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May 5, 2015

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J. Patrick Coolican

Story Archive

A candid Senate showman takes the gavel
Bob Coffin, head of tax panel, unafraid to tell a joke or a truth
Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2009
Sen. Bob Coffin said that despite his new role of chairman, “I’m not gonna stop being Bob,” which, to the several lobbyists gathered in the room, must have seemed as much like a threat as it did reassurance. The new chairman of the Senate tax committee is quite blunt about the direction the committee will move in the next two months.
Plenty to do, even without budget crisis
Renewable energy standards and oversight of medical clinics and building sites are among issues lawmakers are likely to address
Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2009
The 75th session of the Nevada Legislature will be about -- what else? -- money, but as capital veterans point out, only 10 people or so will be deeply involved in the negotiations over how to solve the state’s $2.3 billion fiscal crisis.
State leaders pray for the best
Tone sober yet hopeful on first day of 2009 Legislature
Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2009
The opening day of the 75th meeting of the Nevada Legislature featured bagpipes, lengthy prayers, elegant orations and baroque floral arrangements, like a celebration of the dead. Though it wasn’t a funeral exactly, a more somber than usual mood prevailed, and it was a little hard not to think of Nevada’s last rites.
Lawmakers undaunted by budget task
Sunday, Feb. 1, 2009
No Nevada Legislature in recent memory has confronted the dire financial situation that faces state lawmakers as they convene Monday: a $2.3 billion budget shortfall, an unprecedented foreclosure crisis and a state economy in freefall. The Sun brought together four lawmakers — two Democrats and two Republicans — during a break from committee hearings last week to discuss the 75th session of the Legislature. (Gov. Jim Gibbons was invited to participate or send a representative. He declined.)
The lobbyists behind the lawmakers
Lobbyists are often seen as bullies who push powerful interests' agendas. And some do. But some offer expertise relied upon by politicians with limited time and resources to learn every issue.
Sunday, Feb. 1, 2009
In the final hours of the 2005 legislative session, well-meaning lawmakers unanimously approved big tax breaks for companies that build environmentally-friendly buildings.
Top Democrats’ wait-and-see on budget: Savvy or spineless?
Friday, Jan. 30, 2009
There are two ways to look at the performance of top Democrats in the run-up to the legislative session, during which elected officials will have to deal with an unprecedented fiscal crisis.
Dems mum on remedy for budget shortfall
Thursday, Jan. 29, 2009
Democratic legislative leaders continue to decline to provide specifics about how they'll fix the state's fiscal mess. Instead, Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford and Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley, both Las Vegas Democrats, held a press conference today to discuss the schedule for how budget deliberations will proceed.
Chamber will support tax hike with other reforms
Monday, Jan. 26, 2009
The Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, one of the state’s most powerful interest groups, unveiled a legislative agenda this morning that suggested the possibility of a grand bargain: Fiscal reforms that will lead to long-term savings in the state budget in exchange for a tax increase in the upcoming legislative session, which begins next week.
As Democrats take power in upper house, old order fades
Sunday, Jan. 18, 2009
Sen. Warren Hardy glanced around his new office, a cramped affair more befitting a small town claims adjuster than an experienced state senator with nearly two decades in Carson City.
Reluctantly sharing bad news, Gibbons leaves some out
He predicts effects of tax hikes but not of slashing of services
Friday, Jan. 16, 2009
Gov. Jim Gibbons was understandably reluctant to deliver the bad news in his State of the State address Thursday. At moments, he was like a teenager who has tell his parents that he wrecked the family car, but puts off the task with buttery good news and pointless small talk.
Lawmakers preparing for governor's speech
Thursday, Jan. 15, 2009
Governor's budget won't spread the pain equally
Thursday, Jan. 15, 2009
I just left an embargoed press briefing on the governor's budget. "Embargo" in the media world means we can't reveal what was said until an appointed time, in this case, 6 p.m., when the governor makes his State of the State speech.
Mood more somber ahead of governor's speech
Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009
Three leaders to watch as state politics heat up
They’re all Democrats on the rise, and dynamics might get interesting in budget crisis
Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009
Once Gov. Jim Gibbons does as expected in his State of the State address Thursday and pledges to veto any tax increase to balance the state budget, the first-term Republican will become largely irrelevant to the legislative process, many capital observers assume.
What's at stake, for those who need and care
Sunday, Jan. 11, 2009
Thousands of Nevadans are feeling the effects of budget cuts, while bracing for the worst. Here are some of their stories.
More cuts, or progress?
