COMMENTARY: Steve Miller

Las Vegas Tribune

August 22, 2001


Over the weekend of August 11, a female TV anchor read a teleprompter soft news story about a book signing she said was taking place "on East Fremont Street."

The pretty talking head went on to narrate taped footage of the event by identifying the book’s author as Sun columnist Jeff German who was joined by Clark County District Judge Joe Bonaventure.

She then stated that if viewers wanted to get autographs, they should go to "128 East Fremont Street."

At no time did she identify the business located at 128 E. Fremont. In fact it would not surprise me if the pretty face thought that Fremont Street is located in Green Valley!

To lend credence to The Money and the Power authors Sally Denton and Roger Morris’ opinion that Las Vegas was both a "journalistic waystation and a backwater," the pretty face on TV did not have a clue that the judge she was showing in her newscast was being hosted by the family that stood the most to gain from the same Judge’s unusual behavior in the courtroom during the "Trial of the century!"

The book signing was taking place at the Horseshoe Club, a casino owned by Becky Behnen the estranged sister of the late Ted Binion. This is the same Ted Binion who once accused Becky’s son Benny Binion Behnen of a drive-by shooting at his former million-dollar Palomino Lane estate, an estate now owned by the Behnens.

Some local newspaper columnists, especially Jeff German, are famous for being mooches. Most of our casinos and topless clubs are happy to oblige the insatiable tastes of the less than creditable hacks, so German holding a book signing at the Horseshoe seemed almost natural in light of the tone of his book that makes him sound like a lackey for the Behnens.

But judges are another story! Judges are supposed to avoid any appearance of impropriety!

I can excuse the lameness of the pretty female anchor for not knowing Fremont Street from Green Valley Parkway, but I am amazed that Judge Bonaventure showed up at that book signing hosted by the Behnens! Only in Las Vegas.

Incidentally, if you would like to read an objective book on the death of Ted Binion, check out Death in the Desert: The Ted Binion Homicide Case, by Cathy Scott.


Futile efforts are being made to rid our downtown of bums and tramps while services to the truly homeless are being cut back. Only one-third of those referred to as "homeless" deserve the title. The other two-thirds are dregs on society or dangerous predators. One proven method to assist in alleviating the problem is Traveler's Aid Services - a remedy that is not currently available in Las Vegas.

Many street people arrive here courtesy of what is called "Greyhound therapy;" a last-ditch practice offered by police departments in other cities to rid their downtown's of the same problem we are experiencing. In contrast, many homeless persons are stranded here and just want to go home.

We can alleviate much of our current problem by offering Traveler's Aid to anyone who goes to a shelter or upon release from jail. Bus tickets must be nonrefundable to prevent cashing them for slot change or to buy booze and drugs. This time-proven solution will cost hundreds of thousands less that other Band-Aid proposals being discussed.


Laws that have long been ignored need to start being be enforced. A law such as NRS 205.860 - Wrongful possession, abandonment or alteration of a (shopping) cart states:

Any person who knowingly possesses a cart that has been removed from the owner's premises is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Taxpayers are burdened with higher food costs every time a person removes a shopping cart from a grocery store for their personal use. Carts cost the stores a minimum of $100 each, and we end up footing the bill each time one disappears! Furthermore, who would want to put our hands on a cart that had taken a hiatus from a grocery store to haul the possessions of a homeless person? I often wonder who pushed the cart I am using prior to me getting my hands on it!


So, the school district want to teach gambling odds to high school kids! I am just afraid that the sponsors of this scheme are the same people who put movie theaters, ice rinks, and arcades in casinos to keep the kids occupied while their parents gamble.

I did a photo essay on "Slots for tots:" the new type machines with cartoon character themes. These machines were placed just outside the entrances to the arcades and other attractions that would appeal to under 21 year olds. None of these machines were evident in the centers of casinos, just on the periphery where minors congregate especially near the lines waiting to go into buffets or Star Trek type rides.

For my photos, I would look for kids inside a casino, and to no surprise, the cartoon character machines were nearby! Just like downtown used to be, now the casinos are the new downtown in LV.

I believe that the casino operators are training the next generation of Las Vegas local kids to believe that it is normal and OK to be in there -- an insidious plan to normalize gambling as just another Las Vegas activity like going to a park, or hiking through Red Rock Canyon.

Remember, these are the same casino operators who try to call gambling "Gaming," or "Entertainment," and fight to keep their taxes the lowest in the nation while investing Nevada-made-money building competition in California and Arizona.

Steve Miller is a former Las Vegas City Councilman and is the State Coordinator of the Nevada Coalition Against Gambling Expansion Outside Nevada. Visit his website at: