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Pahrump Mirror
Pahrump, Nevada
April 24, 1997     Pahrump Mirror
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April 24, 1997

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6 Thursday, April 24, 1997 Pahrump Valley Gazette I Face to Face --a meeting that shouM Up Carson City way publisher Jeff Ackerman of the Nevada Appeal decided earlier last week to have some fun. At least that is how several of Ackerman's colleagues covering action at the legislature explained the entire event. Assemblyman Bob Price, the second ranking member of the legislature's lower house has, for several weeks, been planning to lead the second legislative "fact finding" trip to the Mustang Ranch. The 1995 event proved a real plus for those with the courage to attend. Several legislators were hesitant but sent their secretary or other confidant, all in all, nearly sixty made an appearance along with Price, his lovely wife Nancy who is also a University Regent, and our brothel association lobbyist, George Flint. It was an evening of good food, an occasional cocktail and most of all, relaxed conversation. More importantly for the brothel association, of which this writer is an enthusiastic member, it was an opportu- nity to do some old-fashioned lobbying. Our unique industry is badly ntis.understood -- even here in Nevada. No, the ladies are working in our houses because they wish to be there. Yes, they enjoy excel- lent working conditions. Yes, they earn good money and, more importantly, get to enjoy their earnings. A distinct difference from the street worker who must support her pimp boyfriend and more often than not his drug or other bad habit. More importantly, it gives the owners of Nevada's 34 "ranches" a good chance to explain why we remain "HIV" and "AIDS" free. Why our clients are pleased that Nevada's lawmakers at both the state and county level make this fact of life available in a safe and controlled environment. An opportu- nity to explain how other states and countries look with envy at this privileged industry in Nevada wishing they could make possible this same approach to prostitution. San Francisco could save $5 million annually fighting street sex and eet vice if legal brothels were a reality there. The other positives would even be more important than the tax dollars saved, believe me. The night at Mustang is no different for those attending than a field trip for legislators to our state prisons, our hospitals or our schools. The basic purpose is the same. To educate and better inform. The scenery may be slightly more exciting, or mysterious, that's about the only difference. Last semion's jaunt to Mustang proved an eye-opener for everyone. Lobbyist Flint considered it a true plus. This year's list of those wishing to attend went to over a hundred. Price and Flint were paring the number down to a workable sixty to sixty-five when the aforementioned Jeff Ackerman entered center stage. In his Tuesday, April 15, column-- The Opinion-- Jeff suggested the trip would be a chance for a face-to-face meeting with those not so different from each other. Then Ackerman indicated, "After all, pros- titutes and politicians were, basically, out of the same mold," or some such words to that effect. Most politicians live with that innuendo often enough. OK. But then Ackerman inferred that Price often visits Mustang "unofficially." A slap in the face to wife Nancy, whom I'm told enjoys a very special relationship with her legislator husband. A less understanding wife might have been, well -- less understanding to say the least. More being cute, I guess, but then publisher Jeff had to question the need for all this by saying, "I'll bet [President] Clinton wouldn't need a 'fact finding' tour of the Mustang Ranch." There has to be some deeper meaning to that statement, I'm sure. Unless maybe I'm the naive one in all this. Flint doesn't mind defending his client. In fact, he truly loves "selling" our legal industry. Flint often sums things up by saying the "merits speak for themselves. Legal and regulated is so much better than the alternative." And, thankfully, that proves so true as any thinking person I been understands. But when our association consultant feels "our friends" in Carson City who make the rules we live and operate by are being axed by some journalist just having fun, Flint usually reacts. Sometimes with vigor. There is no reason -- none whatsoever-- to allow abuse against friends. In fact Flint's press release cancelling the Mustang evening put it this way: "I consider the members of the legislature as friends. I cannot, and will not, subject them to any additional criticism or denigration by the media." This leaves one big question which will not be answered. Just what would publisher Ackerman have done journalistically to those that would have attended? What cute stories would have been told? What "fun" things would have been twisted into Ackerman's column in the name of reporting the facts. Jeff could have had a lot of fun. At whose expense? At whose integrity? Was the industry a little chicken in cancelling? Maybe. A little probably. But by Ackerman's track record already published, the risk was too great. Friends are to protect. Not to put on the slicing board to be cut up by some less than well-meaning headline seeker. Jeff's diatribe that started the industry's fears con- tinued with a rehash of former owner Joe Conforte's tax problems. How the government ended up at one point with the ranch until Johnny Carson called Presi- dent Bush the "biggest pimp of all." More fun jour- nalism. But at whose expense? Ackerman was discovering something as he banged on his keyboard this writer has long known. Brothels are always "fun" to write about. So of course are politicians. Put the two together and one h the makings of a great column. At least an exciting one. And in fact that may have been Ackerman's primary motivation, to entertain, not to inform. But at whose expense? Regardless, those of us within the business began to see danger on the horizon. Ackerman's "opinion" gOt the remainder of the press corps up in Carson City asking a lot of cruel and unnecessary questions meant to compromise friends. "What do you really hope to accomplish senator by going to Mustang? Why is it necessary to be there in person ? Have you ever been a brothel customer? Do you approve or disapprove of prostitution? What, Mr. Legislator, would you do, sir, if your own daughter came home and announced that she might enjoy working at a brothel?" No-win situation. No-win regardless. And at whose expense? Pull the plug on the best plans. Do it now before something good gets reported as something less than good. Friends get hurt. Or, at the least, compromised. Thus, the curtain came down on one of the industry's best public relations programs. Thanks, to Ackerman and the other press corps jackals. I believe in and strongly support freedom of the press. Regular readers can attest to that dedication on my part. I have used that freedom without fear when the case called for it. But Joe Richards never uses that constitutional freedom just to have fun at another's expense. Especially a friend, regardless of his occupation or dedication to public service. Maybe Ackerman is new to Nevada. His behavior would reflect some "foreign" origin. I'm told the Carson City paper has recently been acquired by Quayle family interests -- as in Republican former Vice President Dan Quayle, the number two man behind that gentleman Johnny Carson called a pimp. Stop to think about it, Ackerman did foul the Democrats with no reference to the "R" side in his attack. Maybe it all dovetails together. Just maybe. Regardless, one Jeff Ackerman has a few lessons to learn about writing newspaper columns for starters. About being a good Nevadan number two. On Target by Joe Richards from e Kingdom of 1Vye Whether you hate him or love him, he won't let you ignore him!