What has been missing from most of the much-deserved tributes to Dennis Myers is his unfiltered voice reflecting his personal sensibilities and his uncanny ability to analyze the political noise of the day and still remain upbeat and optimistic about our country and its people.
I offer these snippets from my emails with Dennis in 2019 during the editing process of Left Foot Forward so those who didn't have the opportunity to know him on a personal level can get an idea of what made him so special to so many, even beyond the superb body of journalistic work he left behind.
On the lack of bold and significant proposals to address the current affordable housing crisis during the 2019 Nevada Legislature, Dennis wrote:
It drives me crazy that so little is being done for renters in this awful Washoe market. Even if all the proposals introduced had passed, it would have been a weak response to a predatory situation.
All across the country legislatures are processing bills to curb a cute new scheme—landlords charging “processing fees” to accept rent payments, and additional fees to penalize paper payments (check, cash, money order) instead of electronic payments. New Jersey has done the best, outlawing these practices altogether. Nevada, of course, has not even had a bill introduced though these scams have swept through the valley. I know of one agency in town that charges both fees, adding a total of $15.90 to a rent payment. In Idaho there is a problem with landlords or rent agencies charging ever-increasing amounts to get a credit check on a prospective renter, and there is no guarantee that the checks are actually made.
On the veto of AB 186 (National Popular Vote for President) by Governor Steve Sisolak:
I wonder if anyone has told Sisolak that the only candidates EVER hurt by the presidential electors were all Democrats—Andrew Jackson, Samuel Tilden, Grover Cleveland, Al Gore, and Hillary Clinton all won the election and lost the appointment.
On state level bills to protect abortion rights:
I hope that one of the things that comes out of the flurry of state abortion votes is that younger women will get alarmed and involved. That happened after the Casey ruling in 1992, but then they only stayed active for a year or two and then everyone fell back into their customary lassitude.
On the timidity of Nevada's Democratic majorities to advance progressive legislation:
I agree. The public reacted against one session of Republican control, and yet the Democrats think they still have to walk on eggshells to avoid offending anyone. There are issues that are worth taking some chances for, and this timidity does nothing to turn out the base when elections come.
On a draft column that excoriated Trump supporters who refuse to acknowledge the President's racism, misogyny and lies:
I want to ask you to consider dropping the phrase “a disgusting revelation” in the first paragraph. People can be in error without being disgusting. I always think it is a mistake to use a broad brush on large groups, given the ability of people to evolve and change. I also think it is a mistake to use language that makes people get their backs up and resist evolving and changing. Faulting leaders as disgusting is one thing. Doing so with large swaths of the populace is another. What you write in the seventh paragraph illustrates this. People can be so decent, using their better natures to teach politicians lessons, and it's helpful to keep their minds as open as possible.
On a column explaining Oregon's new mandatory rent control law to protect renters (a response I'll always treasure as the highest praise he could bestow):
Excellent. I wish I'd written it.