LV is a Cesspool (Las Vegas, Paradise: theater, floors, homeless)
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The interior of the Crazy Horse was described as a "toilet" by several FBI agents who raided the place in February 2003. "You should have seen it when the lights went on. It was filthy," one agent told INSIDE VEGAS. "They spray perfume to cover the stench."
The Institute for Justice is a public interest law firm that champions individual liberty, free market solutions and limited government. Based in the nation’s capital, it currently has three cases in Clark County District Court challenging Nevada’s taxi and limousine regulations on constitutional and other grounds.
The cases have brought national attention to the hardball tactics of Nevada regulators and the back-room dealing that pervades Nevada’s legislative and regulatory systems. It’s exactly the last kind of publicity any state intent on attracting new industry should be generating.
Technically, the LVCVA is a hybrid government-business corporation of a type that spread throughout the U.S. from the 1920s onward, called a “public authority.” This particular authority’s official mission is to take public room-tax dollars and spend them for the support of one private industry, the resort industry, under the rationale that the state economy benefits when the tourism business thrives.
Of course, economies benefit when any private industry thrives, so perhaps the official rationale is not the whole story. Perhaps, as in the 1950s, politically connected old-line casino companies simply like using government to take a cut of their upstart competitors’ revenues and then spend it as they themselves wish — through an “authority” controlled by their anointed politicians and themselves. And perhaps the state law specifying the make-up of the LVCVA board offers another clue. By statute, it must be composed of eight politicians and six others — selected by the politicians.
Thus, it is a highly political board that, every year, gets to spend hundreds of millions of dollars harvested from all Southern Nevada resorts — including those convinced that they themselves could spend their revenues more productively than the LVCVA politicians and their allied ad agency, the deeply politicized R & R Partners.
All this money is spent as the board, and the board alone, sees fit. It is the same with the hundreds of millions of dollars in public debt that the board incurs. Although it is the people’s constitutional taxing power that permits the room tax, state law explicitly exempts the LVCVA board’s billion-dollar debt and spending schemes from any oversight any other public body or second-guessing from voters.
This is the “big advantage” of public authorities, according to former New York Governor Mario Cuomo: “They are “free from the control the people have.” The “big disadvantage,” he continued, is the same: that public authorities are “free from the control the people have.”
A fundamental American precept is at risk here, in that public resources are increasingly being commandeered away from the public’s control. Ever since Americans fought a Revolutionary War over the principle of “No taxation without representation,” the public’s control over its own public debt has been fundamental to the American system. For most of U.S. history it would have been unthinkable for government agencies to borrow and spend funds without voter or legislative approval. Even less would it have been permissible for such agencies to be crafting these actions behind closed doors.
But all of that is precisely what public authorities are formed to do — and, in the case of the LVCVA, do very vigorously.
The consequences are serious. As reported in part one of this article, America’s state and local politicians regularly during the last two centuries precipitated public financial crises by channeling public dollars into politically selected industries. Yet Nevada today has multiple county visitor authorities dedicated to doing just that.
It is no accident that virtually all state constitutions forbid such activities. Voters demanded stricter barriers after the wholesale bankruptcies, recessions and corruption scandals of the 19th Century. Yet public authorities are merely the latest iteration of that same, apparently everlasting, appetite of elected officials.
BEFORE THE NEVADA COMMISSION ON ETHICS IN THE MATTER OF THE REQUEST FOR OPINION concerning the conduct of BOB NOLEN, Clark County Constable
This Opinion is in response to a third-party request for opinion filed with the Nevada Commission on Ethics (Commission) by J. David Burress concerning the conduct of Clark County Constable Bob Nolen. The original hearing date of October 18, 1996 was continued as a result of a request from Mr. Nolen and his counsel. Evidentiary hearings were held on January 23 and 24 and March 21, 1997 at which Mr. Burress and Mr. Nolen presented numerous exhibits. Mr. Burress presented the testimony of the following witnesses: himself, Leonard Griffin, Cathy Cooney, Kelly Sheldon, Louis Tabat, David Cowan, Debbie Rose, Mike Counterman, Rick Yohner, Paul Coroneos, and Faye Duncan-Daniel. Mr. Nolen presented the testimony of the following witnesses: himself, Gary Reese, George Helms, Gene Perry, Cathy Cooney, Peter Garriano, and Doug Tharp. Mr. Nolen was represented by Moran & Associates, and Mr. Burress represented himself. On April 25, 1997, the Commission publicly deliberated the matter and reached a decision. The Commission now issues the Findings of Fact and Opinion which follows.
