Prince Pete overshadows Robin (Hood?)
Pete Livermore, the Republican Assembly candidate in District 40, which includes parts of both Washoe County and Carson City, is no Prince of Thieves. He’s more of a prince among politicians, a representative of reality laboring in a field of dreamers.
Robin Williamson, the Democrat seeking the same legislative seat, is like a latter day version of Robin Hood. For me, she reprises the 1991 film called Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. She and the film offer more image than reality.
Don’t get me wrong; Williamson is real enough to take seriously. Why? Just as the road to hell is paved with good intentions, so is the road to government profligacy paved with grandiose proposals.
Robin and her party favor redistributing wealth, selling it as tapping the rich to help the poor à la Robin Hood. But they also will tap the middle class to pay for their plans. Williamson is a UC Berkeley product with a do-it-my-way-but-collectively attitude.
Livermore, on the other hand, brings his up-by-the-bootstraps, no nonsense, business savvy credentials to the race. He thinks regular folks ought to have a say in grandiose plans from a band of merry folks with collectivist mentalities.
The Livermore/Williamson race—which pits veteran Carson City supervisors against each other for the seat of retiring Assembly-member Bonnie Parnell—could prove crucial. Democrats hope to retain a supermajority in the Assembly.
We’ll analyze some other legislative races in a subsequent column because 2010 is a critical election year. But for now let’s concentrate on this potentially pivotal contest.
Should Senate and Assembly races elsewhere go as some expect, Livermore’s victory would foil the Democrats’ bid to put the Legislature in their vice grip. A Williamson win, however, would do the deed.
Word is Democrats are even threatening lobbyists in their bid to block Livermore. His fiscal conservatism is unquestioned, his anti-tax stance unwavering. Williamson, though, is soft on taxes and, like her party, promotes government solutions.
For example, Williamson champions a Carson City public-private downtown redevelopment project by favoring a one-eighth of a penny sales tax hike to help fund it (with no vote of the people). Livermore sought a public vote, standing tall in the face of the Carson City supervisors’ majority disdain for citizen-input.
An up-from-working-class businessman, this self-made man has a solid mind filled with common sense backed by can-do moxie. Not a mythic outlaw nobleman, à la Robin of Loxley, this guy is the real deal. He’s quietly tough and straight as an arrow.
Perhaps Robin Williamson would like her kinship with Robin Hood (admittedly imposed by yours truly) to be painted as equally stalwart. But despite Robin Hood’s mythic challenge to high-handed authorities of his age, it just won’t wash.
If Williamson wins, she joins majority Democrats to become a cog in the legislative establishment. The trouble with moving Robin’s merry band into control is they will aid and abet the robbing—er, taxing—of the rich (and middle class) to help the poor (and their own pet projects or programs). Great myth, lousy reality.
Robin Williamson believes in government’s collective, and collection, capacity. It is better now that she be consigned to making her contribution to Nevada society from the private sector.
Pete Livermore, the peoples’ prince, will bring balance sheet discipline tempered with care for real citizen needs to the Assembly—just as he did to his own Carson City small business outlets and the local board of supervisors.