After reviewing an advance copy of tonight’s compelling "Dateline NBC" episode on the grisly and senseless Ginger Candela murder case, I was reminded once again what a brutal job Metro Homicide detectives perform every day.
The game seems so glamorous on television, where murders are committed and solved in 30 minutes with ample time for snappy patter and laundry soap commercials. Television drama is nothing compared with the Vegas reality.
NBC devotes nearly two hours to real crime in Las Vegas, most of that time spent on the Candela case, but it’s the timing of "Dateline" producer Dan Slepian’s camera work that makes the segment special. Slepian tells me his crew had just finished shooting a "Vegas Undercover" segment for reporter Chris Hansen in late 2009 when Metro Homicide caught the call to 3136 Westfield St., where Candela lived and died. Detectives Dolphis Boucher and Joel Kisner worked the case, which started with an unidentified corpse stuffed into a large garbage can and ended with the arrest of a suitcase swami.
British national, self-styled spiritual healer, and con man Michael Lane was charged with Candela’s murder. In 72 hours, detectives gathered enough incriminating evidence to bury Lane, who was picked up Dec. 3, 2009, in Ventura, Calif.
The "Dateline" report is different in another way. It will air before Lane’s trial is completed. Although he already has confessed to the crime, he is insisting on going to trial. The district attorney is seeking the death penalty.
STANDING O: Mayor Oscar Goodman gave his last State of the City address Tuesday night at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health downtown in the heart of his redevelopment dreamscape. Leave it to the mayor to buff his vision for Las Vegas to a high-gloss shine.
Recession, what recession?
At one point the martini-sipping mayor said, "We’re a very resilient community. We’re a community that bounces back. We’re a community that says ‘yes.’ There’s no such thing as ‘I can’t’ or ‘no.’ "
If only everyone were half as confident.
Perhaps Las Vegas needs more of Goodman’s optimism — or more of his gin.
BERKLEY MEETING: Leave it to Congresswoman Shelley Berkley to send a clear message to those who suspect she might make herself scarce in the wake of the shooting in Tucson of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
Berkley will host a "Congress on Your Corner" constituent services meeting at 9 a.m. today at her Las Vegas office at 2340 Paseo Del Prado, Suite D-106.
She is receiving security assistance from Metro, however. In a statement, Berkley says, "Being easily accessible to those I represent is one of my most important duties as the Congresswoman from Nevada’s 1st District."
Other members of Congress should do the same. It would be a fitting tribute to Giffords, who continues to improve after being shot in the head in an assassination attempt Saturday.
BOB’S FAREWELL: Leave it to former Port Tack owner Bob Kostelecky to make sure everyone has a good time — even if it is at his memorial service and wake. Kostelecky died in California recently after a long fight with cancer.
The Port Tack was one of the great crossroads lounges for Las Vegas from every strata of society.
His memorial service Wednesday at the Spanish Trail clubhouse brought together many old friends, who not only shared memories but a final meal and toast with vintage wine to Bob.
Bob’s son, Milo, told how his father planned the service from his sick bed.
SEZ WHO? SEZ YOU!: Be sure to check out my new blog feature that stars agitated and animated column readers giving their opinions of my opinion. It’s not exactly civilized discourse, but I think you’ll enjoy it. (http://www.lvrj.com/blogs/smith)
This week’s topic: The Tucson shooting.
Have an item for the Bard of the Boulevard? E-mail comments and contributions to Smith@reviewjournal.com or call (702) 383-0295. He also blogs at lvrj.com/blogs/smith.