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Dealer activists and the Transport Workers Union's Local 721 casino dealers affiliate are circulating a self-described "cheat sheet" to membership, letting them know where various and sundry Nevada candidates stand on Wynn Resorts' controversial tip-redistribution regime.
The TWU polled candidates on the issue and collected the following responses. Candidates' e-mail address have been redacted, out of respect for their privacy. Poor grammar, punctuation and spelling have been left unsullied, however:
Stefany Miley, District Court Judge Dept. 23: "Unfortunately I am unable to give specific positions on issues that may come before me. This is per the code on Judicial Ethics. Each case varies and must be separately considered."
Donn Ianuzi, District Court Judge Dept. 22: "I am against his policy of taking money from the dealers and have serious questions regarding the legality of it"
Michael Villani, District Court Judge Dept. 17: "I would be surprised if any judge or candidate for a judicial position would address their personal views on the Wynn tip policy. A judges personal views are irrelevant. I take my oath of office very seriously and base my decisions only upon the law and facts of a particualr case. For me to do otherwise would, in my opinion be a breach of my ethical duties."
Lindsay Nicole Madsen (R), State Senate District 7: (She works closely with the two lawyers who drafted our new petition.) "I work for Kermitt Waters and work with Don Chairez very closely. I do not support tip sharing in any way, shape or form."
Tim Hagan (L), State Senate District 5: "When I give a tip, I consider it to be a gift to that person. It's up to that person, along any agreement they may have made to share with coworkers, what to do with that tip. The dealers should decide whether floormen are including in tip sharing. Also, as a gift, the tip should not be taxed as income."
Rep. Dean Heller (R), Second Congressional District: "As a Member of Congress, however, I do not speak for this company, or any other, and the federal government does not have jurisdiction over this issue. If you support or disagree with the policy, I strongly recommend you contact the Wynn Las Vegas company to express your thoughts.
Anthony "Tony Bop" Wernecke (D), State Senate District 3: "The rich gets richer and the poor get poorer, have steve wynn share some of his wealth with his employee's, never happen, if you vote 'Wernicke for State Senate' i will tackel that issue, because i am one of the people for all the people! and your tips our yours, thats it, but politics like usally"
Linda Marie Bell, District Court Judge Dept. 7:
"On a purely personal note, I find the issue troubling, because tips are supposed to be a thanks for good service provided by an individual. Thank you for your question."
Allison Copening (D), State Senate District 6: "I am opposed to making dealers share their tips with supervisors at the Wynn and any other gaming establishment."
Jade Zahreddine (D), State Senate District 3: "I understand the situation as it is. The reluctance of the bureaucracy of this state to ehtically enforce their responsibilities is a travesty. I will keep you apprised of our efforts in the north to battle for the seats necessary to reverse the numerous instances of bureacratic corruption as highlighted by the Wynn debacle."
Rep. Mark Manendo (D), Assembly District 18: "As far as your question, you should research the last legislative session as I voted for the bill. (AB 248 which would have made Steve Wynn's Tip policy illegal)"
William Kephart, District Court Judge Dept. 10: "I am opposed to it. I am old school and believe that any tip a person receives he should keep it. I believe that this promotes better and more courteous service, in a service oriented industry."
Ryan Fitzgibbons (IAP), Assembly District 17: "I'm not familiar with this particular casino's policy, but my general principle is that I'm absolutely opposed to the redistribution of wealth. Whether it be the government taking the fruits of your labors to redistribute to others, or your boss doing the same thing, it's inherently unfair and against the spirit of American Capitalism."
Robert P. Spretnak, District Court Judge Dept. 7: "I have specifically talked about the Court decisions regarding the Wynn Las Vegas tip policy at a number of campaign events, including the Channel 10 debate on October 2, 2008, and there is brief statement about my disagreement with these court decisions in the Las Vegas Review-Journal Voter Guide, at the bottom of this article: http://www.lvrj.com/special_sections/voter_guide/31212259.html"
Lisamarie Johnson (R), Assembly District 6: "The tip-sharing policy is unconstitutional. Simple as that."
