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Pahrump Mirror
Pahrump, Nevada
March 6, 1997     Pahrump Mirror
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March 6, 1997

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6 Thursday, March 6, 1997 Pahrump Valley Gazette On Target Surfing the Ides of March In a quick from the bench decision, Federal Judge Howard McKibben up in Reno, ruled that Joseph Conforte cannot be promised bail while absent from the United States. Conforte, longtime Nevada compatriot, who just happens to be the father of legalized prostitution in the silver state, was indicted for wire fraud and bankruptcy fraud while living abroad in retirement. The prestigious San Francisco law firm of Topal and Goodman mo- tioned the court several days ago to allow Conforte guaranteed bail when Joe comes home to face and defend himself against the government's multiple count indictment. Speaking before Judge McKibben last Friday David Cook of Topal and Goodman extolled that "Joe wants to return home to fight the charges and clear his name." Sources tell us that Conforte truly believes he can prevail. His legal team likewise embraces eventual victory for Joe. The writer has to give Conforte credit for his personal courage. Here is a man past 70 who won't take the fed's attacks without standing tall. All Joe asks is to be allowed to remain free pending trial while he helps his attorneys prepare for his defense. Again sources close to Joe share that Conforte is willing to accept conditions such as surrendering his pass- port and being subject to close house arrest. Conforte has lived abroad in Brazil and now Chile since leaving Nevada in 1991. He is capable of continuing his "Safe Haven" life style due largely to almost ancient extradition treaties between the U.S. and Chile that go back to the earliest years of this century. Yet,, Conforte says he will waive that protection to colne home and t'ace the music. Joe's heart is in Nevada. His health is/ailing and he says he wants to die here and be laid to rest beside his late wife Sally and his long deceased father, both in Reno. Judge McKibben has ruled that Conforte must present himself physi- cally before the court and then a decision as to bail will be addressed. The downside of that scenario is that if bail is refused Joe could be seeing the world through bars both before and after trial. The government's indictment could mean as much as 22 years incarceration if the issue proves favorable for the government. This Southern Nevada Joe passes no judgement one way or the other as to the charges Conforte faces. We have not been close although I do have admiration for the man's courage including his willingness to stand up to "Big Brother." Conforte loves his adopted country and especially Nevada. He still has his personal beliefs in and for the system now attacking him. His mettle has been often bent, but as of now has never been broken. He wants one more run at those that haunt him. Those federal agents that for so long have had him as number one on their hit list. Judge McKibben accused Conforte of "dictating the terms and condi- tions," under which we would return tot he United States. Counselor Cook denied that, and most tactfully, explained to the federal jurist that all Joe wanted was to be able to freely prepare for his defense by being able to meet conveniently with his attorneys and to take proper care of his deteriorating health. Those in the know say Conforte has myriad physical problems. We may by seeing the beginning of the end of the long Conforte era. Maybe Joe should have second thoughts and continue to enjoy his present freedom. All things considered the immediate future doesn't look all that rosy for conforte especially, if he should throw caution to the winds and return home. Having had my own exposure to federal pressures, I have empathy for Conforte and the stress now being placed on him. It's also easy to tell the other fellow how to deal with personal grief. This is yet another classic case of David fighting Goliath and, let's face it, it isn't all that often that David wins. The Tides of March Last month - February - we talked about some of the famous folks born during that shortest month of the year. Not to be outdone, the month of March boasts some famous folks of its own. March birth days include: Johan Sebastian Bach, 1685; Dr. Seuss, 1904; Elmer Fudd, 1940; Porky Pig, 1945 and Sulvester the Cat, the same year. Should my readers start to think that I'm getting preoccupied with cartoon characters, maybe that's because I got such a good response to last week's cartoon about our county mangler finally learning to read. So good, in fact, it may become a regular feature here in Target. This week's episode in his remedial education in the three Rs, we hope to teach some 'rithmitic to use on figuring out the county budget. If he starts to take his shoes off in public, don't be too harsh on him, he just learning how to count and needs all the help he can get from his 10 fingers and 11 toes. Don't laugh only last week after he learned how to read and write, his message to his assistant, "Run, Rachel Run" cause her to run out and get a properly funded job at the county trough as the Acting Director of the Senior Nutrition Program. Electric Car creates a buzz Plugged in for public display this weekend was the Honda EV Plus - the first electric car by a major manufacturer being offered for sale to the public in Northern California. Up to now, electric cars in the region have been in fleets, were test ve- hicles or individual automobiles converted from their old gas-fueled, smoggy ways. The EV Plus' official debut in Sacramento captured con- siderable interest from both potential buyers and curious lookers who poked around the new models. Electric cars may not be for everyone. Here's some reactions from one of the very first to take a test-drive in one of the new electric cars. He ex- pected something small and Spartan. What he found, according to reports, was a fully loaded car that, while shaped like the subcompact Honda Civic, felt more like a minivan. Standing beside the EV at full height, the six-footer could just barely see over the roof. Typical of the questions were: "How long does it take to charge? Can I plug it in my garage? What does it cost? What do I do if I need a quick i charge away from home? Can I drive it?" The answers that most dismayed prospective buyers were price and charge time. Honda is only leasing - not selling - the EV Plus at this time at a- cost of $499 a month for three years. The price includes insurance, ser- vice, roadside assistance and warranty, but still strikes most folks as being a bit high. After all, a full charged battery will take a car just 60 to 100 miles - the distance from Pahrump to Vegas, but not quite far enough to get you all the way from Vegas to Beatty, a distance of 115 miles. It would just barely take from plug-to-plug going back and forth from Crystal to Las Vegas, but I couldn't do any running around without recharging. And the top speed is 80 to 85 miles per hour. The cost of recharging an average car is estimated at around $9 a month. Like a lot of folks, I been watching the progress of electric vehicle tech- nology over the years. Someday, to conserve both fossil fuel and the environment, we may all own one. But, like same sex marriages, I'm nor sure that time has come, at least not for me or my kids. Just cloning around!!! Once again, your local Gazette has come out ahead of the big city papers with Ethel Messer's on the street photographic question of the week of public opinion regarding the cloning of sheep. The issue, published late Thursday, scooped the R-J and most everyone else on the controversial topic. Many are asking if the ability to clone animals is a short stop from the genetic duplication of humankind. A pretty scary though when you think about it. Pick, for example, your most un-favorite person and consider the possibility of having more than one of him or her forced on this earth. Ugg, what a thought. No sooner did the news of the successful sheepcloning hit the papers, but it was announced that a laboratory in Oregon has produced monkeys from cloned embryos, the first species closely related to humans ever to be cloned. To say the least, the possibilities are mind-boggling. hate him or love him, he won't let you ignore him! j" by Joe Richards Tar, from the   e Kingdom of lVye