Well, you knew it was coming, and I must admit that this one was much easier to write. It was so easy to write that I had to force myself to cut it short, somewhere over 5,000 words, and break it into separate articles.
Now, in fairness, I’m not trying to bash Las Vegas for sport. I tried to love it. Really, I did.
Think about it, I loved the town so much that I picked up and moved here at great expense. I lived here for 4 years and tried everything I could (including moving 3 times within the city) to make it work. Most of you out there who claim to love Las Vegas, and think that I am crucifying it for no reason probably cannot say the same.
I didn’t sit around talking about moving to Vegas. I got off my ass and did it. I came, I saw, I lived it, I immersed myself, and I experienced it all first-hand.
There is a portion of the population out there who simply prefer that the myth of Las Vegas stay intact. There is another group that makes money by living in and/or promoting Las Vegas for their own financial gain.
Both of these groups hate what I do, and will probably be offended by this list. That’s not my problem. If you are solidly in the “I Heart Las Vegas” camp, then this is not Sunday reading in which you will want to partake. Consider this fair warning.
For everyone else — take this list for what it is.
My honest, unabashed opinion.
1) The Weather
Far and away the biggest reason that I could not continue to live in Las Vegas.
In general, a planet must have three things to support life: Liquid water, nutritious soil, and an energy source.
Las Vegas really only has one of the above … the sun as an energy source.
It only rains 4 inches each year in Las Vegas. To put this into perspective, the national average for US cities is 40 inches … roughly 10 times the amount that falls in Vegas. The lack of water combined with high heat makes life inhospitable for most carbon-based life forms. I suppose this is why it’s called the desert. It’s nearly deserted of natural life.
Sure, you can stay indoors in the air conditioning for 6 months out of the year … but then you must endure such pleasantries as constantly recycled air, nosebleeds, dry eyes, dry skin, and a general discomfort that just feels inexplicably “wrong”. Humans weren’t meant to live in artificial climate bubbles. I mean, John Travolta needs to do so for health reasons, but the rest of us need not endure such an indignity.
While Vegas winters are better, they are only moderately so. You still have sunny, dry weather, but instead of heat — an omnipresent cold wind blows that makes outdoor activities almost as unpleasant as they are in the summer.
Hot, dry weather also negatively correlates to mental activities such as reading and writing. I firmly believe that the weather explains the general “dimness” of the Vegas population and I don’t think it only affects natives. After only a few years, I began finding it much harder to concentrate and maintain my own creative endeavors. Las Vegas isn’t conducive to thinking or creating, it is conducive to partying, kicking ass, and mindlessly screaming “Vegas Baby!”.
I understand why tourists find the climate acceptable, and I myself find the weather perfectly tolerable for a few weeks at a time. The novelty, however, does wear off. Trust me. 105 degrees is cute for a week. On the 90th straight day, it’s just oppressive.
There are 8-12 weeks out of the year where Las Vegas climate is “perfect” in the traditional sense, but these three months are simply not enough to balance out 9 months of misery.
Even if everything else in Las Vegas were great, the weather would have eventually made the town unlivable for me.
Your mileage will certainly vary.
2) The People
This competed for the top spot, but I had to give it #2 because I do still have about a dozen friends in town, and there are some good people in Vegas … although they are very few and far between.
Las Vegas’ reputation causes it to attract what I consider to be the bottom 10% of the US population. These are basically people who could not be successful anywhere else, mixed with country/suburban folks who are convinced that they can wash away their unglamorous pasts by bathing themselves in the bright neon of the Vegas Strip.
Frank Sinatra once sang about New York that if you could “make it there, you could make in anywhere”, and to some extent, I agree. New York is a highly competitive Darwinian place where you must try very hard to stand out from the crowd. In general, posers and the untalented get weeded out quickly.
Las Vegas is the polar opposite of New York. It tends to attract a demographic of people who simply cannot make it “there” — “there” being defined as any place that demands competence.
Lost your medical license in Chicago? Get a fresh start in Las Vegas. We’re so desperate, we’ll take anyone. Buy one of our houses, please.
Fondled one too many underaged girls as a history teacher in Boston? Get a fresh start in Las Vegas. If you have a pulse, you can teach here. Buy one of our houses, please.
