Guy W. Farmer: Remembering two men who we’ll dearly miss
I lost two good friends — former Carson City Mayor Marv Teixeira and prominent Las Vegas gaming attorney Bob Faiss (pronounced “Fess”) on Thursday, and I’m still reeling from that double dose of bad news. I’ll remember both men fondly for different reasons.
Mayor Marv and I were rival Little League coaches in Carson in the olden days (that would be the 1960s). We were fierce competitors on the baseball diamond and fellow sports fans off the diamond. Marv was a popular IBM representative in those pre-computer days, and I thought he might have a future in politics. And sure enough, he was the mayor when my late wife Consuelo and I returned to Carson in the mid-1990s after a U.S. Foreign Service career that took us to Latin America, Spain and Australia.
Although it’s true you can’t really go home again, Mayor Marv and several other longtime friends welcomed us back to town as if we had never been gone. And after I started writing this Sunday column for the Appeal in 1996, Marv and I sparred over several political issues, but we remained friends even when we disagreed on issues such as the Pony Express Pavilion (“Marv’s folly”) and the multi-million dollar V&T Railroad project. As I told the Appeal on Thursday, I always admired and respected Marv because he wasn’t afraid to take a stand and make tough decisions; in other words, he wasn’t the kind of politician who tried to make everyone happy all the time.
Mayor Marv was a down-to-earth, plain-spoken civic leader who loved Carson City and always tried to do right by his constituents. He wasn’t a perfect person, however, and many of us remember him pedaling his bicycle around town after a DUI conviction. To his credit, he accepted responsibility and asked for no special treatment from anyone.
That’s the kind of person he was.
In summary, Marv was good for Carson and we’ll miss him.
I met Bob Faiss and his best friend, Chris Schaller, not long after we moved to Carson City in Jan., 1962. Shortly thereafter, they recruited me as a Little League coach and I became a devoted “Pirate.” Both Bob and Chris were former Las Vegas newspapermen who were mid-level state officials at that time. But in mid-1963, when Bob became a top assistant to then-Gov. Grant Sawyer, I succeeded him as public information officer for the Nevada Gaming Commission and Gaming Control Board. Not long after that, Chris also moved over to the Governor’s Office and we worked together for more than three years, mostly on gaming control issues.
Gov. Sawyer’s “hang tough” gaming control policy resulted in the late 1963 revocation of singer Frank Sinatra’s state gaming license for hosting Chicago Godfather Sam “Momo” Giancana at North Lake Tahoe’s Cal Neva Lodge, which Sinatra owned. Bob Faiss steadfastly supported and defended the governor in that landmark case, which was one of Sawyer’s signature achievements.
Bob and I both went to Washington, D.C., after Sawyer left office in 1967; he studied law and worked in President Johnson’s White House, and I joined the Foreign Service. And when I returned to Nevada in late 1995, Bob was the lead gaming attorney for the high-powered Lionel/Sawyer law firm in Las Vegas.
Bob and I teamed-up in 2006 when the University of Nevada published our oral histories and again in 2009 when we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Gaming Commission in Las Vegas. By then, Bob knew more about Nevada gaming law then all the rest of us put together; he’ll be sorely missed.
Guy W. Farmer is the Nevada Appeal’s senior political columnist.