The Other Side of Vegas is on This Side of Vegas

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Aches in my head, bugs in my bed
Pants so old that they shine
Out on the street, tell the people I meet
Won’ch buy me a bottle of wine

The Fireballs

So, my post yesterday definitely signals that I’m enthusiastic about Las Vegas.

But let me offer a few caveats.

First, the trash. I’ve been reading a lot of Dorothy Day lately, so I realize I shouldn’t refer to “the poor” as “trash,” but I can’t deny that the term repeatedly bopped into my head. There are a lot of bums on the street downtown. It’s not at California levels by any stretch, but it might be on its way. I don’t think I saw any bums during my last trip in November 2019. But this trip? They’re all over the place in the downtown district.

On top of that, no one seems to care. They’re crashed throughout the downtown district, and the attitude seems to be, “What can we do?” One guy was sleeping in one of the Golden Nugget’s outdoor planters on top of the plants with no objection from the Nugget. It’s almost like they’re sacred cows.

Second, the trash. You don’t have to be passed out on the street to qualify as trash. You can just be disturbingly large yet wear revealing clothes, be inconsiderate of everyone around you, and use the “f word” in lieu of all other verbal modifiers. These folks are all over the place in the downtown district, with quite a few on the Strip as well.

I have an old high school friend who lives in Vegas. He told me the Strip started to experience crime during COVID because the casino resorts were offering such cheap room rentals in order to draw somebody, anybody, to stay there and generate revenue. The result? A lot of rougher folk from urban areas who couldn’t normally afford the rent. The further result? More crime, including shootings (my friend, “For awhile, it seemed like there was a murder every week on the Strip”).

He said the casino resorts agreed to eliminate the discount pricing and beef up Strip security in order to eliminate the problem. I think downtown needs to do the same . . . and fast.

Third, broken stuff. Vegas is clearly not “hitting on all cylinders” yet. Service was slow, malfunctioning equipment was everywhere. I’d estimate, for instance, that at least 1/3rd of the escalators weren’t moving.