Can’t make change for a dollar? Come to Las Vegas where none of our cashiers can make change for a dollar. You’ll fit right in. Buy one of our houses, please.
Too lazy to learn the English language? Hey, you’re just the type of person we’ve been looking for. Buy one of our houses, then put a car up on blocks on the front yard. Please.
People often move to Las Vegas to re-invent themselves, and while this may not seem like a bad thing, it leads to a city without an identity because so many people here have an identity crisis.
In addition to those seeking out a more glamourous existence for themselves, the city also attracts a very large number of people with “get rich quick” mentalities. These people are convinced that they are going to come to Vegas and win a ton of cash right off the bat, and when this fails to happen (as it always does), they tend to become bitter, angry, and rude.
The last group of people that Las Vegas seems to attract is weirdos.
Now, there are generally two types of weirdos in the world:
- Introverted intellectuals, creative types, vegetarians, and the socially awkward;
- Creepy people of low intellect and stalker proclivities who seem like they probably have at least three decomposing bodies in their basement;
Las Vegas has a large number of weirdos, but absolutely zero of them are from category #1, and 100% of them are from category #2.
Places like Austin, Olympia, Portland, and Berkeley attract more of the former, while Las Vegas only attracts the latter. I don’t know why this is.
Between the phony go-getter PR types, the aging degenerates, the third-world transplants, the scammers, the painfully illiterate, and the just plain creepy-weird … I was never completely comfortable in Las Vegas.
If you fall into one of the above groups, then boy, do I have a city for you.
Buy one of our houses, please.
3) Lack of Employment Opportunities
Las Vegas has a single industry, and currently, that industry is in trouble. I read about a cattle call for a cocktail waitress opening a few months ago that drew nearly 500 applicants, and when 500 people are competing over a waitress job, you know that times are bad.
Perhaps the hotels will make a huge comeback, but even if they do, that still only leaves one industry.
While everybody loves the Vegas tourist corridor, I think it is unrealistic to expect the service industry to support a city as large as Vegas. There simply has to be more diversity in industry for a major metropolitan area to thrive.
Technology, finance, manufacturing … all of these things are missing in Vegas, and it is eventually going to lead to the collapse of the city.
When online gambling begins to devour brick and mortar gambling, and it will, two million people will not be able to pay their mortgages on the back of pool parties. It simply cannot be done.
As of right now, there are literally zero employment opportunities in Vegas. Hell, even strippers are fleeing the city.
Since major casinos more or less control the Las Vegas government, large corporations across the country (rightfully or mistakenly) are hesitant to move any of their own operations here because the city is viewed by the rest of the nation as a gigantic scam. Nobody takes Vegas seriously as a “real” city.
Citibank moved some of their credit card operations to Las Vegas many years ago, but only on the condition that they did not have to use a Las Vegas street address. Thus, “The Lakes, Nevada” was born. Legitimate businesses are ashamed to be associated with Vegas, and it’s really hard to blame them.
Las Vegas’ reputation is not one that is likely to attract jobs in the future, and this will mean that more and more people will be competing over fewer and fewer jobs. This demand/supply imbalance will lead to lower wages, less benefits, and greater employee abuse.
We are already seeing these effects today.
That $90,000 house in Henderson you have your eye on is not that great of a bargain if your income is $0.
In short, if you need a job to survive and don’t already have one or one lined up, it is in your best interest to stay as far away from Las Vegas as possible.
It’s bad right now, and it’s only going to get worse.
Even though housing is relatively cheap, the reason why I do not recommend people to retire in Las Vegas is because of our healthcare system.
With the depressing state of healthcare and the local media’s outright war on pain relief, you must be prepared to die slowly and painfully should you fall ill in this town.
When it comes to medical professionals, Las Vegas attracts the worst of the worst. Think about it, what Harvard Medical Graduate at the top of his class would want to come to Las Vegas to practice? Why would they be attracted to a gambling town in the middle of the desert?
The answer is, they wouldn’t be attracted to the town, and in general … they don’t move to Las Vegas.
