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July 31, 2014

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Clark County Commissioners vote to ban peddlers on Las Vegas Strip

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

A man hands out Where Las Vegas booklets while another sells water from a cooler on the overpass between MGM Grand and New York-New York on Saturday, April 28, 2012.

The Clark County Commission approved measures Tuesday aimed at decreasing the number of vendors peddling water and wares on the Las Vegas Strip.

By unanimous vote, commissioners said no more peddling on the public right-of-way, which includes sidewalks on the Strip. Water peddlers and others who ask to be paid for a service will be banned.

The change does nothing, however, about the so-called “card slappers,” who slap glossy business cards on their hands in front of pedestrians, trying to get them to take the cards that advertise “girls direct to your room.”

The county, however, is spending $581,000 to study pedestrian traffic on the Strip. If the study finds card slappers create bottlenecks that force pedestrians to walk into the street, there has been talk of drafting ordinances to force them to be more dispersed.

The study was commissioned in April and was expected to take three months to complete.

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  1. If it takes $581,000 to get rid of them, I am all for it.

  2. It never fails to amaze me how willfully ignorant much of the public is regarding the handbillers. It doesn't matter how annoying they are, how much it may offend some people's sensibilities or how the tourists choose to litter our sidewalks with the cards causing unsightly debris. On November 22, 1939, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of handbillers, pamphleteers and picketers. It violates the FIRST AMENDMENT to prohibit handbillers.

    I find it ridiculous how so many people hold the ACLU responsible for handbilling. They didn't write the Constitution.

    Birdiedreamin--you really need to stop with your absurd theory about the ACLU supporting human trafficking. First of all, the businesses that use handbillers can barely be considered escort agencies. They take advantage of horny tourists by misleading them. A tourist has to pay a fee just to get a girl to show up to his hotel room and EVERYTHING after that costs more. You would be surprised at how little sexual activity actually occurs because the man usually feels duped and annoyed. Ninety-nine percent of sex for pay in Las Vegas does not start with some guy calling a number on a handbill.

    Your belief that there is "no way in hell all of those escorts and prostitutes or whatever the hell they are do their job by their own free will" is WRONG! Where do you get that idea? Your idea that women who do sex work are only in the business because they are desperate and have no other options is not reality. Sure, there are those who hate the work and feel degraded by it but there are people working in other occupations who feel the same way. The truth is the majority of sex workers in Las Vegas are grown women who work for themselves and enjoy the many benefits that their job provides.

  3. @Birdiedreamin..."do some of those hand bills solicit prostitution???
    yes..."

    Actually I challenge you to find a single one of those cards that is soliciting prostitution.You won't, and that's what makes the rest of your Anti-American post without foundation.

    And why do you blame the ACLU for the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court. The ACLU didn't write the 1st Amendment, our founding father's did. And despite your refusal to accept the truth, the 1st Amendment was written to protect the free speech rights of Human Traffickers. The rights to hand out these cards has been affirmed by the Supreme Court. SCOTUS is funded through your tax dollars. So, unless you don't pay your taxes you are supporting the rights of the slappers.

    And what proof do you have that a single one "of those escorts and prostitutes or whatever the hell they are [don't] do their job by their own free will..." I mean the pays great, the hours are flexible, they get to meet all sorts of people. Are you suggesting the security in the Casinos are just ignoring all those pimps dragging these women by their hair up to the room. They walk in of their own free will. They engage in whatever activities they engage in of their own free will.

    On this court FACTS ARE YOUR TENNIS RACKET. Once again you have shown up unequipped.

  4. Chunky says:

    It doesn't take $581,000 to study this kind of BS and even if it did, we have much better places to put that much money.

    If they want to "study" handbillers get about six people to video tape and make notes on their observations for two weekdays and twe weekends. That sounds more like about $5,800.

    The handbiller study is stupid government waste of our tax dollars. Getting for profit peddlers off the Strip is a no brainer!

    That's what Chunky thinks!

  5. Just fine them $100 per card found on the ground for littering and they'll be gone in no time.

  6. @BeSafer...We all can't be like you and spend our days making baseless comments on the posters rather than the story. But then some of us actually have something to say.

  7. @sunnysideup...."Just fine them $100 per card found on the ground for littering and they'll be gone in no time." Yeah fine the tourists a $100 for every card they drop and they will be gone in no time. That's not really in the communities best interest, now is it.

    Or are you suggesting charging the slappers for a crime committed by a tourist? How about we fine you $100 every time someone runs a red light. I for one have no interest in buying some slapper a huge house south of the border. But if we charge them for crimes they haven't committed, you are just begging to send our tax dollars right out of this country. SCOTUS ruled on this very issue in the 1939 in Schneider v. New Jersey.

