Thursday, January 31, 2008

Another rant

An open letter to Mr. Leader of the Free World:

I know that you like to fly around the country on my money, delivering speeches at places that I cannot go to crowds I don’t fit in with (especially the big donor angle), but please, why do you make us have to put up with the byproducts?

For those of you not from around here, this fine gentleman (?) and his entourage arrived in our fine city late yesterday and spent the night in the big hotel next to where I work. I guess it’s a nice place to stay, as it is now the largest hotel/casino/resort in the world after that $1,900,000,000 new tower opened. Besides, our big boss owns the place and he let you stay for free, in addition to having you over to his house for lunch today after your speech in that gated community to an invited only crowd.

The side effects: keeping your big trip a secret, some of us found out by reading it in the paper this morning. The rest of us employees (about 5,000 of us) found out when we got to work and tried to get into the team member parking garage, only to find a different team of searching every car (twice – good teamwork) so that we would not be bringing anything strange in to work on a day we didn’t know was any different, into a parking garage a freekin’ half mile away from the tower you are staying in. This resulted in the trip from the side street to the parking garage taking over an hour and a half. Yes, that’s what I said, to go a half mile took over an hour and a half for those that made it in. So many side streets were being blocked that eventually the police just waved everyone else off and sent us on our merry way to find other places to park. This being the middle of the Strip that meant the only place was the customer parking garages at other casinos.

I ended up at the casino across the big street, the one that complained about our employees parking in their garage last year. Some of the other guys in my office space also parked there, but I figured I better be a customer too so I bought some expensive coffee on the way in and stuck a buck into a slot machine on the way out. (Yea, one buck, one button push, all it took, but at least I was a paying customer). (that makes it almost $3 now that I’ve spend gambling since moving here almost five years ago – wooo hooo!!!) Most of the people that were late were hourly employees, and were penalized for showing up an hour and a half (plus the walk from wherever).

And, we are in the middle of a big show that takes up the whole facility. Usually hundreds of cabs and a pile of shuttle busses drop people off out in front, but because we were next door the driveway was closed off, and just about every motorcycle cop in Nevada was parked out there. I didn’t know there were so many. But no cabs or busses, and the street out front was full of employees trying to get into the garage, at least the part that wasn’t cordoned off, so I have no idea where the 20,000 or so show attendees were let out. Then at 8:30, just before the show doors open, the whole street was closed off so that all of those motorcycles, and an unknown number of police cars, could escort you away. Streets for blocks around came to a halt, my wife was in part of the traffic jam two miles away wondering why it spread so far, and getting ready to roll down her window and wave two middle fingers at you if you drove past, but the motorcade didn’t go that way.

Sorry if it kind of rambles on, I was thinking of curses all day long and nothing cohesive or straight came to mind but I just thought I’d tell you how I felt. Next time, just stay home, we don’t need you or want you here., except of course for our boss, the third richest guy in the US and sixth richest guy in the world, who donates to lots of candidates, and undoubtedly will be hiring you to make speeches after you leave this job, like most of the other recent residents of that big house do after they move out.

Of course, I left out the shutting down of our airport for you to land last night and then take off this afternoon, plus whatever streets were closed off for those to trips around the airport. And the freeway closures for you to get to that place on the west side of town and back again. But, of course, the cost of all of our local law establishment support comes from our city treasury, and the time lost by thousands of people comes from our individual pockets. So why should you care?

And for something completely different (well, perhaps) from the past (1986). You probably weren’t wearing a tux, but I envision the place you went to was somewhat similar.

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