... Most puzzling and troubling were the sightings of Mr. Nolen drinking at bars during working hours. For example, Mr. Nolen admitted that he did meet deputies or other people at least twice at the Olympic Gardens, a topless bar, during working hours and during which meetings he did consume alcohol. Several deputies testified about their meetings with Mr. Nolen during normal working hours in other bars throughout the Las Vegas area, including the Blue Haven, Foothills Express, PJs, the Four Kegs, Bob Grant’s Junction, and the Olympic Gardens. At these meetings, Mr. Nolen would consume alcohol and conduct some Constable business, such as answering calls received on the office’s cellular telephone. One deputy testified that he observed Mr. Nolen’s speech to be slurred at three of these bar-room meetings.
The bar-room meeting were troubling not because they showed that Mr. Nolen likes an occasional beer and “adult entertainment.” Mr. Nolen’s choice to conduct business in such places is not, in itself, unlawful or unethical; although it may reflect an incredible insensitivity to the sensibilities and expectations of the public he serves. Mr. Nolen’s testimony regarding these bar-room meetings was troubling because it was so wildly inconsistent. As we understood it, Mr. Nolen’s testimony was that he was always on duty, 24 hours per day, except when he was drinking in a bar in the middle of a weekday afternoon, at which time he declared himself off-duty, and yet he continued to conduct Constable business, while off-duty, through the use of his ever-present cellular telephone. It appeared that Mr. Nolen’s duty status turned on what he was hoisting, a beer or a cellular telephone. The conclusion we were forced to reach as a result of this testimony is that Mr. Nolen lacked credibility and had no real explanation for the duty status of his bar-room meetings because it never occurred to him that he would ever be asked to account for them. Thus, the bar-room meetings became an unbecoming symbol of Mr. Nolen’s contempt for the public he served and the obligations owed to the public trust and, finally, for this Commission’s hearing questioning his behavior.
Opinion - Vegas has Bright Lights, but not Big City
Las Vegas SUN: Las Vegas: Bright lights, but not a big city (http://tinyurl.com/2bwcm2 - broken link)
July 20, 2003
We have USA Today to thank for reminding us that Las Vegas may be paradise but Paradise is not Las Vegas.
Neither is Enterprise, Spring Valley, Sunrise Manor, Whitney nor Winchester.
If you haven't heard of Paradise or these other unincorporated Las Vegas Valley towns, you're not alone. You probably tell friends and relatives from other states that you live in Las Vegas (the city), even though fewer than half the residents of the valley can properly make that claim.
Thanks to USA Today, we are reminded of an emerging trend in America of densely populated urban areas that are thriving without becoming cities. And the valley is filled with such areas.
So you say Las Vegas is a city, which has been the case since its emergence as a dusty railroad stop in 1905. That was during a bygone era when cattle calls involved real cattle and not showgirls.
But unless you spend your free time doing tedious microfilm research or dusting off old government files, you probably don't know that Las Vegas and its younger suburbs -- North Las Vegas and Henderson -- are separated by the six unincorporated towns. And if you don't know about the six towns, it's a sure bet you also don't know that the oldest, Whitney, celebrated its 61st birthday in February.
As USA Today reported on June 25 in an article published in the Las Vegas Sun, the towns look like cities because of their residential sprawl and commercial development. It's easier to say you're from Las Vegas when you live in a place such as Paradise, which includes most of the Strip, or Spring Valley, the valley's first master-planned community.