    Too bad you don't have access to a magic box where you could research such issues without every leaving your home. Oh wait. You do. You just choose to remain uneducated.

  8. @BeSafer...Classy comment to BGHS. What is idiotic (I won't use your unenlightened term) about pointing out that most sex workers are not desperate victims to be pitied? Did he claim ALL prostitutes love their job? No, he simply pointed out that there are some benefits to that particular occupation. Perhaps you should educate yourself about the industry (and I don't mean "trafficking"). You will find that many accomplished, educated women from all walks of life work as escorts. Most are not women with no other options. These are smart females who do their own advertising and they have all the CONTROL. The MAJORITY are not victims and don't need anyone to feel sorry for them.

  9. @sportyyetpractical..."I'd wager any of the hot-headed windbags who comment here that if I took a stack of those cards to any town in America and attempted to hand them out on a public street in the name of free speech, I'd be in jail before I could I say pregnant nipples and there wouldn't be a sympathetic shoulder to cry on between Vegas and Jefferson's tomb."

    Okay. I'll take that bet. Let's fly down to New Orlean's and if you are arrested for handing out the cards, the trip is on me. If you are not arrested by the time I read the 1st Amendment out Loud, My first class ticket is on you.

    Tell me how a card featuring absolutely no nudity meets any definition of pornography. On Friday June 29th, this very paper featured a photo showing more skin than any of those cards (bit.ly/M5Agux)and it wasn't the first time (http://bit.ly/NkEQok). There is more nudity displayed in the 90 foot billboards for shows like
    Fantasy
    Jubilee!
    MGM Grand's Crazy Horse Paris
    Peepshow
    and
    X Burlesque
    than there is on any of those cards.

    Stupidity is stupidity, but you are wrong to assert thart"Pornography is pornography and it can't be freely distributed on the street."

    SCOTUS established the basic legal standard for pornography in Miller v. California, and ruled that material can only be deemed obscene if it met three criteria: (1) the work, taken as a whole by an average person applying contemporary community standards, appeals to the prurient interest; (2) the work depicts sexual conduct in a patently offensive way; and (3) the work, when taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

    The court emphasized that there are two types of pornography, hard-core and soft-core. Justice Burger emphasized in Miller that only hardcore pornography could be designated as patently offensive and do bee deemed hard core the material must include descriptions or representations of "ultimate sex acts" and "masturbation, excretory functions, and lewd exhibition of the genitals."

    Based on Miller, the law distinguishes between hard-core pornography and soft-core pornography, which involves depictions of nudity and limited and simulated sexual conduct. Because it is not as graphic or explicit as hard-core pornography, soft-core pornography is protected under the First Amendment.

  10. I understand that handbilling can be very annoying. While the pictures on the cards are NOT pornography, they are sleazy and tasteless. But so are half of the billboards on the strip. The Supreme Court took into account the fact that littering is an issue when handing out leaflets. They suggested that the person doing the actual littering (that would be the tourists) be punished. I am shocked at how many readers do not value the First Amendment. It is essential that even the most vile speech be protected by the First Amendment because if it isn't then any speech that presents any group or individual in a bad light has the risk of being subject to legislation or punishment. If a group that has ever been subject to persecution takes power, that could easily mean you can't criticize your own government. The inconvenience of sleazy handbills seems a small price to pay for OUR right to free speech.

  11. Everyone LISTEN!!!! The study is about if the card slappers interfere with pedestrian traffic and making it unsafe.They are not challenging the first amendment they are looking how it is applied by the card slappers. Like any other challenge of the first amendment they never explain how it needs to be applied. So keep track on the regulations they apply to the card slappers on where they can stand how many of them are allowed in a certain area the clean up of their mess and etc. The only way to control this problem is make it not worth the bother for the card slappers to do it in the first place.

  12. Handbillers can be annoying, they have the right to impede my progress, make the downtown area look like CRAP.....and I have NO rights, having my personal space violated. I say one easy solution, show me your green card, if you are here LEGALLY, you can slap all you want, if you are NOT.....I don't care WHAT the ACLU says about their rights........they are NOT CITIZENS.....they DO NOT HAVE RIGHTS HERE!!, one thing though, the city will no longer pick up your mess for free every night, as you will be getting a bill for cleaning up YOUR MESS.

  13. and Brooke....the Supreme Courts ruling did not give Carte Blanche to everyone, the rights that were referred to are those that are for AMERICAN CITIZENS. You need to be either naturalized, born, or on a work visa.......the people here in the streets are NONE OF THOSE....so your SCROTUS argument does not hold water.

  14. The notion that the card slappers are 'constitutionally protected', and that 'nothing can be done'...

    BULLS#$T.

