Just grow up

There are few things more irritating to us here in the editorial department at the Reno News & Review than to have to act mature and adult in the face of whiny behavior on the part of our elected officials. So, please, don’t expect it.

We’ve said it like a million times: “The Reno City Council spent money like drunken children for the last 15 years, pandering to the corporate bosses who financed their campaigns.”

We begged councilmembers to consider their responsibilities to us, the people, the citizens of Reno, instead of their childish desire to be big shots, to stroke their own egos. It didn’t happen. And now, it’s going to happen too late.

We’re fully cognizant that there’s not a spare million bucks in there for Reno to deal on an adult, equal-to-equal level with Washoe County for integrated fire services.

And things are just going to get worse for citizens of Reno as government is forced to further downgrade services below what other communities think of as the bare minimum. It’s already happened to police, roads and parks.

Actually, it’s already happened to fire and firefighters, hasn’t it?

On the other hand, it’s not like we can’t remember what happened when the Reno City Council and the Washoe County Commission “cooperated” like adults—a train trench. There’s the big chicken coming home to roost. Just one of many “fowl” balls the Council struck, not to mix metaphors or issues.

But we here in the editorial department are way too adult to say, “We told you so.” Again.

It’s very difficult at this point to even hope that a deal can be struck. And it’s not because of the money. It’s because of personality flaws and inter-jurisdictional conflicts that have been brewing for years. It’s because some members of each government couldn’t act as adults but had to constantly call names, had to grandstand, had to point fingers while ignoring the ones pointed at them. Some members of the Reno Council literally made a point of an us-vs.-them stratagy against the county throughout their time on the Council.

Citizens of Reno and Washoe County did not need two giant fires this winter to know that the conflagration doesn’t give a damn in which jurisdiction it kills people or burns homes. Wildfires are thoughtless but we know they will find the weak spots in the system. Things burn in the unprotected spots; it’s what gives them fuel to overwhelm the secure areas.

So here’s our advice. It’s the same advice we’d give to a third grader who didn’t do his homework so he’s pissed off at his teacher: Make the best of your bad situation.

Don’t stomp your feet and scream like a baby because your opponent can’t be forced to negotiate with you. Swallow your arrogance.

Deal with it. No more name calling. No more bad faith games.

Your friends’ and families’ lives and property are at stake.