But the U.S. Postal Service won't deliver a letter if it just says "Paradise, NV" and doesn't have the ZIP code, according to Vic Fenimore, Postal Service spokesman in Las Vegas. Fenimore said the Postal Service likes to keep things as simple as possible by using more popular geographic designations such as Las Vegas.
If the Postal Service doesn't pay much attention to town names, it's little surprise that town residents don't either, while proudly calling themselves Las Vegans.
But ask the chairmen of the voluntary town advisory boards that give advice to the Clark County Commission on planning and zoning issues whether they would consider forming their own city or annexing into an existing one. The answer is a resounding "no."
"We have all the services we need, and the Clark County departments to do the job," Paradise Town Advisory Board Chairwoman M.J. Harvey said. "I don't think it's a good idea to consolidate the city and the county. Other than the fire departments, I don't know what services would be practical to combine.
"The city would have more to gain than the county because the county is bigger.
"I don't see any advantage to starting an incorporated city when we would have to take on all the burdens. The expense is more than people would want."
USA Today reported that Paradise, with 186,070 residents as of the 2000 Census, is the most populated unincorporated town in the country. It also reported that Sunrise Manor, population 156,120, and Spring Valley, with 117,390 residents, were the second and fifth most-populous towns in the nation in 2000.
If anything, the newspaper didn't go far enough in describing the hodgepodge nature of the valley's political subdivisions. In addition to cities and unincorporated towns, Southern Nevada has other unincorporated areas such as Lone Mountain in the northwest valley that are under the county's political jurisdiction. What separates these areas from towns is that the residents and landowners have not successfully petitioned the county for town status.
The valley also has townships, which are often confused with towns but have different boundaries and function solely as jurisdictions for justice courts and constables. Townships have managed to survive modern urban upheaval even though they hark back to the days of the Wild West.
All six unincorporated towns are part of Las Vegas Township, though portions of Whitney in the eastern valley are in Henderson Township and a piece of Sunrise Manor in the northeast valley folds into North Las Vegas Township. So you can live in both a city and a township or you can live in a town and a township, but you cannot live in a city, town and township.
Some of USA Today's conclusions about towns don't quite hold water -- or sand -- in the case of the valley's unincorporated desert six-pack.
The newspaper reported that town residents "can't fight city hall because there isn't one." But those residents can raise just as much a ruckus by hounding the Clark County Commission, which serves as their "mayor."
"In general, our relationship with the county has been very satisfactory," Dr. Alan Feld, Winchester Town Advisory Board chairman, said. "We have found that when the town board has strong feelings about a subject, the commissioners are willing to listen."
Las Vegas Mercury: <b>Cover story: Stewards of the land</b>
One day, some friends and I were driving up a beautiful dirt road through the desert, on our way to some climbing boulders. Suddenly Joe, who was driving, stopped the car and leaped out cursing. He grabbed a machete from under the seat and ran up a rough new track scraped messily through the vegetation. Stuck midway up the steep, illegally made ruts was a truck, spinning in the sand.
When Joe reached the truck, we held our breath. Would he be violent? Would they be violent? He stood there, machete dangling at his side, talking for a long time to the driver. Then he walked back down the hill. The driver, he said, was surprised and apologetic. They'd had a civil chat.
I called Joe the other day and asked him if he'd ever do such a thing again, running madman up a hill with a sharp weapon, now that he's 10 years older and a father and--
"I'd do it again today!" he said. "There's always a risk in defending what you love. When I first moved there, it was unscarred. This place was an escape for me. It's got plants and animals, it smells good, and it's mostly away from human influence. But some people don't see that beauty. And when you start running SUVs and motorcycles and ATVs all over it, it isn't the same place anymore. This is an area I'd spent years coming to to seek quiet. It's very special, and it was being destroyed. The sagebrush there is 50 to 100 years old, and this truck was running over it as if it didn't care. It's like someone slugging your wife--you want to hit back."
