Father knows zip

My first reaction was to laugh when I read the condescending opening line of a recent column in the Reno Gazette-Journal by economic development official Mike Kazmierski, declaring “Reno-Sparks is growing up.” I rolled my eyes as he compared Reno to a clumsy teenager, declaring that we need to stop sleeping and playing Xbox all weekend and start solving the challenges associated with his monumental efforts to diversify our economy and add jobs. After all, he shouldn’t be expected to do all the heavy lifting by himself.

As I read more, I was astonished by his ability to rationalize away all of us who disagree with his penchant for allocating our tax dollars for the purpose of luring already wealthy corporations to set up shop in our community. Kazmierski thinks those of us who question his policies and their negative effects on the Truckee Meadows in terms of affordable housing, a failing infrastructure, and overcrowded schools and roads need to get over our “sky is falling” mentality and join his team. He’s been here six years now, you see, and look at all he has accomplished with his philosophy of “a rising tide lifts all boats.”

In Kazmierski’s mythical depiction of Reno, we’ve been mere children these last 149 years, but no worries, “we will be adults soon, and with that will come real adult challenges and real adult responsibility.” He gripes that we just need to get over our what’s-in-it-for-me? thinking and start believing we’re in this together.

Kazmierski ignores Reno’s rich history dating back to the mid-1850s when pioneers began residing in the valley, along with our boom-and-bust tendencies since Reno’s official founding in 1868. He skips right over Reno’s not-so-childlike culture of quickie marriage and divorce, and turns a blind eye to the vices of gambling, drinking and drugs that continually percolate under the surface of a city that does far too little to acknowledge or assist the addicted.

Since Kazmierski has only been here six years, he didn’t experience the boom period in the late ’70s when the MGM opened its doors. He didn’t witness how the pressure from explosive growth forced people out of their homes as housing costs escalated and public services struggled to keep up with the demand for assistance.

But who needs history when you have all of today’s answers? To accommodate the effects of the newest growth burst for which he gladly takes all the credit, Kazmierski wants us to “take on a challenge … develop a plan, build a coalition and get it done.” Just listen to the adult in the room.

Kazmierski concludes his column with the patronizing attitude of a king lecturing his subjects, stating our “young community” should “acknowledge that it’s time to grow up.” This, from a man who has barely lived here long enough to know where to find the best Awful Awful burger. He’s no doubt salivating at the prospect of rescuing another baby city after he’s finished saving us from ourselves.

The comments about Kazmierski’s column on social media were colorful and entertaining, but perhaps the best response came from long-time Reno resident Willie Puchert:

“Since he is referring to us as children, I would tell Ward Cleaver up there that part of the ’maturation process’ is (1) having developers pay impact fees instead of working folks and middle class always shouldering the burden of schools, roads and services, (2) our elected officials quit their addiction to giving corporate welfare to these companies who make all these promises but are never able to deliver and (3) ensuring responsible development that does not create detrimental environmental impacts that those poor folks in Lemmon Valley are experiencing.”

In other words, Mr. Kazmierski, grow up, why don’t you?