Spring sting

A sure sign of spring—mountain bluebirds and swallows have finally flitted their twittery little rumps back to Northern Nevada.

Last week, during my farewell to Soundwave CDs, I asked the rhetorical question, “What have we gained?” in reference to the explosive growth of digital, Internet music that’s forcing the store’s finale.

I can visualize the response—“Outside of astounding storage capacity in an amazingly small device (iPod) that ultra-conveniently regurgitates thousands of songs with superb sound quality, not a whole helluva lot.”

And I forgot; why is it, exactly, that I’m supposed to give a flying rat’s doughnut about the Duke lacrosse team? Another embarrassment for the national media, filed under “Giving the People What They Want.” You gotta wonder if lurid trash about strippers being abused by knuckle-scraping jocks is really what America wants anymore. I mean, doesn’t America now prefer to just go home, change into its underpants, get online, and try to “hook up?”

Then there’s the Ballardini Ranch story, and what can you say other than, “What a shame.” It’s another one of those situations where it couldn’t be avoided, helped or stopped. Everybody’s got their story down. The county commissioners were looking at a bitch of a financial situation if they chose to push ahead and go to court. I understand. And those black-hearted Snidely Whiplash-types from Evans Creek were just doing business; they weren’t about to be humiliated by the county’s insulting offer of a measly 400 percent profit on its investment if they’d just go on back to Minnesota. How could they explain such financial wimpiness to their stockholders? I understand.

So, once again, the gaggles of lawyers made like Aztec high priests, cutting out the public’s heart and leaving it next to the altar. End of story.

That 1,000 acres could have become, as muckraking firebrand Andy Barbano recently wrote, the Truckee Meadows version of Central Park, a literally invaluable piece of foothill open space that would’ve been a major positive for the hundreds of thousands of doomed bastards who’ll be living here in 2030. Instead, it will become yet another subdivision of oversized, energy-flatulating homes for the wealthy. Yawn. The county pays 13 mill for this: Evans Creek will put its lawyers back in their kennels. Wotta deal. And Reno takes yet another step in making the seemingly inevitable transition from semi-idyllic Biggest Little City to quasi-detestable Californicated shithole. It’s just getting a little old—local governments try to say no to developers once in a while, only to get bent over the couch and reamed by that developer’s hit squad of hammerhead attorneys. Like what Wal-Mart did to the Reno City Council with its Mae Anne store.

“We live in an age of accelerating growth and diminishing returns.” —Ed Abbey.