Mayor to Obama: Comments harmful to Las Vegas |

Mayor to Obama: Comments harmful to Las Vegas

Associated Press

LAS VEGAS ” The mayor of Las Vegas told President Barack Obama in a letter that his comments about companies using taxpayer money to visit Sin City are harmful to the tourist-dependent destination.

But Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman didn’t directly ask the president for an apology and a retraction in the letter obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press, as he did in interviews.

“I expect him to address it and to correct it,” Goodman told the AP.

“When you make a casual, although not malevolent remark, it can have ramifications which affect the industry as well as all of the citizens who live in Southern Nevada,” he said. “It’s affecting some of these people’s lives.”

“Mr. President, I understand the enormous burden you carry in dealing with the worst economy since the Great Depression,” Goodman wrote in the letter, sent late Tuesday.

“I also understand the need for accountability, but your comments are harmful to the meetings and convention industry as a whole and Las Vegas specifically,” he said.

Obama said during a town hall meeting this week in Indiana that companies shouldn’t take trips to Las Vegas or go to the Super Bowl at taxpayers’ expense.

Goodman worried that federal lawmakers might be discouraging travel to the city already suffering a steep drop in tourism business and revenue.

State gaming regulators reported Wednesday that Nevada casino winnings were down almost 19 percent in December, compared with the same month a year ago, dropping taxable revenues for the period almost 23 percent from 2007.

In a statement, Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., asked Obama and others in Congress to refrain from making comments that harm Las Vegas and other destinations whose economies rely on business travelers.