Rep. Joe Hogan (D), Assembly District 10: "I believe the intent of the tip donor should be honored by not distributing tip revenue beyond those who personally provided the services and earned the goodwill of the patron/donor."
Allison Herr (D), Assembly District 23: "I do not support mandatory tip sharing. I understood why the Supreme Court made the ruling they did in the case based upon current Nevada Law, however I do not think it is a fair outcome for the employees."
Kristie Turley (L), Assembly District 3: "I would also like to add that I am also pro-union. Last but not least, if I were in office and had to make a choice, I would not support forced tip sharing."
Rep. Lynn Stewart (R), Assembly District 22: "I don't like it"
Eric Morelli (R), Assembly District 3: "I believe that if I tip you I tip you. If I did not tip you then you then you don't get tipped. Tips need to go to the people they were directed to. Now If you choose to share then that is your choice. It should not be forced upon."
Don Woolbright (I), Assembly District 5: "The tip sharing should remain with the dealers."
Marilyn Dondero-Loop (D), Assembly District 5: "I think those who earn tips for customer service should keep those tips. TIPS: To Insure Prompt Service"
David IsBell (R), Assembly District 17: "In a nutshell, I'm against it. The tips belong to the dealers, it is their gift from the patrons. The gaming floor supervisors are to be an unbiased third party, and not in it for the money. I believe the decisions made violate state law, and I would encourage an appeal of the Nevada Supreme Court's decision. I know first hand with our current status in the economy, the tips are not what they used to be. Many families depend on tips, and it is unfair for the government, and for a boss to take a cut. You are working hard to give good service, and you should spend your rewards as you see fit."
Mitch Hostmeyer (R), Assembly District 10: "I spent 20 years in food service and personally am not a fan of pooling tips. I understand gaming is different then food service and pooling among dealers is a common and excepted policy. However, from what I understand about the Wynn, I am not in favor of the way it was implemented by management at the Wynn. I don't believe that is the proper way to balance the difference between supervisors and dealers."
Ron "Garrett" Giarratano (R), Assembly District 37: "I am not for it, no tip sharing,"
Leonard M. Foster (I), Assembly District 13: "I was a crap dealer for 13 years from 1990-2003. I worked at Circus Circus table-for-table and my last job was at the Las Vegas Hilton. I believe that the dealers money belongs to the dealers. It should be up to the dealers on how it is, or is not, to be split. Floormen and up are management and receive a salary for that position. If they don't like the fact that the dealers make more money, I would tell them to put on an apron, get their head down, ass up and start dealing."
Nicholas Thomas “Nick” Daka (R), Assembly District 19: "Well since Wynn Las Vegas is a private organization I don't feel that the government should involved in whatever tip policy Wynn engages in. Nonetheless I also feel its the worker's right to organize a trades union, since Labour unions are private organizations in their own right."
Linda West Myers (R), Assembly District 1: "Sounds like a great way for the Dealers Union to prove its mettle. Crafting a collective bargaining agreement is a complex process. Perhaps, if he is 'stuck' on the socialist strategy, he might be willing to double or triple salary."
Rep. John Oceguera (D), Assembly District 16: "I thought the issue had been resolved in the court system?"
Donna Toussaint (R), Assembly District 5: "I am against tip sharing."
Jon Kamerath (IAP), Assembly District 2: "I absolutely do not believe that an employer should be allowed to distribute any part of dealers' tips to management. This part of the tip issue ought to be protected by the State. When I answered your previous email I was referring to policies of sharing tips among only the personnel who get tipped. I also don't blame Steve Wynn's workers for unionizing in response to what he did. Hopefully it taught him a lesson. I believe in the right to, or not to, collectively bargain, but I want the government to be as small and limited as possible while still protecting our rights, which is what I believe the Founding Fathers felt was the proper role of government."
Rep. Harry Mortenson (D), Assembly District 42: "I sincerely believe that when a customer gives a tip to an employee, it is because the customer was impressed by the service received and the tip should remain with the employee."
NB: Stiffs & Georges makes no endorsements in these or any other candidate-specific races -- although we reserve the right to move Rep. Oceguera to the back of the class.