Leave it to the state to do this to Oscar Goodman. The day before Las Vegas voters decided who would step into his mayoral shadow, the Legislature killed off his latest chances to land a stadium for the Valley. It did, however, tell him that he could once again smoke while eating. Though any plans he had to smoke and eat while texting in a moving car will have to be set aside. Nevada libertarianism only goes so far.
The refusal to allow special stadium tax districts reduces not only the possibility of an on-campus football stadium at UNLV, but also the possibility of an on-campus Town Square. This will no doubt disappoint Louis Menand of The New Yorker, who in the magazine’s June 6 issue uses our fair university as a poster child for higher education’s trend toward vocational training. Menand, a Harvard professor, wonders whether our beverage management majors are really paying attention in their required world-lit classes. He also declares that anyone who winds up at UNLV must have taken an educational “wrong turn” along the way.
If Menand finds it so unlikely that our local kids can, in the very same semester, cogitate on both Dante’s fourth circle of hell (reserved for the greedy) and the business practices of Wolfgang Puck, perhaps he should next weigh in on all the on-campus practical training opportunities the Legislature has just killed: Starbucks management internships! The Abercrombie & Fitch graduate practicum! Alas, he’ll be left to lament Las Vegas’ continuing devotion to world literature, which will continue not only to be offered but even required at a university that has miraculously emerged from the budget wars in one piece.
In two years, of course, the taxes that were just saved from sunset will sunset again, and we’ll have another chance to live down to the expectations of East Coast snobs. Let’s face it, they’ll never leave us alone. I wouldn’t worry too much, though: We’ll have a headmaster in City Hall, and, like her husband, she knows how to deal with people who talk out of turn.