Friday, December 31, 2004

Happy New Year!

We'll see you all here in 2005. Stay tuned, and in the meantime, have a great holiday, everyone.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Ballooning Budget to Build Bay Bridge

Today at 9:00 AM. the California State Auditor released a report on Caltrans’ handling of the east span of the Bay Bridge's reconstruction. The auditor’s report reveals a number of reasons for the unexpected escalation in cost:
- Caltrans did not create a comprehensive risk management plan for the East Span, and lacked processes to identify, track, and quantify risks throughout this project's life.

- Caltrans' cost update for the August 2004 report to the Legislature was its first program-wide update of cost estimates since April 2001.

- Caltrans failed to disclose information to the Legislature according to the law's regular reporting schedule and disclosed huge cost overruns long after it should have been aware of them.

- In November 2003, Caltrans' financial plan update to the Federal Highway Administration did not reveal the probable extent of estimated program costs. At that time, based on internal reports, Caltrans should have known that the program was over budget.

As you probably know, the cost of rebuilding the east span of the Bay Bridge has ballooned from $1.3 billion in 1997 to an estimated $5.1 billion in July 2004. Over the next several months, my colleagues and I will ask some tough questions as we review the Governor’s plan for the “freeway on stilts proposal” and the state audit. If you are interested in reading the audit report for yourself, it is available at

I would love to hear what you think. Which bridge design should the Legislature approve – the “signature” self-anchored suspension or the “freeway on stilts”? Who should pay for the cost overruns? Would you support a one-dollar toll increase on all of the Bay Area’s bridges?

Monday, December 20, 2004

Stem Cell Oversight

With the passage of Proposition 71, the University of California and other medical research foundations will be given a much-needed $3 billion in grants to conduct stem cell research. This cutting edge medical research has the potential to develop treatments for some of humanity's most debilitating diseases.

I want to ensure that there is maximum transparency in this process, and that the newly created Stem Cell Committee has maximum public input. I will watch the Stem Cell committee closely to ensure an open and democratic process.

Go here to read more.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Oakland faces own gambling controversy

Yesterday's Contra Costa Times reported on a hearing regarding a proposed casino over in Oakland.
Increased problem gambling, suicide, domestic violence, traffic and the impact on an endangered bird at the adjoining wetlands were among the concerns of some 50 speakers who bashed a proposed Indian casino near Oakland International Airport.

Click here to continue reading the article.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Who are the Lyttons?

The article in today's Contra Costa Times begins,
"On the industrial western coast of Contra Costa County, a band of 277 Indians with no ancestral ties to the East Bay stands poised to open the Golden State's first urban casino.

...Sacred and sovereign is how they describe the San Pablo site -- home of an Arabian-themed card room that a British gaming company built and Congress turned into an Indian reservation exclusively for the band."
Click here to continue reading the Times' in-depth special report.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Like a Bridge over Troubled Waters...

The San Francisco Chronicle's Matier & Ross ask, "Will Bay Area get 'freeway on stilts' and higher toll?" From the column,
But Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, isn't ready to throw in the towel yet on a fancier bridge.

"This is one of the most beautiful areas in the world and our public structures should reflect that," Hancock said. Besides, she said, "the Bay Area was already paying an extra dollar for a 'signature bridge' -- so it's still a question of us buying a Cadillac, then turning around and being given a Chevy.

"Plus, I'm not sure this redesign isn't going to cost us a lot more time in redesign and re-permitting -- and we have 300,000 cars going over that bridge every day," Hancock said.

Friday, December 10, 2004

What about the Bay Bridge?

In today's Oakland Tribune, I am quoted on the subject of the deliberations over the final design and construction of the bridge:

"The question is: Is it going to save significant money and can it be done speedily without being held up by permits? Will it be something built for a couple of generations or will it be shoddy?"

The project has been surrounded by rumors and secretiveness, and plagued by sky-rocketing costs, so these issues need to be confronted. Go here for the rest of the article.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

A Bogus System: End it, Don’t Amend it!

My hat is off to our local CAL football team for playing their hearts out and going 10-1 to rank in the top 10 in the country for the whole season. But, the fact that CAL has been bumped from the national Rose Bowl Game because of a bogus system is an outrage.  The voting system, based on votes from coaches and sportswriters, is worse than the touch screen voting systems in Ohio.