John Gregory Dunne
Vegas - Memoir of a Dark Season Vegas : a memoir of a dark season by John Gregory Dunne (Used, New, Out-of-Print) - Alibris
Recalling that dark season, Dunne speculates that in Vegas 'there was always someone in deeper emotional drift, or even grift, than you. ' There in that 'prison of yesterdays, ' he makes a connection with a remarkable trio of characters: Artha, a student at cosmetology college by day, a hooker by night; Buster Mano, a private detective whose wife calls the saints by their first names ('Tony, ' 'Frankie Xavier') and whose specialty is tracking down errant husbands; and Jackie Kasey, a lounge comic who makes $10,000 a week and wonders why he is still only a 'semi-name. ' Pimps, bail bondsmen, parking-lot moguls, used-car tycoons, ex-jockeys and women who look as if they had 'spent a lifetime meeting guys in Vegas or Miami Beach or Louisville for the Derby'-these are the people who populate Vegas and wander through the lives of Artha, Buster and Jackie. Artha hangs on to reality by keeping a book of statistics (1,203 tricks in five years as a hooker), Jackie by dreaming of becoming a packageable name comic with Jackie Kasey T-shirts and Jackie Kasey wrist watches, Buster Mano by viewing life, 'his own especially, as a hapless patchwork of small strategies and minor betrayals.
Larry R. Seidel
Investing in College Basketball Amazon.com: Investing in College Basketball: Books: Larry R. Seidel
Investing in College Basketball provides a comprehensive set of tools and techniques for successfully wagering on college basketball. It shows how the returns - winnings -- from investing in college basketball can be far greater than investing in stocks and bonds. These returns can be achieved by anyone with an interest in basketball, basic mathematical skills, and a computer with spreadsheet programs and Internet access. The power of the methodology is demonstrated by actual investing results for the 2003-2004 season of the Atlantic 10 Conference. The book includes an analysis of investment outcomes for the A-10 Conference, the working papers for assessing each team, and the analysis of each game for which an investment was made. There are extensive examples of how theory is applied in analyzing actual games and showing how good analysis consistently pays off.
David A. Goldberg
Stupidity and Slot Machine Players in Las Vegas Amazon.com: Stupidity and Slot Machine Players in Las Vegas: Books: David A. Goldberg
// This book exposes the ridiculous, hilarious side of slot machine players seen through the eyes of the slot attendants who wait on them. Just as poker and blackjack go hand-in-hand with the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas, slot machines represent the main source of revenue for every casino. Find out why movies and television shows don’t feature slot machine players. The gloves are finally off in telling the truth about these gamblers. The casinos cannot protect them any longer. Be prepared to learn about the ugly underbelly of Las Vegas—the average, everyday slot machine player. Along the way you will also learn what slot attendants really know about the slot machines. If you thought that playing a slot machine was as easy as pulling a handle or pushing a button, you will be amazed!
Sklansky and Malmuth
Gambling for a Living Amazon.com: Gambling for a Living: Books: David Sklansky,Mason Malmuth
Is there really such a thing as a professional gambler? The answer is an unequivocal yes! The authors of this book are but two examples. The truth is that there are many thousands of people around the country who make a good living exclusively from gambling. It is not easy but it can be done. The key ideas are to understand which games are beatable and how to beat them.
Wm. L. Fox
In the Desert of Desire: Las Vegas And The Culture Of Spectacle Amazon.com: In The Desert Of Desire: Las Vegas And The Culture Of Spectacle: Books: William L. Fox
// That Las Vegas represents one of the world’s most opulent displays of private material wealth in all its forms, while at the same time providing miserly funding for local public amenities like museums and zoos, is no accident, Fox maintains. Nor is it unintentional that the city’s most important collections of art and exotic fauna are presented in the context of casino entertainment, part of the feast of sensation and excitement that seduces millions of visitors each year. Instead, this phenomenon shows how our insatiable modern appetite for extravagance and spectacle has diminished the power of unembellished nature and the arts to teach and inspire us, and demonstrates the way our society privileges private benefit over public good. Given that Las Vegas has been shown over and over to be the harbinger of national cultural trends, Fox’s commentary may offer prescient insight into the future of the arts in America, as well as new understanding of the role that public institutions like museums and zoos play in our lives.
