ACLU falls down on Fremont Street compromise

To the editor:

I caught the Review-Journal’s coverage of the compromise over the Fremont Street Experience between the city of Las Vegas and the ACLU. A question for the ACLU: Have you guys lost your marbles?

Restricting people 20 feet from building entrances, 10 feet from retail kiosks, 20 feet from fire lanes and crosswalks, not to mention consigning them to 2- or 3-foot circles and squares, pretty much eliminates the entire area. The sum of these restrictions virtually encompasses every square foot of the “public” pedestrian mall. About the only “free” place left down there will be the alleys.

I’m afraid that now that the City Council has passed this ordinance, downtown free expression — on what was the property of the citizens of Las Vegas, who so graciously contributed tens of millions of their hard-earned taxpayer money — will become the “Fremont Street First Amendment ‘Back-Alley’ Experience.”

Since they’ve pretty much neutered the rest of the Bill of Rights in this country, might as well let ’em kick the First down the road, too.

A nation of sheep breeds a government of wolves.

HARRY PAPPAS

LAS VEGAS

Money pit

To the editor:

A new sports stadium here in Las Vegas would be nice, if we could afford it.

Few people think we can.

With Nevada at the top of every bad list, the bottom of every good list, and a budget that calls for historic austerity, reasonable people dismiss the most recent stadium plan (Wednesday Review-Journal) as wishful thinking and compare the idea to other recent government Ponzi “stimulus” programs.

If this were put on the ballot, voters would certainly dismiss the idea. Yet policymakers press forward for the project with the assertion that their constituency is lacking vision.

But the average citizen has professional allies who understand their point of view and reflect on history to support their cynicism.

Kevin Delaney’s “Public Dollars, Private Stadiums” goes into the behind-the-scenes power base that drives the construction of stadiums and their empty promises.

In “Major League Losers,” the authors delve into the real cost of sports at the expense of taxpayer welfare.

Dave Zirin’s “Bad Sports” documents how owners who come into those stadiums are also costing us and ruining the games we love.

And in “Sports, Jobs & Taxes,” the authors relate how it’s really popularity over economics that justifies arena construction, with the second half of the book dedicated to case studies.

These are just a few of many books, editorials and other source materials on the topic.

The issues are well-known and the criticisms justified. The questions these and so many writers bring up need to be addressed and answered with transparency, along with serious human accountability programmed into the results. Having a new state-of-the-art stadium/arena that is a money pit is a poor legacy to the person it might be named after, especially when small print under the name appears one day that reads, “I told you so.”

LEX ANDERSON

LAS VEGAS

Hatchet job

To the editor:

Glenn Cook’s Jan. 16 column on Dina Titus’ return to UNLV was somewhat skewed toward the ridiculous.

If students taking a Dina Titus class don’t know she’s a politician of the liberal persuasion, then we should all pack it in, collapse the republic around us and wait another thousand years for human intellect to catch up.

And as for her $108,000 yearly take: That money would pay a health insurance CEOs salary for one-third of one week. Ah, yes, you say, but that’s the private sector, not government. And I ask you why is a health insurance executive in the private sector? He doesn’t make anything, doesn’t add to human understanding, doesn’t grow anything — he’s just a slug, really, compared to a professor.

Which brings us to what Ms. Titus has signed on to do this year. The things listed, besides the class she’s teaching, sound time-consuming to me. They’d probably take a lot longer than hammering out old, boiler-plate, political hatchet jobs one reads in newspaper columns.

ROY GROSSER

LAS VEGAS

Shared equally

To the editor:

It seems to me that if the only way to reconcile the Nevada budget crunch is to reduce salaries of state employees (teachers, staff, professors, administrators, etc.), then there needs to be a way to reduce salaries of employees in the private sector as well. After all, it is a state problem, and it seems unfair to put the burden only on the employees of the state.

What is needed is a way to spread the financial burden across all citizens. Perhaps the only way to equalize the financial burden is to assess a fee (note, this is not a tax) on all citizens, not just those employees of the state.

It is a state problem, not just a problem for state employees. Everybody should share in the solution.

Rodney W. Young

Henderson

Big party

To the editor:

I hope Gov. Brian Sandoval enjoyed himself at both inaugurals. And Barrick Gold investing $25,000 for the soiree. How generous! I’m sure they won’t want anything in return.

Meanwhile, our education system is listed as behind Togo’s. Party on, Bri.

Elizabeth Cook

Las Vegas

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