A lot of high-level people with the state have been coming out against the deep budget cuts being handed down by the governor’s office, some of them more vocal than others. But State Archivist Guy Rocha is doing more than just complaining, he’s taking the protest to another level and leaving his job. Rocha, who runs the State Archives in Carson City, but is more well-known for acting as the unofficial official State Historian, says that the coming budget cuts will ruin the agency permanently, and he doesn’t want to be around to see it. And he sure doesn’t want to have to be in charge of carrying it out. So he’s retiring February 2nd, exactly 28 years after he took the job.
I think retirement’s been on his mind for a while anyway. Back in May the paper ran a story about how he was afflicted with glaucoma and was rapidly losing his sight. I think (I hope!) that condition has been slowed and kept in check, but still in the article he talks about how he could accept leaving his job if he had to, because he’s accomplished a lot and feels satisfied with his work. So he’s at the point where he feels comfortable leaving, and the stress of staying on and having to deal with the budget cuts would be too much to handle.
One can hope that even though he’s left an official position, he’ll still continue to be a voice in the community. I know Guy not because of the work he does running the Archive, but because of the knowledge he spreads out to the community, the sense of history that he shares both in details, like dates and names, and the perspective that he brings to discussions based on his 28 years of being focused on Nevada’s history. His Historic Myth a Month article series has always been a favorite of mine, spending his time busting popular myths and misconceptions that have crept into common knowledge. He’s also a go-to guy for the newspaper to get a historic perspective on the issues, especially during the last year with the Sesquicentennial going on. I can hope that he’ll still be around as an independent voice, and keep that kind of stuff flowing.
Guy is also featured at NewsCarsonCity today, sitting down and discussing Nevada’s budget problems, and comparing it both to the Great Depression and the slump of the 1890s. He’s also critical of the “No New Taxes” crowd, because, as he says, there is a certain base level of service that the government has to provide, and if you reach the point where you can’t even provide that, raising taxes needs to be a viable last resort. And Nevada is at that point now, and something needs to be done. The interview is part of the Our Town Carson City video series, and a nine-minute clip can be watched here.
So stick around Guy! We still need you, even if you won’t have a title.