe made in a news article, corrected a day later, that detailed a Downtown 20/20 plan and quoted White. But he was inadvertently identified as Maurice Washington. Maurice White took it all in good humor.

In fact, that is the point of this column.

Maurice Washington and Maurice White both took it with good grace and gentlemanly understanding; the mayor made it community sport. It reminds one and all that living in Carson City and Northern Nevada is an experience providing civility amid exhilarating Sierra Nevada splendor. Perhaps living in paradise promotes such civil behavior.

Mr. Washington, for the few who don’t know him, is a former state legislator who’s now the deputy director of the Carson City-based Northern Nevada Development Authority, which courts business to move here. A smiling bear of a man, he calls himself “deputy dog” in emails, which are accompanied by a Deputy Dog cartoon figure.

Mr. White, retired but far from inactive, is a government junkie. When he isn’t watching city government with intensity, he is fishing with a bit more laid-back intensity. Get him talking about either and he’s a font of information. His business card identifies him as fishingrampa in his email address.

White appeared Thursday at the board to testify he had found inconsistencies in city documents about establishing an ethics-review committee to meld city and state ethics oversight verbiage governing officials. When the board decided to establish the committee, White’s suggestions were included.

Soon after, Mayor Crowell named Ande Engleman, the woman who once ran the Nevada Press Association, as his representative on the ethics panel being formed. She helped spearhead efforts to get the ethics panel set up, the mayor said, along with Carson City’s Charter Review Committee.

Everyone saw the good in reviewing ethics language. Those involved — charter review members, Engleman, White, the Board of Supervisors — deserve thanks for shepherding the good in the ethics department. Good also is the fact no committee is needed to shepherd civility, which for the most part is alive and well in these parts.

Good fishin’ to you, fishing­ grampa. You too, deputy dog; reel in more companies from California.

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


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