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January 26, 2015

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Goodman: Despite what Harry Reid says, prostitution isn’t hurting Nevada’s economy

Mayor says he disagrees with Reid that brothel industry impedes economic development


Steve Marcus

A view of the Cherry Patch II brothel at Amargosa Valley in Nye County.

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Reid Seeks Prostitution Ban

Moonlite Bunny Ranch brothel owner Dennis Hof answers the media questions on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011 at the Legislature in Carson City following a speech from U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in which he proposed banning legal prostitution in the state. Hof and a number of his prostitutes and other brothel supporters attended the speech and called the idea Launch slideshow »

Nye County Brothels

A sign for the Shady Lady Ranch brothel in Nye County. The Shady Lady, off U.S. Highway 95 about 30 miles north of Beatty, was the first brothel to hire a male prostitute. Nye County is one of 11 Nevada counties where prostitution is legal. Launch slideshow »

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman isn't buying Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's argument that prostitution is hurting the economies of the 10 Nevada counties that have have legalized it.

"I personally don't believe that," Goodman told reporters today at his weekly news conference.

Reid told the Nevada Legislature Tuesday that having legalized prostitution in the state is an impediment to economic development and called for outlawing it across the state.

"That may be his perspective," Goodman said, "but I don't believe that anybody ever said to their husband or wife, 'We're not moving our business to Nevada because they have legalized prostitution there.'"

Goodman said the matter has never come up in any of the discussions he has ever had with businesses considering moving to the state.

"No, no — let's talk about education," Goodman said. "That comes up. That's something important to talk about. That's something that affects each and every one of us, our potential workforce."

Goodman said that before he became mayor, he tried cases around the state and represented, at one time, Sally Conforte, who was the wife of Joe Conforte, the owner of the Mustang Ranch, which was the state's first licensed brothel in 1971.

"These small counties, like it or not, depend on the tax revenue generated and the business generated by brothels being located there," Goodman said. "I think if you don't live where the activity takes place, you really may not understand the importance of it for that community."

Although state law prohibits prostitution in Clark and Washoe counties, Goodman said illegal prostitution takes place all over the Las Vegas Valley.

"Go any place in Las Vegas, any hotel, or any major arterial at 3 o'clock in the morning or 4 o'clock in the morning and you tell me there's not prostitution here. I'll call you a monkey's uncle," he said.

Goodman said his position has been misinterpreted in national publications that he is in favor of legalizing prostitution in the city.

"I'm not, as the mayor. I've never said that before," Goodman said.

However, Goodman said he has advocated discussing the issue.

"There's no doubt that prostitution does exist," he said. "It's demeaning to women. There are young teenagers who have been basically enslaved into prostitution. Human trafficking involves prostitution. All of that is very bad.

"People who have strong religious feelings may very well harbor a great adamance toward prostitution," he said.

However, professors at UNLV have argued that prostitution could be regulated "to make sure that it's safe that people won't be rolled, won't be harmed, won't get sexually transmitted diseases," he said.

Those academics also say that revenue can be raised as a result of it, Goodman said.

"Therefore, there are pros and cons," he said. "I've always said there's nothing wrong with discussing it. I have never advocated for legalization of prostitution, because I don't believe our constituents would want that here."

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  1. Switzerland legalized prostitution in 1992.

    Switzerland has a 3.8% unemployment rate.

    It is time for Harry Reid to focus on jobs and not bring up any other crap.

  2. ...and THIS is the adult discussion (Reid's words) about prostitution that Reid should be having. Societal maturity does not mean invoking more control over people who are capable of making decisions on their own. Don't agree with pay-for-sex? Don't visit brothels. Boycott TV stations and print media that advertise it. Warn your children against it. Picket and chant slogans until you feel better. But don't hang your personal moral code on everyone else in the state.

  3. I have no idea why this is an issue. A safe place for a prostitute can provide a service should be a no brainer.

    Less violence, drugs and STDs.

    More tax $$$

    I would rather hear as strong a statement by our electeds on the way Mining promises us a good time to only slip our wallets out our back pocket while we're in the shower....

