One of the fathers of modern Las Vegas wows a crowd of would-be gambling entrepreneurs, a top official face un-plants on his website and a key endorsement in the race for Clark County sheriff. Quick! Before we all die of ebola! Read the Friday Slashback!
• I’d almost forgotten after not seeing him in the news for awhile, that casino mogul Steve Wynn is one hell of a funny guy. He had the audience laughing from the start of his keynote address at the G2E convention this week with a simple bit about his new iPhone 6. And he had them thinking by the end after sharing some of the secrets that animate the Wynn philosophy.
“We believe where I come from that only people can make people happy. And we take that very seriously,” said Wynn, known for elaborate, landscape-changing casinos in Las Vegas and elsewhere.
Wynn, who is working on a casino project near Boston, if only voters don’t repeal the Bay State’s gambling law in its entirety in November, said he was intrigued by the prospect of building a “grand hotel.”
“The era of the grand hotel has come come and gone,” he said. But in Boston, “We could build a grand hotel again. Imagine the fun of that.” (And he has: He dreams of a pair of curving escalators rising up from his lobby to a second level, bookending a glass elevator. “I want all the people in Boston when they walk in to know ‘you’re not in Kansas anymore,’” Wynn said to laughs.)
A key point to remember, according to Wynn: Casinos were never really about the gambling, the slots or the table games. It’s about the non-gambling aspects of a resort, the experience and interacting with the people there. “It’s always been that the non-casino story is the story. It was never about the slot machines,” he said. “It’s about giving people a chance to live big.”
“You’ve got to give people something they’re willing to pay for,” he said. “You’ve got to give people something they’re willing to get on a airplane for, to submit to a body search for.”
The guy is so smooth, by the end of this speech, I wanted to walk over to the Wynn, buy a Brioni suit and a Rolex GMT Master watch in stainless steel, try my hand in the casino and have a nice dinner at Sinatra. Man, he’s good…
• It’s never a good idea for public officials to use the resources of their office for personal promotion, although it happens all the time. From the federal “franking privilege,” in which members of Congress send constituents taxpayer-financed promotional materials at public expense, to websites that feature the smiling visage of an elected leader, it can only create problems.
Remember the infamous indictment of Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki? That was over the handling of money that would be used to pay for ads promoting Nevada’s college savings programs, ads that featured Krolicki himself. (That indictment was ultimately dismissed.)
Now, we have another example, albeit on a much smaller scale. This week, former U.S. Navy Cmdr. Kirk Lippold — who once sought the Republican nomination for Congress for the 2nd District — filed an ethics complaint against Democratic Secretary of State Ross Miller for plastering his photo on an election web portal meant for overseas and military voters.
Lippold’s compliant alleges that Miller sought to grant himself unwarranted privileges and preferences, presumably because voters would see Miller’s square-jawed visage just prior to voting. It’s a bit of a stretch, but in response, Miller nonetheless took his picture off the site.
Now, keep in mind that easy access to voting for overseas and military voters is a good thing (I’m sure Lippold agrees). It’s understandable that Miller would want voters to know that’s something he’s done on their behalf, too. But that zeal to announce one’s accomplishments is always better broadcast by one’s privately financed campaign, rather than through the resources of one’s office.
It’s a cautionary tale to all elected officials, which I’m totally sure they will start heeding any second now. Really, any second. Probably happening as we speak. Sigh…
• The race for Clark County sheriff is narrowing somewhat. This week, third-place finisher (and former Metro Police Assistant Sheriff Ted Moody gave his backing to Assistant Sheriff Joe Lombardo. That’s significant in one way, since Moody retired suddenly from the department last summer after incumbent Sheriff Doug Gillespie ignored a recommendation to fire an officer who’d been involved in an on-duty shooting. (Other members of the use-of-force board that Moody chaired also quit.)
But from another perspective, it makes sense: Lombardo’s opponent, ex-Metro Capt. Larry Burns, has the overwhelming support of the Police Protective Association, the officer’s union. If a person were concerned that discipline at Metro was too light, Lombardo would be a logical choice for an endorsement.
Plus, it doesn’t help that the union recently put a police detective involved in a highly questionable on-duty shooting into a key position on the union staff. That move was surely a headache to the Burns campaign, after the union voted by a 96 percent margin (no, really) to endorse him.
• First, let me say that I’m a team player here at the Review-Journal, and I’m reluctant to criticize the work of any of my colleagues.
But this story contains such a glaring, outrageous factual mistake, that I cannot stay silent about it for another second.
Seriously, a feature about six beaches within driving distance of Las Vegas without a single mention of the finest beach of them all, Huntington Beach!? How is this even possible?! Could you do a story about the best cars in the world and not include the Ferrari? A story about the finest wines and leave out all of the first-growth vineyards? Could you leave Hawaii off a list of Pacific island vacation getaways?
Of course not.
Now, I’ve got nothing against Hermosa Beach, Santa Monica, Laguna Beach, Redondo Beach, San Diego or Manhattan Beach. They’re all nice places. I’ve enjoyed many fine hours vacationing in San Diego. But let me ask this: Is the annual Vans U.S. Open of Surfing held in any of those places? Nope. It’s held in Huntington Beach, aka Surf City! (Suck it, Santa Cruz!) When Nevada state Sen. Mark Hutchison went looking for a place to relax, did he buy a vacation house in Laguna, Redondo, Hermosa or Manhattan? Nope. He picked Huntington Beach. Why? Because it’s awesome!
So, Review-Journal, I’ll be looking forward to the correction on this story…
• On the other hand, California decided to ban plastic grocery bags this week. You either have to bring your own canvass bag to the store or pay 10 cents per paper bag (which the store gets to keep). Sigh…
• Old school: I would totally play the Wonder Woman slot machine.
• I knew it! You legalize medical marijuana, and the next thing you know, your town is crawling with hippies! Why, I wouldn’t surprised if they started a Strip show featuring the music of the Beatles! What?! They already did? Damn it!
• So a dude who lied on his exit visa form left Africa with Ebola, and had contact with, like, 100 people before he got put into quarantine in Texas? Are they catching a lot of Ebola cases this way? Let’s see, I think I might have Ebola, but I know for sure that if I do, I won’t be able to leave Africa for America, where apparently people have a much better chance of surviving. So do I lie on the form and check the box marked “it’s all good,” or do I tell the truth and wait for my organs to liquefy?
We’re doomed, people. See you next week (I hope).