ZZZ - GMG - VEGAS INC 2011-2014

March 4, 2013

VEGAS INC Magazine - Latest Las Vegas business news, features and commentaries about gaming, tourism, real estate and more

Issue link: http://www.ifoldsflip.com/i/112509

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Page 5 of 47

talking points Miller���s fascinating memoir Former governor���s story of the city���s evolution parallels that of his own family by Bruce Spotleson T he first time I met former Gov. Bob Miller, it was in front of the Governor���s Mansion in Carson City. I stood with a long line of kids waiting to meet him, my son among them. It was Oct. 31, but I don���t believe the children were there to celebrate Nevada���s statehood. They more likely came to get candy from the state���s top executive and its most famous house. Miller was ever a gracious host. He invited members of the media over for holiday parties, where he���d talk about Carson City being a town without pretense, a place where the governor answers a knock at his front door whether he wants to or not. As with many success stories, Miller was a lot of things before he became the state���s top executive. And as is the case with many men, his father played a key role in his life. (His late father also is the namesake of Miller���s son, our current secretary of state.) Even after the elder Ross Miller���s passing, opponents tried to use his past against Miller when he first pursued office. The history is captured in ���Son of a Gambling Man,��� an autobiography published by Thomas Dunne Books that goes on sale next week. It is the tale of a fellow who did well for himself by being himself. It���s also a real Nevada story about the son of a Chicago bookmaker who moved to Las Vegas in 1955 to legally ply his trade. Books written about Nevada during that era are fascinating on many levels, but in part because they chronicle the gaming industry���s transition from mob ownership to Fortune 500 status. Miller���s book rewards readers with anecdotes about organized crime, the characters who promoted it and the people who prosecuted it. There are other tales, as well, about the notorious Tailhook scandal, people such as Mikhail Gorbachev and Michael Douglas, and topics including campaigns and basketball. Miller was the state���s 26th governor, moving up from lieutenant governor after Richard Bryan left office to become a U.S. senator. Miller was elected twice and held office from 1989 to 1999. He has spent much of the time since then on his book. ���It took more than seven years to get to this final product,��� he said. So far, he has been happy with the reviews. ���It seems they read it in the light I intended, which was to parallel the metamorphosis in my family with the same time frame metamorphosis of Las Vegas,��� Miller said. ���Son of a Gambling Man��� comes out March 12. At 7 p.m., Miller will host a book signing at the Barnes and Noble on West Patrick Lane, near South Rainbow Boulevard. From 10 a.m. to noon March 25, he���ll be at Hudson Books in McCarran International Airport. Of course, Miller will sign each book without pretense. I don���t think he knows any other way. Books written about Nevada during that era are fascinating in part because they chronicle the gaming industry���s transition from mob ownership to Fortune 500 status. May the best contractors win Diversity summits emphasize civil rights in context of XpressWest development by Richard N. Velotta O ver the past three months, minority business organizations in California and Nevada have met in high-speed train diversity summits centered on the prospect of the $6.9 billion XpressWest train project planned between Las Vegas and Southern California. Meetings were held in Victorville and Palmdale, Calif., two stops along what eventually could be a high-speed rail line between Las Vegas and Union Station in downtown Los Angeles. This week, a similar gathering pulls into Las Vegas and local organizers are hoping it will be the best-attended summit of the series. The all-day event is scheduled to start at 8��a.m. Thursday at the Plaza downtown as part of a three-day Black Business Expo that runs Wednesday through Friday. Ironically, a meeting about high-speed 6 20130304_VI06_F.indd 6 rail is taking place at a hotel that later this year will include a construction zone for a train station that will serve a traditional train system for the X Train party train. The Las Vegas version of the summit has the potential to be the best of the series because it will be the first to have a representative of XpressWest on the program. (Full disclosure: I will be a panelist in the program and was an unpaid speaker and panelist at the events in Victorville and Palmdale.) Chief Operating Officer Andrew Mack is scheduled to make the keynote presentation at the event. Mack recently updated the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority about the status of the project ��� mainly, that the company is still awaiting word on a $5.5 billion loan from the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financ- ing program, overseen by the Federal Railroad Administration. It���s possible XpressWest will have updated information about the loan request. The company has been waiting for a response since it submitted its application in December 2010. But it is the largest application in the history of the RRIF program, so the company expects massive due diligence. Robert Lang, director of Brookings Mountain West at UNLV, also is on the program and is scheduled to discuss some of the economic impacts and opportunities of a high-speed rail line linking Southern Nevada with Southern California. As business gatherings go, the previous summits have shown that these events aren���t like traditional business networking mixers. In addition to the educational com- ponent ��� learning about the project and its economics and how to access capital and bond markets ��� there is a greater emphasis on social action and civil rights. The Palmdale event had specific sessions on the role of black newspaper publishers and clergy in assuring minority access to business contracts. XpressWest will be responsible for following regulations to ensure equal access for minority contractors, but one of the messages I offered in Victorville and Palmdale is that in this postrecession era, it���s important for every contractor to bring their A game if they expect to win a bid. All businesses were hurt by the economic turmoil, and minority contractors can���t rest on equal opportunity laws to win contracts. They have to be the best. Ironically, a meeting about high-speed rail is occurring at a hotel that later this year will have a construction zone for a train station to serve a traditional train system. | 4 MARCH 2013 | 2/28/13 2:33:33 PM

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