As reported in the Mesquite Local News last week, Clark County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak wants reconsideration of the 14-member Las Vegas Convention and Visitor Authority Board of Directors with an eye toward removing “individuals from small areas, such as Mesquite, that do not have the expertise that industry members have as it relates to LVCVA’s projects.”
There are a lot of things wrong with that idea. In spite of what Sisolak claims, most of his “reasoning” boils down to a money grab by the big boys in Vegas to the detriment of smaller tourist venues in Clark County.
Let’s start with the second part of Sisolak’s statement at the February meeting of the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee: “He is also concerned that a representative from Mesquite is going to want to preserve what Mesquite is allocated…”
Gee, ya think?
Isn’t that what Mesquite’s representative is supposed to do? Isn’t that exactly what Sisolak does for his constituency?
The Commissioner isn’t even on the LVCVA Board but two other county commissioners are along with two representatives for Las Vegas. How do these individuals have more industry expertise as it relates to LVCVA’s projects than Mesquite’s representative, George Rapson, who has 14 years of gaming experience?
If the 14-member board is too big, start by cutting one county and one Las Vegas representative.
Sisolak claims that the expertise he desires is in the areas of finance and construction for – what else – Las Vegas Boulevard and the renovation, expansion or upkeep of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC).
And there you have it.
As one insider told the Mesquite Local News, “it seems like Sisolak is trying to put a cap on revenues that will go to any other jurisdiction, other than the Strip, to fund the LVCC expansion and possibly a domed stadium. I don’t think he needs to boot Mesquite and Boulder City off the LVCVA Board to accomplish this goal.”
And, Rapson rightly pointed out to Sisolak “your actions smack of political pandering and completely lack any substance.”
Everyone suffered during the 2008 recession but Sisolak makes it sound like only the big boys in Vegas matter in the recovery.
Mesquite is a primary gateway to southern Nevada and Clark County with an improving tourism industry just like Las Vegas. I-15 straight through the heart of Mesquite provides a quarter of the number of average daily vehicles entering the vast area of southern Nevada. Some stop in Mesquite while others head to the bright lights of the big city.
Interestingly, the home page of LVCVA’s web site prominently boasts that “The LVCVA promotes the growth of the economy of all of Southern Nevada, including efforts for the extended areas outside the Las Vegas Valley including Laughlin, Mesquite, Boulder City, Primm and Jean.”
And interestingly, Commissioner Sisolak represents three of those areas. It’s only those he doesn’t represent that he is dissing – Mesquite and Boulder City.
Here’s another argument he uses that doesn’t hold water.
He doesn’t think room tax funds funneled through the LVCVA should go to the city’s general funds which is what happens now. Then he turns right around and says he wants to give the room tax monies collected in Mesquite directly back and “give the communities where the money is collected more flexibility in how it’s spent.”
On one hand he wants to dictate how Mesquite’s room taxes are spent. On the other hand, he wants to give the city more flexibility on spending the room taxes.
What a ruse.
What Sisolak really wants is more money, more money, and more money to spend on his own turf and damn the rest of the county.
LVCVA support for Mesquite tourism is as important to the local community and businesses as any in the big city and the county. While some speculate that Mesquite should go it alone, that doesn’t work when you consider the in-kind support that local businesses could not afford.
Almost a million dollars flows from the LVCVA to third part public relations firms for advertising and promotions, web site research and public relations. While each of the local casinos spend considerable amounts of their own money on the same, LVCVA’s efforts market the city as a whole destination.
“Looking towards the future, the LVCVA will continue to aggressively implement marketing campaigns that garner immediate demand, increase repeat visitation and attract new visitors to Mesquite. In addition to brand and product awareness, all marketing initiatives and programs will communicate a more hard-selling booking message with the rates and availability and special offers programs. As always, the LVCVA also will assess new opportunities to market the destination,” says LVCVA’s web site.
That includes not just gaming but golf, special events and local outdoor activities. The LVCVA helps promote events like January’s classic car show and balloon fest, the upcoming BBQ festival, and two major golfing events, the Nevada Open and the Mesquite Amateur tournaments. All those are important to improving visitor volumes in the local area, not just for casinos but all businesses.
So for Sisolak to claim that it’s a bad thing for Mesquite to preserve what Mesquite is allocated is just plain “impertinent and narrow-minded,” to quote Rapson.
Without representation on the LVCVA Board of Directors Mesquite doesn’t stand a chance of preserving what Mesquite is allocated.
And that’s the whole point of Sisolak’s tirade.