Three cheers for CAL for a hard fought football season! Go Bears!
 Read more here.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

San Francisco Chronicle weighs in

From today's editorial page:

The state needs to take a fresh look at gambling -- a message voters appeared to send when they rejected two initiatives that would have allowed an explosion of more casinos throughout the state. Previous approvals for Indian casinos were based on the expectation that the gaming would be limited in scope and located primarily in rural areas.

In today's paper, the Chronicle goes on to demand more light be shed on the process for approving Indian gaming compacts, making special note of my constitutional proposal, and the series of near-misses our state has had with the explosion of casino gambling in communities throughout California. Click here to continue reading the unequivocal editorial.  

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

My first bill of the legislative session

Yesterday I introduced ACA 2. It's a constitutional amendment to provide 60 days of public review before each and every Legislature vote on Indian compacts. This story in today's Contra Costa Times is a great article about it.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Back to Business

Today the Legislature convenes to begin this year’s legislative session. I am excited and optimistic about what we--as a statewide legislative body--can achieve this year. There are two landmark pieces of legislation already introduced this year that I would like highlight.

Legislation by Assemblyman Mark Leno acknowledging the right for all people, regardless of sexual preference, to be married. The time has come for us as a State to treat everybody equally under the law.  So long as the state licenses marriages, creates rules about marriages, and provides benefits to married couples, all couples should be able to receive those benefits. 

Also being re-introduced this year by Senator Gil Cedillo is legislation to permit all Californians to apply for drivers licenses. The driver’s license bill is common sense legislation to ensure that every Californian is able to go to work, drive safely and earn a living.  Immigrant labor drives our economy; nevertheless, our policies ignore this reality.  It does not make sense to me to deny immigrants the right to obtain a driver’s license, restricting immigrants from driving their children to school, driving a sick relative to the hospital, or driving to work.    
I will be introducing a substantive legislative bill package this year. My flagship bill this year is The California Clean Money and Fair Elections Act of 2005. This bill creates real and genuine campaign finance reform. The problem is clear.  Year in and year out we see rivers of campaign contributions flooding into the coffers of politicians. Increasingly, we are seeing campaigns are being funded by special interests, political action committees, large corporate donors, and from those who have a stake in what happens in Sacramento. As the old saying goes, ‘He who pays the piper calls the tune.'
This must stop.  The only way to turn around this dependency on special interests to finance campaigns is to create system of public financing.  Under my bill the process is simple. A candidate need only gather a small number of $5 dollar contributions from within the district to qualify for the program. It is that simple.  We must start looking at the corrosive influence of special interest money has on public policy. We have to turn around the increasing cynicism about our political process. I believe public financing of campaigns is the way to do it. 

Friday, December 03, 2004

Still waiting for your workers comp rates to drop?

Here is an article that shows the experience of a great number of California’s small businesses. As many such businesses can testify, workers compensation rates have yet to drop. The reason is simple: no amount of “reform” will reduce workers comp rates until we have concrete legislation that guarantees substantial rate reduction for our California businesses.

Knowing that, I voted against the reforms passed by the State Legislature and proposed by the Governor because they missed the most critical component: genuine rate relief. In addition, workers comp reform eroded injured workers' rights to choose their own doctor and to receive adequate medical care.
So, how about you? Have your workers compensation rates gone down? If you’re an injured worker, has your medical care and rehabilitation been impacted?

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Scant fiscal oversight over Indian casinos

This article in Gambling Magazine shows how California’s Gambling Control Commission has dubious legal authority for fiscal oversight over Indian casinos. 

Here's a question for you: If Indian casinos have pledged revenues to the State, how can we be sure that those revenues are coming to the state without having the ability to audit Indian casinos? Shouldn't the State have the regulatory authority to audit Indian casinos' winnings?

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

A slot machine by any other name...

Did you see this morning's San Francisco Chronicle? Governor Schwarzenegger and a major Indian tribe are haggling over the definition of slot machine. And though the technical, legal aspects may be sleep-inducing, at first glance, the fact is that depending on who wins the argument, the tribes may get a free ride to install as many gambling machines as they like, and make an end-run around lawful state limits.