Prostitution and Trafficking in Nevada: Making the Connections
Melissa Farley Amazon.com: Prostitution and Trafficking in Nevada: Making the Connections: Books: Melissa Farley
... addresses the scope of the sex industry in Nevada, including human rights violations against women in the Nevada legal brothels. The book describes how the multibillion-dollar illegal sex industry in Las Vegas works. Sex trafficking from within and outside of the US, advertising for prostitution, political corruption, pornography, organized crime and the constant demand of men for paid sex - all contribute to prostitution and trafficking in Nevada.
The Word on the Street: Homeless Men In Las Vegas Amazon.com: The Word On The Street: Homeless Men In Las Vegas: Books: Kurt Borchard
Borchard's account offers a graphic, disturbing, and profoundly moving picture of life on Las Vegas's streets, depicting the strategies that homeless men employ in order to survive, from the search for a safe place to sleep at night to the challenges of finding food, maintaining personal hygiene, and finding an acceptable place to rest during a long day on the street. He also elicits the men's own perceptions of the causes and consequences of homelessness, as well as their views on the city's homeless policies.
The Biggest Game in Town Biggest Game in Town by A. Alvarez (Used, New, Out-of-Print) - Alibris
// Called "the best book ever written on poker" by players and critics alike, The Biggest Game in Town is a sought-after classic that's finally available in print again. Acclaimed author A. Alvarez delves into the seedy, obsessive world of high-stakes Vegas poker, where "the next best thing to playing and winning is playing and losing." Uncovering an exotic underground rich in ambiance and eccentricity, The Biggest Game in Town is "a magnificent book" (San Francisco Chronicle), a real one of a kind.
Whale Hunt in the Desert
Deke Castleman Amazon.com: Whale Hunt In The Desert: The Secret Las Vegas Of Superhost Steve Cyr: Books: Deke Castleman
In pre-1990s Las Vegas, casino marketing executives were all cut from the same cloth; sharply-dressed and smooth-talking with street-savvy. They rose through the ranks of operations--dealer, floorman, pit boss, shift boss and casino manager. When it was time to leave the trenches, they went "upstairs" into the executive offices, where they hosted a handful of established players according to the unwritten rules of old-school Vegas. Then Steve Cyr showed up.
Hunter S. Thompson
Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas Amazon.com: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream: Books: Hunter S. Thompson
On assignment from a sports magazine to cover "the fabulous Mint 400"--a free-for-all biker's race in the heart of the Nevada desert--the drug-a-delic duo stumbles through Vegas in hallucinatory hopes of finding the American dream (two truck-stop waitresses tell them it's nearby, but can't remember if it's on the right or the left). They of course never get the story, but they do commit the only sins in Vegas: "burning the locals, abusing the tourists, terrifying the help." For Thompson to remember and pen his experiences with such clarity and wit is nothing short of a miracle; an impressive feat no matter how one feels about the subject matter. A first-rate sensibility twinger, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a pop-culture classic, an icon of an era past, and a nugget of pure comedic genius.
Leaving Las Vegas Amazon.com: Leaving Las Vegas: Books: John O'Brien
O'Brien's first novel, which uses a present-tense format for immediacy and heavy-handed irony to call attention to its characters' delusions and false optimism, explores a merciless world ruled by sex and booze. Sera, a surprisingly well-paid hooker from L.A., finds making a living in the squalid streets and casinos of Las Vegas fairly simple, provided that injuries from abusive tricks do not leave permanent scars; trouble starts when Al, her former pimp, tracks her down to reassert his authority. Her initial fear of Al's notorious cruelty turns to pity, however, and she frees herself of the self-destructive love she once felt for him to begin a gentler yet equally destructive relationship with Ben, a Southern Californian who has decided that Las Vegas's perpetually open bars are the perfect place to drink himself to death.
