Walking into the Golden Steer is like visiting the ghosts of Las Vegas pasts.
If these walls could talk, just imagine the stories they could tell.
Last night’s motley crew guest list included Andy Rich (Golden Nugget Poker Manager), Todd Anderson (Creator of television show Poker Night in America), Vin Narayanan (who’s doing some lucrative deal in Hong Kong that’s succeeding despite making no logical sense whatsoever) and yours truly. Our frightening foursome plopped down in a red-leather booth. Almost instantly, we had appetizer cocktails in one hand and dinner menus in the other.
Now, that’s service.
The Golden Steer has been in business for like — forever. It’s a really weird location, helplessly bookended into a seedy strip mall right off Las Vegas Blvd., on Sahara. A few doors down there’s a busy cigar bar that you can smell from a block away. The restaurant, in the shadow of the new Lucky Dragon casino, is bordered by ghetto apartments. Fortunately, there’s a spindle of rusted barbed wire atop a cinder block wall separating the slums from the Golden Steer. That way, we can all feel safe while feasting on dead animals.
If these directions don’t make any sense, then try this: Look for the giant sign with the fat cow out in front. Everyone in town knows the fat cow. Err, steer — whatever.
Years ago, the Golden Steer was the favorite hangout of the Rat Pack. Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis, Jr. and company used to dine here regularly. The trio of crooners even had their own private booths (each still in place and memorialized with plaques).
The Golden Steer has undergone a sparkling facelift since my last visit a few years ago when it seemed the old cow’s best days were way behind her. While the inner decor has been updated, it still screams “Old Las Vegas.” You don’t see places like this around anymore because they’ve all been bulldozed and paved over by an all-too-crowded kitchen of celebrity chefs.
Now that you know a little something about the Golden Steer, here’s where the story really gets good.
While Andy, Todd, Vin, and I were solving the world’s problems last night while trying to get away from our own, the scene across from us in the opposite red leather booth caught our attention and kept us captivated nearly to the point of becoming a distraction. About 15 feet away, a scruffy bearded man wearing a brown western hat dined with a young lady. The man’s coat looked disgustingly filthy. His hat was bent out of shape and wouldn’t fetch $2 at a garage sale. If you examined this scene for no more than five seconds, you’d have made a reasonable guess the man was homeless.
No big deal, really. This is Las Vegas. You see a lot of weirdness in Las Vegas.
At some point, the scruffy man asked the waiter to remove a portrait from the restaurant wall (yes, I’m serious). Then, he requested the portrait be positioned next to him and his lady friend, in the booth. If the scruffy man wasn’t a curious sideshow to watch before based on appearances, well now he had our full attention — at least as much attention you could muster without turning into a gawker.
So, the large framed portrait of a movie star was nestled into the booth while the scruffy man feasted on supper. It was hard to tell who this was exactly in the picture, but after some artful eye-dodging, someone in our party finally recognized the portrait was of the late actor Charles Bronson.
The scruffy man, the lady friend, and Charles Bronson’s portrait all seemed to be quietly enjoying themselves, although Bronson didn’t say much. Bronson also didn’t eat or drink anything. Those delicious delights were left to the other two, who emptied at least one bottle of expensive wine followed by a bottle of champagne. I tried to catch a glimpse of the labels to see what they were drinking, but I didn’t want to seem too nosy. One can only gawk so much without causing a scene.
Of course, we had to play the whispering game of speculation. Who in the hell is this guy? He sure looks like a pauper, but he’s dining in a fancy restaurant, guzzling down wine and champagne. Who could make such a wild request to have a portrait removed from the wall — and then have that request honored by the staff? And the woman really seems to dig him!
An eccentric billionaire?
The owner of the restaurant?
A perverted Charles Bronson fanatic?
Who was he?
Just as we were preparing to leave, the scruffy man and his friend got up also. They made a swift bee-line for the front door, hopefully not leaving stoic and speechless Charles Bronson to pay the bill.
Consumed by curiosity, we stopped the waiter in mid-stride cold in his tracks.
“Who in the hell was that scruffy guy in the hat? Do you know him?” we asked.
“Oh, that was Nicolas Cage. He’s a regular here. He comes in all the time.”
Another mass shooting. More bloodshed. More death. More agony.
And, of course, more thoughts and prayers.
Tragedy and suffering have become a national epidemic. During the past month, America has endured three terrible storms which created mass destruction and many deaths.
