Extreme public commenting in Las Vegas with Alex Stein

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LAS VEGAS (CLASS) – On the night of Wednesday, August 17th, the best show in Las Vegas did not take place on the Strip, no blue men or acrobats were involved, and the only thing it cost each spectator was three minutes. The show took place at Las Vegas City Hall.

After waiting patiently for nearly four hours to speak during the public comment at the end of the meeting Alex Stone confidently walked to the podium to address the council and Mayor Carolyn Goodman. What happened next was initially confusing for the elected officials, but Stein knew exactly what he was doing.

Alex Stein is a self-proclaimed comedian and correspondent for The Blaze. He has “trolled” other aldermen from New York City to Dallas and is known for his controversial approach. He has a large online following and by the time he posted his Las Vegas video, it had been viewed more than 134,000 times.

During a public commentary, Stein began taking pictures of Las Vegas culture: gambling, drinking, drug use, and even prostitution. But as anyone would soon realize, Stein is a comedian — or satirist — using public comment time as his stage at public meetings across the country.

“I like going to a form of entertainment called culture jamming. Or I’ll take the most absurd parts of our culture and try to shove politicians in the face so they’re paying attention,” Stein told 8 News Now. “I started going to meetings at the beginning of the pandemic and I was talking seriously and they didn’t pay any attention to me at all. And then I realized that the crazier I got, the more attention I got from these politicians.”

Alex Stein speaks before the Las Vegas City Council. August 17, 2022 (Image: KCLV Channel 2)

Gambling and drinking were Stein’s first targets: “These casinos give people free drinks, and then they get vulnerable and end up playing more money than they have. And I was a victim of it. And I lost a lot of money,” Stein told the council.

Las Vegas City Council meetings always have two public comment times. According to the City of Las Vegas, the first “must be limited to matters of the action agenda. If you want to be heard, come up to the podium and say your name for the record. The scope of the discussion, as well as the time allotted to an individual speaker, may be limited.”

Alex Stone

The second public comment time – the one used by Stein – is called citizen participation. According to a city spokesman, “public comment on this part of the agenda must be limited to matters within the city council’s purview. No subject shall be dealt with by the City Council unless that subject is on the agenda and designated for consideration. If you want to be heard, come up to the podium and say your name for the record. The scope of discussion on a single topic, as well as the time allotted to a single speaker, may be limited.”

That evening, Stein and others had three minutes to say their peace. “I know Las Vegas has a rich history with a lot of crazy public commentary,” Stein told 8 News Now. “The fact that this has garnered a lot of attention actually surprises me a little because I often get even crazier.”

Stein’s first shot at Gambling Stein piled it up. “I come to Las Vegas for a work event and I get fed alcohol and I’m way too high, I go to the ATM, I use my credit card, they make it very accessible to be able to play on my balance card,” said stone to the council. “You know that Mayor Goodman, they make it absolutely incredibly accessible to be able to take everything I have. And now I have to go back to Clearwater, Florida. And I have nothing. After that, after I started drinking, I’m very distressed.”

You’d think Stein wasn’t a fan of Las Vegas, but he is. “Las Vegas is one of the best tourist destinations in the world – not just in America – in the world,” he said in an interview.

If you look at Twitter, you look at Instagram, you look at YouTube, you really don’t have freedom of speech, these tech companies get to choose what you can say about their terms of service. One of the few places on earth where you have your first right of amendment, so is that those public gatherings?

Alex Stone

Next up for Stein were medication and a new version of the Covid vaccine. “I’ll say the only good thing is that of all the cities I’ve been to, it’s the first city — last night at 4am I saw several people on Fremont Street taking the vaccine,” Stein told dem Advice. “This is the only place I’ve seen a 24/7 vaccine operation in the United States. And this is here in Las Vegas, I saw a lot of people on Fremont Street doing the vaccine.

Remember he is a satirist and uses real events in his comedy.

In reality, Stein got serious as he spoke about what he had experienced downtown: “From what I’ve seen on Fremont Street in the area, the homeless problems are absolutely awful. Outdoor drug use is pretty bad,” Stein told 8 News Now. “I’m basically a professional troll. I’ve created a new niche, so to speak, of fooling politicians in front of their very eyes at public meetings.”

Now, two minutes after his public comment, Stein began speaking out about prostitution: “I end up meeting a nice Filipino girl, I take her back to my hotel room,” Stein told the council. “Come to find out that it costs money if your service comes to my room.”

At that point, Mayor Goodman interrupted Stein and his microphone was cut off — although viewers on the city’s cable channel could still hear him speak. Mayor Goodman tried in vain to calm him down: “We’re in a public place and I’m thinking…please…excuse me. Could you please stay calm?”

There are several reasons why I use these public meetings. First of all, one of the first methods is that they all stream a live stream with a good overlay. So it’s like they do a lot of the production work. So all I have to do is entertain as a performer, I like that it’s a little bit simpler.

Alex Stone

Mayor Goodman even tried to berate Stein, to no effect. At this point, Councilor Michele Fiore turned on her microphone and addressed Stein directly: “Sir, this is not the first Council meeting you’ve attended. They actually go to council meetings in the United States and do this performance. Please leave our chambers for now. Many Thanks. We have to remove him. Marshalls remove him immediately. Goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbye.”

Alex Stein is escorted out of the Las Vegas City Council Chamber by City Marshals. August 17, 2022 (Image: KCLV Channel 2)

Speaking to Stein the day after that exchange, 8 News Now said he expected that to happen but was actually surprised by Mayor Goodman’s reactions: “Mayor Goodman, I want to applaud her. She actually had a good sense of humor. She sat up there and basically smiled the whole time. But councilor Fiore had no sense of humor at all.”

8 News Now reached out to both Mayor Goodman and Councilwoman Fiore for comment, but neither agreed to an interview.

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