The politics of extortion

Most Las Vegas politicians are, with little doubt and few exceptions, greedy little bastards.

I wish I knew how to say that in French. It would sound better and I’d get fewer letters from offended readers.

But, I have had it up to here with two-bit politicians who are more interested in lining their own pockets than in public service — and that language expresses the current state of affairs perfectly.

Nevertheless, if I’ve offended you, excusez-moi. I’m trying to offend (and maybe even shame into righteous behavior) the ethically challenged, sidewinding, slimeball politicians, not you.

Former Assembly speaker and current Henderson Police Chief Richard Perkins is the newest member of the age-old GLB Club.

Perkins secured his membership last week when he announced, and basically said in so many words, that he’s not satisfied with his full-time. taxpayer-funded job as Henderson’s top cop. In his spare time, he’s now going into the political “consulting” business.

Of course, we all know what’s going on when a public servant opens a business for which he is profoundly unqualified. This can be the “consulting” business, or the “public relations” business, or the “insurance” business, or the “custom home contracting” business. It’s all pretty much the same idea. It is a method by which a public official legally extorts money from individuals and business who may need the official’s support now or in the future.

There is no “but” to that sentence. That is precisely how these deals work.

You know it. I know it. The politician knows it. And the poor devils who feel they must pay the legal extortion money know it.

Other members of the club include former City Councilmen Michael Mack and Michael McDonald. The first Michael discovered after he was elected that he had a knack for “public relations and marketing” (especially to strip joints). The second Michael, a former Metro officer, discovered a remarkably similar latter-day talent (also for strip joints). Both Michaels, by the definition of being greedy little bastards, were spectacularly unqualified for their new-found side jobs.

Over on the Clark County Commission side of things, the GLBs are well documented and legion. But let’s hit the high points:

Former Commissioner Dario Herrera hung a shingle out for “public relations.” He was no more a qualified PR man than former Commissioner Lynette Boggs McDonald was a “land investor” or former Commissioner Erin Kenny was a “consultant” to developers. And recently retired Yvonne Atkinson Gates proved her GLB status years ago by first trying to clout her way into the “daiquiri” business at a local hotel and then later opening a custom-home contracting business.

Herrera is now a federal prisoner, and if there is anything to “what-goes-around-comes-around” karma, Kenny will soon follow.

Meanwhile, Boggs McDonald is out of office living in whatever district she wants to live in and, I have a feeling, stewing in her own juices.

As for Atkinson Gates, she seemed to find a lot of business for her home-building services when she was a powerful commissioner.

She was a very smart businesswoman — then. Wonder how her vendor pricing is now that she’s out of office?

We can only hope.

In the meanwhile, if your juices aren’t flowing yet, let me leave you with this story which is sure to boil the blood.

The day after — the day after, mind you! — former Metro officer Lance Malone defeated longtime County Commissioner Paul Christensen for a commission seat, he called a well-known political kingmaker who shall remain nameless and set up a lunch date at Landry’s on West Sahara.

The political consultant thought this was going to be a good old fashioned “get even” meeting because he had sided with Christiansen during the recent county commission campaign.

Instead, Malone’s first words were: “You know how things work. How do I make real money as a county commissioner?”

The political consultant stood up and excused himself saying: “This lunch is over.”

But, of course, you all know the rest of the story. Malone eventually did go on to find the answers he sought. The GLB that was just awakening in him eventually brought him fame, fortune and, finally, prison.

I wish we could make every greedy little bastard politician in Las Vegas wear a button with a picture of Lance Malone and the words, “My hero.”

It wouldn’t change things, but it certainly would make me feel better.

Sherman Frederick (sfrederick@ is publisher of the Review-Journal.

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