Freaks and Felons in Vegas Seven

I’ve got a Green Felt Journal out in today’s Vegas Seven that I’d really like people to read, because I think that the topic should be a major Las Vegas public policy issue:

In the past year, a new menace has appeared on the Strip. Costumed “performers” have taken their place beside smut peddlers, nightclub promoters and timeshare hawkers as street-level nuisances that make passers-by yearn for the days when, if you wanted to have an awkward encounter in Las Vegas, you paid good money to chuckle nervously while Don Rickles insulted you.

This is a new breed. Dressed as Cookie Monster, Captain Jack Sparrow, Michael Jackson or even the Devil himself, caped and uncaped culprits have been staking a claim to Las Vegas Boulevard, creating a growing hazard.

via Freaks and Felons | Vegas Seven.

At first, I thought the performers were, at the least a minor annoyance and at most a necessary nuisance. Some time spent walking the Strip and talking to Sergeant Jenkins convinced me otherwise: these “freaks and felons,” as the good sergeant classifies them, are a legitimate public safety threat on the Strip and Downtown. It seems like there’s an easy policy fix: either requiring them to be licensed and registered, or limiting them to certain zones, or both.

As far as I’m concerned, if the County Commission has the time to pass laws criminalizing a business that’s already been cleared by the commission and the Gaming Control Board to operate, it should have more than enough time to draft sensible regulations that will help protect both the safety of Las Vegas residents and visitors and the economic vitality of the tourist corridor.

And if they don’t want to take my word for it, let them take an hour or so to ride along with Sergeant Jenkins, or at least listen to what he says. That’s a guy who’s been in the trenches on the Strip for longer than most, and it’s a voice you’ve got to listen to.

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