The Real Las Vegas: Life beyond the Strip

By David Littlejohn; Eric Gran | Go to book overview

El Pueblo de Las Vegas

Bill Dauber

"I love Las Vegas. I love the people, the weather. But mainly it's the job."

-- Fernando Moya, 26, who earns $35,000 a year as a bellboy at the MGM Grand

"I'll find a job. They tell me construction will start picking up in the summer and I'll find something."

-- Luis Ramon Ramirez, 32, a laborer who earns about twenty-five dollars a day when he's working

For nine years, John Soltelo fixed flats and inspected brakes at Goldstar Tires in Pico Rivera, California. He worked weekends, holidays, and overtime, but was never able to earn more than $6.50 an hour. Cleaning soiled sheets, dirty towels, and bedpans, his wife, Bernice, earned a maximum of $7 an hour at a convalescent hospital.

The Soltelos didn't mind the work as much as they did the economic bind that an income of $28,000 a year placed on a family of four living in Southern California. As their family grew, they moved from West Covina to Montebello to Pico Rivera. Each move meant squeezing into a smaller space for a break on the rent. They cut back on clothes for the children. Bernice mastered the art of customizing hand-me-downs with a needle and thread.

-97-

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The Real Las Vegas: Life beyond the Strip
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction - The Ultimate Company Town 1
  • Down and Out in Vegas 41
  • Bingo 63
  • Growing Up in Las Vegas 75
  • El Pueblo De Las Vegas 97
  • A View from West Las Vegas 109
  • Water for the Desert Miracle 133
  • For Sale - Thirty Thousand Homes a Year 147
  • Houses of the Holy 167
  • Organizing Las Vegas 181
  • Pawnshops - Lenders of Last Resort 201
  • Skin City 217
  • Law and Disorder Heather World 243
  • Why They'Re Mad - Southern Nevada Versus the United States 259
  • Epilogue - Learning More from Las Vegas 281
  • List of Illustrations 291
  • Notes on Contributors 293
  • Index 297
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