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MGM’s parking policy proves costly

You’ll have to cough up $10 to park, but MGM Resorts International is already paying in other ways.

MGM’s announcement that it plans to make visitors pay to park at most of its Strip properties continues to get pilloried in social and mainstream media.

The company’s unconvincing protests aside, MGM is getting slammed in major newspapers. The Los Angeles Times’ business columnist Michael Hiltzik this week gave readers a lesson in the importance of competition in a world of corporate consolidation.

“It’s no secret that competition is what keeps prices low, and consolidation drives them up,” he wrote. “For examples, one need look no further than the cable and airline industries. Cable operators nationwide typically have had monopoly franchises in their local communities, and mergers have given some big companies, such as Comcast, a larger footprint nationwide. The harvest has been an unrelenting rise in cable fees at more than four times the rate of inflation, as the Federal Communications Commission documented in 2014.”

MGM’s decision is also making some locals wonder whether the company will carve out exceptions for temporary and subcontracted workers such as stagehands. They don’t always receive employee parking passes.

“This will make a massive debit in their annual pay,” Sarah O’Connell observes via Facebook. By her calculation, even a $10-daily parking charge would clip a stagehand working 200 nights $2,000.

It gets much uglier from there.

LIGHTS AND SIRENS: It’s diminutive next to the Southern Nevada’s two large ambulance services, but Community Ambulance of Henderson became the valley’s newest emergency medical services outfit after gaining approval from the Clark County Commission.

Its 150-square-mile service area includes McCarran Airport. The company is run by Rob Richardson and Brian Rogers, both of whom have EMS experience.

DOUBLE FAULT: It’s hard to imagine the professional tennis match-fixing scandal first reported by BuzzFeed and the BBC doesn’t have a Las Vegas connection. In all, 16 players have been identified as taking part in highly suspicious matches and up to 70 have appeared in dubious matches in the past decade.

Tennis great Roger Federer mused that he “would love to hear names.”

Wouldn’t we all?

HISTORY MAJOR: Longtime Clark County Parks and Recreation program administrator Dorothy Wright, who died Jan. 19, played an integral role in preserving local history in partnership with her husband, the late Frank Wright.

In a town that traditionally buries its past, the Wrights valued Las Vegas history. We owe the Wrights a debt of gratitude.

ON THE BOULEVARD: Republican firebrand George Harris shared face time with Donald Trump Thursday morning prior to at the South Point prior to the GOP presidential front-runner’s rally. … In a Tuesday speech to a convention conference casino mogul Steve Wynn called Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders “a moron,” but the real news came when Wynn said he didn’t make a habit of taking political positions. … Democratic Presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton is on the cover of the latest edition of Vegas Legal Magazine. … MGM Resorts Chairman and CEO Jim Murren is scheduled to speak Jan. 29 at the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce’s annual Preview Las Vegas program. Wonder if he’ll have any parking-themed one-liners for the audience.

BOULEVARD II: More changes are coming in the Strip’s ever-evolving parking story. Las Vegas traditionalists aren’t going to like them. … If you’re from my generation, Glenn Frey’s death at 67 has you recalling your first Eagles concert and the wonder of hearing the group’s harmonizing live for the first time. … Family, friends and former patients laughed through their tears as they bid farewell to longtime Las Vegas orthopedic surgeon Dr. Michael Ravitch Thursday morning at Palm Mortuary on Boulder Highway. Ravitch died recently at 74 after a lengthy illness.

Have an item for Bard of the Boulevard? Email comments and contributions to jsmith@reviewjournal.com or call 702-383-0295. On Twitter: @jlnevadasmith.

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