Rockers seek to stop Red Rock development

To the editor:

As members of the rock band The Killers, we don't usually get involved in local politics. When we learned how Red Rock Canyon is being threatened, however, we wanted to do all we could to help. Timing is urgent.

Right now, with countless empty homes already in our valley, a developer is trying to build new homes for more than 14,000 residents on a property right in the middle of Red Rock Canyon -- surrounded by Red Rock on three sides! This development (the size of Boulder City) will eliminate the dark night sky in Red Rock and remove our natural canyon skyline.

Also, constructing this many homes on fine gypsum sand (the site of the old gypsum plant) may well turn Red Rock Canyon to White Dust Canyon. This much building has projected more than 20 years of construction traffic on our scenic highway, also causing relocation of our wild burros and threatening bicyclists.

Every week that we aren't on tour, one or more members of our band is hiking Turtlehead Peak, rock climbing at Red Rock or visiting Bonnie Springs. We grew up in Las Vegas and have spent countless hours on trails out here. Who doesn't love Red Rock?

We can't imagine anyone not wanting to stop this destruction of one of our community's most special places. Let's not allow yet another developer to tear down another piece of our history and culture.

We will be attending the Clark County Commission meeting on Jan. 18 requesting that the county save Red Rock. Everyone concerned should join us and speak out.

Brandon Flowers

Ronnie Vannucci

Mark Stoermer

Dave Keuning

Las Vegas

The writers are members of the rock band The Killers.

Trampling rights

To the editor:

I appreciate your running Alexander Cockburn's op-ed piece about the National Defense Authorization Act in Sunday's newspaper. This act is an outrageous violation of our freedoms and I look forward to future detailed reporting on exactly how the provisions that would allow American citizens to be detained without legal counsel and without being charged and to be moved to detention facilities in other countries were inserted into the bill and by whom.

I'd also like to understand why this has not gotten much attention from the mainstream media.

It's scary that our leaders can't come to agreement on compromises to get our economy and our fiscal house in order, but can agree on a bill that tramples our constitutional rights.

Dave Newton

Las Vegas

Mob wives

To the editor:

I agree with Jane Ann Morrison's description of two of the mob wives as "delusional," and Al Capone's grand-niece Deidre Capone's presentation as "defensive," especially her contention that Al Capone was a "businessman" who was "set up to fall because he was Italian," and that he was resented because he and his brother Ralph were "the first Italian-American millionaires" ("Women married to mobsters make up interesting excuses," Jan. 5 column).

For a plausible explanation of his activities, it's too bad that we didn't hear anything about the historical origins of the Mafia, of which Ms. Capone may not be aware. Camorra and "Black Hand" were transplanted directly onto American soil from Sicily under the leadership of Capone, Luciano and other immigrant hoodlums. The Mafia originated after 1700, at which time most of the important noble families controlled "urban" fiefs, a retained form of feudalism.

Moreover, the church's secretive reign of terror, the Inquisition was still in operation in Sicily until as late as 1782. Perhaps most importantly, if looking for causes, Sicily's social culture continues to feed and enable the Mafia to exist. Political favors, extortion and perjury continue to be standard operating procedure to this day. Reccomandazani (preferments) are the norm for anyone seeking public (and in many cases private) office in Sicily.

While I understand Ms. Capone's fervent wish to reinvent her great-uncle as American as apple pie, it's important to look at the historical past to understand his violent behavior in the early 20th century. While many of us love hearing tales about outlaws who get away with breaking the rules, doing what the average citizen would not consider doing, we should be careful not to blindly romanticize them.



Good work

To the editor:

"Homeless" gentleman Ron Bell, accompanied by his cat, Mr. Poop, let the cat out of the bag (no pun intended) when he revealed in Sunday's Review-Journal that he can collect up to $180 per day panhandling by simply sitting on a pedestrian bridge on the Strip looking forlorn.

Not bad!

One hundred and eighty dollars tax free for doing nothing other than sitting in one spot -- as opposed to standing, which might be regarded as confrontational -- dressed shabbily, accompanied by an equally pathetic animal.

I predict that Mr. Bell will soon have plenty of company. Like-minded folks will be looking for easy cash when news of his good fortune gets around. Those bridges are pretty crowded already.