Nevada has long had the dubious distinction of being the only state with legalized prostitution. It started in the 19th century and continues in the 21st, though there are fewer than two dozen brothels and many people see them as a relic of the Old West.
Despite somewhat of a crackdown this year by the Elko City Council, it appears they will remain a fact of life here long into the future.
The state’s metropolitan areas banned them decades ago because they were considered a nuisance. Legal prostitution was targeted this year in a ballot initiative in Lyon County, based in part on a similar reason – lowered property values along the strip of highway between Dayton and Carson City.
But, even though Lyon County is made up of half men and half women voters, the ballot question failed by more than a 3-to-1 margin.
Another quirk from this year’s election was when Nevada’s most prominent brothel owner won a seat on the Legislature by a 2-1 margin, even though he died weeks before the vote.
The Elko City Council took the unusual step of suspending a brothel license this year over drugs. The action had little impact, however, as the business hung a sign on its door telling potential customers that its girls could be found across the street, at another brothel operated by the same owners.
Now the council is planning to alter the city ordinance, decreasing the number of brothel licenses from five to four. Again, there will be no real impact from their action. Elko has only had four brothels for the past 20 years, so eliminating the fifth license will not reduce their number.
There simply doesn’t appear to be