Fiore, Faraday, Ethics And Harry Reid: Political Clashes Seize The Day

We don’t want to believe it, but politics affects each of us every day in a million different ways.

And almost every day, some politician does something we either love, or despise.

Some of the issues driving politicians today: Bernie Sanders' weekend visit to Las Vegas; Harry Reid mocking MSNBC for its softball interview with the billionaire Koch brothers; will Faraday save North Las Vegas; should Nevada kill the Ethics Commission; and Michele Fiore loves guns.

Interview Highlights

North Las Vegas, long considered the stepsister to Las Vegas, may have a bright future. That is, if a plant to build an entire electric car, the Faraday, gains approval. To that end, we hear a special session of the state legislature will be held within the next two weeks. Can you tell us why a special session is needed?

Ralston: “The special session would be required for the same reason that it was required for Tesla, which is certain incentive packages, certain gifts as some people might look at them, for this company to come to Nevada would need to be enshrined in law.”

“It would not be as generous a package as Telsa got, from what I understand, but Faraday is asking for certain things. The state is willing to give certain things and those negotiations are going on right now. But it looks like the special session, which a lot of people thought was going to start in about 10 days is now not going to happen in November.”

Support comes from

Behind the scenes, how did this unfold? We know Governor Sandoval flew to China recently. But we also know North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee was there. Can you tell us more?

Ralston: “From what I understand John Lee essentially hitchhiked onto that trip and wasn’t expected to be there. Faraday does have Chinese ties.”

“You can be sure that John Lee, who has had his problems in North Las Vegas, is looking for a huge win here. He wants to be in the headline. My guess is that if this happens, Brian Sandoval will share credit with John Lee. This is a big, big deal for him and for North Las Vegas. It could be transformative.”

Would the Faraday plant be a bigger feather for Governor Sandoval or North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee?

Sebelius: “I think it would be an accomplishment for both. Certainly, John Lee needs it a lot more than Gov. Sandoval does. This would be something that would really revolutionize North Las Vegas and maybe the whole of Southern Nevada.”

Think there will be as much bi-partisan support for tax incentives for a Faraday plant as there was for Tesla?

Sebelius: “The Tesla plant was approved in a day in a unanimous vote by the Legislature. So, you would expect Southern Nevada lawmakers certainly would expect their Northern Nevada counterparts to be just as enthusiastic in their support for a project in Southern Nevada as the Southern Nevadans were for a project in Northern Nevada.”

District Four Michele Fiore also made news again. This Republican Assemblywoman is thinking of running for Congress. To raise money, she is trying to sell $25 calendars of her posing with guns. First, have you bought one yet?

Ralston: “I have not and I really think I should get one because it really is going to be collector’s item for Nevada political historians.”

“Michele Fiore’s problem is she said so much stuff that is so out of bounds. And now her latest of evading state inspectors who wanted to look at her records and then suddenly closing her business so she wouldn’t have to get inspected and then turning that around into ‘I’m the victim,’ including on another radio station yesterday comparing herself to Rosa Parks because she stood up to state inspectors. I mean she’s living in a different world than you or I.”

Does that hurt the Republican Party in this state?

“Michele Fiore just has a catalogue full of attack mailers against her that could be used to hurt the entire Republican Party”

Do you think Brian Sandoval could be a pick in the vice presidential race?

Ralston: “I think it is highly unlikely. I think his name will be floated. I think it has already been floated. The theory being that Nevada is a swing state that he’s Hispanic he can help with what the Republicans badly need is outreach to Hispanic voters.”

“I don’t see [Jeb Bush] picking a guy who just passed the largest tax increase in history who is a pro-choice governor on the Republican ticket. I just don’t see it happening.”

Caller Jim from Las Vegas asked whether Nevada is a blue state or a red state?

Ralston: “I think we are still a lean blue state based on what’s happened in 2008 and 2012 when Barack Obama won the state fairly decisively in both of those races. I think the democratic machine will revive after the 2014 disaster. And I think that the Latino vote here, which could be 20 percent of the electorate, you’re going to have a woman who could be the first Latina senator right below Hillary Clinton who has made some very obvious appeals to the Hispanic vote. So I think you have to say the state leans blue”

Is Bernie Sanders a serious candidate in Nevada?

Sebelius: Yeah. Absolutely he’s a serious candidate in Nevada. I think he’s coming because he is trying with that new Spanish language ad and that rally in North Las Vegas at that soccer field to reach out to more minorities.

Do you think he could win the February caucus?

Sebelius: “That’s a good question. I don’t know that he’s going to be able to overcome her organization. I mean she just has such a head start and her campaign is very organized.”  

On this program recently, we examined the matter of a Gaming Commissioner, Pat Mulroy, joining the board of Wynn Resorts. The state Ethics Commission ruled she could do that, even though state law requires a commissioner to wait a year before moving to a casino job.

Sebelius: “What you saw here was a clear, an absolutely clear, violation of state law. There is a one year cooling off period not a one hour cooling off period. Pat Mulroy violated that. The ethics commission ruling notwithstanding and her lawyers very good defense of her position notwithstanding, it is absolutely wrong what she did.”

“It is not surprising but it is very disturbing that something like this would and could happen and the ethics commission ought to be ashamed of its role in blessing this kind of obvious and manifest violation of law.”

On Twitter Wednesday, Senator Harry Reid mocked the interview MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” did with the billionaire Koch Brothers. On the Senate floor, Reid read from the TV interview of the Kochs, mocking some of the questions, such as, “who was the better brother.” Reid is retiring next year but the fire remains. What do you think he might do after retirement?

Ralston: “I’m not sure he knows that answer to that. We know that he doesn’t want to be a lobbyist, in fact, I think he said he would prefer to be in Singapore being caned than become a lobbyist and he would be a terrible lobbyist in so many different ways. But I also don’t think he’s the type of guy who’s going to go to his place in Anthem and put his feet up and watch Bryce Harper hit home runs. I don’t think that’s what Harry Reid wants to do.”

On the Koch Brothers and “Morning Joe” interview:

Ralston: “This just shows that whatever filter Harry Reid had left, and he never really had one, is going to gone for the next year plus. It is going to be so much fun for guys like me and Steve to watch Harry just unload on everybody and anyone and not even care what the consequences are for him. Not that he ever did that much.”  



Jon Ralston, Reno Gazette-Journal columnist; host of "Ralston Live"; Steve Sebelius, Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist, host of "Politics Now"

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