You see them everywhere, at Albertson’s, at the Home Depot, at Twin City Surplus, the guys dressed like women, women dressed like men, men and women dressed like urban primitives in leather, vinyl and lace.
They buy up all the ice in town. They bring their attitudes from other places. Most of all, they bring their money from other places. For those who no longer recognize the phenomena, they’re called “tourists.”
You recognize these, though, as the Burning Man people. Most people are used to them since, like the annual Labor Day gasoline price hike, they come around every year.
It seems there’s another event that comes along every 365 days. It’s the government’s quandary about how to screw over the event, so that enthusiasts and organizers can’t make early plans to return the following year.
What is this about? Events that are far less environmentally friendly or financially lucrative for the community have officials bending over forward to shut down roads, ensure venues and inconvenience people who live and work here in northern Nevada.
If our county government had a clue about how to support local citizens and business, they would help Burning Man officials to get the special use permits. They would welcome them with open arms and fistfuls of subsidies, like they offer all the other special events hereabouts.
Heck, if they really want to help, our officials should give Burning Man a place to store equipment year round, someplace that’s high profile, so that Reno can take advantage of its geographical association with Burning Man to market our tourism to the world. Maybe Burning Man could have its staging area on the Mapes lot.
But our officials want to look down their noses at the green carried by these northern Nevada tourists.
Let’s get a clue, Washoe County, and negotiate in earnest. It’s time not merely to tolerate the Burners but to encourage them. Sure they dress funny, but then so do the Hot August Night folks.
To those who deal with one of those pierced and tattooed folks from around the world or who accept their money in a local business, you only have to say one thing to show your gratitude, "Have a good burn."