A secure Carson City

Gov. Jim Gibbons ran afoul of Sen. Reid in trying to fund an anti-terrorism center in Carson City. In April, Democrat Reid and his Republican colleague John Ensign had gone along with Gibbons’ plan on the assumption that the governor had all his ducks in a row on the project. It turned out that the project was opposed by law enforcement and state lawmakers, who said there already are such centers in Reno and Las Vegas. The Carson City facility, lawmakers argued, would be expensive bureaucratic duplication that would be out of the flow of things in a real emergency because most of the state’s population is in Las Vegas and Reno.

Reid and Ensign had gone as far as to write to U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff seeking $1.7 million in funding for the Carson center but then withdrew their support when it turned out Gibbons lacked home-state support.

Assemblymembers also balked at providing state money for the project, though Gibbons made a rare appearance in the legislative building to lobby the issue. “We have tried to talk to the Assembly time and time again, with our priorities, our concerns what we think is important,” Gibbons said.

The Las Vegas Sun editorialized that Gibbons was out of his league in intelligence matters and that his “meddling” had jeopardized normally placid relations between state government and the congressional delegation—and that Gibbons should follow the Reid/Ensign example and practice fiscal conservatism.

Gibbons, however, made approval of $651,493 for the project one of the conditions for his not vetoing a state budget.