Here's an excerpt from the article:


Should video lottery terminals be determined as legally distinct from slots, other gaming tribes -- most of which have compacts that run through 2019 and have so far declined to negotiate with Schwarzenegger -- would gain a clear path to limitless expansion without sharing their profits or submitting to increased state demands.

Essentially, that could mean tribes would gain the same benefits promised by Proposition 70 but without having to pay a cent to the state's general fund -- and leave them little incentive to negotiate with Schwarzenegger.


Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Changing business as usual

Here is disturbing piece in today’s Sacramento Bee that shows all the “gift giving” by special interests going on in Sacramento. It is because of practices like these that I have made campaign finance reform a top priority on my legislative agenda. Last year, I introduced legislation to establish a “Clean Money” public financing system for our elections. A Clean Money system, based on a successful Arizona model, would allow anybody to run for office without including big campaign contributions from special interests. I will be releasing more on this later, but take a look at this piece and tell me if you feel the time has come for real and genuine campaign finance reform.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Gambling issue refuses to go away

This great article in Sunday’s Sacramento Bee investigates a legal battle between the Governor and the Morongo Band of Indians over whether video lottery terminals (video slot machines) should be counted as slot machines and therefore be regulated by the State. Do you think video slot machines should be regulated like regular slot machines?

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

'Tis the season of giving

Tommorrow we celebrate Thanksgiving as an opportunity to give thanks, share a meal with others, and spend time with our friends and family. But let us also remember that there are those who are in need, those who are alone, and those who are hungry. In this light, I would encourage you to visit this website and support the food drive at the Contra Costa Food Bank. Also, if you can, spend time volunteering at a local food bank, church or other community organization so that everyone can have a warm and joyous holiday.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Here a casino, there a casino, everywhere a casino

And here is a great piece in today’s Oakland Tribune regarding all of the proposed casinos in Richmond, San Pablo and Oakland.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Scotts Valley tribal leader advocates for Casino in North Richmond

Here is an article in today’s Contra Costa Times that features Don Arnold, tribal leader of the Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians. In this article he argues the merits of a casino in North Richmond. This casino, as you might know, is one of the five proposed casinos in the East Bay that includes Casino San Pablo, Casino at Point Molate in Richmond, Casino at Hilltop Mall in Richmond, a casino at the Oakland Airport and this casino in North Richmond.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Texas Shakedown

You may have heard this piece on NPR this morning. This investigative report shows how two high-roller D.C. lobbyists defrauded a Texas Indian tribe through a high-stakes political sham. Simply go here, then click on “Listen” to hear the report.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

The People Have Spoken

If you flipped through today's San Francisco Chronicle, you saw my opinion piece about the Governor and Legislature's misguided attempts to install large, Las Vegas style casinos right inside our urban areas, in our communities, instead of listening to what the people of California have said about this alarming trend. You can read the article here.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Relocating Doctors Hospital?

Here is an article by Tom Lochner in today’s Contra Costa Times that raises a serious issue.  There has been “talk” about Doctors Hospital potentially being moved to Hilltop or the Pinole Hercules area due to the traffic congestion generated by Casino San Pablo. Take a look at this developing scenario.

Monday, November 15, 2004

What's Willie doing?

"So what is Willie Brown, San Francisco's Brioni-dressed former mayor, doing on the other side of the bay -- in blue-collar Richmond, of all places? Trying to pound out a living, and raising some eyebrows in the process."

San Francisco Chronicle's Matier and Ross have an investigative piece in Sunday's paper that tells all about former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown’s proposed casino projects in Richmond.

The plot thickens...

Friday, November 12, 2004

Richmond taking a gamble

In Thursday's Contra Costa Times, we read that the Richmond City Council voted to build a casino at on the bayfront property at Point Molate. An excerpt from the write-up:


But the vision of a major casino in Richmond throwing off jobs and cash like a spinning top faces such regulatory obstacles that some experts give even odds on whether such a project can ever happen. That's the gamble Richmond took this week when the City Council opted for a casino complex at Point Molate over a proposal by neighboring ChevronTexaco to maintain the land as a security buffer and infuse city coffers with $50 million in quick cash.


Wednesday, November 10, 2004

And in the papers...