But this tragedy was something very different. The killings which took place at a country-music concert in Las Vegas were concocted and carried out by a human being. The disaster wasn’t a natural act. It was man-made. Hence, the tragedy was preventable.
The current debate about man-made climate change notwithstanding, there’s not much we can do to stop forces of nature. Storms happen. But we can and we must do everything we can to prevent massacres initiated by one human being upon others. We must try and stop it. A civil society, particularly America which is such a statistical outlier when it comes to gun violence, not only faces a decision to act now, it has an obligation to do so. This is assuming that we really do value human life, which is very much an open question. Question: Do we really possess the moral and political courage to stand up to powerful forces who are de facto co-conspirators in this pandemic of mass death?
I’m not so sure.
Instead, and in place of action, there are relentless empty words. Thoughts and prayers are nothing more than a sweet-sounding Hallmark card, only they’re cheaper and not nearly as sentimental. At least sending a Hallmark card to someone suffering inconsolable pain is a tangible act. By contrast, thoughts and prayers ring hollow. Thoughts and prayers are a cowardly abdication of greater responsibility if not linked to something more meaningful. It’s like offering to help your pal move out of his apartment but secretly hoping he’s already hired a moving company.
If prayers really worked, some nutjob wouldn’t have hammered out the windows on the 32nd floor of a luxury hotel on the Las Vegas Strip and then starting shooting upon a crowd in the first place. If prayers were effective, no benevolent celestial divinity overseeing the vast universe would have remained asleep at the wheel, emotionally isolated and criminally idle for ten full minutes, all while bullets rained down onto a defenseless cluster of terrified innocents. Expressing “thoughts and prayers” to some imaginary do-nothing sky wizard in the aftermath of such tragedy isn’t just pointless. It’s offensive.
Thoughts and prayers are offensive because they detract us, some by intention, from the very relevant discussion and debate we should all be having, instead. Thoughts and prayers are a smokescreen. Yes, perhaps there is a time for thoughts and prayers — later. At funerals. Do the prayers there. There will be at least 59 funerals happening in the next week or so. So, pray there. Pray at remembrances intended to give comfort to relatives and survivors. Pray there, if you want — all you want. But the terrible aftermath of preventable tragedies aren’t assuaged by empty words tweeted and posted on public forums, even if well-intended. Evil is eradicated, or at least diminished, by acts of courage and specific action.
Gun-fellating ostriches will protest “politicising the tragedy,” an all-too-convenient reflex I’ve already read dozens of times this morning posted all over social media. But if this — the deadliest mass shooting in American history — doesn’t motivate us to do something now, then what will? A hundred deaths? A thousand? Twenty more mass shootings? What if your relative or friend was caught in the crossfire of some wacko blasting a high-powered assault weapon armed with thousands of rounds of ammunition? Pray tell, — what will it take?
Quoting Sarah Q. Queen from Facebook, who said it best:
“Saying not to politicize this is the single most political thing you can do. Anyone who has lost family or friends to an assault rifle wants nothing more than to prevent subsequent murders, and the only way to do that is to stop allowing access. Now is the second best time, the best time being quite a few years ago. So stop politicizing and get out of the way of doing what’s best.”
Want to honor the victims of this tragedy, or one of the innumerable tragedies which have taken place before? Better yet, want to try and prevent another tragedy which is otherwise sure to come? How about this: Let’s update our gun laws. Let’s start with gun registration. Hell, let’s start with restricting guns getting into the hands of mentally disturbed people. Yeah, that would be a good place to start. But we can’t even agree on something this simple. The last time federal legislation was proposed to restrict gun purchases to mentally ill people, the National Rifle Association and its faithful foot soldiers stepped in and killed the bill. What kind of sick perverted society allows this? What sicko wants to allow someone with mental problems to, gulp!, buy guns?
Apparently, there are about 4 million sickos. That’s the number of active NRA members.
Note that I don’t propose getting rid of all guns, even though that’s pretty much what the rest of the civilized world has done where mass shootings simply do not happen. People can keep a gun in the house for self-protection or perhaps even carry a weapon. It’s a very valid point that people should have the right to protect themselves, and that right extends to legally buying a gun.
