Las Vegas Sun

January 31, 2015

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County OKs ordinance targeting handbillers, litterbugs on Strip


Leila Navidi

Handbillers outside the Flamingo just north of Flamingo Road on the Strip pass out cards for an escort service in May 2010.

Handbillers on the Strip, most of whom distribute “girls-to-your-room”-type cards to pedestrians, will now be legally responsible for picking up your trash – if that trash is one of their handbills and it is within 25 feet of the handbiller.

Responding to recommendations from a committee of casinos and county officials, Clark County commissioners Tuesday morning unanimously approved an ordinance forcing handbillers to clean up sidewalks within 25 feet of where they stand, and do it every 15 minutes.

Those handbillers, or “card-slappers” as locals call them, will have to pick up cards discarded by passersby who take them and then toss them on the ground.

In conjunction with that ordinance, the commission also approved its first no-littering ordinance, which most communities throughout the country have in their codebooks. That means if a tourist gets beyond 25 feet of the handbiller and throws a card on the ground, they could be cited for littering.

Representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada said the telltale of the new law’s fairness would be revealed when tallies are taken of citations issued to both handbillers and tourists.

Allen Lichtenstein, ACLU attorney, said the biggest problem with handbiller trash was the lack of available trash cans on the Strip.

“If they only enforce this on handbillers and not tourists, a lawsuit would be inevitable,” he added.

He added that the Strip’s problem wasn’t so much the handbillers as it was general upkeep. For instance, he said, people don’t throw handbills into nearby trash cans because the trash cans “are overflowing.”

Addressing that shoddiness was the mission last year of a committee of casino operators, county staff and others. After meeting for months, the group developed several suggestions meant to get at what has been seen as growing chaos on the Strip. One of those suggestions, an ordinance adopted a few months ago, banned pets on the Strip during certain times of day.

Before other suggestions are codified, the general feeling among county staff is that a pedestrian study, which was commissioned months ago, needs to be finished. County Manager Don Burnette said that study would be completed in 30 to 60 days.

As the county works on the new laws, escort businesses – who hire the Strip handbillers – have been working with the ACLU and Las Vegas Metro police to address issues. Lichtenstein said the group was close to approving 20 to 24 ideas, all of which would be voluntary on behalf of police and the handbillers.

Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani, who was not invited to be part of the casino/county committee formed last year, said she wanted the county to be sure it knew what was going on in the escort businesses’ meeting before moving ahead with new ordinances.

“We should reach out from our side to be sure that we’re part of whatever meetings are going on,” she said. “Let’s be part of the solution rather than moving down recommendations from a committee.”

The ordinance as proposed wanted handbillers to pick up discarded cards within a 50-foot radius. That was changed to 50 feet on a public sidewalk. Then it was reduced to 25 feet. Mary-Anne Miller, county counsel, said 50 feet was first suggested after watching people deal with cards from handbillers: People get the cards, notice it they are adult-oriented, and typically throw them.

“It depends how fast someone is moving,” Miller added. “If someone is almost forced to take it and immediately lets it fall to the ground, it can be up to 50 feet.”

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  1. Who wants to start the pool on the Over/Under on a court date for this law.

    Does something need to be done about all the trash, YES. Is this a legal way to do it? NO.

    Seems common sense has gone totally out the door today.

    There are laws on the books, legal ones to combat this problem but seems elected officials refuse to do things the legal way. This is going to cost the county (aka Taxpayers) in court and then it will be over turned.

    Now we get to tie up metro officers writing trash tickets. Betting that won't last long either. Metro has plenty to do without trying to enforce a law that is not going to hold up in court.

  2. I am sure getting ticketed for littering will go over real well for the tourists. Imagine coming to Vegas, and not knowing any better take one of the cards and later dispose of it by tossing it on the ground and then getting a ticket. I bet that tourist would never come back to Las Vegas.

    Yes, the card slappers are a nuisance, but I've learned just to walk by and ignore them. In the 15+ years I've been coming to Vegas, I've yet to take one from them.

    I don't really see a good way to get rid of them without inviting a civil lawsuit, which ultimately will drain the coffers of the city.

  3. William says "What took so long doing this"

    The answer is simple. A law just like this was previously enacted...and then removed after it was shown in court to be unconstitutional. You can't cite or arrest someone for littering when they aren't the ones who actually did the littering. It's no different than if you throw your McDonalds wrapper ont he ground and the cops arrest the McDonalds drive though employeee for littering.