Here is a thoughtful editorial from our local Oakland Tribune, cautioning that "gambling should heed voters' warning."

Slot Machines versus Video Lottery Machines

Here is an article about a legal battle between the Governor and two Indian tribes. The dispute is over whether video lottery machines should “count” toward the state-imposed limit on slot machines for Indian Casinos. Current compacts with these tribes cap the number of slot machines at 2,000. Should video lottery machines be regulated as slot machines are or should they be considered uniquely different? You decide.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

The Campus Bay/Zeneca Site: Does the State Process Guarantee Safe Cleanup?

I am holding a joint legislative hearing on the clean up of the Richmond Zeneca Site this Saturday November 6th.  I would like to invite our community to join me and other members of the Legislature, as well as local elected officials to Legislative Hearing & Community Dialogue about the Campus Bay/Zeneca Site Clean-Up.
We will be investigating:
· What’s happening with the clean-up of the former Zeneca site, near Bay view Avenue and I-580? 
· What needs to happen to safely redevelop a former chemical manufacturing site to protect public health now and for future generations?
· Does the State clean-up process guarantee meaningful public participation?
Join us:

Saturday, November 6, 2004
10 AM – 1 PM
University of California Richmond Field Station
Building 454, 1301 South 46th Street, Richmond

For more information call (510) 559-1406.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Assemblywoman Loni Hancock's Proposition Recommendations

Proposition 1A - NO
Proposition 59 - YES
Proposition 60 - YES
Proposition 60A - YES
Proposition 61 - YES
Proposition 62 - NO
Proposition 63 - YES
Proposition 64 - NO
Proposition 65 - NO
Proposition 66 - YES
Proposition 67 - YES
Proposition 68 - NO
Proposition 69 - NO
Proposition 70 - NO
Proposition 71 - YES
Proposition 72 - YES

Below is some background on each ballot measure:

Proposition 1A - Protection of Local Government Revenues
Recommendation: NO
Proposition 1A locks into the state Constitution an outmoded funding formula, that has encouraged local government to "chase sales tax" instead of building needed infill and mixed-use housing. Proposition 1A will also dramatically reduce the ability to balance the needs of all Californians. Proposition 1A will leave education, health care and human service programs
unprotected in difficult budget years. Rather then carve up the existing revenue pot, we need to increase the size of the pot.

Proposition 59 - Public Records, Open Meetings
Recommendation: YES
While it does not add any additional access to public records or meetings, Proposition 59 creates a constitutional right for the public to access government information. It is supported by the League of Women Voters, the California First Amendment Coalition and the California Newspaper
Publishers Association.

Proposition 60 - Election Rights of Political Parties
Recommendation: YES
Proposition 62 guarantees that any party that qualifies to have a candidate on the ballot in primaries can have have a candidate on the ballot in the November General elections. In a district like the 14th Assembly District, Proposition 60 will give Democrats a choice by allowing Republicans, Greens, Libertarians and other third parties to have a candidate (other than Democrat) in the General Election. This measure is supported by Democrats, Republicans and Greens.

Proposition 60A - Surplus Property
Recommendation: YES
Proposition 60A requires proceeds from the sale of surplus property go toward paying off the Economic Recovery Bonds approved by voters in March. The state has been relying on bonds to pay for on going programs and has built up a giant bonded indebtedness. The sooner we pay this debt off the better.

Proposition 61 - Children's Hospital Bonds
Recommendation: YES
This measure authorizes $750 million in bonds for the construction of desperately need children's hospital facilities.

Proposition 62 - Elections
Recommendation: NO
This measure requires that the top two vote-getting candidates in a primary, regardless of party affiliation, face a runoff in November. In some districts, Prop. 62 means that in November no Democrat, no Peace and Freedom candidate, and no Green Party representative could even be on the ballot if two Republicans came in first and second in the vote count. This measure destroys third parties, and reduces choice for those not in the majority in a district.

Proposition 63 - Mental Health Services Expansion
Recommendation: YES
Proposition 63 establishes a 1 percent state income tax surcharge on taxpayers with an annual taxable income over $1 million. Funds would go to expand desperately needed county mental health programs. Proposition 63 is supported by doctors, nurses, teachers and law enforcement.

