Something very interesting happened last week.
Responding to our editorial of September 16, Sheriff Bill Young called us and we found (as we suspected) that we agreed more than we disagreed on the issues facing the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
And we do not disagree with the Sheriff that he is in need of more manpower.
One partial solution is to get rid of all of the independent policing agencies which suck up administrative budgets and place them all under the command of Metro.
We fail to see the need for independent police departments in North Las Vegas, Boulder City and Henderson. We also have a difficult time with giving separate budgets to the Las Vegas City Marshals, the Clark County Park police and the Clark County School police.
We would guess that just the elimination of the duplicative administration budgets alone would fund a whole new group of street cops.
Beyond that, there is Young’s advisory referendum on the ballot this November which would raise sales taxes to fund an increase in manpower.
The reason that this is an advisory referendum is that it is the legislature which actually has to raise the taxes and they have to do it with a 2/3 majority. All of which means that even if the referendum passes, the final product may or may not even resemble what the citizens of Clark County vote on.
That said, we have some suggestions, irrespective of whether or not the referendum passes.
First, Las Vegas never gets statistical credit for the crimes committed, the infrastructure used and the policing necessary by the roughly 300,000 people who live here for three days at a time. In essence, we’re not a county of 1.7-million people. We’re a county of roughly 2-million people who never get credit for being that big because the visitors don’t count.
Our theory is to make the visitors pay for the extra policing necessary.
There are two ways to do that. The first is to raise the sales tax and then give a yearly rebate to all of the county’s permanent residents.
A far more simple way is to create a tourist district in which most of the sales tax dollars are actually generated by tourists and raise the tax in that district to a level which will pay for what Young needs. And then, to shut off the back door, not allow the county to remove other budgeted funds from metro only to be replaced by these new funds.
Ironically, Young told us that he had originally proposed something like the tourist district and was told by the Nevada tax people that they did not have the “technology” to get that done.
Either those people truly are completely incompetent, or we need drug sniffing dogs to find out what those tax people were smoking and whether or not state dollars were funding their party.
A class of sixth-grade computer students could design the “technology” to implement a higher tax in a special district.
We think there’s another explanation. Certain gaming executives don’t like that idea because they live with the fantasy that people actually notice the tax burden placed upon them in Las Vegas while they are playing against house odds. Apparently gaming executives want to be the only ones who control what tourists spend their money on.
Well, they better get over it. Tourism is our industry of choice here and the tourists should pay for what they cost us in extra services and infrastructure.
Because if we can’t get it that way, maybe we should simply raise the gaming tax.
On another subject…
This issue marks our first anniversary of publishing the Penny Press. Sooner or later, we’ll have to stop referring to ourselves as “the newest weekly newspaper in Las Vegas”.
We are grateful to our advertisers who make this newspaper possible, to our great group of contributors but mostly to our readers.
Our readers are mostly little guys like us who, faced with having to deal with a world designed by big guys for big guys, occasionally need a little help dealing with that world.
We’ve had a little special training in that regard and have learned through the years that making a government bureaucracy or a big company pay attention is a lot like making an elephant dance. You have to poke and prod it in all of its sensitive places.
We’ve spent the past year poking and prodding and, frankly, have had as much if not more fun than we have had in our 38 years in this business.
So, let the poking and prodding continue, because, like we say in our radio commercials, we intend to elevate sticking up for us little guys to a whole new Las Vegas tradition.