But if we’re going to sell guns to tens of millions of people from all walks of life, shouldn’t there be some minimal level of scrutiny as to who buys them? Should anyone out there be legally able to buy a dozen potentially deadly high-powered assault rifles plus thousands of rounds of ammunition? For what purpose? Shouldn’t this be a red flag? Sure, many private gun collectors who are good people and there are valid reasons for some citizens to own many guns. Indeed, we can live in a reasonably peaceful society where we have both — tougher gun laws along with maintaining the right to bear arms protected by the Second Amendment.
We require licenses and insurance for people to drive cars, and there are plenty of good reasons for this. No sane person would argue against requiring drivers to show competency before getting behind the wheel of a car. We also require restaurants to obtain licenses and adhere to safety inspections. Again, no sane person would argue against requiring food servers to demonstrate clean and safe practices. Our government even requires many professions — doctors, dentists, insurance salesmen, financial planners, and so forth to be licensed. Even hair stylists must obtain a license before they can cut hair. If we demand the person who does haircuts for a living have a license, shouldn’t we require someone who walks into a gun store and purchases a deadly assault weapon to not only to meet some standard of mental competency but also attend a basic training course on gun safety? Bartenders in many states are required to attend courses on alcohol safety. Is anyone really shocked that a nation with much stronger laws restricting who gives haircuts and serves beer than buys a deadly rifle has a rampant problem with gun violence?
I mean, WAKE THE FUCK UP!
Most gun owners are responsible people and good citizens. However, 33,000 gun deaths per year, on average in the United States, plus another 100,000 or so non-fatal accidents is a collective scream for immediate action. That’s not acceptable breakage for any sane society that values human life. That’s re-fighting the Vietnam War every two years. Think of that. Based on the number gun deaths and accidents in America, we are re-fighting the Vietnam War every 24 months. Now as then, we are losing another costly and preventable war.
Anyone who seriously believes last night’s Las Vegas Mandalay Bay tragedy is the final mass shooting is hopelessly naive. No doubt, there will be more shootings in the future. More shootings will take place given that gun laws are unlikely to change anytime soon. And so, we are destined to endure far more preventable deaths, that is, so long as this nation remains foolishly wielded to outdated gun policies that were written when the most deadly weapon in the world was an infantryman’s musket.
Since the Second Amendment was written into the United States Constitution, technology has changed. America has changed. So too, our laws much change also.
And if you still want to pray — then please go ahead and pray. But while you’re remembering the innocent victims, also pray for some sensible gun laws in America. That’s a prayer where I’d willingly bow my head in complete agreement.
Postscript: I would be terribly remiss were I not to add that we need to spend far more and do far more for mental health in this country. But instead, we are cutting services to agencies which deal with mental health problems. We will never know if mass murders like this terribly disturbed individual might have cried for help and not been given the treatment which could have prevented another senseless tragedy.
The Las Vegas Club in downtown Las Vegas was a smelly armpit of a casino, coated in a mix of disgusting bodily fluids and cheap booze, the dingy carpets dusted in cigarette ash. And I adored every sick square sentimental inch of all that rotten residue and loved blowing every dumb dollar I wasted there.
The outer skeleton of the Las Vegas Club is crumbling, barely standing now because the building’s torso keeps getting pummeled by the constant blows from a wrecking ball swinging from a big crane. Like a bruised boxer in the 12th round hanging on the ropes, what remains might soon be a giant pile of dust by the time you’re reading this. And so, the Las Vegas Club is destined to decay into an antiquity that eventually disappears, except for what retreats into the deepest recesses of our memory alongside the bygone Dunes, Stardust, Riviera, Castaways, and so many other once-thriving monuments to a city’s past.
Even with all its plentiful scars and blemishes, I have fond memories of the Las Vegas Club. I recall the unusually large $22/night hotel rooms, many with a window alcove overlooking noisy Fremont Street. I recall the spooky-dark steakhouse ringed with red-leather booths with a smell of the old criminal underworld that sat empty most of the time, but the Maitre’d still always insisted on having a reservation (they once turned away a party of three — which included Mike Sexton, Stu Ungar, and myself).
Sure, the Las Vegas Club was a dump. Everyone agreed. I went back and read some of the old reviews posted on Yelp. Many are as comical as they are cringeworthy. Reviewers complained about everything — from the dank smell of cigarette smoke to the loud noise. They bitched about the parade of hookers in high heels ramping up and down hallways that echoed like a wind tunnel piercing through the hopelessly outdated decor that hadn’t seen renovation since the mid-1970’s. Sorry for my lacking any sympathy. What the hell did anyone expect for $22-a-night? A hooker holding a sixpack, I guess.