Proposition 64 - Limits on Private Enforcement of Unfair Business
Competition Laws
Recommendation: NO
This measure would limit the rights of Californians to enforce environmental, public health, privacy and consumer protection laws. It would significantly limit an individual's right to sue corporate wrongdoers. These laws have been used successfully to sue companies that knowingly
sell tainted meat, and pollute our air and water. Though the ads say it protects small businesses from nuisance lawsuits, in practice it will prevent environmental groups from suing to protect beaches, forests, rivers, the very air we breathe, and the water we drink. Don't be fooled, vote a
very, very big NO!

Proposition 65 - Local Government Funds
Recommendation: NO
Proposition 65 was placed on the ballot by local government organizations who later cut a deal with Governor Schwarzenegger to put Proposition 1A on the ballot.

Proposition 66 - Limitation on "Three Strikes" Law
Recommendation: YES
Proposition 66 amends the states' "Three Strikes" law to require that only convictions for violent or serious felonies be counted as a strike. It will save taxpayers million of dollars a year and restore the original intent of the "Three Strikes" Law.

Proposition 67 - Emergency Medical Services
Recommendation: YES
Proposition 67 will cost residential telephone users 50 cents a month to generate $500 million a year to maintain emergency medical services. In just 10 years, California has lost 64 emergency rooms and trauma centers. It is supported by the California Medical Association.

Proposition 68 - Non-Tribal Commercial Gambling Expansion
Recommendation: NO
Proposition 68 will expand slot machine casinos into urban areas by allowing card clubs and racetracks to operate slot machines unless Indian tribe give the state 25% of their slot machine proceeds. Gambling is not a predictable or responsible way to fund state government.

Proposition 69 - DNA Samples
Recommendation: NO
Proposition 69 would allow the government to collect the DNA of any person arrested for a felony. Not charged or convicted - simply arrested. DNA samples are already kept on convicted felons - this measure goes to far.

Proposition 70 - Tribal Gambling Compacts
Recommendation: NO
Proposition 70 will increase the number of Indian Casinos while giving the state less money from each gambling compact.

Proposition 71 - Stem Cell Research
Recommendation: YES
Proposition 71 authorizes up to $3 billion in bond money for stem cell research. Projects must be approved through a competitive grant program by a Citizen Oversight Committee that is made up of medical and financial experts. This measure can help make California a leader in this emerging field create new research production jobs.

Proposition 72 - Health Care Coverage Requirements
Recommendation: YES
Proposition 72 is an effort by big businesses to overturn a law passed by the Legislature last year that requires them to provide health insurance for their employees or pay a fee to the medical insurance board that will purchase private health insurance for those employees. While Proposition 72 is not universal health care, it is a step in the right direction.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

The Governor swings through the Bay Area

If you didn't already hear about check out this article about Governor Schwarzenegger and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's campaign stop for Proposition 1A.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Setting the Record Straight

I wanted to address two comments posted on the blog.

“Leb” writes:

I have had a number of conversations with people in San Pablo and the Lytton Tribe. Ms Hancock has never contacted the city, the City Council or the tribe to discuss this issue. These are her personal feelings and as an elected official she should have discussed these items with the cities she feels will be involved.
leb | Email | 10.19.04 - 7:49 am | #

Dennis Hill writes:

Dear Loni:
Thanks for giving us the opportunity and method to discuss these important community issues. As you know, no issue is ever 100% "Black or White", "Good or Evil". I think it would be important for YOU to talk directly with the City Council members of San Pablo to find out why they believe a casino would benefit their community. To take a position on such an important matter, based simply on emotion, is not doing justice to your constituency, especially the residents of San Pablo.
Dennis R. Hill | Email | 10.22.04 - 7:48 am | #


These statements are inaccurate.  First, I have discussed the casino proposal with members of the San Pablo City Council and the city manager.  In addition, I have invited the City of San Pablo as well as the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians to a legislative hearing in January, so that they can make a presentation and discuss with all of us, the benefits they believe would come to the tribe and the community from a casino with slot machines.

The negotiations between the City of San Pablo, the Lytton Tribe and the Governor’s Office took place long before the stories about the proposed Casino came out in the press in August.  I was not contacted about a 5,000 slot machine casino proposal by anyone with the City, the Lytton tribe, or the Governor’s Office.  In fact, it is frustrating when those negotiations took place no one bothered asking legislators from the region what they might think about a casino that size even though the law requires approval by the Legislature.

