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Ralston: More From the R-J and UNR's Questionable Hire


There’s been no shortage of upheaval in the world of Nevada politics this week.

From the ongoing moves at the Las Vegas Review-Journal, to a questionable hire at the University of Nevada-Reno's basketball program, to anger from Bernie Sanders' supporters to more about a taxpayer-support plan for a billion-dollar stadium, Jon Ralston is watching it all.

Ralston, a KNPR contributor, columnist for the Reno Gazette-Journal and host of VegasPBS' "Ralston Live."


 Do you think that room taxes will be funneled from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority to build the stadium, which is supported by Sheldon Adelson and his Las Vegas Sand Corporation?

“I think the amount of public funding is going to be key here. The original proposal was two-thirds or so of the entire project, but closer to three-quarters, was going to be paid by room taxes. They’re going to rejigger that I think to try to make it more appealing but still there’s going to be more public funding involved. The big dog-and-pony show on Thursday is about trying to sell this with David Beckham, the soccer legend. And Mark Davis the Raiders owner coming in.”  

“It is quite the sales pitch but it’s a long way to go before you get there. You have to have legislative session either a special session or at the next session. You would have to have the NFL owners approve it. You would have to have the FAA sign up - a lot more”

Tell us about the meeting Las Vegas Review-Journal editor Keith Moyer had with reporters in the newsroom on Wednesday:

He essentially met with the reporters. This is the day after John L. Smith resigned and there was a lot of criticism about how this happened and how he made that decision. And what happened is he essentially called a meeting with five minutes notice inside the newsroom and said to the staff, ‘I’m the boss – this is apparently a phrase he likes to use- If you don’t like the way I make decisions, if you don’t like the decision I make, you can quit.’

Do you have any idea how the reporters and editors over there feel?

I think it is as bad as it’s been since Adelson bought the newspaper. I think that these reporters were initially very, very wary after they heard that Adelson bought the paper. Then they were on a high after they managed to ferret it out themselves… but now I think the reality is starting to set in. They’ve got a publisher and an editor who obviously are going to be sentinels for Adelson. Whether they’re taking direction from Las Vegas Boulevard South or because they think it’s good for their jobs to act in that way, I don’t know the answer to that.

The reporters are very, very distressed. Moyer’s behavior is outrageous to most of the journalists there. Howard Stutz, the most prominent gaming reporter in the state, has left. John L. Smith has left. Other reporters have left. Other reporters I believe will leave very shortly.

What is the issue with Bernie Sanders in Nevada?

The Bernie Sanders folks lost, as you know, on February 20 in the caucus. But then they swarmed the county conventions. They used the process to their advantage. They out organized the Hillary Clinton people. They essentially change what was a projected 20 to 15 delegate win for Hillary to an 18 to 17 win for her and even that’s in limbo going into the state convention.

Now, they’re questioning whether the state party is conspiring essentially with the Hillary Clinton people to change the rules before the state convention and this kind of stuff happens all the time with these internal party factions arguing about who’s right – who’s wrong – the intricacies of bylaws.

What is wrong with UNR hiring new assistant basketball coach Yann Hufnagel, who was terminated by University of California Berkley after it found he violated its sexual harassment policy in a case brought by a 24-year-old sports reporter?

The question isn’t ‘right’ or ‘wrong.’ The question is ‘why would you do it?’ considering you have a very well respected institution like Cal Berkley that found evidence to dismiss this guy. He then appealed [According to the Reno Gazette-Journal, he dropped the appeal after getting hired at UNR] and was obviously looking around for a job and got a soft landing at UNR. Mark Johnson, I think is a very impressive guy, the president of University of Nevada-Reno, I’m astounded that he would make this decision considering all that has been written about this case, when this assisted coach has essentially tried to us a victim-blaming defense, ‘She was flirting with me so it was okay that I tried to trick her into coming into my bedroom’ and all kinds of other really sordid stuff.  



Jon Ralston, Reno Gazette-Journal columnist, VegasPBS' "Ralston Live"

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Joe Schoenmann joined Nevada Public Radio in 2014. He works with a talented team of producers at State of Nevada who explore the casino industry, sports, politics, public health and everything in between.