As We See It

There’s a battle over the hump in Pahrump

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Better neighbor: The Chicken Ranch (pictured) or a federal detention center? Discuss.
Photo: Sam Morris

Pahrumpans—our neighbors in the town we know for legal brothels, gun-toting free spirits and a lack of comprehensible zoning—are in a battle over the city’s image. It seems that construction of a federal detention center is totally ruining the town’s reputation.

Corrections Corporation of America plans to finish the 1,000-inmate prison by the end of 2010; it would hold inmates awaiting trial or illegal aliens awaiting deportation and provide about 230 jobs.

Many townies oppose the prison. One worried, in a letter to the Pahrump Valley Times, that Death Valley visitors might avoid Pahrump because of it. Others note that the prison will be unsightly.

Still others worry about safety and, mostly, about the town’s reputation. In a letter to the Nye County Commission last year, resident Michael Scaccia wrote that, with the prison, “Pahrump’s probable economy and subsequent indigence and crime would not manifest as a proud example of the American Dream. Pahrump is and can continue to strive to be a model All-American Community, and an example of what Americans are trying to be.”

We realize he’s not saying Americans are trying to be prostitutes. We do. But. From here ... looking at the town our taxis take tourists to for something other than a view of Terrible Herbst Casino ... well ...

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