Daily Archives: February 13, 2009

Las Vegas Leaders Irate Over President Barack Obama’s Remarks

It’s difficult to find anyone in Nevada, politician or otherwise, who is not ticked off – boiling mad- over President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus legislation comments on Monday while he attended a town-hall meeting in Elkhart, Indiana.  Obama said: “You can’t get corporate jets, you can’t go take a trip to Las Vegas or go down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayers’ dime.”travel

Since then Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman has appeared in front of every camera and microphone he can muster, nerves frazzled and hotter than fish grease about the President Obama’s comments, demanding an immediate retraction and apology.  He followed his demand in a letter. 

In our Nevada economy that has been particularly hard hit by the recession, the enflaming remarks by could prove disastrous, many Nevada leaders say.   The number of Las Vegas tourists fell 4.4 percent last year and the descent continued in December, which saw a 14.2 percent dip compared with 2007. 

Rossi Ralenkotter, president and chief executive officer for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, appeared alongside Goodman, saying later he couldn’t put a price tag on repairing damage from Obama’s remarks. 

MGM Mirage spokesman Gordon Absher followed suit, saying Obama’s comments had “wildfire potential.” 

Most business leaders agree that extravagant, ostentatious frivolous spending is one thing, but it’s the “Las Vegas fun factor” under control that can precisely be the economic stimulus ticket to drive up the attendance at Las Vegas conventions and serve as a win-win lift for our sagging national and local economies. 

But are out-of-town business conventioneers really listening? 

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. continued to draw heat and withdrew its plan to hold a three-day conference in Las Vegas after accepting $10 billion in federal bailout funds. 

Similarly, last week Wells Fargo & Co., which received $25 billion in taxpayer money, cancelled a planned employee recognition conference in Las Vegas. 

The fear is that Las Vegas is unjustly getting a growing reputation as a frivolous destination for companies- and not just those getting federal bailout money.  To which Goodman responded, “What we’re famous for has nothing to do with the fact that you can have a serious meeting in Las Vegas.” 

Only time will tell what will be the ultimate economic tourism impact of Obama’s remarks- time Las Vegas has very little of.   It could be that Obama’s comment might tilt the economic pendulum more in favor of Las Vegas tourism, actually bringing in more tourists as Las Vegas continues to work damage control on its reputation as a place for serious business.

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Hollywood Madam Heidi Fleiss Drops Desert Stud Farm Plans

There are many things that former Hollywood Madam Heidi Fleiss isn’t.  (Though, we’ll just save those for a rainy day heidifleiss2article.)  However, there are many things she is:  quirky and unpredictable are words that immediately come to mind.   But Fleiss is also a consummate businesswoman. Testimonial to that fact, her Pahrump, Nevada “Dirty Laundry” coin-operated laundromat that started a year and a half ago continues to be very successful.  In fact, she plans to open another, perhaps many of them.

She also can intuitively sense when her karma isn’t right. In 2005 she concocted a unique plan to open a Nye County brothel on 60 acres of land, close to tiny town of Crystal, Nevada to exclusively cater to women.   Planning to feature a stable of peck-endowed hunks, Heidi’s Stud Farm would have been the first bordello of its kind.   She was featured in many newspaper and magazine articles and even did a HBO documentary espousing the virtues of being unvirtuous. 

Only one problem about her plans:  Fleiss failed to take the first step of submitting an application for a brothel license. 

Now it appears she never will.  “I think I’m going to put all my property up for sale in Crystal,” Fleiss said. “I don’t want to work so hard . . . and deal with all the nonsense of the sex business.”

 But she’s definitely not into retiring and watching sunrises and sunsets either.  Plans, although not elaborated on, are for the colorful and controversial Fleiss to embark on a new Nevada alternative energy project.  

She also plans to build her dream house somewhere- it’s just she’s just not sure where yet.  

However, one thing is for certain- her lifelong steadfast commitment to her 25 pet parrots that freely roam inside and outside of her home- a double-wide trailer atop her hillside property in Pahrump.  “My birds come first,” she said. “I’ll live wherever’s best for them.”

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