A recent article printed in a Salt Lake City newspaper, "Feeding Homeless Is A Losing Bet In Las Vegas", stated that the Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman has ban feeding the homeless in the parks, he has in fact totally closed a park that the homeless would frequent.Mayor Goodman is not at the top of list of most of the homeless or their advocates. This is a man who wanted to ship the homeless 30 miles outside of the city to an abandoned prison. He has been noted to say he'd like the homeless to be moved "as far away from Las Vegas as possible". He now states that "Until a light bulb gets lit in my head," the park will remained closed. Isn't there enough light bulbs in Las Vegas already?
Las Vegas has been known for tough policies toward the needy and homeless so it doesn't come to surprise me on the mayor's actions. It was nearly 20 years ago when I last visited "the city that never closes", when I was given a free ride from a paddy wagon to the city jail for jaywalking. I had been staying in a downtown casino hotel and had checked out to go to Los Angeles, when I walked across the street to grab one of Vegas's well known cheap breakfast buffets, of course wearing my backpack, when a van pulled up and out jumped two guys who grabbed me zip tied my hands behind my back and tossed me in the back of the van to sit with a couple of others. We toured the downtown area stopping to pickup anyone who looked homeless or had a backpack on, then went to the city jail. At the lockup the desk person asked me to empty my wallet, which contained over $500 and 2 credit cards, they then ask why I was being held and I explained for jaywalking, I guess. Not one person had actually told me what was going on. This person then proceeded to apologize and said it was a case of mistaken identity and I was free to go. Later that morning I learned that President Regan was visiting that day and the city had conducted a sweep of their streets to rid it of "Unwanted People". This was the last time I visited and I'll never return to this city again. Today I challenge Mayor Goodman to devise better methods in helping the homeless. Here in Salt Lake a park which the homeless have hung out at, been fed, clothed and ministered at also holds a very successful farmers market where 1000's attend each saturday during the summer months. There are high end condos, businesses and retail stores nearby and yet the homeless are still fed, clothed and ministered here. In fact one business owner has said that having the homeless close by has added more flavor to his business and for his customers. I'm sure that in a town that never sleeps, wastes tons of food and has more money roll through it in one night that you can shake a stick at could managed to get along with its homeless population. Are the homeless in Las Vegas that bad? Scanning today's news an article stood out to me, "Homeless man hailed as a hero". Yea here is one of those guys that lives on the streets of Las Vegas who helped to save a small childs life after a car hit her and it came to rest setting on top of her. This homless person along with 2 others lifted the car from her. These guys rock! They are just a glimpse of how compassionate the homeless can be, yet Mayor Goodman wishes hold them down and not show any respect. If you're reading this I ask that you write the Las Vegas Mayor and voice your concern at: City Hall, Tenth Floor 400 Stewart Avenue Las Vegas, NV 89101 or you can email him. I also suggest to avoid visiting Las Vegas until Mayor Goodman can find his light bulb.
SL Streets