    Are we THAT weak & ineffectual as a people that something completely abhorrent to 99% of us and a danger to all is allowed to continue 'in the name of the Constitution'?

    If so, our 'society' is an abject failure.

    I believe it's allowed to happen because, for whatever reason, casino owners aren't opposed to it...

    You don't think there are ways to dissuade this ridiculous practice?
    C'mon, man!!!

  15. Having lived and visited The Mall in Washington D.C. many times - I not once encountered Leafleting of ANY type. Despite almost daily protests and rallies by someone. What are the laws in D.C. that seem like they can ban them - while still allowing gatherings - as opposed to us - where leafleting would stop immediately - if generating revenue was not involved.

  16. @ Xtlman......Before we get too far with this please "show me your green card." AS long as you can scan it and provide a link to the image for me to confirm you are here legally, then I will allow you to continue to share your ignorance of the US Constitution.

    Have you actually read the Bill of Rights? It never once limits the the rights to Citizens. In fact the word citizen isn't even present in the Bill of Rights, and the phrase "citizens of the United States" doesn't make an appearance until the 14th Amendment.

    Considering you have CHOSEN to remain ignorant about the basic tenants of this country, you come of as pretty self-righteous. Ignorance and Indignation are a pretty pathetic pair. You should consider eliminating one from your wheelhouse.

    The 14th states:

    "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

    You see who the word 'citizen' is replaced with ANY PERSON when discussing equal protection of the laws? But just in case some of those words are just a little too confusing for you, SCOTUS addressed the issue in Plyler v. Doe (1982).

    The Court held, "The illegal aliens who are plaintiffs in these cases challenging the statute may claim the benefit of the Equal Protection Clause, which provides that no State shall 'deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.' Whatever his status under the immigration laws, an alien is a 'person' in any ordinary sense of that term" "

    In other words. You have no idea what you are talking about. And considering that all the information is easily available to anyone with internet access, it's pretty sad you don't have enough respect for your country to learn about its laws.

    I bet 90 percent of the illegal immigrants in this country know more about the Constitution that you. What does that say about you?

  17. sportyyetpractical----I think the person complaining about the handbills is the person who needs to get over it! And it is a shameful thing to belittle the first amendment. What an ungrateful American you are. Not to mention, you clearly do not understand what pornography is.

  18. @Birdiedreamin...You need to get a life. The cards have nothing to due with your "human trafficking" cause. The majority of sex for pay in Las Vegas does not begin with a lonely guy calling a number on one of those cards.

    Since sex work as an occupation seems to intrigue you, I suggest you do some research on the internet by searching the phrase "independent escorts". Or research "hobbyist/provider" forums. Why is it so hard for you to believe that some women choose sex work because it benefits them in ways you do not understand? Many women even find the work to be EMPOWERING. Get it?

    I also suspect you might have some intimacy issues that you could be projecting onto others. There are many qualified professionals who could help you in that department.

  19. @Birdie, what an interesting argument. Instead of providing a single fact to support your clearly uneducated, anti-American position, you go with the unorthodox approach of just repeating the argument which had just been proven false, all the while confirming how jealous you are of those who actually educate themselves with facts.

    What's next, sticking your finger in your ears and saying "I can't hear you,I can't hear you," over and over again. Was the "I know you are, but what am I," approach too advanced for you?

    If the cards advertised Advil they would be protected by the first Amendment. Even if some of the people you called to bring you Advil brought you heroin instead. The cards advertise a perfectly legal service. Some of the women responding stick to the legal service. Some choose to break the law. If we outlawed everything that may eventually lead to prostitution, you marriage would have been illegal.

    You can say "no way in hell all off those prostitutes do their job by their own free will..." but you can't even explain how these women are smuggled through the Casino and up to the hotel rooms without a single person seeing them. What are they hidden inside suitcases?

    You say the cards have cost jobs. These cards started appearing on the Strip in the Mid 80 and were so devastating to the employment numbers that the city doubled in size as people flocked to Las Vegas to be to be unemployed.

    I realize that I'm just muddling the waters with a bunch of Pesky facts, when you are much more comfortable using the orator skills usually reserved for the greats like Lincoln and FDR.

    Many don'r realize Lincolns original version began "Four Score and seven years ago, hee hee hee...
    hoo hoo hoo..."

    and I get chills whenever I hear FDR's powerful words after Pearl Harbor.

    "We have nothing to fear but ENOUGH IS FRICKIN ENOUGH! haa haa haa..."

  20. JeffFromVegas...I am puzzled at how anyone could detect anger issues after reading any of my posts. I am actually amused by many comments because they can be so ludicrous.

