Oscar Goodman

Exit through the Mob Museum: Our goodbye to Oscar Goodman

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Mayor Oscar Goodman talks about The Mob Museum’s most recent acquisition, the barber chair in which Albert Anastasia was murdered, on Wednesday, March 9, 2011.
Photo: Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

With the race for Las Vegas’ next mayor approaching, Oscar Goodman is anything but a lame duck in his final moments in office. He’s drawing some fire for a city mailer that’s gone out to the citizenry this month, listing his accomplishments while in office. Despite claims by the city that it’s simply to foster attendance at upcoming budget hearings, some say it’s a blatant attempt to bolster the mayoral campaign of Oscar’s wife, Carolyn.

Meanwhile Oscar is claiming a deal to build a 20,000-seat arena for an NBA team could soon be finalized.

Any of this sound familiar? It should. Oscar Goodman is leaving office the same way he entered—with a bit of fanfare, a dose of crazy dreaming and a lot of skating on the line between ethical and unethical.

It’s hard to imagine any other mayor getting away with the things Oscar has. We’ll give him the showgirls. Hey, it’s Vegas. The Bombay Sapphire spokesman thing? Not exactly a ringing endorsement for responsible behavior from a city official, but Oscar made it work, even coming up with product tie-ins to his job, like Martinis With the Mayor.

Goodman has been positively quixotic in his quest to get a professional sports team, despite all the evidence that it will likely never happen. The crazy thing is, whenever he says a deal is imminent, small parts of our brains believe him. He really is a salesman, and he’s sold this city like no other mayor.

Telling third graders about the virtues of gin? Telling vandals he’d like to lop off their thumbs? Advocating for a “Little Amsterdam” Downtown for prostitution? It’s like they never happened. Love or hate Oscar, admit it—we’re all gonna miss this insanity.

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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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