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COMMENTARY: Steps MGM should take to heal, win back the local crowd

Overall, my advice, predictions and common sense turn out to be pretty accurate. That in mind, I’m going to offer my unsolicited advice to MGM and the company’s CEO, Jim Murren.

First, MGM desperately need friends. The company needs the support of the 2 million Vegas locals at its properties. It’s time for a gesture of friendship to locals. It’s time to admit charging for parking was the biggest mistake in Vegas history. MGM alienated every local in this town.

I know hundreds of Las Vegans. I don’t know anyone who goes to MGM properties anymore. No one wants to pay $15 to $25 to park for lunch or dinner. That was an insult to the people of Las Vegas. Here’s the company’s chance to atone for its tone-deaf actions and win over locals just in time for Christmas.

What MGM needs is traffic. This is Murren’s chance to fill his lobbies, shopping areas, restaurants and casinos with desperately needed traffic. This is his chance to save his MGM staff just in time for the holidays. They need more customers, more spending, more tips. This is how you turn 2 million locals into “the Vegas cavalry to the rescue.” Use the energy and spending of your locals to give a much-needed boost to MGM.

You’ll get the ball rolling with free valet and garage parking for the next six months. That’s how you win friends and influence enemies in Vegas.

Then, six months from now, you can come back with a reasonable permanent parking plan. I stress “reasonable.” No one was arguing with charging for parking. But the idea of going from 70 straight years of free parking straight to $15 to $25 was absurd. It was a rip-off. It was offensive.

So, here’s a suggestion. Come back in six months and announce you’re charging locals a flat fee of $5 for valet and garage parking — a reasonable fee that few will object to. Charge tourists the full $15 to $20. But locals are different. Especially because we just saved your company by filling your casinos and restaurants, when others stayed away after a tragedy.

But here’s the thing: The company needs to tie its parking fees to security. Murren needs to announce that all the parking fees will be specifically used to greatly upgrade MGM security. This would include:

■ Hiring hundreds of new guards.

■ Instituting the best training program in the world.

■ Arming security guards. Even some MGM employees are demanding the company’s guards be armed. No one feels safe in a “gun free zone.”

■ Training the security team for mass-shooting events.

■ Putting together an MGM TAC Team for emergencies situations just like the Mandalay Bay mass shooting.

■ Having a state-of-the-art MGM command post so guards can communicate and respond within seconds.

■ Upgrading the two-way radios so guards don’t experience dead zones ever again.

■ Pledging that all of your guards will be licensed with the state of Nevada and pass rigorous exams and training.

Use the parking fees to pay for all that security and peace of mind and …

A) Locals won’t mind reasonable fees for parking.

B) Tourists will return, knowing you’re serious about security and your properties are the safest in the world.

C) MGM will heal.

That, my friends at MGM, is common sense from an SOB (son of a butcher) that you’ll never get from a snotty, arrogant elitist, know-it-all crisis management firm from New York.

Contact Wayne Allyn Root at Wayne@ROOTforAmerica.com. Hear or watch the nationally syndicated “WAR Now: The Wayne Allyn Root Show” from 3 to 6 p.m. daily at 790 Talk Now and at 5 p.m. on Newsmax TV.

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