|For Immediate Release
"Former Las Vegas Mayor" peddles title to highest bidder
By Steve Miller
LAS VEGAS - On March 14, 1997, the Detroit News reported
that then-Las Vegas Mayor Jan Laverty Jones was in Detroit
encouraging officials to consider the future of casinos
in their city. After being introduced as "Las Vegas Mayor
Jan Jones," she was quoted in the Detroit News saying "You
have all of the capacity to become a world-class city."
She went on to tell City Council members and the press to
"Foster an environment that gives casino operators the latitude
they need to attract visitors from outside Detroit."
Jones then stated "You need hotel rooms and an entertainment
environment. Gaming is only a part of that." While Mayor
Jones was encouraging Detroit under her official title,
downtown Las Vegas was experiencing a 2.3% decline in gaming
revenue compared to the previous year. Jones however kept
quoting favorable statistics from the Strip casinos -- casinos
she had no jurisdiction over since the Strip is outside
the city of Las Vegas.
While speaking in Detroit, Mayor Jones neglected to disclose
that she was also a stockholder in Mirage, and Circus Circus,
two of the then-bidders for Detroit casino licenses. This
lack of disclosure and her misuse of her official mayoral
title inspired a subsequent review by the Nevada Commission
on Ethics. Jones was eventually excused of any ethical transgressions.
Three years later, Jan Jones was out of office and working
for the tax funded Las Vegas Convention and Visitor's Authority.
Her salary -- $250,000.00 per year to promote Las Vegas.The
LVCVA stint lasted less than a year until Harrah's made
Jones a better offer. It didn't take Jones long to pack
her belongings at the LVCVA and settle in at Harrah's. Her
reported new salary was over $400,000.00 per year to promote
the Las Vegasation of California.
Harrah's Entertainment was hot on the heals of a deal to
partner with a San Diego Indian tribe to build a two hundred
million dollar hotel casino on the road to Laughlin. Harrah's
needed some extra political clout with California's Democrats,
specifically Governor Gray Davis, to pave the way for their
expansion outside of Nevada. Enter "Former Las Vegas Mayor"
Jan Jones, now the National Committeewoman of the Nevada
Democratic Party and a friend of President Bill Clinton.
Why would Harrah's Entertainment be so willing to hire
a former TV car huckster as their new "Senior Vice President
of Government Relations" at such an extraordinarily high
salary? Sources close to Harrah's report that it was because
of the powerful impact of having the "Former Mayor of Las
Vegas" touting casinos in our neighboring state's small
towns.What tribal leader or small town politician would
question the reliability of the claims made by the "Former
Mayor of Las Vegas?"
Jones did a superlative job! Harrah's succeeded in obtaining
fervent cooperation from the local and state government
for their partner the Rincon San Luiseno Band of Mission
Indians. Today Harrah's is well on their way to building
a Sunset Station size > facility in San Diego County. The
company is also reported to have future plans for other
such projects in Northern California on the roads leading
to Reno thanks in no small part to Jan Jones. In an amazing
interview aired June 10, on Las Vegas' News Channel One,
Jones tried to minimize the effect of her company's California
ventures on the future of Nevada's economy. The moderator
Las Vegas Sun columnist Jon Ralston summed up the interview
in his column the following day by saying "Jones also believes
that her company's investments in California tribal gaming,
as well as those of others, will have absolutely no effect
on the (Nevada) state economy."
Following her outrageous News One interview, Jones' former
LVCVA boss Rossi Ralenkotter rebuked her saying: "Reno,
Laughlin and downtown Las Vegas will likely take the hardest
hits from existing and new Indian gaming properties in California"
on June 14, in the Las Vegas Review Journal.
In the face of such strong contrary opinion Jones remains
undaunted in her zeal to persuade California residents to
accept her company's plans -- while also trying to convince
her friends back in Nevada not to worry -- and be happy!
"Former Las Vegas Mayor" Jan Jones made her most revealing
statement of all on Wednesday, February 23, 2000, in the
Los Angeles Times. In an article titled Some Nevada Casinos
Could Be Big Losers, the former mayor defended her new employer
by saying "The company looks for strategic opportunities,
and we think California is a great market." Jones went on
to exclaim that "The risk to stockholders of gaming companies
entering the California market is minimal compared with
decisions to build $1-billion casinos in Las Vegas."
To liberally translate Jan Jones' Los Angeles Times statement,
it would be easy to imagine that a company that competes
with the casinos Jones was once elected to protect has purchased
her formerly official title "Mayor of Las Vegas" along with
her image to use as a tool to promote competition to our
own town's decaying downtown! Its then not a giant leap
of logic to suppose that by Harrah's utilizing Jones and
her former mayoral title and her current position with the
Democratic Party so successfully to promote extra-Nevada
casinos, our state's other exclusive highly profitable industry;
brothels, will be the next business to expand outside our
borders using the same proven method.
Why not, when the prostituting of a once official Nevada
title and the person who held it can be so persuasive and
* * * Steve Miller is a former Las Vegas City Councilman
and is the State Coordinator of the Nevada Coalition Against
Gambling Expansion (outside Nevada). Steve writes a weekly
column in the Las Vegas Tribune. Visit his website at: http://www.SteveMiller4LasVegas.com