View from the fray

The changing of the mayor

When Mayor Jeff Griffin and his wife Marna walked through the door of Catherine’s Plus Sizes in Park Lane Mall Friday, a crowd applauded warmly. City officials, politicians and friends had gathered for a “Goodbye Griffin, Congrats Bob Cashell” party. Except for people and tables with food, the store was empty. Red, white and blue balloons hung from the ceiling. A bartender in a flannel shirt dispensed wine at the store’s check-out counter.

Councilman Dave Aiazzi was there, looking pleased. With newly elected Reno City Council members Sharon Zadra and Dwight Dortch, Aiazzi’s looking forward to a bit less weirdness at meetings.

“I’d like to have arguments about how we’re going to get where we’re going rather than arguments about where we are going to go,” Aiazzi said.

Most in attendance agreed that the big wins of the Zadra-Dortch-Cashell trio indicated support for Griffin.

“When people pull out of their driveway in the morning, they’re not thinking about the trench,” Mayor Jeff Griffin told me. “They’re thinking about how nice it is to have their streets paved. …Our direction was validated by the public Tuesday. I have a great deal of faith in the people of this community.”

State Sen. Bill Raggio concurred. “You’ve really been vindicated in this campaign,” he told Griffin.

Raggio presented Griffin with a proclamation from Gov. Kenny Guinn, who regretted not having been able to attend.

“He’s taking some time off after his own hard personal campaign,” Raggio joked.

Griffin spoke to the group about how much he’d enjoyed the job, and he bragged about his son Josh Griffin, recently elected to the Nevada Legislature.

“We’re very proud of him,” Griffin said. “And one Griffin in office is enough. Some think that one is one too many.”

By this time, the mayor’s perhaps most obnoxious critic, Sam Dehne, had arrived at the party, guitar in hand. He was debating whether to sing, “Oh, Lord, it’s hard to be humble” or “Yippee-kiy-yiy-yay, get along little doggy.”

“This is a very simple business, really,” Griffin continued. “If I can count to four [council members voting for a project], we’re there. When we had seven, the media called the council, ‘Griffin’s Dream Team.’ When the vote was four to three, they said we weren’t working together.”

Griffin graciously accepted a few more gifts, like a large ship with an inscription: “To Jeff Griffin. You have taught us that our past is not our potential. Smooth sailing, Mr. Mayor.” He also received a model train set.

“It’s not just a train set,” Griffin said, laughing. “It’s Union Pacific!”

Dehne interrupted, demanding to sing. The crowd booed.

“Let him sing!” someone shouted.

“Outside!” another replied.

Griffin looked truly pained as friends protectively refused to yield center stage to Dehne. He’s not going to have Jeff Griffin to kick around anymore.

Then mayor-elect Bob Cashell (who was sworn into office four days later on Tuesday) was honored with a cowboy statue inscribed: “I didn’t come to stay. I came to make a difference. To Bob Cashell, who will.”

Cashell took the podium, feigning a clueless grin.

"What’s this trench everybody’s talking about?"