    As to birdie, your light verse is just as light on logic and facts as ever. Like it or not it *IS* Constitutionally proteced speech even if you find it as offensive as most of us find your posts here to be.

    As to "solicitation of prostitution"....PROVE IT. Find any one of those cards that it provably a solicitation for prostitution (which is already a crime)

  4. It's about time.......these people cause congestion, are a complete annoyance, and if were not handing out their GARBAGE (regardless of their claim of right to do business), the streets would not be a mess. There is one way to correct this problem. Have the county grant the strip properties the rights to the sidewalk area (somewhat akin to how the railroad used to sell their property, while retaining all rights to what is below the surface). That way they are trespassing on PRIVATE property. Then they do not have any right to be there, the property owners can trespass them (like they do the hookers), and when they violate the trespass order, we can throw them in jail for 24 hours.

  5. @ Birdiedreamin...As Usual you aversion to sex clouds your mind of any reason.

    "no where else...
    and i mean...
    no frickin where else...
    do communities have to put up with this garbage...
    no frickin where else..."

    Completely untrue. Similar cards are handed out in New Orleans. Most cities don't have 1) our concentrated foot traffic, 2) High demand from tourists for escorts 3) 100' Billboards along The Strip in which we gage our community standards by.

    "making it impossible to bring your kids to the strip...
    costing this city badly needed jobs..."

    Anyone bringing their kids to the Strip are clearly all right exposing them to the level of the nudity on those cards, its on every building. These cards have been handed out for TWENTY YEARS during which the Strip had its largest growth ever.

    "do you think all of those prostitutes perform their jobs of their own free will???"

    Yes, they aren't being dragged across the casino floor by their weaves now are they? They walk in, past dozens of security and police and never say a word.

    You say these card promote prostitutes, but how would you know this. Did you take a card, call and then ask them to send you a hooker? How much did you pay her?

    And finally, the ACLU doesn't make this type of activity constitutionally protected, the courts do. The ACLU argues their opinion the county argues its and then JUDGES DECIDE.

    You know who the ones really supporting this industry are? The wives who are so appalled by sex that they leave their husbands no choice but see a professional.

    Maybe you should look in the mirror an own up to your part in all this.

  6. @Xtlman (Mark Dunton)..."Have the county grant the strip properties the rights to the sidewalk area .... That way they are trespassing on PRIVATE property. "

    What a great idea, what could be wrong with that. Oh, yeah, the fact the the courts have ruled (in cases involving the Venetian and the TI) that if private property is the only public egress then that egress is in fact public.

    Check out LLOYD CORP. v. TANNER, 407 U.S. 551 (1972). This case dealt with the distribution of handbills in the interior mall area of petitioner's large privately owned shopping center. SCOTUS ruled that

    "whenever a privately owned business district serves the public generally its sidewalks and streets become the functional equivalents of similar public facilities."

    Oddly enough this case addressed the litter issue as well, confirming the courts 1939 ruling in , Schneider v. State, in which to court ruled that even if it were proven that the handbillers increased litter,

    "that is not a sufficient reason for barring First Amendment activity. ... If petitioner is truly concerned about litter, it should accept a previous suggestion by this Court and prosecute those [407 U.S. 551, 583] who throw handbills away, not those who [distribute] them."

    So taxpayers open up your checkbooks. One of those handbillers is going to win the Clark County Commission Lottery as they have once again ignored the fact that we are still in America and protected by the Constitution.

  7. Typical.......the handbillers have all the rights, and we as citizens have NONE.....the Constitution was designed to protect the rights of ALL INDIVIDUALS...The liberal SCrOTUS once again deals a blow to the citizens, while protecting the rights of liberal special interest groups.....what a CROCK...

  8. MR. Dunton,

    You have every right that hand-billers do. Seems when people/courts don't agree with your way of thinking then some how your rights are infringed on. Very wrong.

    You can stand down there and pass our cards saying your rights are being taken away but don't let anyone throw them on the ground. You have to pick them up or go to jail! ;-)

  9. @ Xtlman (Mark Dunton) ..... "..the handbillers have all the rights, and we as citizens have NONE.....the Constitution was designed to protect the rights of ALL INDIVIDUALS...The liberal SCrOTUS once again deals a blow to the citizens, while protecting the rights of liberal special interest groups."

    Play the victim much? Its so pathetic that as you exercise YOUR FIRST AMENDMENT rights you have the audacity to claim you have none. You have the same rights as anyone else. You are more than welcome to head on down to the Strip and hand out whatever printed material you want. Same as them.