Opened in 1949, the Las Vegas Club went through as many different owners as blackjack shoes. They tried various gimmicks and new branding campaigns most of which failed, but all the crusty old joint really ever ended up being was a great place to gamble, get a stiff drink, and perhaps end up crashing in a bed bug infested hotel room, provided you still had $22 left in your pocket. The hotel was so notorious towards its ending days, they wouldn’t rent to locals.
Sometime around 1990, the Las Vegas Club decided to adopt a sports theme. Walls were knocked out and replaced. The sportsbook tripled in size. A huge aluminum grandstand like you’d see at a high school football game was installed for gambling fans. For a buck you could get a beer and a hot dog. The walls were tackily decorated with sports memorabilia, probably 95 percent of it fakes and forgeries, but nobody gave a fuck. So, that’s the baseball bat Mickey Mantle used when he hit his 500th career home run? Yeah, right. Step right up, folks. We also got the loosest slots in town. All that was missing was the cheap carnival barker in a striped coat chomping on a cheap cigar while swinging a cane.
During the poker boom which happened about a decade ago, the Las Vegas Club opened a new poker room. The first day I showed up, all eight tables were filled to capacity and there was even a waiting list. A few months later, the empty room closed down for good. I think half the dealers who worked in that room are dead now.
When I was working as Public Relations Director of the old Binion’s Horseshoe across the street, the Las Vegas Club might as well have been my break room. Both on the clock and off it and plenty of days and nights before work and after — I bet plenty of sports there, had a few drinks there, made a few friends there, made a few enemies there, got into some fights there, and most of the time had the blast of my life. It was the kind of place where you walked up to the bar and the barkeep asked the simple two-word question, “the usual?”
The Las Vegas Club even had its own karaoke spot. Upstairs on weekends right atop the sportsbook, a melting pot of human gumbo cracked plenty of eardrums, all in good fun. One night when I showed up late, the karaoke bar was closed. So, tagging along with Dan and Sharon Goldman (and her mom), we were later joined in the casino by two of Britain’s finest — Simon “Aces” Trumper and “Mad Marty” Wilson (yes, those are their real names). This motley crew decided to perform our own version of karaoke at the casino bar, sans the musical accompaniment. Half the casino looked at us like terrorists. The much drunker half laughed and some even joined in the singing. The bartender let us get away with it all because we tipped like crazy. “Mad Marty” talked me into playing a trivia contest for $100 a question. I finally left broke after maxing out my hits on the ATM machine. Some advice: Never engage in trivia on classic English literature with “Mad Marty.” He’s a hustler. [PROOF: WATCH THIS VIDEO]
I have no idea if the Las Vegas Club a pool. I never checked. But I doubt it would have been safe to dive into the water, anyway. It would be like swimming next to the drain pipe from a lead smelter.
There wasn’t any fancy showroom either. No headliners. No celebrities. No paid entertainment. Hell, the gamblers and the hustlers and the hookers and the hustlers were the show. And it was free at the Las Vegas Club, all the time.
The last few years of the Las Vegas Club were not kind to its memory. The deterioration was gradual. Burned-out light bulbs weren’t changed. Sticky floors got mopped less and less often. Stained carpets rarely felt the tickle of a vacuum. Felts on the worn out gambling tables faded. The steakhouse closed. Valet service was discontinued. The hotel shut down. But amidst the decline and fall, as so so often we see when times aren’t so good, the people turn out to be so very good indeed and they even surprise you. Those loyal employees who worked there towards the end stayed cheerful. They almost always smiled. They were good people. They were hard-working people. And sadly, they were the last voyagers on the teetering deck of a sinking ship. Like the band that played on during the frigid night when the mighty Titanic plunged to the depths of the Atlantic, the people who gave the Las Vegas Club its memories despite all its defects kept their pride and worked until the fateful final hour. The casino closed in 2015.
The Las Vegas Club didn’t try to be nice. Carnivals aren’t nice either. Neither are amusement parks nor state fairs nor sports stadiums. Hell, a sleazy strip club called “Girls of Glitter Gulch” was just 25 feet from the main entrance, front door to the right.
The Las Vegas Club never pretended to be Paris or New York or Venice or a Mirage. It was exactly what it advertised. It was Las Vegas.
