"Degenerate" mayor endorses booze to eight year olds
INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
March 14, 2005
Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman reads to
children before controversial question and answer session
LAS VEGAS - Jo Mackey Elementary
School in North Las Vegas is a special facility for at-risk children.
According to substance abuse experts, one out
of three children attending such schools live in a situation in which substance abuse is a problem.
If that's the case, what was a role model like the Mayor of Las Vegas
doing there last Monday telling eight year old kids that if he was
stranded on a desert island the one item he
would bring with him would be "a bottle of gin."
Moments later when a student asked what some of
his hobbies are, one of Mayor Oscar
Goodman's responses was: "drinking."
"The sad thing is that a comment like that can
tend to normalize behavior that shouldn't be normal," stated Candice Kidd, director of the WestCare Women and Children's
Campus, a treatment center that receives clients from the area where
the school is located.
Mary Francis whose fourth-grade daughter attends
the school told the Review-Journal, "Maybe he was playing to his audience... Maybe because he
was in the barrio, he thought that's what they wanted to hear. My
daughter looked up to him. He owes those kids an apology."
However, an apology was not forthcoming. The former mob lawyer did the
opposite and immediately blamed someone else for his problems -- a tactic often used by criminal defense lawyers to
distract from their client's misdeeds. But who did he blame? The eight year old who asked him the questions.
Goodman gave the Las Vegas SUN
explanation: "I'm the George Washington of mayors. I can't tell a lie. If they didn't want
the answer, the kid shouldn't
have asked the question!
It's me, what can I
Instead of fessing up to his transgressions, Goodman
inadvertently made matters worse by becoming defensive. The press had a
field day! The egotistical mayor basked in the attention.
This begs the question of whether the mayor would have glorified
if he had been visiting a fourth grade class at the Meadows School, a private
institution in posh Summerlin? Oscar's wife Carolyn is the
founder and Chairwoman of the Board of Trustees of
the exclusive school that charges between
$11,200 - $14,950
tuition per year. The mayor is known to speak on a
higher intellectual plane during his frequent visits there.
In the meantime, many low income parents of children
exposed to the mayor's Mackey Elementary School
rantings were busy with damage control. One
parent stated, "A child may want to do
something because the mayor said it was OK."
On Thursday after the story went national, Goodman called a press conference to try to explain away
his actions. Six minutes into the conference, a
very angry Goodman was asked if he thought he
had a drinking problem? Goodman replied, "Absolutely not .I
photo) Illustration by David Stroud published
Review-Journal on 03/06/05
Goodman then said, "Have I learned anything from it?
Yes. That I'm proud that I gave an honest
answer. I'm proud of myself
but at the same time sometimes you shouldn't answer a question if it's
going to be offensive to people." Asked if he thought it was appropriate to talk about
to fourth graders, the mayor said, "I wouldn't have said it if
I thought it was inappropriate." Then he
abruptly walked out.
Just before the press conference, in honor of Nevada Reading Week another group
of fourth and fifth graders were brought to city hall to again
hear the mayor read stories and answer questions. Following his
interaction with these students, Goodman was presented a gift. While
slowly opening the package he loudly said, "It's not a bottle is it?"
His remark brought laughter from his staff. The gift turned out to be a
As troubling as the mayor's untempered words and actions may be,
what troubles me more is the callous reaction he's receiving from local
executive director of STOP DUI apologetically told the SUN,
"I think this was just a
fluke. All of us have had at one time or another a time when we
misspoke. But I know that he didn't do it intentionally."
If his words weren't intentional, why would he say "I
wouldn't have said it if I thought it was inappropriate,"
then several days later joke about "a bottle" when receiving a gift
from another group of impressionable children? Ms. Heverly should be
more concerned for the children to whom he extolled his love of drink,
children who someday might be involved in a DUI because they took his
A concerned INSIDE VEGAS reader summed it up: "His, otherwise normal arrogant nature has
been transformed into a Bombastically, Gin induced, Energized
Personality, apparently influenced by wayward Guidance and Greed, and
has become Foolhardy with very questionable practices. Las Vegas is
deserving of the Best and the Good Citizens need to send in the Brave
who can protect them from the ravages of evil who are destroying Mayor
Goodman and his Public. Sadly enough, Mayor Goodman's time in office
has become too dangerous for the Citizens to allow him to continue. He
must be removed, for his own sake."
The nonchalant response Goodman is receiving locally contrasts with
the ongoing criticism of his "gin" comments by the national press
suggesting this really is a "Sin City," a place devoid of conscience in
the eyes of the nation. Sadly, the maelstrom of outside comment
compared to the apathy within Las Vegas gives a clear indication of the
severe loss of family values our city has suffered since Goodman took
office in 1998, something that may discourage families from moving here
in the future.
KLAS TV NEWS
Online Poll, March 6, 2005
An example is when the mayor in 2002 encouraged allowing teenagers to
strip in city topless bars. "There's no prostitution taking place, and
if there was, they should arrest them, not make some big fuss as to
what some 18-year-old girl is doing to make a living," stated the mayor
in the Las Vegas SUN
His words brought shivers
up and down the spines of parents with teenage daughters.
This is the same Goodman who once said
he'd rather have his daughter date Chicago mob enforcer Anthony
Spilotro than an FBI agent.
Then in 2003, Goodman proposed allowing brothels
in downtown saying, "It would turn old motels into beautiful brothels."
Nary an eyebrow was lifted at his remark
most thinking it was in jest.
In 2004, the mayor was taken before the state Ethics Commission for
accepting $100,000 to endorse Bombay Sapphire Gin. After he learned of
he donated $50,000 to his wife's private school and $50,000 to the
homeless. The much more deserving Mackey Elementary
School was never considered in his gift giving.
I usually avoid calling people names but the word "degenerate" keeps
racing through my mind each time Mayor Goodman tries to rationalize his
of booze to eight year olds,
says he was "proud" of his actions, that his "honesty" was somehow a
virtue in this instance, or when some supposedly righteous person comes
to his defense.
Goodman's actions were not a "fluke" and can't be discounted even by
his highly paid campaign manager.
"Jim Ferrence, Goodman's campaign manager for his
1999 and 2003 elections, said the people who would be offended by
Goodman's comments are probably the people who are offended every time
he mentions drinking in public. Ferrence said the comments could be
turned into a campaign issue, but added that the issue would not
necessarily hurt Goodman because 'he would not run from it or try to
put a spin on it. It's just that he is who he is.' " - LV SUN, 03/04/05
Oscar Goodman is expected to run for Governor of
Nevada in 2006 no matter how clouded his judgement may be by then.
As the parent of four daughters including an inquisitive little 12 year
old, I know how hard it is to properly raise children in a town with
the slogan "What happens here stays here," but if our mayor continues
to mouth off, our job will become that much more difficult in coming
The word "degenerate" may be considered a stretch based on Las Vegas'
skewed values and of how entertaining some people believe Goodman to
be, but I can't think of a more appropriate adjective to describe such
careless braggadocio in the presence of small children by a public
official with aspireations for higher office.
My sympathies go out to Mrs. Goodman and her family.
Pronunciation: di-'jen-r&t, -'je-n&-, dE-
: having sunk to a
lower and usually corrupt and vicious state
Copyright © Steve Miller
Oscar Goodman was voted "Least
Effective Public Official in Las Vegas"
in 2003 by the
readers of the Review-Journal
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