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Inside Vegas - Steve Miller

Steve Miller is a former Las Vegas City Councilman. In 1991, the readers of the Las Vegas Review Journal voted him the "Most Effective Public Official" in Southern Nevada. Visit his website at:

Hillary - Judged by the company she keeps

INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
January 21, 2008

        Senator Hillary Rodham-Clinton                                  Clinton advisor, ex-LV mayor Jan Jones-Blackhurst

LAS VEGAS - The Nevada caucus is over, but several issues emerged that help define the woman selected to be the state Democratic Party's nominee.

First and foremost, it took dozens of translators stationed in the caucus locations to help the majority of Clinton supporters understand speeches and fill out their ballots. These "voters" who could neither speak nor write in our nation's language were asked (in Spanish) to sign a document  attesting to the fact that they were in the United States legally. After obediently doing so, the majority voted for Hillary Clinton at caucus locations within the hotels where they're employed.

Being asked to vote within their workplace; not understanding the words spoken or written; and fearing repercussions from their employer if they voted against his or her wishes probably was the chief motivator for so many of our city's recent immigrants to vote for the woman who their bosses Terry Lanni of the MGM, Steve Wynn, and Jan Jones, a.k.a. Jan Jones-Blackhurst of Harrah's, ask (ordered) them to vote for.

Having come from some of the most corrupt countries in Latin America, how could we expect these new electors to believe their votes would be cast in secrecy in their new home town in the United States, especially when our country's government is also in turmoil?

I believe that very few of these new "voters" felt secure enough in our city or country to go against what they were told to do by their employers -- vote for Hillary. Instead of voting per the suggestions of their union leaders who foolishly arranged for their caucus locations to be inside their respective work places, I'm afraid they succumbed to pressures that union leaders did not anticipate.

Had the caucus been held inside the Culinary Union Hall, I really believe the results would have been drastically different!

The union's idea to place caucus locations in hotels was found to be legally sound, but minds changed when so many persons unfamiliar with our ways were asked to vote not far from where they pick up their pay checks.

The Strip casinos have for years fought all efforts to increase the gross gambling tax to pay for Nevada education. They believe that dishwashers, housekeepers, porters, groundskeepers, and maintenance workers do not need a high school or college education to live comfortably in Las Vegas. The casinos would obviously rather spend their gambling derived profits developing competitive-to-Nevada casinos in other states or overseas than to better the lives and futures of our city's kids. Otherwise they would not be spending millions buying TV ads telling voters to reject ballot questions asking to increase the gambling tax to pay for schools.

Barack Obama abhors the spread of casinos. Had Obama won in Nevada, it would have weakened the casino's position.

Hence the appearance of former Las Vegas mayor Jan Jones
in the Hillary Clinton camp to preach the casino's mantra and help plot strategies to destroy the reputations of Clinton's opponents down the line. According to a former Nevada governor, she's done it before, and I'm very familiar with her methods.

"It's apparent she's willing to run a negative gutter campaign. The important thing here  is the fact that the mayor is willing to besmirch the reputation of anybody for her own political gain," stated former Nevada Governor Bob Miller (D), in the Las Vegas Sun on February 5, 1993.

According to the Hillary for President website,  Hillary proudly accepted Jones' endorsement, and with it, the money and power behind Nevada's casino elite.

Hillary obviously could care less about the highly questionable background and reputation of the woman she found so helpful.

As they have consistently done in Nevada, the casinos will immediately squash the political campaigns of anyone who disagrees with their pro-outside-Nevada expansion plans, and those who criticize their lack of concern for the adverse social impacts gambling creates on families who live near their casinos. They will take any means to win.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Obama once stated the "moral and social cost of gambling, particularly in low-income communities, could be devastating."

That honest statement just cost him the Nevada caucus, and created our nation's most controversial voting block -- mainly undocumented workers willing to vote as they're told by casino bosses in trade for giving them sanctuary in Nevada.

But money and power gathering are just two of Jan Jones' talents.

In 2001, she spent over four hours on the witness stand trying to explain how she was unaware her campaign staff had produced and mailed over 85,000 mailers to voters three days before the election that falsely accused her 1991 mayoral opponent of being associated with drugs.

Then as now, accusing an opponent of being associated with drugs at the last minute is a guaranteed way to kill his or her chances of getting elected.

I was that opponent in 1991

Two weeks prior to her accusation stating: "Cocaine found in car Miller was driving," I was leading in every poll by more than twenty points. Jones became desperate, and told her staff to publish the lie as a last ditch effort to win the election at any cost.

Ironically, ten years later she was forced to admit under oath that her accusation was totally false.

On the Thursday before the 1991 municipal election, she spent over a million of her own dollars buying every one minute, and every thirty second spot on local TV and cable stations. In her ads an announcer repeated Jones' accusation hundreds of times up until election day.

I couldn't defend myself because she had purchased every available minute on over 100 cable TV channels, and it was too late to send a rebuttal mailer.