I had a doctor’s appointment in early July, and the waiting room was like a scene out of an anti-communist propaganda film. I was the only English-speaker in the room (including the staff), and the place was so filthy that I kept waiting for a live chicken to run by my feet. When I finally saw the doctor, he listened to me for about 30 seconds, scribbled out an ordered test on a piece of paper, and promptly left the room. That was the last I saw of him. My insurance was billed $120 for the 30 second visit. It was coded as a “Comprehensive Physical Exam”.
Why didn’t I complain about this visit in a previous blog article?
Because it was the best, most complete goddamn physical I have ever received in this town.
When I was hospitalized several months ago, I saw my attending physician once in the three day stay, yet was billed for 5 consultations.
Like most things in Vegas, healthcare is run as just another get-rich-quick scheme. There is no “care” per-se, just massive amounts of billing for procedures that are either rushed or never performed at all. If you’ve ever seen The Simpsons, you’ve seen a typical Vegas physician … Dr. Nick Riviera. Sometimes art does imitate life.
We don’t get many top-notch cardiologists concerned about patient care in this town. The only higher-end specialists generally interested in practicing in Vegas are plastic surgeons who can make a substantial amount of quick money firming butts, puffing lips, and lifting breasts.
If you want bigger tits, then Vegas is the right town for you. If you have health needs that require frequent trips to a physician, you are better off moving to Cuba than Las Vegas. I mean this with all sincerity and without a hint of sarcasm.
I turned 42 this year, and because of some specific ailments, it is likely that I will need more health care and pain relief as I get further into middle age. The knowledge that I would not get adequate levels of either was another key decision in my own move.
Please, if you have any health problems at all, don’t move to Las Vegas. I would even go as far as to advise you not to visit Las Vegas.
Don’t find out the hard way that I am right about this point. By then it may be too late.
5) The Gestapo
The incident that happened to me on my way to the emergency room in March was probably the single largest event that caused me to turn against Las Vegas quickly.
Las Vegas cops are completely out of control.
Two weeks ago, when I encountered a newly-robbed lady crying in a Smith’s parking lot … it was sort of the last straw.
During the last several months living in Las Vegas, I became paranoid. I wrote a few negative articles about the Metropolitan Police Department, and I knew that I was probably on borrowed time. It’s not hard to match a blog post up with a specific incident report, and after my emergency room visit, I figured that the LVMPD had pegged me through license plates and utility bills. They were going to get either myself or my family, and it wasn’t a matter of “if”, it was a matter of “when”.
It also didn’t help that the people who lived in my house before me had (allegedly) been drug dealers. We twice got a visit from law enforcement trying to serve an arrest warrant on the previous occupants, and on both occasions we had to present ID to prove that we were not the suspects.
This was going to escalate. I was aware that, in Las Vegas, previous occupants being “bad” guys was more than enough probable cause to bust down my door at any time, and I knew that a member of my family could easily be shot for making a “furtive move”. I lived in fear of it. I felt like a Neon Anne Frank.
At the moment, Las Vegas is overstaffed with police due to hiring increases made during the higher-flying days of Vegas, and these officers need to make busts and seizures to fund their operations. Now that tax revenues have dropped, law enforcement has turned to “creative financing” to continue paying salaries. This is the reason that cops are issuing $500 tickets to people rushing to the hospital.
Houses in the valley are being raided left and right (disclaimer: link to Las Vegas Review-Journal article), people are being injured and killed, and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is actively encouraging citizens to “report” their neighbors if they see anything out-of-sorts. These “reports” are then taken before a judge who rubber-stamps “ICE Squad” no-knock raids.
I am making no exaggerations when I say that 2010 Las Vegas is a 100% police state. Literally. The police run the town and are able to do whatever they wish with complete impunity. This includes killing people in cold blood.
The Las Vegas Police force is comprised mostly of out-of-town recruits who have no ties to the community whatsoever. Most of them come to Vegas to train so that someday they may be able to join the force of a real city. This makes the LVMPD a de-facto occupation force, and the people of the city are their guinea pigs. Their training tools. Their crash test dummies.
In my opinion, the LVMPD treats the citizens of Las Vegas with the same general mindset that American Troops treat the citizens of Bagdad. With contempt, suspicion, and a low value on their life.
I’ve had several encounters with Las Vegas police officers during my tenure in the city, and every single encounter was nothing less than unprofessional.
