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Playing Nevada Whack-a-Mole with Another California Transplant

(Chuck Muth) – On Thursday I received a rather whiny and confrontational voicemail from Ricky Ortega, a recent California transplant (hasn’t even lived in the state for two years yet) and candidate for Lyon County Commission District 5.

This is not going to end well for Mr. Ortega.  Sometimes you should just let sleeping dogs lie.  But since he decided to pop his head up and pop off, time once again for a little whack-a-mole…

Earlier in the week I added the name of his GOP opponent, Dave Hockaday, to my list of recommendations.  The truth is – just as many refer to my recommendations for races where you have limited knowledge of the candidates – I, too, sometimes rely on the opinions of folks whose judgment I trust.

And my contacts in Lyon County unanimously told me Mr. Hockaday is the better candidate.  So I recommended him.

Well, when he found out, Mr. Ortega got his knickers in a knot.  Complained that I never talked to him, which is true.  Never talked to Mr. Hockaday either.

On the other hand, Mr. Ortega never reached out to ME.  Lesson for candidates: It’s not the job of those who issue endorsements to reach out to candidates.  It’s up to candidates who want such endorsements to reach out to the endorsers.

In addition, in an interview with the Mason Valley News, Mr. Ortega boo-hoo’ed that “Not even the Lyon County Republicans have reached out to me.”

Apparently, this newcomer believes he’s God’s gift to Lyon County politics and the rest of us should be lining up to bask in his reflected glory.  How lucky we are that Mr. California is willing to share his magnificence and save us Nevada rubes!  All hail, Ricky!

That aside, because Mr. Ortega pitched a fit, I looked into the two candidates a little closer.  And after that research I’m even more solidly in Mr. Hockaday’s camp.

In addition to the voicemail he left me, Mr. Ortega spouted off in a series of Facebook posts that were quite revealing of his personality.  Let’s just say it appears he hasn’t read “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”  Not a good thing for someone running for public office.

After being asked why he was running in rural Lyon County while he still works in California, Mr. Ortega’s smarmy response was…

“I reside in this county and I have for years. It’s called ‘Tele-work.’ Get used to the concept. It’s here to stay. It’s the hottest thing in Real Estate Sales.”

Apparently, there’s no real estate to sell in Lyon County.  But, whatever.

And again, he hasn’t lived in Lyon County for “years.”  He bought his tele-home in the county in July 2018 – less than two years ago.

Later in the thread it was revealed by Lyon County Commissioner Ken Gray (District 3) that Mr. Ortega’s wife – Kathleen Ortega, who still isn’t registered to vote in Lyon County – had been writing pro-Ricky posts on Facebook using a fake name and not disclosing her relationship with the candidate.

And for simply exposing that deception, Mr. Ortega ridiculously accused the commissioner of “bullying women,” claimed his wife had been “disgraced by you,” and called Mr. Gray a “jerk.”

Sorry, that dog won’t hunt.

Mr. California later added…

“I hope all women drive by the Bunny Ranch (brothel) and see your electronic banner. I guess Prostitution is ok for you and you brought it to this County despite push back from the Church. I hope women and good folks realize what your morale compass points too.”

Well, now he really done gone and did it!

First, Commissioner Gray didn’t bring legal brothels to Lyon county.  Apparently, this recent California transplant doesn’t know legal brothels have been here, I believe, since 1971…almost 50 years.

Secondly, the electronic billboard isn’t a “Bunny Ranch” brothel sign; it’s a sign owned by the business park where the Bunny Ranch is located.

Thirdly, we live in a representative democracy, not a theocracy.  “The Church” doesn’t dictate public policy.  And here’s an inconvenient truth…

The voters of Lyon County in 2018, by a whopping margin of 80-20, crushed a ballot initiative that would have shut the county’s legal brothels down.

That means a LOT of good, church-goers – including women – voted to live-and-let-live.  You know, “the Nevada way.

So I guess what Mr. California is saying is that 80% of Lyon County’s voters have a faulty “morale” (he meant “moral”) compass.  How insulting.

And let me just share a little bit of inside background info on Commissioner Gray as it relates to that ballot referendum, since I was directly involved with it as late Bunny Ranch owner Dennis Hof’s campaign manager.

Ken Gray is a deeply religious man; a church-goer with a solid moral compass who caught a lot of undeserved grief from the handful of holier-than-thou moralists behind the referendum.

Personally, he’s no fan of prostitution, legal or illegal.  However, he was responsible enough as an elected official to attend a series of public forums I moderated on the ballot question throughout Lyon County.

He also met with and discussed the issue with some of the women who work in the brothels and, while he didn’t agree personally with their choice, respected the fact that they were grown adults who chose this line of work of their own free will.

Commissioner Gray also respected the right of the voters of Lyon County to make their own choice on whether the legal brothels should stay of go.  And, um, they overwhelmingly voted to keep ‘em.  You know, live-and-let-live.  The Nevada way.

Commissioner Gray took exactly the right position on this difficult issue despite his personal beliefs.  He trusted the voters to make the decision. Indeed, Mr. California’s accusation that Commissioner Gray was “ok” with prostitution is simply an outright lie.

And as Lisa Scott added in a comment on the Facebook post…

“Ortega wants to change rural Nevada! He doesn’t care that the people voted and by a landslide said what WE wanted. He is here to turn us into California! He doesn’t care to learn Nevada history or what the people want, he is just a muppet for the church.”

Now, a little about his opponent…

I didn’t know this at the time I made my original recommendation, but there’s a special place in heaven for Mr. Hockaday.

You see, he once served as the voluntary chairman of the Lyon County Republican Party.  And as a former county party chairman myself – one of the most thankless jobs in the universe – that earns Mr. Hockaday bonus points in my book.

In fact, Mr. Hockaday has been an extremely involved grassroot GOP activist in Lyon County for many years – long before Mr. California bought a tele-commuting rest stop there.

In addition, I checked the Secretary of State’s website and discovered that Mr. Hockaday has made over 50 donations – totaling over $7,500 – to various local GOP candidates and organizations over the past seven years.

Did the same search for Mr. Ortega.

Bupkis.  Nada.  Zilch.  Goose egg.  Zero financial support.

The LAST thing we need in Nevada are more California evangelists moving here and telling us how we should be doing things.  You wanna fix something?  FIX CALIFORNIA!

So I’m sticking with Dave Hockaday for Lyon County Commission District 5.

UPDATE: 2020 Personal Candidate Recommendations

Please note: My recommendations are based on if I was voting TODAY…which I’m not.  Running, up-to-date list here:

Note: Been having some server problems with my sites over last few days.  If the site is down when you go there, try again a little later.  I’m working on it.


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