Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Our mayor

Oscar Goodman is the mayor of Las Vegas. I would say that he is my mayor, but I actually live in the township of Spring Valley and work in the township of Paradise. All of the Strip south of the tower is really in the county and outside of the Las Vegas city limits, so most of what people call Las Vegas is really outside of Oscar’s control.

He is about the most interesting political figure I have come across. Mr. Goodman is a lawyer, and back in the 60’s he represented members of what the newspapers call the ‘mob’. That’s right, Oscar is proud of being a past mob lawyer, I think he listed himself as such in the last election. He always speaks his mind and is not shy about it. He also has appeared in several movies and TV shows as himself. He’s been on both CSI (a few times) and Vegas. The Palms Casino is a popular place (again, located in the county, not the city) that is a favorite of Hugh Hefner and Playboy centerfolds – about to open a new Playboy Club on top of their new tower. Mr. Goodman worked as guest photographer for a Playmate shoot at the Palms last year.

He is a great representative for the city of Las Vegas. Whenever he attends a big public event, such conventions held out of town, he usually enters with a feather bedecked showgirl on each arm and an Elvis or two in tow. When he was in Washington DC last year for some event that’s the way he showed up. Last month the periodic conference of mayors from across the country was held here, at a strip hotel in the county, but Oscar still called it Las Vegas. He was always with his ‘girls’ and Elvis, pushing LV as a destination.

In a famous incident a few months ago he was talking to a group of grammar school kids, I think fourth graders. After his talk he took questions from the kids. One asked; if were marooned on a desert island, what one thing would you like to have? Never one to not speak his mind, our Mayor replied ‘a bottle of gin’. He once had a job as the spokesperson for Bombay Gin, something he has said he frequently drinks. I think that response got onto the national news; discussing alcohol as an object of desire in front of kids. After a lot of negative publicity, he never apologized. He said he was truthful, and there was no reason to apologize. Here’s the local news story.

Sitting at work I listen to a local radio station. I used to listen to the BBC on the internet, but our ever vigilant security officer installed some new software that blocks that access (thanks Gary). Mr. Goodman likes to phone the two morning DJs, and usually makes a bet with them on the outcome of the super bowl. He lost for three years in a row, and always made good on the bets. As a result, one year he spent the day wearing the striped uniform of the Hot Dog on a Stick counter people, and gave out hot dogs and lemonade. Another year he dressed in costume and joined Mr. Happiness on a street corner entertaining people that drove by. (Mr. Happiness is famous for his costumes and dancing on the corner every morning). Last super bowl he won the bet, so the DJs dressed in drag and entertained, but Oscar was willing to do it.

He does seem to know his mayor stuff too. The local papers rate him as doing a good job as head of the city. He is frequently mentioned in articles as ‘former mob lawyer Oscar Goodman’, and jokes about that too. The City of Las Vegas site has a good bio of him. State leaders want him to run for the Senate, but he says he is having too much fun being mayor, listing himself as the “Happiest Mayor in the World”.

Here he is, from a newspaper photo, enjoying a piece of the birthday cake created for Las Vegas’ 100 birthday earlier this year. They're trying to get it in the Guiness Book of Records as the largest birthday cake ever. That's the rest of the cake behind him.

(that's him on the right)

If you go to Google and look for ‘oscar Goodman las vegas’ you’ll find lots of listings. I've tried to find one of him with the showgirls, but can't take enough time right now to locate one. I'll try later and link, I'm sure there are some out there.

Thanks, Google Images! - Now isn't that the way a mayor should show up? I don't think he'll be mistaken as the mayor from Hoboken. Nothing against Hoboken now, I lived near there, but for some reason I doubt if their mayor has as nice a suit.

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