Friday, September 10, 2010

BBC Interview with Oscar B. Goodman

BBC's Hardtalk is interviewing the mayor of Las Vegas on the radio this morning, and it is contentious. The guy is so shifty, I swear he's going to leave sideways.
The interviewer is interested in the history of Las Vegas, and trying to get Mr. Goodman to talk about how Vegas was steeped in the mob when he arrived there with "$87 in his pocket", and Mr. Goodman backpedals furiously insisting that he never had any contact with unscrupulous people, and they were all good people, they always paid him, etc. The interviewer scoffs and insists they were talking about people like, Meyer Lansky, Phil Leonetti, Frank "lefty" Rosenthal, and Anthony "Tony the Ant" Spilotro and the Mayor says that he knew nothing, how could he know, they never asked his permission to kill people, and that he knew Tony until the time he was killed in a cornfield. When the interviewer presses the point, the mayor says he "sounds like a cop".
At this point, I had known nothing about the mayor, but now, I'm sure he's mob. 

He points out that people felt, when he ran for office, that he would corrupt city hall, but since he's the only politician that hasn't been indicted, they're wrong. But they should be wrong because he's not doing anything wrong, not because he hasn't been indicted. That just shows he hasn't been caught yet.

There's some back and forth about whether or not Vegas is sleazy. It depends on whether or not you consider neon and english gin to be sleazy.

After a comment about having beautiful girls around him turns the interviewer on to sex traffic, quoting a prominenet journalist who said "there is no city on earth where the women are treated worse [than Vegas]", the Mayor plays dumb, insisting he's never seen an underage girl displaying her wares. The interviewer brings up a judge who says he has women in his court all the time ("a parade of girls") charged with prostitution, and the Mayor counters not in his city. The interviewer presses, stating it was a Vegas judge, but the mayor hand-waves it away, saying they have law enforcement in place and there are more important things.

The interviwer brings up the idea of Vegas, how  it is outrageous and "larger-than-life", and asks the mayor how that works with the current trend towards sustainability and the city's plan to reinvent itself. Mr. Goodman divulges that every government building built since he was elected is "as green as it gets" either rating silver, gold, or platinum. The interviewer laughs a bit and says isn't the ethos of Las Vegas the antithesis of sustainability? But he is again rebuffed by the mayor, insisting it's not his fault.

They also briefly discuss an incident in the past where the mayor threatened a certain journalist, saying he would take a baseball bat and break his head. Or when the mayor joked about cutting off the thumbs of people who spread graffiti, and how this lends a ridiculous air to Vegas, as though the whole thing is a theme park. The mayor insists his "satire" is the only way to get through to people.

Vegas: So far removed from reality, it couldn't find it with a map and a sherpa. 
This man has spent so long dealing with mob people, he's starting to take on their characteristics. I'm going to go take a shower.

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