(Chuck Muth) – If Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak hadn’t been playing politics with the coronavirus crisis, we’d be re-opening our state like so many others have already begun to do.
His decision to allow construction sites to remain open, including the Raiders stadium; to not require curbside pickup for “essential” grocery stores, big box stores and pharmacies like “non-essential” businesses; and to continue operating “COVID Express” bus services; only resulted in making a bad situation worse and extending our pain.
Then there’s the other side of the coin.
If he’d allowed so-called “non-essential” businesses to operate in the same manner as construction sites, grocery stores, bus transportation, etc., the economic devastation to our state would have been significantly less.
By always trying to have it both ways, the governor has made both ways way worse.
The only thing consistent about how the governor has handled this crisis is how inconsistent his edicts have been.
First he said there was no reason to panic. Then he said people should stock up on toilet paper and hand sanitizer.
First he said “Every social contact increases your risk of exposure.” Then he reversed himself by exempting all manner of social contacts.
First he said all non-essential businesses *should* close. Then he reversed himself and said they *must* close.
First he said restaurants had to close down completely. Then he reversed himself and allowed them to provide curbside pickup and delivery.
First he said car and furniture showrooms could remain open. Then he reversed himself and said they couldn’t.
First he said his shutdown order didn’t apply to churches. Then he reversed himself and said it did. Even on Easter Sunday. And even if folks remained in their cars!
First he said marijuana dispensaries had to close. Then he reversed himself and said they could open. Then he reversed himself again and said they could only provide curbside pickup. Then her reversed himself yet again and said they could only offer home delivery.
Unless, of course, they were operating on an Indian reservation. For them: Business as usual.
First he said golf courses could remain open. Then he reversed himself and said they couldn’t.
First he said he wasn’t going to call up the National Guard. Then he reversed himself and did.
And all along, the governor’s been playing politics and picking winners and losers.
He shut down schools, but allowed day care and child care centers to remain open.
He made the non-sensical decision to allow people to walk into grocery stores – touch the products, shelves, pin pads and carts while ignoring social distancing directives – but prohibited you from getting a simple hair cut or your nails done…even in our own home!
He decided you could go into a drug store and buy vitamins, but not a health store.
He decided you could go into convenience stores to buy beer and wine but prohibited you from doing the same thing in liquor stores.
He decided you can go into Target and buy underwear and socks, but not a department store.
He decided you can go into Walmart and buy a set of tennis rackets or a frisbee, but not a sporting goods store.
He allowed Tesla to continue operating its factory floor, but banned drive-in movies.
He exempted the politically-protected homeless from group social distancing requirements while shutting down parks, playgrounds and ball fields for the rest of us.
He’s allowing convicted prisoners – including felons – out of jail while confining law-abiding citizens to “house arrest.”
And while he’s ordered YOU to stay-at-home, he’s allowed possibly-infected out-of-staters to come into Nevada without restriction.
And instead of Nevada determining its own fate, he announced this week that we were going to follow California’s lead. (What could possibly go wrong with THAT?)
And instead of treating Nevada’s rural counties – none of which voted for him and a number of which have reported ZERO cases/deaths – differently from the coronavirus hotbeds of Clark and Washoe counties, he’s screwed them over royally with his one-size-fits-all statewide shutdown.
Tell me THAT’S not political payback.
The governor has also completely botched handling the hundreds of thousands of unemployment claims Nevadans have been forced to file due to his emotional over-reaction to the crisis.
In fact, TO THIS DAY self-employed and “gig” workers – like Uber drivers – STILL can’t get into the state’s unemployment system and file their claims.
But at least he used tax dollars to hire a debt collection telemarketing firm to take some calls…even though the operators can’t provide any information on the status of claims.
In addition, the governor has prolonged the inevitable by failing to take IMMEDIATE steps to lay off non-essential government workers and make other budget cuts similar to that which Nevada’s families, workers and private businesses have had to do.
And instead of calling the 63 elected members of the Nevada Legislature into a Special Session to deal with the crisis, he appointed an unelected “task force” headed up by a former gaming executive known as “The Lord of Layoffs.”
All of which has resulted in a growing number of protest rallies across the state – which have also grown in the number of participants – over the last three weekends.
But the governor is threatening to shut them down, too. In an interview last Friday, Gov. Sisolak again spoke out of both sides of his mouth when he said…
“The right to protest is extremely important to me. People have a right to protest and I have no problem with that whatsoever. I just wish that they would follow the protocols that have been set in place. If they don’t, we’re going to have to make a decision in terms of whether or not we want to strengthen that.”
The protests have been orderly and peaceful to this point. But if the governor is foolish enough to try to crack down on the God-given right to freely assemble and express grievances against the government, we’re gonna start seeing torches and pitchforks.
Gov. Sisolak has mishandled this crisis from Day One. He’s in WAY over his head. And he’s clearly surrounded himself with a number of people who have fed into his insecurities.
It’s not that that governor has had bad intentions. It’s that he’s had bad instincts. He’s exercised terrible judgment. And he’s consistently contradicted himself over and over and over again, unnecessarily fueling fear and uncertainty among families, workers and business owners.
And his ham-handed Facebook dog-and-pony shows, riddled with technical difficulties and grade-school level sound quality, have only made things worse.
We’re supposed to trust Nevada’s future to a bunch of people who can’t even do a Zoom meeting?
Not to mention his staff’s herculean efforts to block tough but legitimate questions, with follow-ups, from certain members of the media – such as Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Victor Joecks – who won’t serve him up “softballs.”
Indeed, the governor has been only too happy to do friendly interviews on CNN, MSDNC and NPR over the past few days but has decidedly ducked interviews with, say, Tucker Carlson or Sean Hannity on FOX News.
This whole thing has been a fuster-cluck of metaphysical proportions.
And while all of this has been going on, where have the state’s Republican opposition leaders been?
Their communications strategy, if you can call it that, has generally been: Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.
“Never is heard a discouraging word,” is their motto.
In fact, the only elected GOP official I’ve heard of who’s shown up for a protest rally over the past three weeks is Assemblyman Jim Wheeler of Douglas County. Everyone else has been missing in action.
Oh, there was, however, the “Framework to Reopen Nevada” schtick put out by the Assembly Republican Caucus a week ago that was sold as a “plan” to end the #SisolakShutdown.
What a joke. It includes…
- Following California’s lead…just like Gov. Sisolak
- Continue to adhere to public health guidelines. (Bold!)
- Create another unelected “bipartisan taskforce” to do the job the Legislature was elected to do
- Establish strict, government-imposed and enforced business and employee guidelines for re-opening businesses
- Allow so-called “non-essential” retail businesses to reopen, but only if they do so by providing curbside pickup or delivery
P.S. If you want to read continuing defenses of the #SisolakShutdown, send a donation to liberal blogger Jon Ralston, the governor’s unofficial press secretary, valet and handmaiden.
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Your mail-in ballot for the upcoming, potentially fraud-riddled, June 9th primary election should be hitting your mailboxes any day now.
Keep your ink dry. I’ll be sharing some recommendations and suggestions soon.
FAMOUS LAST WORDS
“You make your own choice; it is still America for the time being. You will NOT see me in a face mask or gloves! If you’re sick, stay home! If you’re scared to stand for what you believe in, stay home. If you have a weakened immune system stay home!” – Reno talk-show host Monica Jaye