I would also point out that the sheer size of this project stands to impact the surrounding communities and cities along the I-80 corridor.  That is why I am holding a hearing, so that all of my constituents can have their voices heard.  My role as state legislator is not only to represent just the City of San Pablo but the cities of Albany, Berkeley, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Emeryville, Kensington, Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, Pleasant Hill, Richmond, Oakland, Walnut Creek and San Pablo. All of these constituents are invited to participate at the hearing in January.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Well said

Former Lieutenant Governor Leo McCarthy put it bluntly, when speaking on the political influence of Indian tribes, especially as it relates to the urban gaming issues we see popping up in so many places.


"Tribal casinos are the single most powerful political contributor in California. They give much more than any other special interest," said former Lt. Gov. Leo T. McCarthy, who served on the National Gambling Impact Study Commission. "So they buy a lot of silence with campaign money. There are very few objections to anything they're doing."


Read the rest of the article here.

Contentious Community Issue

Did you see Sunday's San Francisco Chronicle?

Here's an excerpt from the full article:

But the success of several tribes in placing urban casinos in such places as San Pablo and Milwaukee, and the crowded casinos on reservations near such upscale cities as Palm Springs and Scottsdale, Ariz., have many tribes dreaming of their own slice of Las Vegas.

"Tribes took a look around and said, 'Hey, that's cool,' " said Gary Garrison, a spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs. The casinos "have to be the biggest and the brightest and the best. You're seeing an acceleration, just like an arms race."

Friday, October 22, 2004

Bigger picture

Here is an article posted in the Daily Republic earlier this month. It gives an overview of Proposition 68 and Proposition 70, which we will be voting up or down in a few days. Check it out, and see how these issues are being advanced both here and on a statewide level, and what their consequences might be. It begs the question: with adjustments and increments, how can we know just how far it will go?

After you read that, get Los Angeles Times columnist George Skelton's personal take on Proposition 70. It's candid, and an interesting read.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Look where we are now

Thank you all for helping make this blog a great success. We have received close to 80 comments since we unveiled the blog last Thursday! I have received many thoughtful ideas on Casino San Pablo, potential legislation and ideas how to make our community a better place to live, work and grow.  Thank you again, and keep the posts coming!
I want to highlight two posts I have received on the Casino San Pablo proposal.
Bill Whitaker says:

"I cannot get behind the idea of a casino in San Pablo. Adding full on gambling to the card room is like adding fuel to the fire of disease. Gambling is just that, a disease. Just like alcoholism, smoking, and other drug addictions. It ruins people’s lives and destroys neighborhoods.

Having a casino at the crossroads of San Pablo and San Pablo D. Road would essentially make a bad traffic situation even more terrible. I've seen the changes that have been wrought when Cache Creek was put in. It turned a sleepy farm road into what was essentially highway four (4) overnight. A high school and farm houses lined the route to the casino. How soon before someone's kid is killed by a one of these gambling commuter busses? Or some drunk on their way home from a gambling/drinking binge?

I want to see the Pomo's get a fair shake, but promoting social endangerment is not the way to do it.

Thanks for this opportunity to share my thoughts Loni."

Conversely, Richard Romero posts:

"Open communications with your constituents this way is a great idea. We will likely never all of us have the time we can afford to study closely all the issues: division of labor and responsibility will always be a necessity. Nevertheless it is great to have our representative asking us our thoughts in a way allowing [i]free speech[/i].

I consider the interests of this Native American tribe are acting constructively with us, as good neighbors.

I'd like to be a good neighbor in return, and show respect if not gratitude to a significant employer for the area, which in itself contributes rather handsomely to our revenue base and ultimately our quality of life.

Every job counts. Those employed represent increased purchasing power infusing cash into the community and removing unemployed from the rolls.

The casino has comported gaming responsibly: There is no reason I see to project anything less if we negotiate a mutually beneficial agreement."

And one more…
"Thank goodness the blog verbosity limit is 1000 characters. It forces people to make their point clearly and briefly. I think that's terrific."
Thank you Toby. I appreciate your brevity!

