Letters for December 28, 2006

Downtown events insecurity
I wanted to send you a brief letter in regards to the Aerosmith Concert which occurred on the Dec. 15 at the Reno Downtown Events Center.

First and foremost, Oh, my God! A more stellar performance could not have been hosted in our fair city. Hinder opened for Aerosmith, and they were outstanding. I am so glad to hear some of their other material, as “Lips Of An Angel” has been overplayed on the radio.

The boys from Boston came on and played their legendary music with the flair and showmanship that has kept them a truly viable and great rock ‘n’ roll band these three-plus decades. Their music is truly American classic at its best.

The crowd was diverse, energized, and the show was a huge success. Detracting from this superb evening was the Downtown Events Center’s security force. Events Services, Inc. treated us with heavy-handed disregard. At one time, I had to demand that one remove his hands from my wife. I am not sure what kind of training these people receive, but I can assure you that everyone attending Aerosmith paid a handsome price for the tickets. This wasn’t a booze- and drugs-fueled rave; most of the people I saw were very peaceful fans. At one point during the concert, Steven Tyler actually told the security personnel to back off and invited his fans to “cozy” up to the stage … saying, “Get closer, this is the best seat in the house.” I have worked as a security professional, and what I saw concerned me, to say the least.

All-in-all, a superb show and well worth the price of admission.

Giovanni Cidranes
via e-mail

Too many corporate subsidies
Re “Sanitary Potemkin” (Editorial, Dec. 14):

Nevada’s business tax climate is so liberal that suggesting the tourism industry is pampered is an understatement. In fact, thanks to Senate Bills 495 and 306, the definition of tourism funding has expanded. Art, tourism, entertainment and retail projects all qualify for special tax considerations and/or direct subsidies, as do buildings and just about any infrastructure that can be linked to tourism.

In conjunction with an outdoor adventure campaign, the Nevada Commission on Tourism gives incentives to outdoor retailers. That’s the genesis of STAR bonds financing, a subsidy through which retailers recover costs by keeping 75 percent of the sales tax they collect. Cabela’s brought this method to Nevada. Now Bass and Scheel’s demand it, too. Summit Sierra and Reno worked out a similar deal even before the legislation passed. At the Sparks Marina, the developer has just received approval to dip into sales tax. The possibilities for diverting sales tax dollars to construction and growth are endless. In a commission meeting, Lt. Gov. Hunt joked that STAR Bonds could enable Nevada to build a Disneyland in Ely.

And if a city and county disagree about pledging a sales tax rebate to any particular applicant, either entity may appeal—but to the group that initially approved the project, the Nevada Commission on Tourism. It’s an appointed board, instilled in this case with the power to override the decisions of local elected officials.

Tourism and construction are poised to receive a generous public boost. When will it net the fire and police protection we lack?

Tracy Figler

Slice of heaven
Re “Easygoing pizza” (Foodfinds, Nov. 22):

During my nine months of pregnancy and bed restrictions, our family ate a lot of pizza.

About two months ago, we heard about Slices, and one night, we packed up the kids and drove over. Upon arrival, we were greeted warmly by a hostess and seated at a wonderful window table. Within minutes, we all had drinks. The menus are extensive and have a fantastic array of options.

We ordered a large All Meat Pizza and a large pepperoni and pineapple pizza. Eight-month-old babies don’t eat pizza, and there really aren’t too many options for “gumming” edibles. Managers Steve and Todd noticed the lack of finger foods and created special breadsticks for the babies. Within 10 minutes, our pizza was brought out. The food was amazing, and our drinks never ran empty. Since that visit, there has been many more. We know all the staff by name, have our own special table by the corner, know the menu by heart and are probably the most loyal customers.

I was blown away to read such critical words. Standard? Baseline? Not too good? Not too bad? Does Brad not have tastebuds? The pizza has excellent crust, tons of cheese, not to mention very generous amounts of toppings—something many other places charge you double for. And as for the parking lot: Did he look around? Does it look like there is construction going on? Maybe working on sewer lines? Did the smell interfere with the food? I think that Brad is too stuck on the fact that Slices is in a strip mall.

The service is wonderful, the comfortable atmosphere is awesome, and the food is unbelievable, as well as the cost. How many other pizza places can you say that about?

Dawn Fullen

In our article about a new Nevada history children’s textbook (“Text message,” Dec. 21), it was reported that the Thunderbird Hotel Casino project in Las Vegas was begun by Billy Wilkerson and taken over by Benjamin Siegel. It was actually the Flamingo that Wilkerson began and Siegel took over. This has been corrected on the Web site.