A group of residents submitted a referendum petition Tuesday morning to ban brothels within Nye County limits, inspired by a similar measure filed earlier this month in Lyon County. The measure only needs 1, valid atures to qualify for the ballot in Nye, compared to the 3, needed in Lyon. Ron Fairbairn, a pastor in Pahrump, said that a group of residents in the county have been concerned about the brothels for some time and that when they heard about the Lyon County measure, they decided to pursue one of their own.
The citizens of Nye County have never voted about whether we have brothels in Nye County. Fairbairn said that he and four other community members — Keith Walker, Karen Cohen, Kermit Neal Owen and James Huntington — ed the initial petition to begin the ature gathering process.
He said that the group knows that there will be a fiscal impact of banning brothels from the county but suggested the brothels have a negative economic impact of their own.
But how many limousines come into our town, shop, buy and participate in what we do? Fairbairn said that Republican Assemblyman James Oscarson, who faces a primary challenge from brothel owner Dennis Hof, is not involved with the effort.
Hof owns two of the four brothels in Nye County.
Hof, reached by phone Tuesday, said that if Nye decides to ban the brothels, it will have to spend additional money on a vice squad to combat illegal pimps and that the rates of sexually transmitted diseases are likely to increase. The group asked lawyer Jason Guinasso to help draft the Nye measure, as he did for Lyon, and will use the website started by the No Little Girl Campaign, the official name of the community-led group formed to back the Lyon County effort, to promote their efforts.
Guinasso and victim advocate Kimberly Mull will also help educate the Nye group on the ature-gathering process. Nye County Commissioner Lorinda Wichman directed staff at a March commission meeting to look into the possibility of putting the question of whether the county wants to continue to allow legalized prostitution on the ballot.
However, Hof, who also owns the only four brothels in Lyon, told The Nevada Independent earlier this month that he believes the county will have a difficult time making up for lost tax revenue if it bans legal prostitution and noted the way the brothels give back in other ways, such as fundraising efforts for the high school and a local dog park.
We are the big taxpayer.
Brothels have existed in Nevada since the 19th century, and Nevada has formally regulated them since Any county with a population underis allowed to brothels if it chooses to do so. The Love Ranch, owned by Hof, temporarily closed earlier this year due to safety concerns over unapproved modifications but reopened last month.
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Megan Messerly. Local Government Sex Industry. Disclosure: Switch has donated to The Nevada Independent. You can see a full list of donors here.