The Black Sheep has been getting rave reviews, so I had to pay this cozy neighborhood restaurant a visit. Marieta and I dined together on a busy Friday evening and were lucky to be seated at the last table available before the inevitable wait list began.
There are many things to love about The Black Sheep. There are also a few disappointments, admittedly more the result of my personal biases and clashes in tastes, rather than quality or service. In other words, if you’re into the trendy nouveau restaurant scene, you’ll probably like it more than I did.
First, the good things: The Black Sheep offers a marvelous variety of food and drink — from specialty cocktails ($9-12) to tasty appetizers ($5-16) to plenty of entrees with a unique flair ($15-25). There’s at least one item of beef, chicken, pork, and seafood to satisfy most tastes. I listed the price ranges because, as one can see, this is a surprisingly affordable place to dine out when compared with other contemporaries in this class.
Advertised as Vietnamese-American, this is the type of snooty restaurant one might expect on the Las Vegas Strip, at double the prices. However, The Black Sheep is far friendlier. It’s tightly nestled in the corner of an L-shaped storefront and conveys much more of a local’s feel, the perfect after-work meeting place, especially singles from the crowd we witnessed. On the night we dined, the clientele was almost exclusively comprised of younger professionals.
Marieta ordered the Slow-Cooked Short Rib with Yucca Gnocchi on a bed of Summer Squash Ratatouille. Her dish was stellar (I devoured a third of hers), and was a relative steal at just $20. The short rib was so tender, no knife was needed. The medley of beef, gnocchi, and ratatouille was divine.
My order consisted of something more simple — Rainbow Trout in a tasty vinegar sauce. I’m a Rainbow Trout fanatic, so wasn’t quite sure this would match my palate. However, the chef grilled the trout to absolute perfection, conveniently deboned, but also served with full head and tail. My only complaint about the food was my jasmine rice accompaniment was a bit too sticky and clumped badly. Still, I didn’t come here for the rice, so this was only a minor annoyance. Also of Note: The portions are not large. This is not a place to go if you savor a huge meal. Think of what you might expect in some fashionable Beverly Hills bistro, sans the attitude.
The Bad: What was annoying for me was the ambiance, which had several shortcomings. To be fair, The Black Sheep is a new hit spot, so it’s to be expected that the restaurant is already way too small for the crowds. That’s not a knock on the establishment, at all. Yet, while the culinary treats are ample, physical comforts are nonexistent.
For one thing, the spartan tables and chairs, dark concrete floor, and industrial loft look is certainly trendy, but also not the greatest atmosphere for a first date or casual conversation among friends. The restaurant is very loud, made worse by a sub-standard sound system playing music that’s indecipherable from the ambiance of 75 people within seemingly talking all at once. One of my major pet peeves is having to strain to hear the person next to me who’s talking in a normal tone of voice, even though my table mate was just 3-feet away. Many people obviously aren’t bothered at all by this. I don’t like it.
Another negative was the lighting, where The Black Sheep fails badly. Many Las Vegas restaurants are at a comparative disadvantage with dining establishments in other parts of the country. That’s because the sun here is often hot and blazing. While there’s nothing The Black Sheep can do much about 105-degree afternoons, they should do something about the front windows, which blasts in a headache-inducing glare. Since the restaurant is open 5-11 nightly (closed for lunch), blinding light is a big problem for diners who come in during the first few hours. The rest of the place is dark, while sun rays peer through the front like it’s a midnight drug bust. Sure, a small takeout joint can get away with this annoyance. An upscale restaurant of this quality cannot. Something needs to be done about those windows. At least — pull the drapes. No one wants to look out into a parking lot, anyway.
Here’s a stock photo (not taken during my visit) which shows the layout.
The service was excellent. Our host, waitress, and busboy all seemed to know a great deal about the restaurant, even though they’d been open only two months (at the time of this review). Staff were on top of every need and checked on us just enough to make sure we were happy without the constant hassle of interruption so often experienced at other places. Remarkably, our dinners came out in less than ten minutes. Not sure if this is routine, but the kitchen here can put out food quick — if needed. A somewhat limited main menu of about a dozen entrees probably speeds things up for the back of the house. Moreover, a smaller restaurant like this will rely on turnover in order to survive, so the quick service might be part of the standard plan.
So, I credit The Black Sheep on their affordable prices, excellent food, originality, and fast and efficient service. However, I slightly downgrade them for some problems with the decor and customer comforts.
