Saturday, August 26, 2006

Casinos May Not Get OK (SB Sun 082506) Tribes face odds as Legislaturs heads for break

All these years that the Legislation fought the Legalization of Gambling, and now it is here. The California Indians now are threatening to build Casino's side by side and start competing against each other for Business. They had some $3 or $4 Billion in Revenue last year and you wonder where that money goes, well drive the once poor reservation and you can see the houses that were once broken down Trailers, by Trailer's I mean travel trailers, now they have been replaced with a 3 to 5 thousand square foot home and a maid that speaks perfect English, in fact the maid is white, but doesn't speak a lick of Su, or Apache. But they clean to keep earning that $50 to 75 Thousand a year that goes to the lead maid, or head Butler, depending on the residence. the Chief of coarse has to have a Butler that doubles as a Driver, because he doesn't want to be popped for DUI now does he. LOL..he just wants to stop by the casino and make sure the place is booming and then they are off Togo on home and watch the rerun of Bonanza and it is off to bed with them. LOL

Casinos may not get OK
Tribes face odds as Legislature heads for break
Kelly Rayburn, Special to The Sun

SACRAMENTO - A key lawmaker said Friday he doubts the Legislature will act on a proposal to build side-by-side casinos in Barstow before the end of its session next week, leaving the future of the project in question.

Jerome Horton, D-Inglewood, head of the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee, said that in its current form the proposal does not "have the legal basis for approval" and that a separate deal he tried to hammer out this week did not gain support from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Los Coyotes and the tiny Big Lagoon tribe of Humboldt County reached an agreement with Schwarzenegger last year to build and operate side-by-side casinos in Barstow along Interstate 15 on the way to Las Vegas. The plan has not received legislative approval.

Horton's committee voted 7-2 against the proposal in June, but it left open the possibility of reconsideration.

Neither Los Coyotes nor Big Lagoon operate casinos, and the Barstow proposal faces opposition from other tribes who do, including the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, which operates a major casino on the outskirts of San Bernardino.

Opponents of the plan criticize what they call "reservation shopping" associated with having distant tribes running gaming facilities. The San Manuel and the Chemehuevi tribes of San Bernardino County claim ancestral ties to the land in Barstow where the casinos would go up if the proposal is approved.

Horton said he tried to work out a deal whereby the Chemehuevis would be included in a plan to operate casinos in Barstow, but Gov. Schwarzenegger did not support it.

He also said the compacts Schwarzenegger agreed to are legally problematic because they would require the go-ahead from the federal government, which has not been granted and may not ever be given, in part because Congress is considering banning off-reservation casinos.

The governor remains hopeful the original compacts will be approved, said Schwarzenegger spokesman Darrel Ng.

When asked about Horton's hopes to bring the Chemehuevi tribe into the mix, Ng said, "We stand behind our current compacts."

Chemehuevi spokesman Larry Tenney could not be reached for comment.

Some Los Coyotes members continued their fast Friday, a day after the tribe was joined by environmentalists, labor representatives, Barstow officials and two state legislators for a morning news conference held to push for the approval of the proposal.

Assemblyman Bill Maze, R-Visalia, whose 34th District includes Barstow, was among those who urged lawmakers to move forward on the plan.

Off mike, though, he admitted that political support is lacking for an approval by next week.

"I don't see that possibility," he said.

He added, "I would hope we can get this through at some point in time."

Environmentalists are hoping for an immediate solution.

In a letter to Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez, D-Los Angeles, and state Senate President Pro Tempore Don Perata, D-Oakland, representatives of environmental groups urged immediate action, lest the Big Lagoon tribe move ahead with plans to build on the North Coast.

The letter was signed by officials of the California League of Conservation Voters, the Save-the-Redwoods League, the Sierra Club, the National Resources Defense Council and six other environmental groups.

It characterized the Big Lagoon area as a "fragile" and "unique" environmental area inhabited by old-growth redwoods, bald eagles, peregrine falcons, Roosevelt elk and other rare animals and plant life.

"If the compact is not approved this year," the letter said, "the tribe will resume efforts to develop along Big Lagoon, destroying one of the state's most sensitive ecological areas."

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