State can no longer avoid dire consequences of a refusal to increase taxes
Sunday, Jan. 11, 2009
Not since legalizing gambling or cleaning the Mob out of town has Nevada faced such a profound choice about its future — indeed, about its own identity. The question, simply stated: What kind of state does Nevada want to be? At the moment, Nevada has delivered unprecedented prosperity to both a wealthy elite and average workers on the Strip and beyond, but the broader community is in sorry condition. Nevada has some of the lowest taxes in the country, and the state’s rankings and public institutions reflect that lack of funding.
ERs could shut doors
As state payments shrink and more patients lack insurance, at least two hospitals consider an extreme move
Saturday, Dec. 27, 2008
Nevada hospitals are in such dire financial condition that at least two are considering closing their emergency rooms and refashioning themselves as something other than full-service hospitals, according to the head of the Nevada Hospital Association.
There’s a case for higher taxes, even now
Yes, they’re bad for a lagging economy, but the alternative — spending cuts — is worse
Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2008
The refrain heard often from Nevada elected officials, Republican and Democrat alike and especially Gov. Jim Gibbons, is that a recession is no time for a tax hike.
Street-level view of the foreclosure problem
In Vegas, federal panel sees the effects of lost homes
Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2008
Damon Silvers was incredulous. “We’ve given them $45 billion, and we can’t get them to the table?” he said. Silvers is a member of a group appointed by Congress to oversee the $700 billion bailout of financial institutions, and he was expressing his disbelief Tuesday to Kenneth LoBene, a federal housing official based in Las Vegas.
Reid: $700 billion bailout not working
Reid speaks at first hearing of congressional oversight board looking in Las Vegas
Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2008
At a hearing this morning in Las Vegas, one of the cities hit hardest by foreclosures, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told a congressionally appointed oversight panel that the $700 billion Wall Street bailout program is not working.
Obama-bred activists meet, chart course
Look out, Legislature: They vow to fight on health care, education and environment
Monday, Dec. 15, 2008
Across the Las Vegas Valley over the weekend, supporters of Barack Obama gathered to chart the post-November direction of a grass-roots movement that elected the Illinois senator president and swung Nevada blue.
Reform slate ousts Teamsters officials accused of sweetheart deals
Saturday, Dec. 13, 2008
A long-troubled Teamsters local has elected a leadership slate of reformers, throwing out incumbents accused of steering nonunion work to preferred companies in exchange for favors and jobs for relatives.
Culinary flexing its renewed muscle
It says its city hall fight is about taxpayers but larger battle emerges
Thursday, Dec. 11, 2008
The Culinary Union, emboldened by November election victories, is fighting on new ground and trying to punish its enemies. Its immediate goal: block Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman’s plan to build a new city hall — and dish out some payback to the federation of construction unions that supports Goodman’s efforts.
Change may come to more than D.C.
Obama network remains formidable force here, elsewhere
Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2008
State lawmakers may need to brace for the politically unexpected when they descend on Carson City in February.
Farewell to risk, for now
Risk taking helped turn Vegas into a booming city, but the downturn has made consumers less willing to take a plunge — for better or worse.
Sunday, Dec. 7, 2008
Risk and risk-takers have been celebrated, fetishized, apotheosized in the American economy and culture for two decades. ¶ George Gilder, bard of ’80s-era supply side economics, summed it up: “A successful economy depends on the proliferation of the rich, on creating a large class of risk-taking men who are willing to shun the easy channels of a comfortable life in order to create new enterprise, win huge profits, and invest them again.”
Bad for Krolicki, bad for the state
Indictment of lieutenant governor comes at a time when we need more confidence in government officials, not less
Sunday, Dec. 7, 2008
Democrats may be snickering at the indictment of Republican Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, but doing so is shortsighted.
For GOP, principles aren’t enough
Party must show how its tenets can be applied to solve big problems
Sunday, Nov. 23, 2008
Nevada Republicans looking for any sliver of light at the end of that black tunnel could be encouraged last week by two developments, or at least a development and a half.
Lessons that should be learned from this election battle
You gotta organize, and you ought to refrain from attacks
Sunday, Nov. 9, 2008
Democrats won a big victory in Nevada Tuesday. That we know, but there are some other things to take away from the results.
GOP split on lessons of its loss, sees long road back
Sunday, Nov. 9, 2008
In the midst of the Republican bloodbath Tuesday night, Gov. Jim Gibbons stepped to the podium at the Palazzo sports book and told the party faithful, “Tonight is about the beginning of a new hope for Republicans in the state of Nevada.”
Hits, misses and the in-between
The election produced lots of winners, and lots of losers, beyond just the obvious.
Sunday, Nov. 9, 2008
Herewith, our list.
Titus promises an agenda for Nevada
Congresswoman-elect reflects on hard-fought campaign, looks ahead
Saturday, Nov. 8, 2008
In her first sit-down interview since her election to Congress on Tuesday, Dina Titus was relaxed and happy. “This is a historic time for this country,” she said. Her upbeat mood was in stark contrast to that of two years ago.
