Las Vegas

Las Vegas Cites Public Safety in Bid To Ban News Racks

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Credit: Shahar Hart / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

The commission of Clark County, Nevada is expected to make a decision about a proposed ban on news racks on and around Las Vegas Boulevard. Although the government says the racks are a safety issue, people are fighting back, calling the proposal an affront to local businesses and First Amendment-protected rights.

There are an estimated 311 news racks along the Las Vegas Strip, as well as on cross streets, that could be eliminated. They feature everything from magazines and tourist information to advertisements for call girls. If the county commission has its way in a battle it has been waging for years, the businesses that operate the racks would have to remove them by Jan. 1.

Now, people are pushing back in defense of free speech, business freedom, and common sense.

The Las Vegas Sun quotes one rack owner, Kathryn Gentile, who speculated, "I don't think it's a secret that adult-oriented businesses and advertisements have always been disfavored. I believe this is simply another attempt to ban that and circumvent the First Amendment."

The ACLU is taking sides with Gentile. Allen Lichtenstein, the general counsel of the ACLU's Nevada branch said, "The biggest problem with the proposal is that it completely does away with a particular mode of communication, not just within a small area, but within a much wider area — the resort corridor. They don't really have a justification for getting rid of this First Amendment outlet." Lichtenstein also pointed out that eliminating news racks will not eliminate sidewalk congestion. Instead, the problem could be exacerbated by an influx of people handing out ads to replace the stationary bins.

Erik Pappa, a county spokesperson disagreed, insisting that the issue was over safety. "We did this pedestrian study… We had these guys look at pedestrian flow up and down the Strip, and they found a bunch of bottlenecks. They need to remove the obstructions." He assured, "It's strictly based on the need to improve traffic flow because of the safety issues involved," he said.

"This is my livelihood. I was going to hand this down to my kids. It's a family-owned business," explained another rack owner, Eddie Munoz. He told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he plans to file a lawsuit if the commission approves the ban.

One could also question if this is the best allocation of time and resources for the government to improve safety on the streets of Las Vegas. After all, the city has nearly double the national median violent crime rate, and experiences more than four times the number of crimes per mile as the national median.

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  1. Well, someone has to save us from dangerous news racks. If not for the government, then who, baggers, tell us, who will save us?

    1. No news is good news.

  2. If those racks weren’t there, people could more easily flee from all the violent criminals.

    /derp

  3. Is that news racks or new racks? If it’s the latter, that may be a real problem in Vegas.

    1. OT, with mild Gravity spoilers:

      I finally saw Gravity (went by myself to see Ender’s Game but it was sold out so I took the showing of space Clooney). Not bad. Glad they got the sound in space right as that’s a big peeve of mine. The incredible closeness of everything’s orbits was annoying, as was the …weird momentum when Kowalski is pulling Stone off the ISS.

      1. Yeah, it’s not without major flaws. But for Hollywood, it’s practically a documentary.

        Looked great, though. I was very impressed at the opening shots.

        1. Yeah, I enjoyed it overall, though I did have trouble accepting that he was pulling her down after he had already stopped relative to the station. In the end, I would have preferred to see Ender’s, but it was an acceptable substitute.

          1. That and the orbits being all weird were the moments I said “Huh?” the most.

            I also found Clooney’s character’s dialogue a bit odd.

            1. Well, technically it’s possible for those orbits to be so close… It’s just that they aren’t in real life and it wouldn’t make much sense for them to be.

              1. It was unrealistic to people who know anything about such things, even laymen, but I doubt it bothered most people.

                1. Like I said, it’s possible, so the orbits didn’t really bother me much. Okay, it’s a fictional universe where they decided to put them all ridiculously close together. I can make that leap with just a little bit of effort.

                  The cliffhanging in space is much harder to take.

                  1. Maybe he had a really big leak in his suit pushing him away?

                    1. He was just pissing at her the whole time.

                    2. NSA anti-gravity test? Could explain the orbit issues, too.

  4. You know who else tried to ban nice racks?

    1. Twiggy?

    2. The FDA?

    3. sarcasmic?

    4. Amnesty International?

  5. Right, ’cause if they’re concerned about bottlenecks on the strip they wouldn’t start with that monstrosity next to Harrah’s with all the kiosks and concert stage.

  6. OT: Posted a petition being distrib in MI asking the state NOT to reinstate front car license plates. We’ve been without them – I dunno – twenty years or so. Detroit lawmaker proposes reinstituting them because “COPS! and teh childrunz” – will help “solve crimes like drunk driving, kidnapping…” etc. etc. No evidence that any crime’s been unsolved because we DIDN’T have them.

    So, one of my derptastic friends who now resides in Europe (please, stay there!) – “FREEDOM WILL END IF WE PUT ANOTHER LICENSE PLATE ON.”

    Srsly, what do you say to that? I just asked him to point out all the crimes that would have been solved BUT for that missing front plate…and “show your work.”