    Name ONE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT the handbillers have that you are being denied.

    And since your knee-jerk reaction is to blame the "liberal SCrOTUS," please tell me which members of the 1939 Supreme Court you see as the most "liberal" and please give an example.

  10. I exercise my constitutional rights by NOT going to the strip because of the annoying handbillers, and know a few others that do the same. Victim....nooo....annoyed at what I see on the strip yes.

  11. Northern Idaho is looking better and better all the time..........

  12. XTLMAN ..."I exercise my constitutional rights by NOT going to the strip because of the annoying handbillers.."

    Then why are you crying that you aren't being treated fairly?

    "Victim....nooo....annoyed at what I see on the strip yes."

    Well guess what. The 1st Amendment wasn't written to protect the speech everyone likes. It was written to protect the speech that some find "annoying." Anyone can defend the speech they agree with. It takes a real man to defend speech they find vile. Why don't you be a real= man.

    I find your pathetic, unsupported rants against the 1939 Supreme Court, annoying. I find the sexually repressed whimpers of Birdiedreamin misinformed, laden with jealousy, and...ANNOYING.

    However, I would defend to the death the rights of both of you to spread your unpatriotic swill.

    Because that is what United States and Free Speech is about.

    But if you want to head up to Norhern Idaho to live among the kind of people who shoot up temples, go right ahead. No one will stop you.

  13. My rant was not against the 1939 Supreme Court, as what was going on with the country back then cannot be compared with what is occurring today.

    So you are now lumping ALL white people who live in Northern Idaho as White Supremacists.... my wanting to move to northern Idaho is to be closer to both of our families that are spread between Idaho, Washington and about shallow minded....

  14. Xtlman..."My rant was not against the 1939 Supreme Court, as what was going on with the country back then cannot be compared with what is occurring today." But the current Supreme court has done nothing to allow or ban handbillers from the Strip. Are you saying you were just launching into an unrelated rant just for kicks?

    "So you are now lumping ALL white people who live in Northern Idaho as White Supremacists..."

    Where did I say "ALL white people who live in Northern Idaho as White Supremacists?" Those were your words, not mine.

    In fact I never used the words "White Supremacists" or "white people."

    Is this another one of your unrelated rants like the one about the current SCOTUS? or are you having some sort of mental break?

    I'm still wondering what these rights you were crying about not having. Can you name one?

  15. no what you said was if you want to head up to northern Idaho to live among the people who shoot up temples.........if that is not a blanket statement I dont know what is.......must be a lawyer the way you can quote SCOTUS remind you......was Wisconsin, with no ties to Idaho that I have heard of.....or is it that all white supremacists have their roots in northern Idaho.....

  16. xtlman...are you saying that white supremacists and other far-right militias haven't revived their dream of a homeland in the Idaho Panhandle?

    Are you saying that Shaun Winkler of the White Knights of the KKK didn't recently run for Bonner CO, Sheriff, publicly acknowledging his ties to the Aryan Nations and Church of Jesus Christ-Christian?

    The facts are the facts and people with the same sad, hate-filled (yet Constitutionally protected) beliefs the Wisconsin shooter had are prevalent in Northern Idaho.

    BTW, prevalent is an adjective which means "Widespread in a particular area at a particular time." It does not indicate ALL, or EVERY.

    So if you are living in Northern Idaho, you will be living among this prevalent group of people.

    Why so TOUCHY, have I hit a nerve?

  17. Bidiedreamin.....Once again your argument here is that I can read and have experience with the law? Wow, you sure showed me. But did you have to rub it in with the always effective debating tactic...

    "hee hee hee...
    hoo hoo hoo...
    haa haa haa..."

    I am so ashamed that my researched miss not only

    hee hee hee...


    hoo hoo hoo...


    haa haa well.

    I don't know why I was thinking trying to argue against your "Hee, hoo, haa" trifecta. Have you ever considered running for office.

    Government needs more skilled orators like you, especially those with no sense of history or familiarity with the Constitution.

  18. It never ceases to amaze me that people who squeal the loudest about perceived threats to their rights complain about the A.C.L.U.
    It seems that those persons don't know that the American Civil Liberties Union's stated mission is "to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the laws and constitution of the United States.".
    Surely, those folks don't think that theirs are the only rights that should be allowed to exist/be defended, do they?

  19. @azsk8fan...". Only some douche-bag who can't control his own body would seek the services of a prostitute.."