I went to the TV news departments. I was told to purchase the air time to give my rebuttal because news editors refused to cover the smear campaign allegedly fearing lawsuits for repeating slander. (Jones' then-husband was one of LV's biggest TV advertisers.)

The public heard only one side, and five days later Jones won by a landslide. 

The day after the election, I sued her for slander, defamation, and libel. Seven years later, I won a major victory in the Nevada Supreme Court.

The monumental 1998 Nevada Supreme Court decision in MILLER v. JONES cleared the way for future political office seekers to sue their opponents when false statements
that permanently injure someone's reputation are made during a campaign.

Unfortunately, Jones was able to remain in office for the eight years that it took for my case to wind its way through the courts.

After serving two tumultuous terms as the mayor of Las Vegas, and losing two attempts to become Nevada governor (helped by my efforts), she cashed in on her official title to land a high paying position in the casino industry as Vice President of Government Relations for Harrah's. Since then she's been prostituting her elected title to the detriment of the city she once was elected to serve by being introduced throughout the nation as "the former mayor of Las Vegas" when she gives speeches touting the benefits of casinos in places where they were never welcome in the past.

For this she's paid handsomely and was referred to in the January 28, 2007 London Observer as the "Queen of Las Vegas."

The Observer described her as "Dripping with jewelry and power, wrapped in cashmere, Jan Laverty Jones is arguably the most important woman in the world gambling industry."

Such a description of her close advisor does not exactly fit with Hillary Clinton's purportedly populist image!

While she's been running around promoting competitive casinos, Nevada's tax base has fallen apart based on dwindling gambling revenues in downtown Las Vegas, Reno, Lake Tahoe, and Laughlin -- cities feeling the competition from California casinos she helped clear the way for.

After leaving City Hall and going to work for Harrah's, she didn't protest when her company bought the rights to the downtown "Horseshoe" casino trade name and it's World Series of Poker, then moved them outside the city she once represented. Since losing its identity, the Fremont Street building once occupied by the Horseshoe has gone bankrupt and is on the verge of closing causing the entire downtown to suffer.

Now our state is number 46 when it comes to per capita student spending, and the casinos including Harrah's want no part of helping us.

Today, Jones is undoubtedly taking those horrible political campaign skills she honed during her 1991 election, and sharing them with Mrs. Clinton's campaign to be used against Obama.

I feel sorry for Barack Obama and can't help but predict he'll suffer the same fate as I did if he persists in playing soft ball with Hillary -- a mistake often made by men when they run against a female opponent

Like Obama, I was raised to be a consummate gentleman when it came to ladies. It's too bad my Mom wasn't alive in 1991 to tell me that Jones is anything but a lady!

That was my political downfall. I didn't see it coming. I hope Obama is not next to fall prey to a "lady" political opponent. Unfortunately he set the stage for his own demise

According to the Washington Post,  Obama in his book stated, "Junkie. Pothead. That's where I'd been headed: the final, fatal role of the young would-be black man. . . . I got high [to] push questions of who I was out of my mind."

His words, though spoken bravely and from the heart, will now probably be covertly used by Jones and her casino cronies to kill his chances of winning the national Democratic nomination. Remember, making false drug use allegations are one of her specialties.

will probably be the secret power behind a drug attack against Obama. It will come without consideration for his family, reputation, or future as it did in 1991. Obama needs to be prepared early on before they destroy him with third party generated accusations and propaganda.

However, in 1991, Jones made a mistake that will probably never happen in the Clinton campaign.

Her attack TV ads and mailers proclaimed, "Paid for by friends of Jan Jones." When this was presented as evidence to the Nevada Supreme Court in 1998, even though she said she was not responsible, they ruled otherwise. My attorney Sam Harding and I walked out of the Carson City court room with a victory of sorts, but we still needed to win my damages case in District Court three years later for me to feel fully vindicated.
During my 2001 District Court damages trial, she repeated that she was not aware of what her staff had created. This brought a surprise reaction from her two former campaign managers. Dan Hart and Don Williams testified that she was well aware of what was to be published about Steve Miller, and that they both warned her not to do it. They testified that Jones disregarded their advice.

Nonetheless, the jury voted 8 to 2 in favor of Jones, and I opted not to appeal their verdict. But, Sam and I were still able to walk away with my Nevada Supreme Court victory that said she had showed "reckless disregard for the truth," and "actual malice" in my case.

From my lawsuit Jones had to have learned a hard lesson: Don't put your name on false accusations. Help someone else to throw the mud. And don't tell your candidate what you're up to so they'll look like they're sincerely offended when questioned about such tactics.

Even after a six week televised trial, and dozens of front page stories about this case both in 1998 and 2001, Hillary still welcomed a person like Jones unconditionally.

Now  I hope information about my personal experience with one of Senator Clinton's main supporters and advisors will find its way to Senator Obama before he's also attacked at the last minute with no time to respond.

If attacked, he must stop being the consummate gentleman and be courageous enough to place the blame squarely on the padded shoulders of Hillary Clinton, the woman who must not be allowed to escape responsibility for her anticipated campaign tactics, or for the company she keeps.

Copyright © Steve Miller

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