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Muth: Blogger Jon using red herrings to ink anti-stadium yellow journalism

In memory of the recently deceased political talk-show host John McLaughlin, here are three things you can depend on with “meta-physical certitude.”

One, the sun will rise in the east. Two, temperatures in Death Valley will exceed triple digits in August. And three, liberal blogger Jon Ralston will ink a misleading column on an important Nevada issue out of personal pique against one or more of the parties involved.

Latest example: The proposed domed stadium in Las Vegas.

If Las Vegas Sands owner Sheldon Adelson wasn’t involved, Blogger Jon would be the stadium proposal’s biggest fan. But for whatever reason – maybe Mr. Adelson forgot to send him a dreidel for Hanukkah last year or something – Ralston has been taking every opportunity to sabotage the project by hyping, tabloid-style, misleading information about it.

For example, in a recent blog post published by the Reno Gazette-Journal, Ralston insulted northern Nevadans as “political pawns” for no reason other than their elected state legislators met with representatives of the project to learn more about it.

Imagine that. Legislators actually learning about an issue before voting on it. What a novel concept. Such “pawns.”

But the most irresponsible portion of Mr. Ralston’s drivel was his absurd suggestion that funding for the proposed stadium would be “diverted” from funding for northern Nevada schools.

“We in the south,” Ralston intoned with his patented dollop of sarcasm, “know your schools up there are top notch and don’t need any help at all. None.”

Let’s set the record straight: NO room tax money currently going to education will be “diverted” to the stadium project. None.

Ralston’s suggestion to the contrary is the perverse fantasy of a scorned B-list pundit who has his tights in a twist over not getting any “scoops” on the project.

That said, let me make a public policy argument that the money SHOULD be diverted, even though it won’t be.

When the room tax, paid by tourists, was established back in the 1960s, around 90 percent of the revenue went to promoting tourism in Las Vegas – as it should have. But for some reason a large chunk of that money – 39 percent – now goes to education.

I can understand having tourists pay for tourism-related expenditures. But why should tourists fund our public education system? That’s something we residents should pay for.

And as you’ll recall, the Nevada Legislature just jacked up taxes through the roof last year (with Ralston’s full-throated support) – the largest tax hike in state history – for the expressed purpose of dumping a boatload of new money into public education.

So Blogger Jon’s suggestion that education funding might suffer if the stadium project is approved is a red herring soaked in yellow journalism. Do yourself a favor and just ignore this fool on the hill.

Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, which, in the interest of disclosure, has received financial support from the Las Vegas Sands over the years.

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