    As far as my comments to Birdie, they are not mean or vindictive. I admit I find her silly ideas frustrating but I do not anger that easily. I have been reading her erroneous theory about sex work for many months and I am honestly trying to encourage her to educate herself instead of continuing to spread misinformation.

    By the way, part of what I do professionally is work with people who are suffering from chronic, constant anger. So thanks for the laugh and happy 4th to you as well.

  21. Birdie....Do you not understand the concept providing FACTS to support your arguments? Just because you type out, "most tourist believe that "all" of those cards lead to prostitution...
    and that is why they stop coming to vegas..." doesn't magically make it so.

    What evidence do you have that after nearly 30 years of these cards being handed out on the Strip suddenly it's affecting tourism. Maybe it was the 38.9 million tourists who visited Las Vegas 2011, despite those horrible cards being handed out. After all that did represent a drop of nearly, no wait, that was actually the second highest visitor count of all time.

    To say that we are losing tourists has no basis in reality. It's nothing more than a lie you've made up so you have a argument other than the fact that you simply don't like sex. You can't grasp that any woman would have sex of her own free will, because to you it was an obligation suffered as part of being married. Just because you found it "humiliating"..."degrading".... to let your husband fumble on top of you every few months or so, what makes you so sure you can speak for others.

    The two Clark County ADA's who worked as prostitutes to pay their way through law school, found it financially empowering, as did the Valley Judge who was one of the many women freely working in the industry.

    It's clear you have no evidence to support your opinion.

    The gall you have to actually wish anyone an enjoyable Independence Day after you have spent the day defecating on the Bill of Rights is...well...
    "degrading"...
    "dangerous"...
    those are words that popped into my head!!!"

    "There are more things in heaven and earth,[Birdiedreamin], Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

  22. @Birdiedreamin...YES! EMPOWERING! Who are you to decide how another woman should feel about their chosen profession? You believe that sex workers should only experience what you have decided are the negative effects of an occupation you know nothing about. You actually WANT them to feel degraded and humiliated. It is disgusting that you, a woman, want other women to suffer.

    Your argument is from personal incredulity: if someone can't understand an issue, it is impossible for anyone to understand it.

    EXAMPLE: "I would find it extremely degrading and oppressive to show a stranger my body for money, therefor you couldn't possibly not feel degraded and oppressed by your work."

    Just because you can't understand why a woman would choose sex work does not mean she is doing it against her will.

    I don't proclaim sex work to be an ideal occupation. Obviously, the fact that it is illegal makes it risky. However, many women enjoy the benefits of working as an escort. You need to understand that sex work is real work so you need to stop attacking those who choose the profession.

    I suggest you visit SWAAY.ORG to learn more about the industry and read some of the stories of EMPOWERMENT.

  23. @JeffFromVegas...I appreciate that you read my suggestion that Birdie visit SWAAY but I am surprised you found similarities to the Onion. If you are still interested in the subject (which I hope you are) I strongly suggest you check out two personal blogs written by sex workers who are very honest and blunt. MaggieMcNeill.wordpress aka The Honest Courtesan is a gifted writer who is absurdly intelligent. Feminisnt.com is written by a sex worker who is very vocal about her disgust with "rescuers" and "moralizers". She is a good example of an "empowered" prostitute.

    Do I think that sex workers have the right to solicit sex at church or position themselves at little league games? Absolutely not. Prostitution is illegal so those actions would be illegal. I am troubled at why you would use those scenarios as examples as if a sex worker would consider those places to be reasonable places to "advertise".

    Professional independent escorts NEVER go out anywhere to solicit sex. Those supposedly "high-end" hookers that swarm the casinos on the strip are not the professionals I am referring to. A cultivated companion does all her advertising online and usually has a personal website with her personal criteria for seeing any potential clients. These men must provide detailed personal information so they can be screened properly. Information such as their home address and place of employment with a work number. Most escorts also require references from other known escorts who can verify him. And these men willingly reveal their personal info because they know they are going to experience the company of a woman who will treat him as if he is the most fascinating man she has ever met.

    It sounds like I am glamorising sex work and that is not my intention. I just get so exasperated by people like birdie who cannot fathom that MANY women choose sex work because they enjoy it. Some women choose it because they enjoy the benefits (such as the high pay) but actually dislike the work part of it. But they are not victims any more than anyone else who works only for a paycheck.

    As for the cardslappers, I don't like them but the Supreme Court has ruled on this time and time again. The cards might not be appropriate viewing material for children but if you have your children on the strip they are seeing explicit billboards and half of the female tourists are dressed as if they should be working a pole. I personally don't feel the strip is an appropriate place to walk with my little girl even if there were no handbills.