Oh Lord, what you gonna do?
I arrived late at the Nevada Is Not a Wasteland Day in Wingfield Park. I’d like to blame that on the gazillions of loud bikes zooming up and down the streets, but I can’t. Reno needs Street Vibrations and Hot August Nights and the like. to fuel our economic engine, pay our taxes and stuff.
Back at the Wasteland event, the wind was blowing like a rabid Republican when I arrived. Some folks were packing up.
“The wind did a number on our art contest, but we’d kind of expected that,” said John Hadder, northern Nevada coordinator for Citizen Alert. Local young people had created artwork using an outline of Nevada and based on the theme “Discover the Beauty Within.”
Half a dozen environmental organizations were still handing out information on a variety of issues, from protecting land with wilderness designations to fighting high-level radioactive waste at Yucca.
Dressed in an eye-catching “Free Tibet” T-shirt, volunteer Danielle Johnson, 18, helped keep fliers from blowing away at the Citizen Alert table. Johnson is an environmental studies major at the University of Nevada, Reno.
“I’ve always felt connected with the earth,” Johnson said. “I think this is the most important thing I can do, in terms of occupations—saving the planet and helping people. … We ruin so much. We might as well protect what we have left.”
Reno reggae band Higher Bound was knocking out tunes of social justice to a few listeners hanging out on blankets. I spoke with gubernatorial candidate Charles Laws (Green Party) about the many meet-the-candidate events to which he gets invited. Especially irritating, he said, are the ones where he has to pay hundreds of dollars to speak or put up a table.
“They charge you?”
“Yes, I find it difficult to accept these invitations.”
I walked over to greet Nevada Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa just before she left for another event. Del Papa had spoken earlier on the continuing fight against storing high-level radioactive waste at Yucca Mountain.
“How’s the job going?” I asked.
“Only 100 days left,” she said.
“That’s good for you, maybe,” I said. “But not so good for the rest of us.”
“Oh, we’re going to go out with a bang,” she said. “But I’m going to miss working with these guys.” She nodded to her staffers, who looked a bit dismal at the prospect of being Frankie Sue-less.
On Nov. 5, Nevadans will elect a new attorney general from the following candidates: Democrat John Hunt, Republican Brian Sandoval and the obligatory Hansen (Jonathon) from the Independent American Party.
"Oh Lord, what you gonna do?" Higher Bound’s lyrics wafted across the park, on the far side of which a dozen or so men were sleeping in the grass. I bought a couple of T-shirts to show support for the cause. A rock band blasted tunes from a stage set up on the lot formerly known as the Mapes. A Happy Meal bag tumbled across the road as I drove away down Center Street.