‘Obama Effect’ bit the pollsters who foretold small victory here
Thursday, Nov. 6, 2008
Never mind the “Bradley Effect,” pollsters in Nevada may now have to consider the “Obama Effect.”
Titus scores a personal comeback
After losing ’06 governor’s race, she beats incumbent in House
Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2008
After Dina Titus lost the 2006 governor’s race to Jim Gibbons, who’d been accused of assaulting a women and other ethical misdeeds, she seemed to have lost some faith in politics.
How Obama won Nevada
Democrat makes history
Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2008
A year and a half in the making, the Obama organization had become a machine. The Las Vegas Sun was given access to Obama meetings over the months, while conducting background interviews with Obama staff, under the condition the paper not publish any of what it learned about the organization until after the election.
McCain turns up energy at end
Palin finishes her campaign in Northern Nevada, where she started it
Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008
The Republican presidential ticket on Monday made its last stops in Nevada before Election Day, underscoring the importance of the state to the party’s hopes of retaining the White House.
Live blog: Crowds gather to hear McCain in Henderson, Palin in Reno
Republican presidential campaign comes to Nevada on marathon election eve campaign swing
Monday, Nov. 3, 2008
GOP presidential candidate John McCain spoke tonight at the Henderson Pavilion, as part of his marathon campaign sprint to the finish, having already visited a number of states back east today. Meanwhile, another in Reno gathered for a visit from McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin.
In black churches Sunday, a little extra excitement
Monday, Nov. 3, 2008
When the Rev. Ralph Williamson asked his flock Sunday if they’d voted early, nearly every hand shot up. Williamson, senior pastor at First African Methodist Episcopal Church in North Las Vegas, looked at the few people who hadn’t voted yet and quipped, “Need a ride?”
Campaign comes full circle: Obama back in Vegas area
Sunday, Nov. 2, 2008
On his first visit to Nevada, 21 months ago, when he spoke before 3,500 people at the Clark County Government Center, Sen. Barack Obama decried “slash and burn” political tactics and promised to unite the country around a “new kind of politics.”
Reid lurks in background of Dems’ fundraising
Sunday, Nov. 2, 2008
There is interesting irony in Sen. Barack Obama’s phenomenal fundraising. With donations averaging $86 per person from 3 million Americans, Obama isn’t in hock to any one person or industry or labor union.
A new wave of activism
How a flood of volunteers for the presidential campaign of Sen. Barack Obama could shift Nevada’s balance of power from gaming interests to a group of highly trained liberal activists.
Sunday, Nov. 2, 2008
The old saying in Nevada is that we don’t have two political parties, we have one party — the Gaming Party.
Danny Glover stumps for Obama
Thursday, Oct. 30, 2008
Memo to Democrats: No one cares about Danny Glover.
Titus ventures into less friendly parts
Thursday, Oct. 30, 2008
Outside a meeting with voters in Overton on Wednesday, state Sen. Dina Titus was reminded of her 2006 struggle in the rural communities. She quipped: “I love rural Nevada, and rural Nevada loves me!”
GOP gives help to Al Franken's opponent
Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2008
Family members star in campaigns’ last act
Obama’s wife, McCain’s daughter make late pitches for early votes
Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2008
Both presidential candidates are using every available body — starting with their families — to press for early votes and round up volunteers for a final push.
State Democratic leader says he's staying
Monday, Oct. 27, 2008
Ensign pointing finger at McCain
Monday, Oct. 27, 2008
Sen. John Ensign, R-Nevada, head of the Senate Republican election effort, is blaming the McCain campaign for his unhappiness.
Dean: From ‘Scream’ to nearly realizing 50-state dream
Sunday, Oct. 26, 2008
I recall it quite vividly, the bosses all huddled around a computer screen, this being the early days of Internet video, as Howard Dean let out his now infamous scream.
Obama presses edge on the economy
In change from earlier visit, he pitches ‘beer track’ voters
Sunday, Oct. 26, 2008
Sen. Barack Obama spoke at the Doolittle Community Center about a year ago, and the working class crowd began streaming out before he was even finished.
As race tightens, Titus pressed to attack
Citing the success of Porter’s negative ads, some Democrats say their candidate must respond in kind
Saturday, Oct. 25, 2008
State Sen. Dina Titus has spent months and hundreds of thousands of dollars telling voters Rep. Jon Porter has supported policies that have been harmful to Southern Nevada. Porter, the Republican incumbent in the 3rd Congressional District, has spent his time and money telling voters Titus is a bad person, never mind her policies.
Report: McCain's troubles in the West
Thursday, Oct. 23, 2008

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