Friday, November 21, 2003

Radio silence after all

Turns out I won't be on KNPR Monday, as the program was "overscheduled," from the voicemail message host Gwen Castaldi left at work for me early today. At the time, I was a bit suspicious. After all, the show's producer seemed somewhat frantic to make sure all four panelists were booked on Thursday afternoon.

Let's recap: The topic is the federal Hatch Act (which bans people who work for agencies that use federal funds from engaging in partisan politics) and local politicians who may be affected by it. The panelists were: Assembly Speaker and Henderson Deputy Police Chief Richard Perkins, who's been told by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel he's violating the Hatch Act and must either resign his job with the police or not file for re-election next year (he's now appealing that decision); Knight Allen, a local government watchdog who's a trenchant critic of profligate spending, abuse of public power and all things righteous about fiscal policy; the North Las Vegas city attorney who crafted a "Hatch Act compliance program" so that NLV firefighter John Oceguera could serve in the Legislature; and me.

After hearing I'd been bumped, I suspected Perkins or the NLV attorney had objected to my presence on the panel, since I'd written critically of Perkins and Oceguera. My colleagues said this was nonsense. Perkins offers an eloquent defense of his position, even if he's wrong. And besides, Knight Allen would be there.

Then I got a call from Knight this afternoon. He's been disinvited as well. For the same reason: "overbooking." So unless a defender of the Hatch Act who was unknown to me as of Thursday afternoon was added to the program, the panel consists of: a person who's in violation of the law yet believes the law doesn't apply to him; and a lawyer who expended taxpayer resources to help a fellow public employee evade the law. Now that's fair and balanced.

Perhaps I protest too much. And Castaldi said in the voicemail that she wants to do a show on public employees in the Legislature next month and book me (and Knight, as it turns out) on that program. (If she gets wind of the blog posting, I can kiss that booking goodbye.) But I'll believe her offer was serious when I'm actually on the air. And I'll be listening to the show this Monday to see who did make the cut.

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