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

The Los Angeles Times tells the story

Just the other day, in an editorial, the Los Angeles Times took on the issue of the explosion of Indian gaming throughout California.

Here's an excerpt:


As Californians prepared to vote in the 2000 primary, they were assured that Proposition 1A, which changed the state Constitution to allow slot machines and other Nevada-style games on tribal lands, would produce only a modest increase in gambling — just scattered casinos in rural, even remote, parts of the state. The measure passed, as expected. Then came the explosion.

Native American tribes have opened 54 casinos jammed with as many as 60,000 slot machines. These gambling palaces take in an estimated $6 billion a year, though no one knows how much exactly because the tribes are considered sovereign nations, subject to minimal state regulation or taxation. The notion that these casinos are remote destinations has become laughable. From San Diego to Sacramento, casinos are increasingly besieging California's cities.


Monday, October 18, 2004

State's Gamble Exceeds Predictions

What's that mean? It's in the San Francisco Chronicle. Here's an excerpt:


When opponents of the state measure authorizing Indian casinos campaigned around California in 2000, they warned that backers of the initiative would continue to push for limitless expansion of gambling.

It will be in cities, near churches and schools, they warned. You won't be able to control it. They said the state, like others before it, would become overly reliant on rising casino revenues.

And now, just four years later, they can say that their worst fears have been realized: Only their cost estimates were just a tad conservative.


Get the rest of the story here.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Here's looking at you

Here are a few articles on the release of the blog. Thank you all for
commenting and sharing your views!

One article is from the Contra Costa Times. The other is from the San Francisco Chronicle. Please read and point them out to your neighbors and friends.

Let's continue to tell others about this new way to sound off on these issues. And, thank you for your shared concern for our communities.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

But what's it actually say?

As the controversial plan to establish urban gaming in our communities has unfolded, we've heard of Indian Compacts. Have you wondered what an Indian Compact is, and wanted to read one for yourself?

Take a look at the text of the Casino San Pablo Lytton Compact here, and find out what it really says. I've also put a link to it on the right side of my blog's main page for easy reference in the future.

Did you hear this?

If your radio has been tuned to 740 AM, KCBS, you might have heard the investigative reporting of gambling in a series titled, "Raising the Stakes." You can listen to it here. I think you'll agree it does a good job of shedding some light on this controversial issue we face.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

A Message from Loni

Welcome to my blog! Thank you for stopping by!

As the Assemblywoman for District 14, I want to make communicating with me as easy as possible for you. I have offices in Sacramento and in El Cerrito, and hold office hours, hearings and town hall discussions throughout the district. You can call, fax, mail a letter or send an email to me about your concerns on state legislation or about our community.

I hope this blog will be an easy, user-friendly way for District 14 constituents to express opinions and offer suggestions on major policy issues. The blog will be dedicated to one topic at a time, so we can share information and explore a variety of viewpoints on each topic. Right now, there is a lot of concern about the proposed expansion of Casino San Pablo and I would like to hear your ideas.

As you may have read in the newspapers the Governor negotiated a Compact with the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians to build a 2,500 slot machine casino on their tribal land at Casino San Pablo. The site is surrounded by the city of San Pablo, and a few blocks from the I-80 Freeway.

This issue has caused quite a stir in the Bay Area and in Sacramento. What would the impacts be of such a large casino? How would traffic on Interstate 80, San Pablo Avenue and San Pablo Dam Road be affected? How can public safety and fire protection be maximized? Are there social and public health problems that might increase as a result of having a large casino in the middle of a dense residential area? What can be done to mitigate these concerns? Will there be benefits to the local community in addition to negative impacts that must be mitigated? What about impacts on the built-up cities near San Pablo; if they share the potential problems, will they share any benefits? How can sovereignty of Indian nations be respected? How can we ensure quality jobs for workers at casinos? Is gambling the best economic development strategy for California? These and other issues need to be closely examined as the community decides what to do on this issue.

So please weigh in, we're waiting to hear from you!

The process is simple.

1. Click on " Post a comment "
2. Enter you name and email address.
3. Finally Click on "Publish Your Comment."

Posts will be read by visitors, so please be respectful of other points of view and keep your comments to one or two paragraphs. I hope that this site will prove to be another valuable way for us to communicate with one another.