I suppose the arguement could be made that I was the problem, but I think that this is an erroneous assumption. When I am in the presense of police officers, I do the whole “yes sir, no sir” Eddie Haskel routine. I’m as polite and deferential as they come. Also, contrary to popular belief, I don’t hate police because I’m a criminal who has been repeatedly busted. I’ve gotten a couple of tickets, but I’ve never actually been arrested. I don’t dislike cops because they have interfered with my crime sprees. I don’t really commit crimes.
Las Vegas cops really are hostile, insecure, severely unintelligent, violent people. Perhaps not all of them, but certainly every one of them that I ever met.
In my opinion, the presence of a police state should be a deal-breaker, and a barrier to any intelligent person even thinking about calling Las Vegas home.
I tried for years to use my own shoe leather to get around, but Las Vegas is just not a walkable city on any level. The blocks are a half mile long, many do not have crosswalks, and both drivers and cops are outwardly hostile toward pedestrians.
For instance, on many occasions, I’ve seen police set up jaywalking stings on ultra-long blocks that did not have crosswalks. In order for someone to cross the street, they would literally have to walk half a mile to a mile to the next stoplight, and the police knew that these folks would try to dart across the street instead of taking the 10-20 minute detour. It was like shooting fish in a barrel. Instead of convincing the city to come out and paint crosswalks for public safety, the LVMPD decided to use poor municipal planning for revenue instead. It’s a typical Las Vegas solution to a typical Las Vegas problem.
I’ve also tried riding my bicycle to get around but here again … it was not feasible. Most Las Vegas drivers are transplants from suburban or rural areas, and they react with overt hostility at the sight of bicycles. They honk their horns at riders, scream out of windows, throw things, and the whole endeavor is just too dangerous to sustain.
What this means is that the only alternative to automobile transit in Las Vegas is the CAT bus system.
Unfortunately, CAT buses are among the least reliable I have ever ridden. I am not trying to be mean, but the number of wheelchair-bound people that use the bus on a daily basis renders the system useless for all able-bodied people trying to get to work or quack appointments on time.
In addition, when it is 110 degrees outside, waiting at a bus stop is just not something that is possible unless you want to arrive at your destination smelling like Courtney Love’s unshaven armpit.
Of course, there is always the monorail, but unless you live near the 3 mile system (less than .1% of the Vegas population), you are similarly out of luck.
Simply put, there exists no dependable method of mass transit in Las Vegas.
This is unforgivable for a metropolitan area of 2 million people.
To call Las Vegas schools “education” is probably an insult to the word “education”. In reality, Vegas schools are taxpayer funded babysitting services where 19-year-old Filipino women are paid in banana peels to stand guard over 9 year old girls wearing tight pants with the words “Cum Slut” embroidered on the ass because mommy figured it was never too soon to prepare them to work the pole.
Seriously, while some far-flung suburbs have the odd decent school … overall … Vegas schools are so bad that they’re laughable.
Like doctors, you have to wonder what would make a teacher pack up and move to a gambling-only destination like Las Vegas to teach. Also like doctors, the answer is that they are probably too under-qualified to do so anywhere else.
Nevada ranks dead-last in High School graduation rates. 51st out of 51 (including Washington DC). Only about 4 in 10 students graduate. In every other education metric, Nevada consistently ranks at or near the bottom.
Since there are few “thinking” jobs in Las Vegas, there is little or no motivation for kids to learn. Also, for the same reasons, there is little to no motivation for the state to teach.
This town needs bartenders, waitresses, strippers, dealers, and maids … not rocket scientists and pharmaceutical researchers. We need “baby mommas” who will push out as many little Hectors as possible so that the Encore doesn’t run out of minimum-wage dishwashers. Las Vegas is a very, very anti-intellectual town and we have no use for book learnin’. As such, we do not invest in that which we do not need.
Las Vegas schools exist to provide public daycare for casino workers, and to churn out new generations of poorly-paid hotel and casino workers. That’s it, nothing more.
In this respect, they fulfill their goals flawlessly.
If such a life for your children appeals to you, by all means move here and enroll them in one of our babysitting services. If you expect them to learn how to read, write, or make change for a dollar … move as far from this town as geographically possible.
