About two weeks ago, I took part in a meeting with other RN&R personnel, members of the River Walk Merchants association (primarily comprised of businesses along First Street and Arlington Avenue) and city of Reno officials. One purpose of the meeting was for business owners to show us what great things are going on in the area. It was also an opportunity for businesses and city officials to vent frustrations they had toward the RN&R for what they felt was, at times, negative coverage of the area.
At least one business owner was less than thrilled with a story we published back in August, in which we expressed displeasure with the java at one of the area’s coffee houses. They were also upset with a mention that the Century Riverside 12 was one of the ugliest buildings in town (it turns out the mention they were referring to was the vote by the readers in our Best of Reno 2000 poll that the building was the area’s “worst eyesore.") At least one of the city officials present, Downtown Ambassador Stephen Hardesty of the Reno Redevelopment Agency, said he didn’t think there was enough positive coverage of the goings-on in the area. Finally, at least one business owner said that it was tough to get in touch with members of the RN&R editorial staff, myself specifically, to express displeasure with the newspaper.
I appreciated everyone’s comments, even if I disagreed with some of them. I was especially concerned about the comment that someone felt that I was hard to reach. I apologized profusely about that. I said it at the meeting, and I’ll say it here: People are encouraged to let us know when they have feelings, good or bad, about the newspaper. I answer my own phone and e-mails.
In any case, I just wanted to let everyone know what these people had to say. I do feel that there are some great things going on in that area. As for the quality and fairness of our coverage regarding that area, I’ll let you, the readers, be the judges.
Saturday, Feb. 3, will mark the one-year anniversary of an RN&R cover story by D. Brian Burghart on Reno City Councilwoman Sherrie Doyle, “Paying Debts.” In it, the RN&R revealed that Doyle may have broken several campaign finance laws by apparently not reporting all of her loans from local political activist Beth Miramon, and by taking more than the $10,000 legally allowed from Miramon.
After the story broke, the Nevada Division of Investigation launched an investigation into the matter at the request of the Reno Police Department. After 11 months, the investigation was finally completed. According to Lt. Bob Wideman of the NDI, a report was turned into the offices of both the secretary of state and attorney general on Jan. 16.
Susan Morandi, the deputy secretary of state for elections, said she’s reviewing the lengthy report and doesn’t expect to know what, if any, action the secretary of state will take until late next week—at the earliest.
“It’s a pretty big document,” she said.
At the attorney general’s office, spokesman Steve George—contacted shortly before the RN&R’s press deadline—said he didn’t have any information on the case, because the chief of investigations was out ill.
Regardless of the outcome of the case, it’s important that both offices move quickly to resolve it once and for all. It’s been a year, and it’s crucial for the public to get the message that campaign finance laws are important and respected by the government.