Also note — Early Happy Hour runs from 5-6 pm with $5 wine, $4 craft beers, and $1 fresh oysters on the half shell. There’s also a late 10-11 pm Happy Hour for night owls.
Overall, this was a positive experience. I recommend The Black Sheep and give them a solid 7/10.
Based on the popularity of what’s become one of the hottest new spots in Las Vegas, reservations are strongly recommended.
“All politics is local,” is a common truism meaning that what we do with our lives within our local communities often produces the most tangible results.
Steven Horner, a retiree living in Las Vegas, best personifies this spirit of local politics. He’s busier than most people half his age, often tirelessly putting in 60 to 70 hours per week on any of his pet projects and political activities. He’s a champion of public education, always his favorite topic to discuss. Any day or any night, Horner is likely to be seen participating in a public march, organizing a meeting, volunteering on a project, or directly lobbying an elected official. Horner is a 27/7/365 activist who lives, breaths, and preaches his philosophy of life — which is justice and opportunity for all.
I first met Horner at a local political meeting right after the 2016 presidential election. Stunned by the electoral disaster, Horner was quick to launch into action. Always prepared to act and not just whine and complain, he began organizing yet another generation of activists eager to engage in a new battle and channel a wayward shock of political defeat into something constructive and meaningful.
Horner is the chairman of a local Democratic Party organization, a responsibility which only scratches the surface of a weekly routine which includes ceaseless political activities. He attends local public hearings, where he often speaks about important issues. He travels to the state capital (at his own expense) to meet with legislators. He works with volunteers and other activists determined to fight for common values.
Whatever your politics, one has to genuinely admire Horner’s intense personal commitment and boundless energy.
Steven J. Horner was born on July 17th, 1951 in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was the first of four children born to Jack and Ruthanne Horner. When he was young, the Horner family moved and he grew up in McGill, Nevada — a small mining town run by Kennecott Copper Corporation.
Later, Horner attended a boarding school in Mt. Pleasant, Utah — Wasatch Academy. This experience was “one of the truest influences in my life,” he says. Indeed, this strict educational indoctrination at a church school triggered the first of many impulses over a lifetime to #resist. Horner’s revolutionary spirit first sprouted during a time of sweeping political and social change across America. Horner’s questioning of the establishment resulted in expulsion from school during his junior year. He questioned the rules set forth by the governing church, which was not a popular thing to do in Utah at the time. Horner was branded as a troublemaker — a label he would eventually come to embrace as someone not willing to sit by idly in the face of ignorance and unfairness.
Horner did not graduate until later in life, a shocking revelation given his intense devotion to public education and broad knowledge of so many different subjects. Horner later moved to Silver City, New Mexico, where he met his wife while working at a semi-professional theatre.
In 1971, Horner moved to Las Vegas. “I did many little jobs, drove a truck, worked as a bartender, and a cook,” he says. Shawn, his first child was born a year later. Later, he had a second child, aptly named Hope.
Many who know Horner now might be taken back by his decision to enlist in the U.S. Army in 1973 — just as the Vietnam War was coming to an end. He served and was even stationed in Italy for a time. Despite a growing family and active military service, there was still a deep void in Horner’s life. He knew that he had to go back to school and complete his education.
And so, after years in the Army, Horner returned home to Las Vegas. In 1979, he began to pursue a B.A. in Theatre Arts. However, he’d take another personal detour which lasted ten long years. Behind the scenes, there was a darker cloud overhead which had begun to profoundly impact his daily routine, and not in a good way.
Horner recognized that he’d become an alcoholic. In fact, the 1980s were something of a blur, until Horner finally woke up one morning convinced he had to make some serious changes in his life. His sobriety began on June 12, 1990 (Horner still remembers the exact date). Sober and feeling alive again, he returned to UNLV and completed his BA in 1992. Three years later, Horner — the rebellious youngster who had once been expelled from a church institution and dropped out of high school and later even college — was awarded an MEd in Special Education.
Horner went on to become a teacher in the Clark County Public Schools where he’s spent the balance of his time teaching and working as an advocate for teachers. Horner insists he “retired” in 2014, but now remains busier than ever.
My passions are public education (specifically K-12, but also includes all public education i.e., Headstart and all public colleges) and workers’ rights especially to collective bargaining protection. I also advocate for universal healthcare, public lands, clean and renewable energy. The exploitation of any minority is something that I do engage in as well, no matter the reason no person should be treated as inferior. Overall, I will stand with people above the churches and corporations that currently seem to control many of our world`s governments.
