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August 3, 2015

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J. Patrick Coolican:

Clark County Commission shows its busybody side with party house ordinance and Strip pet ban

J. Patrick Coolican

J. Patrick Coolican

The Clark County Commission has shown it’s not kidding around with its “party house” ordinance, while also bolstering its tough-on-crime bona fides by curtailing pets on the Strip. Now, it’s time to get serious and take on the real scourge of Las Vegas: public dances.

As the Rev. Shaw Moore says in “Footloose”: “Besides the liquor and the drugs, which always seem to accompany such an event, the thing that distresses me even more ... is the spiritual corruption that can be involved.”

Indeed, have you seen how the girls react to this degenerate Elvis Presley?

Sometimes with the dancing, their skirts will rise to reveal their bare knees.

And of course, once we stop the public dances, we’ll need to go straight to the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign and add an addendum that Kevin Bacon is most certainly not welcome here. No sirree. Especially if he wants to rent a house for fewer than 30 days.

Yes, this week the Clark County Commission, whose members apparently have no hobbies, has shown its full-on busybody side and debased itself in the process.

I don’t know why anyone would bring a pet to the Strip, but I also don’t know why this is worth legislating.

Dogs on the Strip

A panhandler, right, packs up to leave after soliciting money with a dog on a pedestrian overpass near Planet Hollywood Friday, Dec. 30, 2011. A proposed county ordinance would ban the use of dogs and other animals by people soliciting money on the Strip. Launch slideshow »

An out-of-control pet or a pet suffering abuse is the same on the Strip as anywhere else, and I don’t get why animal control can’t merely enforce existing ordinances there.

More appalling is the “party house” ordinance passed in 2010. The rule prevents you from renting your house for fewer than 30 days.

Apparently, people were renting their houses and then renters were throwing parties. Huge problem. Just huge.

My colleague Joe Schoenmann reported that the ordinance faced its “first real test,” which led to a $29,000 penalty for a homeowner in ritzy Spanish Palms.

Property rights aren’t absolute. You can’t start a landfill in your back yard. But the right to rent your property out for a week seems pretty much in line with legitimate property rights of an Anglo tradition that is, oh, 1,000 years old or so.

(An alternate solution to the party house problem: Call the cops. Get some earplugs. Or let’s get sophisticated: Mandate a lease that restricts loud parties.)

Commissioner Steve Sisolak, who backed the ordinance as part of his valiant, ongoing effort to appear in the local media every single day, got tough with the homeowner.

“Just because you admit it doesn’t make it right,” said Sisolak, played in the movie by John Lithgow. (“If our Lord wasn’t testing us, how would you account for the proliferation, these days, of this obscene rock and roll music, with its gospel of easy sexuality and relaxed morality?”)

I want to see Sisolak on horseback riding up with Metro as it breaks down the door at a party house. “Men: These are the times that try men’s souls!”

I don’t know if other cities ban renting for fewer than 30 days, and the issue isn’t important enough for me to find out, but a cursory review of online classified site Craigslist shows that I can get a one-bedroom for the week in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City for $900. A week in a nice furnished place in Venice Beach will run me $1,600.

Here in Vegas, though, it’s illegal.

One more thing: If I can’t rent a house for a week, who do you suppose benefits? Perhaps people who are allowed to rent out beds and bathrooms for short-term stays, like, say, casino hotels?

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