To the editor:
On Wednesday, former Metro commander Kent Clifford’s letter to the editor appeared in which he stated that former Mayor Oscar Goodman “has spent $42 million in taxpayer money on the Mob Museum to glorify killers, thieves, dope pushers, extortionists and bookies — none of whom has any socially redeeming qualities or skills. These people are literally the scum of the earth.”
Further, to have such a museum is like “New York City building a shrine to Osama bin Laden for killing 3,000 people. They are all scum of the earth, and mobsters are not people we should honor for any reason.” He calls the Mob Museum a “shrine” to mobsters.
Without getting into how that money included grants, historic preservation and redevelopment funds, I certainly would oppose building a shrine to Osama bin Laden, and I would almost equally strongly oppose a shrine to mobsters. That’s why I am proud to have been involved in planning, researching and designing content for this museum. Because anyone who goes through it and concludes that it is a shrine to mobsters and similar killers is looking at a museum that I simply do not see or know about.
I wonder whether Mr. Clifford has been to the museum. He might not wish to spend his money, and I would understand that. But I guess he figures that former FBI agent-in-charge for Nevada, Ellen Knowlton, would chair a nonprofit that would build a shrine to organized crime.
He seems to think similarly of Bob Stoldal, a longtime local journalist and historian who covered the mob and whose friend Ned Day reported on some of the mob’s worst activities here. Mr. Stoldal, too, has been very involved in the content. Likewise board members ranging from Alan Feldman of MGM Resorts to distinguished local attorneys such as John Mowbray. I guess they all are in thrall to the mob and Oscar Goodman.
Having been raised in the home of a retired New York City policeman and lifelong law enforcement officer, I have heard many stories about police work and have great admiration for the police. Mr. Clifford can and should be proud of his service as a policeman. But after reading his explanation of what is in a museum, I believe he either has never been or walked through with his eyes closed.
I wonder if this is the same method he used to conduct investigations when he was with Metro.
For all of our sakes, I hope not.
The writer is a professor of history at the College of Southern Nevada.
To the editor:
Recent letters to the editor about our police force are, to me, a retired senior citizen, unsettling. When I group all of the law enforcement officers in our Las Vegas Valley together, I am so very grateful for their dedication and professionalism. They give me confidence that I can venture onto any street and be safe doing it.
I don’t know how many officers there are, but to collectively label them anything other than guardians is wrong.
It may be trendy these days to attack “the police” for the actions of a few, but I picture the majority leaving the safety of their homes at the beginning of each shift with a possibility of never returning home to perform a service of protection for all of us. I, once again, am grateful.