John Barrette: After 125 years, Nevada still subject to boom-bust cycles

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Carson City-area manufacturers make it plain a top priority is improved education and training, but they voice other concerns as well.

Dave Williams of Aervoe Pacific in Gardnerville, whose longtime products are paint and lubricants, said recently his firm diversified into safety products because it had taken a 30 percent recession hit. Nevada’s economy needs to diversify more as well, he says.

Williams also said during a recent breakfast meeting panel discussion in Carson City that everyone wants to take credit for luring business to the state, but he asked, “Who takes credit for the businesses that left?”

All this brought to mind a book by native Nevadan Mary Ellen Glass called “Silver State Politics in Nevada: 1892-1902,” detailing an era when mining was the main event but silver was suffering from the grip on coinage by gold-standard advocates.

The book, setting the stage for the decade analyzed, cited an 1889 editorial yearning for better times in what was then the Carson City Morning Appeal.

“The elixir that will restore Nevada to her former youth and freshness is the restoration of silver to par,” the 19th century editorial claimed. “The great money monopolists in the East ... are using all their power to destroy the greatest industry in the state.”

Fast-forward almost 125 years and the state again relies on mining, with gaming and tourism thrown in along the way. But both those main events are subject to boom-bust cycles, so Williams’ diversification counsel makes sense. It dovetails with Sandoval administration efforts and hopes, but won’t come overnight by any means.

And now, putting a twist on language from “Monty Python’s Flying Circus,” for something completely different.

• The Carson City Board of Supervisors’ 3-2 decision authorizing City Manager Larry Werner to hire a deputy at $125,000 annually smacked of a public-relations blunder Thursday morning, particularly when it was followed in the afternoon by board angst over how to prioritize a scanty $350,000 in general fund money for capital improvements.

• City Health and Human Services Director Marena Works, in a report to the board on health factors, referred to Robert Wood Johnson Foundation findings that show Carson City, a consolidated city/county, ranks eighth among state counties. Storey County was first. Carson City’s contiguous counties, plus Lincoln, Elko and Eureka, were among the top seven.

• Government meetings this week in the Community Center Sierra Room include an unusual Monday supervisor’s session at 8:30 a.m. on legislative issues; a Shade Tree Council session that same night at 5:30 p.m.; and a Planning Commission meeting at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

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


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