[Hpn] No 'Vegas Express' for Salt Lake Homeless Displaced by Olympics

chance martin streetsheet@sf-homeless-coalition.org
Fri, 26 Oct 2001 14:48:40 -0700


http://www.sltrib.com:80/10262001/utah/143389.htm


THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE
Friday, October 26, 2001
No 'Vegas Express' for Utah Homeless

BY KEVIN CANTERA
THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE

Law enforcement officials in Utah scoffed at Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman's
accusation this week that 1,000 homeless people from Utah are being bused to
Las Vegas to get them out of town before the 2002 Winter Olympics.

"The mayor needs to turn down the volume on all those slot machines. It is
messing with his head," said Lt. Charles Illsley, West Valley City police
spokesman. "We do not provide homeless people with bus passes."

Goodman's claim appeared in several news stories in Nevada's largest city in
recent days. Quoted in The Las Vegas Sun, Goodman predicted "war between
Salt Lake City and Las Vegas" if the charge is valid, but his office backed
away from that stance Thursday.

Goodman "is not accusing Salt Lake of anything. The mayor has been told that
some entity is supposedly sending homeless people to Las Vegas and he has
simply asked for an investigation," said Goodman's spokesman, Erik Pappa.

Pappa would not say where Goodman heard the report, but said that Las Vegas
Metro police are investigating it.

"These kind of rumors have been around for years," said Assistant Salt Lake
City Police Chief Bill Shelton, who denied that officers are trying to
export the city's homeless.

"A few years ago they were saying that other cities were sending their
homeless here. I guess it's going the other way now," Shelton said, adding
that the department could not afford bus fare for Salt Lake City's estimated
1,200 homeless even if it wanted to send them packing, "which we don't."

Likewise, the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office and the Utah Olympic Public
Safety Command denied they are trying to send homeless people away. Brooke
Barlow Lewis, spokeswoman for the Road Home Shelter, also dismissed the
reports. 

But West Valley City's Illsley said he had a deal for Goodman:

"If he'll throw in a three-night stay at a nice casino with continental
breakfast and complimentary [gambling] chips, we'll start sending our
homeless down there," he said.

Pappa suggested Goodman would not take kindly to Illsley's offer.

"The mayor has made solving our homeless problem a high priority," Pappa
said. "If someone is exacerbating the problem, he will take action."
 kcantera@sltrib.com

 Copyright 2001, The Salt Lake Tribune

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