In 2005, I considered buying a house here.
Fortunately, before signing a contract, I did what I’ve always done. I became highly skeptical. I threw away academia, I threw away the advice of “experts”, and I analyzed the situation using my own best judgement. This has always served me far better than following the advice of supposedly smart people and “experts”.
I drove around, looked at the miles and miles of vacant land sitting only 3 miles from the Strip, and realized that a scam was afoot. Las Vegas real estate was being spammed to idiots like the Nigerian lottery, and if a single homebuyer had bothered to spend a few days honestly assessing the situation, he/she should have been able to deduce that everything they were being told was a lie and a fraud.
Unfortunately, as I mentioned, Las Vegas does not attract the best and the brightest. It attracts the greedy and the stupid. Nowhere is this more evident than our housing market.
After my own research, I decided that there was no way in hell that I would buy a home in Vegas. Supply greatly outstripped demand.
Of course, everyone told me that I was crazy. ”They aren’t building any more land!” people SCREAMED.
Why did they scream this?
Because people like to live their lives by clichés. It’s tidy and it prevents them from having to think. Cute clichés prevent people from having to justify their own irrational behavior. As long as the cliché sounds wise, most people don’t question them.
Every time people told me that no more land was being made in Las Vegas, I replied “they don’t need to, there’s more than enough empty land in the Mojave Desert to last for the next 10,000 years.”
Even though my words made perfect sense, nobody listened to me because my rebuttal made for a shitty cliché. Remember, cliché > reason. Always.
By 2007, I remained the lone naysayer in Vegas as it pertained to real estate, and I received the exact same reception. ”You’re negative, you’re a misanthrope, you just don’t want to listen to the experts, etc, etc, etc.”
Well guys, it’s 2010 … where are your “experts” now? Are they still standing beside you, smiling while stroking your cock and telling you what a genius you are for investing in Summerlin?
I’ll tell you where they are … they are out there telling a new class of suckers what a GREAT DEAL your nearly-foreclosed home is. The exact same person that sold you your house is waiting for you to get thrown out onto the street so that they can stick another California slumlord in the back of their car and take them on a “Foreclosure Tour” to make another 6% commission.
While I was busy being negative and misanthropic, your real estate agent was busy blowing smoke up your ass. She was grinning, cheerful, and she told how your house would appreciate while your kids attended GREAT schools.
Do you still think optimism is a virtue, or like most other things in Las Vegas, do you realize that it’s just a tool to separate you from your money?
Now, since I have been proven right on just about … well, everything … have any … ANY of the optimists who shit down my neck come back and said “you were right”.
No. Not one. Not one, single, solitary one.
Nobody wants to admit that the “experts” were a bunch of naked emperors. People don’t easily concede their own stupidity and gullibility. Instead they just chalk it up to “bad timing”. It’s far more digestable.
Most of the houses in Las Vegas are still owned by California trend-slaves who never met a geographic area they didn’t take a massive shit on before abandoning it in like yesterday’s MacBook.
I recently cruised back through my old West Side neighborhood, and the place looked like a McMansion ghetto. ”For Sale” signs were on every fourth house, and there were 5 cars crammed into 3 car driveways. The middle-class is not moving to Las Vegas, and larger investment properties in the valley are often occupied by 2-3 lower income families.
If you want to buy a house to live out the rest of your life, Las Vegas now offers a relatively high bang for your buck. The caveat is that your neighbors will still be absentee California fuckwipe landlords who still have three shakes left in their pecker before they are finished pissing all over Las Vegas. Forget the notion of a real neighborhood.
If you are even remotely considering buying property in Las Vegas for short-term or investment purposes, then bend over. You’re about to get gleefully butt-slammed by the most friendly lady you ever met. You’ll probably fall for her spiel too. After all, we’re not making any more land.
History shall repeat itself with the Las Vegas housing market. It will once again be hyped up, and it will once again crash.
When thinking of Las Vegas real estate, remember the wise words of George Walker Bush.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me … you can’t get fooled again.
My car has been broken into, my home has been burglarized, and I’ve had so many things stolen in Las Vegas that I just stopped keeping track.