    I wonder, azsk8fan, how you feel about paying for the salaries of such "douche-bags" like Henderson PDs John Coggs and Michael Stevens or Metro's Peter Hervoyavich?


    anitgov...I haven't seen one of those cards in a few years, are you saying they are now promising sex acts in exchange for cash? My recollection is they only offered a private dance, which is legal in Clark County.

  20. "the American Civil Liberties Union's stated mission is "to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the laws and constitution of the United States.".

    And if you believe they honor that mission, I have some ocean front property in Arizona I would love to sell you!

  21. I think most everyone would agree that these cards promote prostitution. That said, lets remember what is behind prostitution. Runaway children that need help and support. Human trafficking, reported by State Senator John Hambrick in Legislation that Las Vegas is the highest city in the world for Human Trafficking. Pimps, who are usually involved in other crimes and mistreat these poor men, woman and children that are acting as prostitutes. Illegal Drugs. This business promotes nothing but illegal activity and we support this by allowing them to promote their slime ball business. We are pimps for allowing this in the first place.

    You all need to park your car and walk a block on the strip and get bombarded with these people aggressively pushing these in your face when you clearly do not want them and think about how are tourists with their children feel. These peddlers are scary and intimidating people that look like illegal immigrants and they themselves are intimidating, then add the slime they promote. Allowing these to be handed out of anywhere in Southern Nevada was was one of the many decision that helped take Nevada down. The least these slime balls can do is clean up the trash.

    This situation reminds me of Times Square. Mayors Koch and Giuliani had to go in and clean up the area because tourists stopped coming. I support any law that gets these people out of the area and cleans the strip up. It is unsafe and trashy and the County Commissioners need to listen to Metro and stop all the circus acts on the sidewalks.

  22. @ MarketingGirl2..Perhaps you should ask Sen. Hambrick how many case of true human trafficking have been found in Las Vegas. There are State Senators in every state claiming one of their cities is " the highest city in the world for Human Trafficking."

    These women human trafficked for sex is a hoax plied upon the public to justify increased funding. This is the satanic day care scare of our time, this decade's "crack babies." Don't let yourself be fooled. The majority of human trafficking in the US involves men forced to work in factories and in the fields.

    But then I'm not so sure you are into the truth, because you tell me that the handbillers " like illegal immigrants." Exactly what does an illegal immigrant look like? Do they all wear some sort of identifying pin? Have the same hair cut? What?

  23. MarketingGirl29(Susan Russell)....Your statement, "Las Vegas is the highest city in the world for Human Trafficking" is incorrect. It isn't even highest in the United States. There's a creepy competition for the title of "leading hub for sex trafficking", generally on the basis of how many interstate highways pass through or near the city (since none of them have any actual statistics to back their claims).

    The feds began worrying about human trafficking in the late '90s, a fear born from the slavery problems of the Third World. There was little evidence but that didn't stop politicians and activists from declaring it a pandemic. Out of thin air, they began to trumpet that 50,000 people were being forcibly trafficked in America each year. President George W. Busch created 42 Justice Department task forces countrywide.

    Six years into his presidency, Bush had burned through $150 million on the fray. But of the 300,000 supposed victims during that time, the Justice Department managed to find just 1,362. Less than half were actual sex slaves. An even smaller number were underage prostitutes, That's because human trafficking, as defined by the government, isn't solely about sex. It's usually about forced labor. They are usually men from China or Mexico made to work on a farm or in a factory.

    By the time anyone realized all that money was being spent for nothing, no one was brave enough to speak up. In Washington, it's far better to waste millions than give the appearance you don't care about kids.

    Steve Wagner knows this. He worked for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, serving as director of the Human Trafficking Program under Bush. He threw millions of dollars at community groups to aid victims. Yet as he told the Washington Post in 2007, "Those funds were wasted....They were available to help victims. There weren't any victims."
    Concepts based in reality tend to be specific. But politics is based in emotional manipulation, not reality; those who invent political agendas want them to be as vague as possible so people like you believe them. The more they inflate our "trafficking" statistics, the more funds are made available them.

    Concepts based in reality tend to be specific

  24. @antigov.."What color is the sky in your world?"

    On a clear sunny day, the sky above me looks bright blue. In the evening, the sunset puts on a brilliant show of reds, pinks and oranges.

    What does that have to do with what's on the cards? You know, the question I asked which you are avoiding now.

  25. askmrmark--If you believe that the A.C.L.U. DOESN't honor its mission, I've got some UFO pix, with the Da Vinci Code outlined in invisible ink on the reverse, to sell you.