Blackjack Autumn Amazon.com: Blackjack Autumn: A True Tale of Life, Death, and Splitting Tens in Winnemucca: Books: Barry Meadow
Given a map of Nevada and the premise that a blackjack card counter armed with $8000 will hit the road for two months, attacking every available casino, the reader expects a certain level of adventure and excitement. Just the escapist illusion of roadside traveling past historic ghost towns, stopping at mom-and-pop diners for conversation, is more than enough to hook most readers. Yet the narrator we encounter here is a one-dimensional individual with a do-or-die agenda for whom the road becomes boring, even annoyingly time-consuming. At one point, paranoia sets in for the writer, who is carrying over $25,000. At issue is his fear of being barred from casinos or spotted for his card counting. Even the death of a family member is handled from a gambler's perspective: just another annoying obstacle not unlike a change of casino dealers. Card counters are portrayed as a breed of loners and social misfits; writers at times tend to be just as masochistic.
Sally Denton and Roger Morris
The Money and the Power Amazon.com: The Money and the Power: The Making of Las Vegas and Its Hold on America: Books: Sally Denton,Roger Morris
Failed 1950s reform movements allowed for the ascendance of organized crime, fortified by huge "skim" profits from casinos. Operation Underworld, a WWII collaboration between government and "Syndicate" forces, forged extensive relationships between federal agencies, corrupted police and gangsters that proved central to Las Vegas's economic boom. The profits radiated corruption outward, evinced in such "blowback" as repeated CIA-Mob assassination attempts on Castro. Formidable researchers, Denton and Morris train gimlet eyes on compromised officials like J. Edgar Hoover, gambling tycoons like Benny Binion and killers-***-businessmen like Sam Giancana. They look into the growth of more malignant, polyethnic (and, they claim) CIA-supported organized crime facilitated by stereotyping of the Italian Mafia. Although their conflation of glitzy Vegas profligacy with corporate politics and consumerism may seem unwieldy, the book is undeniably disturbing and engrossing. It concludes with the 1999 mayoral election of Oscar Goodman, notorious Syndicate attorney, which was an augury of business as usual in what the authors portray as democracy's spiritual capital.
When the Mob Ran Vegas Amazon.com: When the Mob Ran Vegas: Stories of Murder, Mayhem and Money: Books: Steve Fischer
What is now the commonly conceived of view of Las Vegas began in 1945 when an attorney by the name of Bautser bought the Folsom Guest Cottages on US 91, which were at that time six miles south of Las Vegas. The buyer was one of Ben (don't call me Bugsy) Siegel's men. The planned project was The Flamingo. Siegel got lumber and pipe for the project from movie studios in Hollywood and Culver City. Marble came from the Mexican black market. Siegel made friends with a US Senator named Pat McCrarran who reprioritized the building needs of southern Nevada so that Siegel get copper fixtures and tiling in time for the Flamingo to open by Christmas 1946. Siegel had a competitive racing service in Vegas run by James Regan. During the Flamingo's grand opening, Regan was shotgun blasted in half.
Ed Reid and Ovid Demaris
The Green Felt Jungle Amazon.com: Green Felt Jungle: Books: Ed Reid, Ovid Demaris
I remember finding a copy of Green Felt and was enthralled by the truth as I knew it. I grew up in the casino business and some of the people mentioned in the book were like family (remember until recently Las Vegas was truly a small town). If only someone would produce this into a "A" movie. With the interest in "mobs" and "gangsters" I feel the public would love it, if done right. Of course as with the movie Casino, the political leaders would dismiss its authenticity and publicly deny anything ever happened. I highly recommend this book to those interested in how the casino industry gre in Las Vegas, its roots, its founders and how it got where its at today ...
Last edited by ParkTwain; 10-16-2007 at 02:37 AM..
Google Maps photo of MLK @ Charleston intersection captures homeless panhandlers.
Google Maps (http://tinyurl.com/38y53u - broken link)
oh noes! a city w/ homeless panhandlers! whatever shall we do?? surely this marks the downfall of man and society as we know it...
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