As We See It

A week of woe thanks to Ensign, Sanford and the Las Vegas entrepreneur

Mike Sanford
Photo: Justin M. Bowen

We swear we’re not superstitious, but we can’t help but wonder why when bad things happen, it’s usually involving a number associated with musketeers, blind mice and adventurous sexual escapades. Such was the case with an unusual threesome of Vegas icons, which all took serious blows to their reputations in the same small time frame—Friday to Monday. To wit:

John Ensign Okay, so this is a pretty easy target, as the guy can’t even get arrested (and don’t we all wish he would). But the last few days have been particularly brutal for the philandering senator, who was the subject of an in-depth New York Times investigative piece about just how ethically challenged he really is (including such gems as using the color of his office to get favors done for friends whose wives he’s bedding). Add to that a scathing editorial in the Washington Post (“Mr. Ensign’s behavior goes far beyond mistakes; he misused his office, and he must be held to account”), and our favorite C Street House resident looks to be headed for winds of change that would ruffle even his perma-combed hairstyle. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy, say we.

Mike Sanford Can you really sum up a college football coach’s career in just one game? In the case of this weekend’s 63-28 UNLV debacle against UNR, the answer is, well, yeah. So this is how a coach celebrates a three-year contract extension—by losing in spectacular fashion in the One Matchup That Really Matters (and UNLV had lost its last four games with the Wolf Pack prior to this), and against an offense that hadn’t won a game all season to boot. As bad as UNLV has played in the last few decades, this fart of a game—allowing 773 yards to a team despite fumbling the ball four times—is a stink that won’t dissipate for some time. Far be it from us to suggest he be fired, but it should be noted a Facebook page has been started to accomplish that very goal—and it’s already up to 292 members.

Las Vegas As former Sun reporter and current Wall Street Journal scribe Alexandra Berzon reported this week, the era of the entrepreneur is gone in Sin City. The casinos that are here are either filing for bankruptcy or restructuring in such a way that bankruptcy might be the preferred option. And future projects? All we can say is, get used to the way things are. Job creation? Far be it from us to say there is no future, but in the case of opportunity in Las Vegas, there is no future. At least not for the next 10 years. (As Gary Loveman of Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. was quoted as saying, “The last period was one where people were drunk on the use of capital and used it to solve every problem. Clearly that can’t continue.”) Add to all this dwindling gambling revenues, airport traffic and room revenue, not to mention the fact that our supposed savior, CityCenter, is slashing prices 30 percent, and we’re left with a burning question that all households are currently asking: Can we survive with what we have?

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Ken Miller is Las Vegas Magazine's managing editor, having previously served as associate editor at Las Vegas Weekly, assistant features ...

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