Las Vegas Politics: A Black & White Thing?
Assemblyman Steven Brooks, D-Las Vegas, is accused of threatening to harm a Democratic Party leader (Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick ) on Jan 19th, 2013. The Assembly is meeting this week to determine his fitness to return to duty. He could become the first person in Nevada HISTORY to be kicked out of the Legislature. Incredibly, there is still a very good chance that this clearly disturbed criminal will remain in his seat.
Kirkpatrick took the leadership helm after a divided Democratic caucus finally decided to back her over Assemblyman Horne. Horne, instead, was given the position of Majority Leader. Sources speaking on condition of anonymity said Brooks’ behavior had become a matter of increasingly concern in the weeks following Kirkpatrick’s election as speaker. Kirkpatrick claimed to police that Brooks told her several times that her victory over Brooks ‘ruined his life’. During the brief leadership struggle, Brooks supported Horne. Brooks told some lawmakers and lobbyists that he expected to be named chairman of the powerful Ways and Means committee, which oversees the budget review process. Brooks, not a ranking member of that committee, was not in line for the chairmanship, which Kirkpatrick gave to Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton, D-Las Vegas (she had already served for 2 years on that committee). Brooks, sources said, took it as a personal slight and reacted angrily.
Interestingly, Horne has been appointed Vice Chair of the Ways and Means committee under Carlton. One has to wonder why Brooks felt that Horne’s election to Speaker instead of Kirkpatrick would have helped him obtain the chairmanship of the Ways & Means committee. Was he promised this seat by Brooks if he supported him in his bid for Speaker? Just interesting that Horne ended up as Vice Chair of the same committee even though he had never before served in that capacity. A pay off from Kirkpatrick?
And now, guess who is in charge of the investigation of Brooks? That would be one Majority Leader Brookes. One must truly wonder what his recommendation will be. Will he support a criminal- but one that helped him in his bid for Speaker? Or will he toss him under the bus? I suppose that depends on how many supporters Brooks can drum up to stop his expulsion. My question: how much does race play into this drama?
Councilman Ricky Barlow (Brooks’ former boss) “believed there was a real danger to Speaker Kirkpatrick” and confirmed that Brooks “had made comments in the past about not being afraid to shoot it out with the police or shooting himself,” according to accounts by police officers involved in the case. Barlow has since denied the police report and said he was only concerned for Brooks’ mental state. Councilman Barlow also called Assemblyman Atkinson about his concerns about Brooks. After receiving this phone call from Barlow, Atkinson calls Kirkpatrick and informs her of her danger. She called the police, which resulted in his first arrest. (question: why did Barlow not call the police himself? Why talk it over with Barlow and do nothing himself? Also, why would the police lie on their report? And why is Barlow backtracking? Is he ready to back Brooks, his former employee?)
Jan. 19 2013- Brooks threatens Kirkpatrick’s life and is arrested that night with a loaded gun and 41 rounds of ammunition in his car. Brooks threatens arresting police officer with bodily harm. Released.
Jan 19-24- Brooks begins to show up at the Legislature Building wearing a hoodie pulled over his head and dark sun glasses. During this week, he posed for the photo below.
Jan 25- police are called to Brooks’ grandmother’s home in response to a domestic violence situation and involuntarily forced Brooks to undergo psychiatric evaluation after he was found with a sword there. He told police that he was ‘ready to die’ and that he would engage in a gun fight if necessary.
Feb 10- Brooks was arrested again after beating his wife. During this arrest, Brooks attempted to assault the police officers and tried to take the police officer’s gun. Clark County prosecutors charged him with one felony and three lesser charges which, if he is convicted, could subject him to fines up to $10,000 and as much as six years in jail. He was later released.
Feb. 21- Brooks tried to purchase a rifle at Sparks sporting store and was denied due to prior arrests.
A long time friend, Steve Sanson (a veterans advocate) contacted Brooks after the Jan. 19th arrest. He sold Brooks a bullet proof vest. Brooks also asked for night vision goggles, but Sanson claims that he did not sell it to him.
Even after all this, Brooks is trying to accumulate at least one third of the assembly’s votes to keep him in his seat. How much is about politics? How much is about black loyalty (in other words, black racism?)