This year, I made it all the way to page 16. That’s when I finally blew up and burned the newspaper.
By then, I’d had enough.
Of course, I’m talking about the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s annual “Readers’ Poll.” Every year the readers of the city’s biggest newpaper send in their picks for their favorite this and that, which are tallied up and later released as the winners of the “Best of Las Vegas” awards.
Categories include everything from the best dry cleaners to the best Thai food. The guide runs about 50 pages long and covers just about everything you can possibly think of — and then some. And I made it all the way to page 16.
This latest edition of “Talking Points” features my immediate response upon seeing this year’s results for the first time. As you might expect, there’s excessive profanity.
According to reports, the city and surrounding area added 100,000 new residents within just the past year. This news is both good and bad.
It’s good because local property values, which took the biggest hit in the nation right after the 2008 economic crisis, are inching closer back to the break-even point for many homeowners, who relocated here and then found themselves on the wrong end of upside-down mortgages. It’s also a symbol of economic vibrancy, sure to entice businesses currently based elsewhere to move to Las Vegas, which has a plentiful supply of affordable labor.
It’s bad too. Las Vegas doesn’t really need any more residents. It’s limited resources — mostly a diminishing water supply — are already stretched perilously thin. Lake Mead is at its lowest level ever and the problem is getting worse. Air quality continues to deteriorate. And local traffic is a mess. Las vegas doesn’t need any more cars on the streets or people struggling to make ends meet. It’s already got plenty of that.
Here are ten things Las Vegas should do which will improve the quality of life for most residents and make the city a far more attractive place to visit:
One of the most highly-anticipated presentations of the three-day gathering of online gaming executives included a moderated debate between Mitch Garber, CEO of Caesars Interactive and WSOP.com, and Andy Abboud, Senior Vice-President of Government Relations for the Las Vegas Sands Corporation. On the question posed — “Is online poker/gambling the problem or the solution,”Mr. Garber argued in favor of a legalized and regulated framework which would allow adults to play online, while Mr. Abboud argued against the proposition.
But nothing screams “what the fuck!” louder than the scene I witnessed last week here in Las Vegas. Sitting atop the glass counter above all kinds of expensive gold and diamond jewelry was — a tip jar. I shit you not.
Casino pioneer Jackie Gaughan in 1965, in front of his El Cortez Hotel and Casino
The name Jackie Gaughan may not be familiar to as many people as it should.
So, please allow me to take some time to tell you why this man was important, and so beloved, by so many, for so long.
Mr. Gaughan was one of the last surviving of Las Vegas’ early pioneers. He was cast in the same mold as his iconic contemporaries — including Benny Binion, Bill Harrah, and Sam Boyd — all legends who embodied the casinos they built along with the reputations they earned and established over decades of changes within Las Vegas and the gambling industry, earning universal respect and admiration.
I just learned Mr. Gaughan passed away last night. He was 93.