Once, while playing in a poker tournament at the Hilton, I came out to find that all of the reflectors had been stripped from my bicycle. Reflectors are roughly 25 cents each, yet not even these cheap items were off-limits to thieves in Las Vegas. While I was preparing to move, I took a small bag of my boxer shorts out to the driveway, went back inside so that I could get the keys to open my car, and when I returned … the bag was gone. Someone literally stole my used underwear from my driveway in under 2 minutes. Theft in Vegas is rampant. If you take a shit on the sidewalk and turn your back for 5 seconds, chances are high that someone will steal your fecal matter. It’s really that bad.
Las Vegas is a desperate city, and as the local depression worsens, it’s only a matter of time before people begin robbing each other on city sidewalks. In some areas, this already happens. Mark my words, as McMansion Ghettos continue to sprawl outward, this crime will eventually spread to places like Summerlin and Henderson as well.
Las Vegas does not post official crime stats that would place it among the most dangerous cities in the USA, and in my opinion, this is because the overwhelming majority of crimes in the city goes unreported. Of all of the thefts I have been the victim of in Las Vegas, I’ve never reported a single one of them. I don’t think I am unique in this respect. When the cops are bigger criminals than the criminals themselves, who do you turn to?
In Las Vegas, the answer is “no one”.
Las Vegas has all of the drawbacks of anarchy without any of the benefits. There’s really no central protection authority in the city, but if you dare attempt to protect yourself, the Gestapo will throw you in a cage or shoot you in the face.
Las Vegas works for casino owners, local government employees, and the very wealthy, but everyone else is pretty much on their own.
If you are middle class or below, and you live in central Vegas long enough, you will be the victim of crime. Probably multiple times.
Hopefully, like me, most of it will be petty crime … but you have to stay alert and vigilant.
The LVCVA won’t tell you this in their slick promotional marketing, but it’s something you need to know.
10) English as a Second Language
If you have ever read the story of the Tower of Babel in the Big Book of Delusional Fiction (sometimes referred to as “The Bible”), you will get a hypothetical example of why “diversity” is not all it’s cracked up to be. If people in a specific geographical region cannot agree on a common language, then the entire society becomes a confusing mess.
Frankly, I’m not sure why this problem exists anywhere. Assuming you have a population which is all but the most severely of retarded, the solution is obvious. Instead of people having to learn 12 different languages, one specific language should be assigned to a geographic area, and everyone with the intent of living in that area should learn to speak that language.
It just makes good common sense.
I remember going to a bakery on Desert Inn Road and asking the clerk if the turnovers in his case contained fruit. He continously shrugged as I repeated the word “fruit”, “fruit”, “fruit”, and before giving up, I decided to try the Spanish version of the word … “frutas”.
As soon as the word came out of my mouth, he lit up and said “si si frutas!”.
He thought it was kind of funny, but I felt that it was nothing short of sad that a fellow citizen could not understand what I was saying until I added “as” to the end of a common English word. In my opinion, it was just plain lazy, and an outright disgrace.
If I moved to France, I would learn French. If I moved to Korea, I would learn Korean. If I moved to California, I would learn to interject the word “amazing” into as many sentences as possible. Adopting a local language instead of expecting locals to learn yours is just the right thing to do. I cannot believe that any rational person would dispute this notion.
Unfortunately, due to an addiction to cheap, exploitable labor … this third-world, intellectually void language mish-mash is not only accepted … but it is actively encouraged in the City of Las Vegas. In many parts (possibly the majority) of the Vegas Valley, it can be quite challenging to find someone who speaks even the most basic English.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if Las Vegas tripled the quality of its healthcare, it would be indistinguishable from Mexico.
So there you have it.
Since this list was rather long, allow me to summarize.
If you are considering moving to Las Vegas, please consider the following:
There are no jobs, our schools rank last in the nation, our healthcare is quite possibly the worst this side of Bangladesh, our occupying police force is constantly looking for people to kill, we have no usable mass transit, our streets are perpetually clogged with depressed and drunk people, panhandlers and bums are appearing everywhere, we have a corrupt government which will never be held accountable due to our transient population, our power monopoly constantly rapes us with the blessing of our corrupt government, and there is only one industry and that industry is failing.
Aside from these issues, Las Vegas is an excellent place to live.
Please consider moving here and buying one of our houses.
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