Toy Drive Motorcycle Club

County Commissioner Dust-up: Toy Drives, Swastikas, and Motorcycle Clubs Obscure the Real Issue

An angry disagreement between County Commissioners Mike Clark, Alexis Hill, and Mariluz Garcia broke out at their June 18 meeting [HERE].

It highlighted the angry partisan division between Commissioners, and also the need to discontinue the troublesome practice of annually providing each Commissioner tens of thousands of dollars to donate at their discretion to community groups in their districts. (Local city councils follow this same practice).

Only on the surface was this week’s argument about Clark using $10,000 of his discretionary funds to support a toy drive organized by the Northern Nevada Confederation of Clubs (NNCC).

Hill and Garcia strongly disagreed with Clark’s gifting choice and demanded he rescind it. They based their feelings on the fact that an unidentified NNCC motorcycle club member in the audience was wearing a vest that included his club’s name and a large swastika.

  • With NO proof of linkage between NNCC and the lone swastika-wearer in attendance, Hill and Garcia angrily demanded that County funds should not be given to organizations that associate with a historical symbol of hate.
  • And, without asking the in-attendance leader of NNCC if there was any connection between the swastika-wearer and his organization, Clark angrily held firm with his intention to donate, declaring that the NNCC’s toy drive for children is a positive activity.

Below the surface, however, the Commissioners’ argument was about much more than funding a toy drive or an unidentified person wearing the Nazi symbol.

This incident was just the most recent example of the growing refusal of liberal and conservative elected officials to work together on even the simplest issues, for the benefit of the county as a whole.

The toy-drive vs. swastika argument could have been solved easily and quickly.

  • Hill and Garcia could have asked Clark if the swastika-wearing biker was part of the NNCC group seeking the donation.
  • Hill and Garcia could have told Clark that to get their support for his donation, the NNCC leader needed to – right then – publicly disavow any connection with, or ANY support for such symbols in his organization.
  • Clark could have simply asked the NNCC leader to answer that question.

If the NNCC leader had – right then – condemned any and all wearing of swastikas by his group, then Hill and Garcia could have comfortably supported Clark’s proposed donation.

And if the NNCC leader had not agreed to answer that question immediately, then Clark, of course, could have comfortably agreed with Hill and Garcia that the NNCC organization was not an appropriate group for County taxpayers to fund.

For years, our elected officials, both liberal and conservative, have unfairly benefited from these taxpayer-funded “slush funds.” The political leaders’ donations primarily target organizations whose activities align with the individual politicians’ politics. This results in incumbents using their discretionary funds to essentially buy blocs of votes for their next campaign cycle, and establish an unfair advantage over intra-party and inter-party challengers.

There is an easy solution to the slush-fund issue, and the problems it causes.

The solution would prevent individual elected officials from participating in de facto vote-buying with taxpayers’ money.
It would also reduce some of the growing partisan bickering, of which the Clark/Hill/Garcia toy-drive/swastika argument is the most recent example.

The solution?

With the County Commissioners leading the way, get rid of all the slush funds for all Washoe County’s elected officials entirely.



In the future, any elected officials who want to donate to worthy causes can do it the same way the people who voted them into office do it: Donate their own money.

Clark’s donation issue was not settled at last Tuesday’s meeting and will be continued at this week’s Commissioners’ meeting. If Clark, Hill, and Garcia try the solution offered above, an agreement could be reached in a few minutes.

And then, the Commissioners can propose a policy to abolish their slush funds entirely, approve it unanimously,  and move forward ethically cleansed and ready to work together as much as possible to benefit the community’s well-being, and not their own.

By Nevada Signal Staff