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Ralston Weighs In On The DNC And The City's Stadium Bid


Win McNamee/Getty Images

Delegates and attendees cheer during the fourth and final day of the Democratic National Convention.

Hillary Clinton made history this week when she became the first woman to earn a presidential nomination from a major political party. 

This, of course, took place at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, where Las Vegans Astrid Silva and 11-year-old Karla Ortiz spoke out about deportation. 

Meanwhile back at home, the City of Las Vegas is renewing its efforts to land an NFL stadium


There still seems to be a rift in Nevada between Bernie and Hillary supporters. Has that rift healed?

I don’t think it’s healed. But I think the rift is smaller than it is being made out to be. There are some real rabble rousers in the Bernie Sanders’ delegation and they were stirred up back in May by Erin Bilbray, who is the Democratic National Committee woman and a Bernie Sanders supporter, to believe that they were being treated unfairly. And now with the leak of all of those DNC emails, it has gotten worse.

Some of them have raised a little bit of a ruckus at delegation meetings in Philadelphia and even on the floor, holding of signs – anti-TPP signs that’s the trade agreement. There was even a sign held up in the delegations that said ‘rigged.’ But I do think that they’re pretty much full of sound and fury and that ultimately this will signify nothing.

Support comes from

Bernie Sanders called on his supporters to support Hillary Clinton did that change any minds?

I don’t know if it changed people’s minds. There have still be walk outs. There have still been voices yelling, even on the floor during the president’s speech. Do I think that Bernie Sanders is going to work for Hillary Clinton? Yes. Do I think that most of his supporters will vote for Hillary Clinton? Yes. Polling shows that.

Do I think that a minority – I don’t know how big it is – will not help her and will consider her more part of the problem than the solution? Absolutely. The questions is whether it will matter. If the race is close in swing states, that could matter. If it’s not, then it’s not going to matter.

Is it really telling that the Republicans did not have an equivalent of Astrid Silva or Karla Ortiz at their convention?

Donald Trump would never had allowed such a thing. This is one of the great ironies, because [Mitt] Romney, who caused himself some problems by saying ‘self-deportation’ and a few other things. His loss and getting destroyed among Hispanics, including in Nevada where he lost 3-to-1 was why they had the so called autopsy done. Where they were going to reach out to Hispanics and trying to be more sensitive to minorities – that worked out well with their nominee.

Your name came up this week related to a national story when news broke about the Democratic National Convention’s emails. Those emails showed some DNC staff openly trying to figure out ways to support Clinton. The DNC is not supposed to choose one candidate over another. In those emails, they talk about wanting to circulate a May column you wrote about the Nevada state caucus. Tell us about that.

I’m quite honored! I think I was mentioned 64 times in that email leak. That was in reference to a column I had written about the Sanders’ folks here getting out of hand and being very raucous at the state convention when they lost. And Sanders enabling them by not calling them out in a statement he put out afterwards.

I actually talked then about how this could be a harbinger for what was going to happen in Philadelphia and spokesperson of the DNC – I believe it was a communications person – said ‘let’s spread this around without attribution, that is: ‘let’s try to let people know this is going on in Nevada but tell them it’s not coming from us.

The more rabid Berners saw this as proof that I was conspiring with the DNC somehow. They’re going to read into their so-called rigged meme whatever happens to be close to what they think comports with it.

We've been talking about the Latino vote a lot in this election. Does vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine provide what Hillary Clinton needs to seal the deal with Latinos and win states like Nevada?

I think it is going to be helpful to some extent that Tim Kaine speaks Spanish. But vice presidential nominees don’t matter that much in a presidential election. Hillary Clinton doesn’t need Tim Kaine to get Hispanic voters. Donald Trump has got that handled for her.

Of course, as a surrogate, being able to go into Latino communities speaking Spanish, can that help? Yes. But I also, I think it is totally patronizing to say that just because a white guy can go and speak Spanish to Hispanics that they’re just automatically going to like him.

I just think it is the message of Donald Trump and the message that Hillary Clinton is very skillfully and probably in a very calculating way been putting out since the beginning and started in Las Vegas more than a year ago, talking about DREAMers, talking about doing whatever she needs to do to get immigration reform, even using more executive orders than the president.

Harry Reid spoke the other night. How did you think he did?

That was just a vintage Harry Reid performance. He relishes playing the attack dog. Who knew he would save his harshest line for Mitch McConnell, his nemesis in the Senate, describing him as craven. And I’m sure Mitch McConnell was thrilled to hear that. He went after Donald Trump and he pumped up the crowd pretty well for Harry Reid.

The stadium effort is still underway. The Las Vegas City Council passed a motion to try to get it built at Cashman Field. Is that a viable site?

Nah, it’s a joke. It’s never going to happen despite what Carolyn Goodman and the city council think. They’re the only ones who think that’s viable. In fact, Thursday morning at the stadium committee hearing it was not even listed by the developers as one of their four prime sites. It’s listed as a secondary site. If any of those four did not work out, Carolyn Goodman made a plea to the developers to please consider Cashman Field. The city manager has written a letter to the committee asking for a full blown presentation. They’re just paying her lip service now. And what’s really interesting is to see the competition again – and competition is a gentle word – between Steve Sisolak, the chairman of the Clark County Commission who obviously wants this in the county and Carolyn Goodman. It was Steve Sisolak who brought up that the 51s who play at Cashman Field… have a long term lease that expires in about five or six years.

It is not going to go downtown. Nobody wants it downtown except the Goodman family and the city council.


Jon Ralston, columnist, Reno Gazette-Journal and KTNV

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