From a reader vexed with my declaration that I find shady land deals boring, regardless of party:
Jonah, as someone who covered Las Vegas back in the 70s, when
Harry Reid was a small-time Lt. Governor, I have to defend the
reputation of illicit land deals against your ad hominem attack
on them as “boring.” Land deals are cool. Land deals are the
meat-and-potatoes of government corruption, sometimes illegal,
sometimes merely smelly. Behind every crooked politician,
there’s a crooked land deal. My first big story was the
existential essence of the land deal: a couple of the local pols
used insider advance knowledge to buy up land around a proposed
freeway interchange for resale under the name of a dummy company.
The goverment builds on, buys, sells, or rezones land. Said
land increases in value. Pols, friends, relatives invariably
exploit the change. Harry’s part of a grand bipartisan tradition.
If more reporters were covering this stuff at City Hall, there
would be many fewer bad guys of either party in Congress.