Reno On Another "10 Worst" List; Should We Be Concerned?

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RENO, NV - Most of us live here because we choose to and for all its recognized shortcomings we take some pride in our community.

Over the years that pride has been tested by the likes of perceived slights like "Reno 9-1-1" and occasional swipes at us in various national media.
he latest: Another 10 worst list. This one posted on the travel related website in which author Stuart Smith appears to list the 10 worst cities in the U-S to visit.

We're number three right below and apparently slightly less bad than hapless Detroit and St. Louis. Above, and apparently worse than the likes of Cleveland, Stockton and Oakland, which rank ninth and tenth respectively.

It's just the kind of thing that irks people in the newly launched civic pride project, Biggest Little City.

"Every time we give them the opportunity the media goes back to the old stereotypes about Reno and they regurgitate them for us all to enjoy again," complains Larry DeVincenzi, a Reno native and member of the Biggest Little City Group. "We all know living here that it's just not true."

He has plenty of company. When we did a Facebook post mentioning this article, it quickly generated dozens of response, mostly raising objections.

So it gets under our skin, but how upset should we really be?

"You know the cost of entry to get on the internet these days is very low and everybody's got an opinion," says Reno Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority CEO Christopher Baum. "but the fact of the matter is we had 21 top 10 list for all positive things last year. We've already got 18 this year and these are all from very legitimate household names."

The article, it should be noted is not particularly well written. It's poorly edited. There's a wrong word here and there. And it suffers from something anyone who's spent any time in this business has experienced--a poorly conceived, misleading headline, apparently written for effect, not to accurately represent the story that follows.

The author, it appears is really writing something that might better be described as "10 Cities Who Get a Bad Rap They May or May Not Deserve."

While he describes us as "las Vegas' Poorer Cousin" with what was a seedy downtown, he also credits Reno's redevelopment efforts including the River Walk.

The research is suspect. He notes our recent cutbacks in city services, which is fair enough, but also says we have violent crime problem which better research would dispute.

For the record our violent crime rate of 5.2 per 1000 population is about two thirds that of Las Vegas, a third of Stockton's and a fourth of Oakland's.

So, there's room for argument, but then there's that terrible headline. A serious issue perhaps in a town that relies to a continuing degree on inviting the rest of the world to visit.

Real damage? DeVincenzi thinks so.

"A lot of people read it and they don't do the research themselves and figure that the media is more informed than they are and so this must be the truth."

The man in charge of efforts to bring visitors here takes a more measured view.

"You know what? If you're going to be a big player sometimes somebody's going to say something negative," says Baum. "

If the readers of USA Today say Lake Tahoe is the best lake in America that's worth taking note of. If a website no one has ever heard of says we're not a great place I think the facts say otherwise."

Maybe we should just all take a deep breath and chill.