Ronn Torossian, CEO, 5WPR
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman found herself taking withering criticism following her call last week for local businesses in the city to reopen. That, in itself, may not have caused much comment. However, Goodman chose not to offer any guidelines on how her administration expected businesses to re-open safely. This could, potentially, put the onus entirely on the businesses, opening them up to legal action, as well as public relations problems.
While explaining the decision, Goodman said: “I am not a private owner. That’s the competition in this country. The free enterprise and to be able to make sure that what you offer the public meets the needs of the public… Right now, we’re in a crisis, and so for a restaurant to be open or a small boutique to be open, they better figure it out. That’s their job… That’s not the mayor’s job.”
While some criticized those comments as buck-passing, others celebrated the mayor’s willingness to let the businesses make their own rules. Goodman pushed back against the critic, telling CNN’s Anderson Cooper he was “being an alarmist” when challenged on her stance. That phrasing galvanized both sides, and the political die was cast. Goodman was clearly prepared to have that conversation and fight that battle in the minds and hearts of her constituents. She told Cooper she wants “everything back,” and that the state “never closed down,” adding that her city’s job was to be the “entertainment capital of the world where everything is clean…”
Pivoting from that standard, Goodman went on to express how the city had been, and would remain to be, safe and clean for anyone looking to come and have a good time. All things considered, it was a tough media appearance and the mayor, despite many critics, managed to use the media opportunity to earn media for her town in a time when much of the global entertainment and hospitality industry is closed down. She may have offered pundits some ammunition to take shots at her and prompted people to argue on social media about some of her talking points, but she was also able to make sure Las Vegas was front and center of the conversation regarding when the national entertainment industry would begin opening back up.