View From Lodi, CA: Christmas in Las Vegas (With Joenote To VDARE.COM Readers)

One year ago, during Christmas
2003, U.S. authorities forced Air France to cancel six
flights between Paris and Los Angeles.

Since Las Vegas was the only major
city that the canceled flights would have crossed,
speculation ran high that al Queda had targeted “Sin
for a

terrorist attack.

As reported by the Washington Post
in its December 26th story titled

“Suspicious Passengers Questioned in France,”

U.S. officials feel that the al Queda network “has
long considered Las Vegas to be one of its top targets
for a strike because it sees the city as a citadel of

Western licentiousness.

Having just returned two weeks ago
from a brief trip to Las Vegas, I agree that the city is
teeming with examples of wretched excess, at best, or,
at worst, utter and complete decadence.

What happened to the old Las Vegas?

When I was a kid, my parents took
my sisters and me to Las Vegas for brief getaways from
our Los Angeles home.

We couldn`t believe our good
fortune. No matter what hotel we stayed at, each had a

But what passed for a pool fifty
years ago in Las Vegas would hardly be considered an
adequate bathtub at today`s mega resorts like the
Mandalay Bay.

The Mandalay Bay pool—which I use
as a symbol of countless examples of Las Vegas
overkill—is a 41,000 square foot pool with six-foot
waves surrounded by 11 acres of tropical water
environment with an adjacent beach

made from 1,700 tons of sand.

Las Vegas is unlike any other city.

Despite being December, signs of
Christmas were few and far between. Comedian Rich Hall
once said that spending Christmas in Las Vegas was

like spending Halloween at the Vatican.

Every place is full—the Bellagio,
Spago, Harry Winston, the casinos, the parking lots, the
cabstands, and the shows. Money is no object.

If you want to go next door from
the Luxor to the Excalibur, for example, plan on walking
for 45 minutes through
pedestrian walkways and moving staircases

The $3.99 buffet has given way to
Emeril`s $30.00 fried oyster Caesar Salad.

Now more changes are in store for
Las Vegas as it enters into a vertical real estate boom.

Last month, the MGM Mirage, owner of 11 casinos,
announced plans to invest $4 billion to construct 1,650
luxury condominiums on the heart of the Strip between
the Bellagio and Monte Carlo hotels.

Residential development is a new direction for MGM
Mirage. According to spokesman Alan Feldman, “Before,
you were either a residential builder or in the

gaming industry
. There was no overlap. That has all
changed. This is being defined as a real estate
investment rather than a gaming investment."

Continuing, Feldman added, “What we want is an urban
environment with pedestrian walkways and residences on
top of retail shops and restaurants.”

The 66-acre site will be roughly the size of

Times Square

Rockefeller Center
and SoHo combined.

This is Las Vegas today: the fastest-growing
metropolis in the United States consuming precious
resources with nary a peep about sustainability.

The more than 5,000 people that arrive in the Las
Vegas Valley every month represent an annual growth rate
of 7.5%. Thousands of homes and business facilities are
built to accommodate them.

By 2005, Las Vegas will have 2 million permanent
residents and nearly 35 million annual visitors.

They will all need water but where will it come from?

Lake Meade, which supplies 90% of Las Vegas` water,
has dropped 85 feet over the past several years.
Predictions are that it will continue to drop. Las Vegas
entered into a Drought Alert January 2004. Serious
restrictions on water use are in effect.

Like Lake Meade, Lake Powell also has a

seriously low water level
. As of two months ago, the
water was 430 feet deep at the dam.  

A few years ago, the proposed Ring Around the Valley
plan would have contained Las Vegas growth within
certain boundaries. But it was rejected by the

Instead the Southern Nevada Strategic Planning
authority devised a 20-year blueprint for continued

In Las
Vegas nothing stops those who profit most from growth.
Casino owners, developers, and their suppliers rake
it in at the expense of the average citizen. As
seriously as the al Queda threat must be taken, the
Las Vegas power brokers are doing a fine job of
destroying the city all by themselves.


Joenote to VDARE.COM Readers:

VDARE.COM has consistently pointed out the relationship
between illegal immigration and corporate greed. Nowhere
is this more evident than in Las Vegas.

1990, roughly when the mega resort boom started, the

Hispanic population
Las Vegas has quadrupled. Las Vegas is now nearly 25%

illegal aliens who flocked to Las Vegas have been
shamelessly exploited.

working for chicken scratch, they helped created the


built the houses
washed the dishes,

cooked the food
changed the beds. Through their willingness—eagerness,
really—to work for

minimum wage
the illegal aliens have
forced American workers out of the Las Vegas job market.

while the aliens toiled for chumpchange, Wall Street
tycoons like

Steve Wynn

President Bush, judging by his

December 20th year-end press conference,

thinks it is all fine and

type of “immigration” President Bush
endorsed—again—will make the rich richer, the poor poorer,
and eliminate the American middle class.

Joe Guzzardi [email
him], an instructor in English
at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly
column since 1988. It currently appears in the

Lodi News-Sentinel