What are some of the things you stand against?
Corporate greed and the destruction of the public education system. Beyond that, the narcissistic attitude that gives some individuals the sense that somehow elitism is acceptable. Money is a necessary evil in our current lives, however I will stand against and will fight the greed that leads to this behavior. To deny any living being the basic needs of life is cruel and undeniably the most reprehensible attitude displayed by anyone. And that I will always stand against this no after what the opposition.
What living person do you admire the most, and why?
I hate to be cliché, I have many living heroes for many reasons, but Hank Aaron is the man that I can always look to for inspiration. From 1957 when I listened to game winning home run in a World Series game to the night I watch on TV him hit number 715, he was a man that did with class and no self-bravado. No matter the death threats, hate mail, rejection by Bowie Kuhen and MLB he went out each day and did the job he was given and always gave it his best effort. I will never know what it is like a to be an African American and that kind of hate, but I do know that when faced with so much hate and so many obstacles here was a man that truly held his head high and rose above it all to just do his job in the Deep South.
What historical figure do you admire the most, and why?
Those that died in a cause of helping the working people to have a voice, these individuals were often nameless and lived in poverty. Because those individuals stood their ground and died for their brothers and sisters to have a better life is something I think about every day. I grew up in a mining town and saw the benefits of those that stood up. From the Railroad massacres in the 1800’s to the mining deaths as recent as the last decade, I recognize the worker, not the union boss, as the true hero in the strife for those that work every day to keep food on the table and a roof over the heads of their family.
What living person do you despise?
The Donald Trumps of the world — those willing to lie, cheat, and exploit to gain a place of power to further the lying, cheating, and exploitation. Donald Trump is the most visible, but I have seen these people in all places, union leadership, principal of a school, elected officials, any place that there is an illusion of power over other people.
If money were not an object, what profession would you choose?
I was and would again be a teacher. I am sorry I ever left the profession.
What is it about yourself that you are most proud of?
What is it about yourself that you’d like to change?
I would like to be a stronger leader, both with my grandchildren and my fellow people — I feel at times like I have failed them.
What’s the most exciting thing you’ve ever done?
I can’t think of a specific single event. Every time I advocated for a teacher that was being bullied or exploited I felt excited and as if this was a mission. We didn’t always win but we gave it the best fight and those on the other side knew they had to work hard to gain a victory, but on those occasions we prevailed I felt as if the world had gained a victory.
What’s the most unusual time and place you’ve ever visited?
The Presidential Inauguration in 2012. I have never been comfortable in large crowds but to watch a President that I voted for, with my grandson and wife being sworn in was a very unusual albeit exciting time. But not one I would like to repeat.
Name a place you’ve never visited where you still want to go.
The Death Camps of Nazi Germany… man’s inhumanity to his fellow beings is something I have a difficult time understanding and I continue to search places that represent that inhumanity. From Little Big Horn to Andersonville, to Japanese internment camp in Twin Falls and Delta, I search for the reason and hope to learn how to bring forward the idea that this can never happen again.
Favorite book, favorite movie, and favorite musician.
Favorite (Fiction) book and movie are the same — To Kill a Mockingbird.
Non Fiction is — Das Kapital
Favorite musicians: Tchaikovsky and Andrew Lloyd Weber
What upsets you the most?
Politicians that vote against the will of the people that elect them, then tell the electorate that they just don’t understand. That kind of arrogance is what makes politics unappealing to the masses.
What bores you?
Reality television this is truly the dumbing down of the people, followed closely but self-gratifying people.
Do you believe in an afterlife and why do you believe it so?
Okay, metaphysics also bores me. No, I personally do not believe in the afterlife or a mythical deity. I do believe that each day if you get up and do your best, someone will remember you and tell someone else of what kind of daily hero you were and through the oral history that memory will be forever.
Finally, I understand you have another passion that might strike some as strange given your background. Why is golf your hobby?
I realize that it is probably the one sport that symbolizes everything I despise, but I find competition a waste of time unless it is against myself. I also find it amazing that a sport that perfection cannot be achieved is something to which I can relate. Each swing is something that I try to repeat but find each is different. It is also a time that I can find some reflection time. It is the sport of the rich, but sometimes the poor can find solace in the imperfection that is golf.