Clark County Raises Permit Fees For Las Vegas Strip News Racks

An advertising company owner promised a legal fight after the Clark County Commission quintupled permit fees for operators of news racks offering racy adult entertainment pamphlets along the Las Vegas Strip.

"It is not fair to put the burden entirely on us," said Eddie P. Munoz, whose business, Strip Advertising, has 559 racks around the Strip resort corridor. "We're going to have to go to court to file for an injunction to stop this."

Despite objections from attorneys and business owners, county commissioners on Tuesday approved raising from $25 to $100 per rack
the fees for news boxes in the resort area.

Munoz said the fee increase could put him and similar companies out of business.

Attorney Dominic Gentile said raising fees for companies with news boxes in the gambling district infringed on constitutionally protected free speech and could prove costly for the county.

Les Henley, deputy Clark County public works director, said the rate increase will offset $338,000 a year his department spends for news rack services and enforcement. He said the figure includes staffing, vehicle and impoundment costs.

Clark County Commission Chairman Rory Reid said rack operators should pay the full cost of enforcement and services.

American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada lawyer Allen Lichtenstein said the county was inviting a First Amendment legal challenge by imposing different fees on different news racks in different parts of the county.

The county has fought unsuccessfully for years to stop pamphleteers offering advertising to passing tourists, and Lichtenstein has said the increased fees appeared to be directed at forcing adult businesses to pull material from the racks.

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