Scene In Passing: Reprise Enid Strict, then cast your ballot

Watching Carson City’s Ward 1 race for supervisor is mindful of the days when Dana Carvey brought Enid Strict to “Saturday Night Live.”

“Well, isn’t that SPE...CIAL?” That was the most famous line from comedian Carvey’s appropriately-named TV Church Lady.

This mother of all rhetorical questions repeatedly entertained viewers of Carvey’s alter-ego (or is that altar-ego?). In addition, Carvey’s Church Lady often said: “How con-VEEN-ient!” and “Could it be SATAN?”

The race between Supervisor Karen Abowd and Lisa Helget, her challenger, fascinates this scrivener, who already knows how he’ll vote in the Ward 3 contest between Supervisor John McKenna and his challenger, Lori Bagwell. In keeping with efforts at impartiality and — frankly, because I’ll have to cover whichever candidates win — my votes in both races shall remain secret ballots.

Early voting is under way, but I have yet to vote. I’m still mulling things on Abowd-Helget. Quirky questions — not the big and obvious ones — plague me.

Regarding Helget: Special interests? Helget campaign literature asserts “No Special Interests.” Her website says her only special interest is you, dear readers. “Well,” reprising Edith Strict, “isn’t that SPE...CIAL?”

Helget makes clear she thinks Abowd is in league with special interests. That’s a vague term politicians use to demonize an opponent and his or her supporters.

From my perspective, Garth Richards — businessman, developer and golf course owner — is pretty special. I won’t demonize him. I assume Helget agrees. Why? He’s bankrolling her campaign.

Maybe her special interests, being everyone (you), include Richards in a SPE...CIAL category. Or perhaps she hopes voters think she will blithely tell Richards, her primary financial angel, to go jump after the election.

As for Abowd, I’m curious to know more about the planned Harvest Hub cooperative food outlet she’s involved with up to her armpits. She never mentions it, at least not within my hearing. The project’s connection with the Hop & Mae Adams Foundation’s Steve Neighbors, on whose property it is planned, perhaps is verboten for Abowd as a pre-election topic.

She often talks of city improvement plans throughout the community, rather than confining remarks to city and private projects downtown. Obviously she wants voters to think there’s something for everybody. But nothing is happening on the proposed Harvest Hub site. A key player in the project moved away and Harvest Hub seems to have gone missing to back-burner status. Coincidence?

“How con-VEEN-ient,” as Carvey’s Edith Strict might say.

Now to my own special interests — this column’s readers — including colleague Guy W. Farmer. Here’s a bet you’re all “probably” too smart to vote based on one issue. No one likes taxes much, including me, but there’s much more involved in running a city. So here’s the father of all rhetorical questions, which focuses on the impulse for single-issue voters: “Could it be SATAN?”

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


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