Mark TwainPhoto via German language Wikipedia. Public-domain photo. My disdain for most politicians is as deeply ingrained as was Mark Twain’s contempt for those who, often self-compelled by individual hubris and arrogance, felt possessed of the skills, perception and vision to guide the rest of their citizenry.
If only such self-appraisals were accurate, our cities, counties, states and country would be much more prosperous and in better condition! Sadly, the opposite is true. Americans often have not been well-served by those whom they elect, be it on the local, state or federal level.
In fact, as with many of my college professors, I’ve often found the least capable among us professionally are those who run for office or teach. It’s difficult to make collective assessments, but I’ve not been impressed with most of the college professors and politicians I’ve encountered ~ and I've met and covered many in my newspaper career. I don’t think I’m alone. Look at the dismal state of education and the country.
Thus, when local politicos celebrate our fine city’s first-ever Mark Twain Days Festival this weekend ~ complete with a bow-tie ball at the Governor’s Mansion, I laugh hilariously. Twain was all about opposition to the self-aggrandizing political and business classes and their over-inflated sense of self-importance.
It is ironic that while celebrating Twain, his journalism, his literary career and irreverence, there is so little outspokenness in Carson City news media. We are poorly served by an enfeebled print newspaper and an atrociously designed online site known more for its news releases than news.
When a controversial issue to locate a slaughterhouse next to a neighborhood, cemetery, light-industrial area and a small boat access to the Carson River with a picnic area was proposed, there was news coverage; however, to this former editor’s eyes, it was often woefully lacking and poorly written.
There was not a strong, sustained and level-headed editorial campaign by either publication, decrying the ludicrousness of attempting to locate a slaughterhouse next to a cemetery.
Never was there a clearer case of impotent "news" portals than that. For the lack of leadership, both publications should be entered in the Carson City Journalism Hall of Shame. (But there isn't one.)
If Twain were alive today, he would ridicule Carson City's news organizations' inefficaciousness and uproariously pillory their cowardice.
Twain would also surely have had fun with our mayor for her inglorious leadership by praising her slaughterhouse-next-to-cemetery support for other mayors throughout our free republic to use as a template for urban sprawl in their communities.
Truly, a growing city is not complete without a cattle slaughterhouse next to a historic cemetery!
That said, now let's celebrate the Mark Twain Festival in Carson City and regale ourselves with stories and exploits of past journalistic excellence that Nevada was once, but no longer is, known for.
Empire CemeteryThe west-facing hillside at Empire Cemetery was altered when the property proposed for the slaughterhouse was prepared for development. It may be difficult to see in this photo, but the fence is the cemetery boundary, with graves right up to it. Beyond that is now a sharp drop. ~ ~ ~
My wife Kathleen, a Carson City native, helped with the opposition to this hairbrained slaughterhouse location, which was defeated by the past Board of Supervisors. But there is a new board, and the case apparently is in the hands of a judge at the last report, so who knows how it could go in the future.
Forget laws, policies, building codes, etc. that would allow a slaughterhouse on that location. Isn’t there something creepy about killing animals next to a cemetery that Carson City families still visit? Even if no one visits the cemetery, the location seems inappropriate to me.
For the record, I don’t oppose slaughterhouses. We need more local slaughterhouses, but there are more appropriate locations in the area.
I'm no Bill Gates'-type bug-eater, either. I love bacon, eggs, steak, cheeseburgers, corn dogs, hot dogs, turkey, jerky, jerky sticks, barbecued chicken, etc.
I’ve also followed the meat company, which proposed the slaughterhouse, on Facebook for several years and have no animosity against it. I hope it can find what I regard as a more suitable location. I value its contributions to the community and hope it prospers.
Lastly, from what I’ve heard, the mayor is a fine, upstanding citizen who loves Carson City and works hard for it. My apologies if taking literary license offends some, but the slaughterhouse is a meaty issue worthy of ridicule. The mayor and I both agree on the need for a slaughterhouse; it’s just the location where we differ.
As for the two "news" publications, do better. Leadership is a virtue.