Friday, March 19, 2004 | 9:10 a.m.
The Las Vegas City Council went 0 for 3 Wednesday on the most high-profile and urgent items on its agenda. It postponed for three months a review of the tavern license for Treasures, a strip club with a "culture of lawlessness," as described by Metro Police. It delayed until next month a decision on whether city employees may serve in the Legislature. And it passed completely on the question of whether the state should build a new psychiatric hospital in a neighborhood where citizens have organized in protest of it.
Regarding Treasures, the council should have honored the formal agreement it entered into when it granted the club what amounted to a conditional license three years ago. The agreement was that the council would review the license six months after Treasures opened its doors, and that full license approval would depend on the club's record during that period. That six months was up on Wednesday.
The council imposed the review requirement after reading police reports about drug and prostitution violations at clubs in the Houston area owned by the same people behind Treasures. During discussion with the council in 2001, the Treasures attorney agreed that any similar citation issued to the club during its first six months would be grounds for license revocation at the review. Wednesday, Metro Police told the council that there have been four citations issued at Treasures for prostitution and numerous citations for inappropriate touching between dancers and patrons. Mayor Oscar Goodman, whose son is an attorney for Treasures, and Councilman Michael Mack, who, in a prime example of bad government, works for the club in his private capacity as a public relations consultant, had to abstain. But the other five members of the council should have decided th e issue then and there. The agreement was for a review after six months, not nine.
On the hospital issue, the council took no action, saying its vote didn't matter because the state could supersede it anyway. We disagree. Its vote always matters, especially on issues involving government service and neighborhoods. The hospital is needed and we believe the state should move forward with it. The city had a responsibility to be on record with its view as well. The council also should have voted one way or the other on whether city employees may serve in the Legislature, and what the rules will be if they can. This has been an issue for the past six months and an attorney general's opinion has been released. A city decision is overdue.
At a time when city residents were looking for strong leadership, the City Council on Wednesday showed favoritism to Treasures and inexcusable waffling.