    Jesus Christ, I hate people…

    1. Tell him you are going to mail him a quart of rape C.O.D. If he pays, he gets raped; if he doesn’t pay, he gets raped. Tell him he will be raped with a personalized license plate that says “POO RAPE.”

    2. Why not side plates and roof plates?

      I’ve lived in several states and have noticed an apparent correlation in the fees and the number of plates required. Which may be part of what’s going on, too.

      1. Roof plates just make sense. How else are the drone supposed to know which car to hit with a Hellfire?

        1. I suppose they could put chips in the car to broadcast its position.

          1. That’s why I’ve wrapped my vehicle in a Faraday cage.

            1. They will just make you drive a license plate around. Electric license plates rolling on thousands of ball-bearings and covered in GPS units.

        2. “Which”? That makes it sound like there is a wrong answer.

        3. Why not national license tags, anyway? How did we avoid that?

          1. I had a very hard time explaining this concept to a group of Indians a few years ago. They really didn’t seem to grasp the idea of federalism.

            1. Federalism? What is that? When you submit to the arbitrary will of the federal government?

              1. It was crazy. They just could not conceive of a scenario where the license plates weren’t national.

                To be fair, at least they were high school kids.

          2. Sheer dumb luck.

  7. “We had these guys look at pedestrian flow up and down the Strip, and they found a bunch of bottlenecks. They need to remove the obstructions.”

    The drunken asshole college kids on the Strip ARE the obstructions.

    1. But what about kulaks and hoarders?

    2. Some Fifth Columnists sabotaged that link!

      1. What’s wrong with the link? It works for me.

        1. I get a 404 error when I click it.

          1. Strange, just checked it again, still works.

    3. Gee, imagine if the Republicans had pushed Social Security reform through in 2005. Do you think the response in 2008 would have been, “Oh, it would have worked if only the Democrats hadn’t opposed it every step of the way”? No, that’s adversarial politics. If they don’t like it, go work in the private sector.

    4. She’s serious, isn’t she? This debacle is getting truly DELICIOUS.

  8. OT: HuffPo finally acknowledges that not everyone loves Obama as much as, well, HuffPo does:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…..14098.html

    And the comments are, predictably, insane:

    260Parkway
    3
    925 Fans?America is in REVERSE!
    Speak for yourself!!! I still have great regard for a man that even from the day of his inaugruation had to FIGHT people that were against him and that NEVER planned to help him be successful.

    And unless you are taking a poll of EVERYONE………..

    It’s sad that you have an ELECTED president that has to fight like the everyday Black man in this country and yet they say you can be anything you want to be in this country, but the caveat is once you get there you are DISRESPECTED and made to feel UNWELCOME and like you don’t belong!

    Then they have the nerve to say he’s not a schmoozer, why would he?

    1. Well, this is why the president needs unfettered powers. Because otherwise, people might disrespect him, and how then is he supposed to save us from… something…. err, ourselves, yes that’s it, ourselves, if he has to go around all day with his wittle feelings hurt?

      Obama for King, now!

    2. DISRESPECTED

      What is it about stupid people and their inability to grasp what this word means? It’s nearly universal.

  9. Instead, the problem could be exacerbated by an influx of people handing out ads to replace the stationary bins.

    JERBZ CREATED OR SAVED!

    1. No shit. In my town it is illegal for businesses to put out temporary signs, so they pay some poor bastard $7.25/hr to hold a sign on the side of the road and swelter. I don’t think that’s the best use of anyone’s time or money.

      1. It’s like that here in Murland. When I first moved here, it was sort of a novelty to me. I had never seen people standing in the median of a dangerous highway, dancing around with a big sign in their hands. Seemed sort of backwards and crazy to me, and still does.

      2. 7.25/hr is better than 0.00/hr, which is presumably what he’d be making otherwise.

  10. Now, people are pushing back in defense of free speech, business freedom, and common sense.

    Whelp, one and three are out of the picture, so I guess we hang our hat on #2?

    1. Now, people all 22 libertarians in the country, are pushing back in defense of free speech, business freedom, and common sense.

      FIFY

      1. 22 is a hyperbolic number I use on these boards. It’s nowhere near 22. Maybe like, 11.

  11. Paging the people here who claim that the ACLU never does anything pro-freedom, please pick up the white courtesy phone.

    1. Strawmen don’t have pagers.

    2. white courtesy phone

      racist.

    3. They try to balance it out. ACLU has been pretty good on free speech issues- a reluctant opponent of the McCain Feingold act.

      On freedom of association, they abysmal, on guns, they’re silent. On 4th amendment, they’re laudable.

      1. Q: How does an ACLU lawyer count to ten?

        A: 1, 4, 6, 7, 8.

        (eminent domain, another issue they’re horrid on, is restricted by the 5th)

  12. “The Las Vegas Sun quotes one rack owner, Kathryn Gentile,”

    War on Womenz!

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