Why has it been so long since we elected a Las Vegas native as mayor? Why do we keep electing impostors?

Have Las Vegans ever elected a native-born mayor? My research suggests not. Las Vegas barely has four generations of natives under its 105-year-old boomtown belt. In fact, the number of Las Vegans born outside the United States (about 22 percent of the population) is roughly double that of native Las Vegans.

The pool of prospective Vegas-born candidates is certainly growing—if you’re fishing for future mayors, how about Larry Ruvo?—but historically, most our most influential residents have moved here from elsewhere. That hardly brands them as impostors. Oscar and Carolyn Goodman, who arrived from Philadelphia in 1965, are prime examples of transplants who immersed themselves in our community and have participated in many notable ways, from public defender (Oscar) to founding The Meadows School (Carolyn) to mayor (both).

Where one is born is far less important to this rah-rah native than whether or not they respect Las Vegas’ uniqueness.

Topless bars sell alcohol, nudie joints don’t. Sin City? I’m confused.

The all-nude Palomino Club has a bar, thanks to grandfathering (which expires in 2019), but that’s it. The rest of Sin City’s nudies are booze-free. It gets weirder. Until recently, dancers had to be 18 years old across the board, as long as they could obtain a sheriff’s card. Permitted to dance topless or nude, most chose topless because where there is alcohol, money flows freely.

Then, the County Commission, in one of its periodic morality fits, started getting their G-strings in a bunch over the scary idea that under-21 entertainers were working in bars they couldn’t otherwise get into. So they changed things. Today, under a combination of county law and self-policing rules, no local topless club hires any dancer under 21, creating a scenario in which all-nude clubs are almost exclusively staffed by 18-20 year olds. Talk about moral irony!

The sin in Sin City is mostly a marketing image balanced between libertine realities (Liquor! Gambling!) and well-crafted illusion (Nudity in casinos—not!). If you want real sin, try San Francisco.

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The Rebel Rise

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Here in the second decade of the third millennium A.D., the quickest way for a Las Vegan to sense the grand sweep of history is not to Google the words “Decline” and “Rome” but to go house-hunting down the street. When the weather is fine, as it certainly was over Thanksgiving weekend, and the stores are full, which they certainly were, it’s easy to forget that we live among ruins.