  4. Put it to vote in Clark county and see what the "people" have to say. I am betting it won't be made legal.

    I don't have a problem as long as it is ran like the other counties. Safe and also tax it.

    They are willing to pay the taxes so let them. Stop fighting something that goes on every night in Vegas.

    Once things are legal, they are more controlled and less likely to be abused.

    I am with Mr. Goodman on this. I am betting no real business that was serious about moving to Nevada stopped because of the Cat Houses in rural counties.

    Can Mr. Reid get someone to back up his statement? Sure he can, he has lots of friends around the country. What would be their excuse for not moving to CLARK COUNTY though? ;-)

  5. "What would be their excuse for not moving to CLARK COUNTY though?"

    Can you say Metro?

  6. I think the Brothels could sell their case more effectively to the public if there were more free samples given out and those would not be illegal in any event.

  7. Harry needs to stay out of local state business. What do you expect from a Mormon.

  8. "There's no doubt that prostitution does exist," he said. "It's demeaning to women. There are young teenagers who have been basically enslaved into prostitution. Human trafficking involves prostitution. All of that is very bad. "People who have strong religious feelings may very well harbor a great adamance toward prostitution..."

    Just when you think Oscar gets it, he really doesn't. The key issue, of course, is why does any government body even begin to think it has authority to regulate what consenting adults do with each other. That's not criminal, no matter what laws are passed.

    And the key problem is what the second part of his statement was -- the religious types, as our Senator Reid so well demonstrated, are just bent on controlling our lives. Even what it doesn't directly effect them in any way.

    "The greatest tragedy in mankind's entire history may be the hijacking of morality by religion." -- Arthur C. Clarke, 1999, from "God, Science, and Delusion: A Chat With Arthur C. Clarke" in Free Inquiry magazine

  9. I concur with His Honor. It's a little late for Nevada to incorporate with Utah.

  10. What needs to be addressed is all the ILLEGAL prostitution and escort services going on without law enforcement. But since that continues to go on, unaddressed, the next best solution is to provide the already LEGAL brothels the opportunity to expand, clean the streets of the illicit sex trade and slavery that exists, so that proper safe sex, client protection, and appropriate taxation of services takes place.

    The good ol boy system of Nevada Legislators for the past 20+ years have year after year turned their backs to the LEGAL and existing brothel industry and allowed (through extreme lack of law enforcement) the ILLEGAL SEX TRADES & SEX SLAVERY to not only thrive, but expand. Who are these representatives really working for? What about that?

  11. You'd think by posting in the Las Vegas Sun, Mark Bowers would actually read it:

    "Goodman has vented his frustration that the ordinance would allow the escort service handbillers to leaflet the Fremont Street Experience the same way they do on the Las Vegas Strip.

    "I don't like it," Goodman said during discussion on the bill. But he said he supported it because Mayor Pro Tem Gary Reese has said it needs to be in place to protect the city from litigation.

    Goodman said he has great respect for U.S. District Judge David Ezra, of Hawaii, who presided over a lawsuit challenging the city's last attempt at restricting activities in the pedestrian mall.

    "With all due respect, I think Judge Ezra was wrong," Goodman said. "I think the Fremont Street Experience is not a public street. I think it's a private enterprise. I don't see any reason he can find that Wakiki Beach in Hawaii, a seven-mile stretch of it, is protected from this kind of activity, but our Fremont Street isn't."


  12. "good post, Mark Bowers"

    airweare -- you're kidding! Lot of inaccuracies, starting with he seems ignorant of prostitution being illegal in all of Clark County, including Vegas.

    "What needs to be addressed is all the ILLEGAL prostitution and..."

    staralio -- you seem a bit obsessed with the "illegality" of what consenting adults do in private. And something unsubstantiated about it being "slavery." Why?

    A bit of trivia for y'all -- the standard for law dictionaries for over a century has been Black's. From it's first edition in 1891 one definition of "prostitution" was "the act of setting one's self to sale, or of devoting to infamous purposes what is in one's power: as, the prostitution of talents or abilities; the prostitution of the press." Bouvier's from the 19th century specifically included judges selling their offices to the highest bidder.