Scene in Passing: Old saw on only constant cuts wide swath

Carson City’s chief public servant just sent a book that went to the top of my reading list, and it’s a read everyone who resides here should consider as well.

Starting “Reimagining Greenville: Building the Best Downtown in America” this weekend isn’t the beginning of a summer beach read, but so what? City Manager Nick Marano, who came here from southern California on June 2 to head the executive branch of city government, talked of the book both during his interviews for the job and last week at a breakfast meeting for a business and manufacturing group.

“I don’t care how they did it in California” was an infamous Nevada bumper sticker of former years, as I recall, but that shouldn’t stop us from following Marano’s recommendation. Touting a book in an interview is standard practice; doing the same after you get the job is a recommendation. And Marano is anything but a California transplant. He’s a man of the world, both literally and figuratively.

A retired Marine Corps colonel, he’s from Pennsylvania originally and has lived all over the world. He served in the Middle East and knows the dangers of Iraq, which are flaring again on the world stage. He knows how downtowns are destroyed, so when he talks about a book on how to build one, has the chief executive role to do that in this city, and sees a model he likes it’s important to heed his counsel.

The book, by the way, is about a small South Carolina city — not one in California.

Carson City is a community still seeking its footing in a modern world. That’s not unusual; the only constant is change. Marano recommended a book and courage to face the need for change. I’m in.

Change came to the Nevada Appeal recently, much as Marano did to Carson City. The best editor, young or old, with whom it has been my pleasure to work became the chief editor at this newspaper. Publisher Mark Raymond named Adam Trumble to fill the vacated post. It means the Appeal is improving. It won’t be perfect, but none of us or our institutions ever can be. Thanks to Trumble and a dedicated staff, however, things are looking up. Bet on it.

Raymond and Trumble also let me in on a secret previous editors hadn’t: the publication’s general policy is to avoid mixing opinion and beat reporting. My main beat is the Board of Supervisors; for the rest of it on a small staff, everyone must be a generalist. So I also write a bit on government, politics, commerce, culture, people, life and times of any and every sort.

Henceforth, these commentaries will range across a wider spectrum, touching on the board only occasionally. Does that mean I won’t comment on the players? Hardly. It means I’ll strive to separate politics from policy when I do, which is difficult but not impossible.

And it means my column is moving to the paper’s opinion pages beginning Wednesday as I read more than just “Reimagining Greenville” to prepare for this change.

John Barrette covers Carson City government and business. He can be reached at


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