Unmoved by an offer of $30 million a year, the Oakland City Council voted Tuesday to oppose a 2,000-slot casino planned near Oakland International Airport that has drawn widespread criticism.
No matter how much money the Lower Lake Rancheria Koi Nation offered the city, which is facing a budget deficit of more than $30 million, it would not be enough to offset the damage the casino would do to Oakland, the council agreed.
"There is no free lunch," said Councilmember Jean Quan (Montclair-Laurel), choking back tears. "I won't take $30 million and trade for abused children, broken families and bankruptcies."
The article went on to describe the payoff the casino backers used as bait for political support:
Nearly 100 residents of Oakland, Alameda and San Leandro pleaded with the council to lead the effort to scuttle plans for the urban casino, saying it would create a raft of social problems, exacerbate East Oakland's crime problem and decimate the adjacent and newly restored Arrowhead Marsh, a bird sanctuary.
"I am aware of our budget problems," Oakland resident Beth Weinberger said. "But this issue is about more than money. Thirty million dollars will not pay for the deterioration of our quality of life."
It was quite a meeting, and I'm proud of Oakland's courageous leaders that took a stand for the city's quality of life and stood strong against the unpopular urban community casino explosion happening in our own backyard. Go here to read the rest of the article.