(Michael Zahara) – Sometimes corruption is so in-your-face, so magnificent in its audacity, that you just have to stand back breathless at its enormity and in Nevada, the epicenter of old school plantation political corruption has always been in and around Assembly District 07 in the north-central Las Vegas valley.
Plantation politics goes back generations in American Democratic Party politics and was a gigantic portion of the old machine politics of the big urban centers back East, well into the early 1980’s. Remnants of it still exists in pockets in those urban cores, but Civil Rights and Voting Rights helped empower newer generations of people to take back their own neighborhoods from the political bosses that controlled them and gave the residents nothing in return.
One common denominator of the Democratic Party’s Plantation was finding an Uncle or Auntie Tom who would sell-out their communities and dole out jobs and favors on behalf of the machine and deliver votes on Election Day, but even more importantly in office, they would always vote in lockstep with the party bosses who owned them.
For 32 years in Nevada, the undisputed leader of Uncle Tom-ism in Nevada was former State Senator Joe Neal, who carved out a nice niche for himself always railing against Gaming, but being owned by everyone else!
It was a bravura performance that left his former district a dilapidated wasteland—that’s Neals’ legacy—as the rest of the valley took off with growth, development, and jobs. I drove back and forth to work through the area each day shaking my head in disbelief how little political leadership had done for this neighborhood, but was always there at election time demanding votes.
As long as Joe Neal got his, nothing else mattered and you can still see the carnage of his 32 year reign today! No one ever asked Neal why the Green Valleys and the Summerlins were getting things that AD07 and his SD04 always needed too, but never got under his stewardship.
The Prince-in-waiting was always Assemblyman Morse Arberry Jr, current chairman of the Ways and Means Committee who never met a donor or a deal he didn’t like!
Thankfully ‘Moose’ as he’s called, is termed out after more than 25 years of triple-dipping the system here and leaving an urban war-zone behind for others to mop up and no one has ever held him or the others accountable for their indifference and inaction.
Morse ‘Moose’ Arberry’s corruption is truly magnificent; he’s managed to get a street named for him near Lake Mead and MLK, a $20 million dollar Communications building at CSN’s Cheyenne campus named for him–and he’s not even dead!–all sorts of sweetheart deals and such that made him a typical slum landlord to some, currently owing $500,000 to creditors and taxpayers today yet driving a very nice Mercedes-Benz!
Worth an equally nice $90,000 new!
Does anyone really doubt that Morse Arberry really lives at tony Canyon Gate Country Club just a few blocks up the street from me and on the market now with $3500 in taxes and fees owed?—miles away from AD07?
Oh wait, it gets even better! This property is also co-owned by a registered lobbyist with business in front of Arberry’s committee and who also happens to have shared a bed with ‘Moose’!:
Then, he was even so bold as to publicly whine that he couldn’t get any relief and that his bankers tricked him and that got him a super-sweetheart deal few, if any, other commercial loan holder would have gotten from a banking giant:
Oh, did I mention that his Ways and Means Committee helps write Nevada’s tax laws that bankers and lenders must operate under?
And he still can’t pay his taxes or other debts while tooling around town in his Mercedes-Benz?:
God Bless Term Limits which were passed with scoundrels like Morse Arberry Jr in mind!
But never, ever letting an opportunity to gorge himself at the public trough pass him by; there was Morse Arberry Jr in the news again, commandeering the local Urban League as its supposed new chair, and squiring for them a lucrative ‘daycare’ placement contract that had been held by UNLV:
Aside from wondering why we’re spending this kind of money when we’re flat broke despite the program’s good intentions, who doesn’t see this as another federal investigation and people going to prison?
Life on the plantation is very good…but only for a select few!
Just how this current Arberry-greased daycare contract change of heart came about is going to immediately trigger the fed’s interest!
I would be very interested to see where the Urban League’s Steven Brooks ends up, wouldn’t you?
And remember James and Willia Chaney stealing $500,000 of our money and all of those giant cans of food and government cheese intended for the little ones, but loaded into their Escalade and hauled to their home for their consumption?
We’re still waiting for their indictments USA Bogden!
Which brings us to a new person to be elected to AD07 for the first time in 25 years this November (June, really); not at all surprising is that one is Joe Neal’s daughter, and another is Will Robinson’s oldest son.
Two of the most corrupted families this state has ever produced and voters may be voting for the offspring who may wish to continue the giant plantation on the West Side of Las Vegas.
Lobbyists and lawyers with business in Carson City are rejoicing at a possible seamless transition and expanding their plantation’s holdings!
But, there’s also a fast growing group of forward thinking, reform minded people who are dogged-determined to sell the plantation and go to Carson City and demand AD07’s fair share for the first time in history.
In some cases, it took as many as 20 years to sell off the plantations back East and sometimes the results were worse than before, but eventually a new group of community-oriented people got it together and changed their neighborhoods forever.
We can only hope for the neighborhoods’ sake that it doesn’t take AD07 anywhere near as long!
(Mr. Zahara is a longtime Democrat Party activist and publisher of the WatchdogWag.com blog)