Monday, February 28, 2005

Albany City Council Remains Firm

Berkeley's Daily Planet announces the vote by Albany's city council to oppose plans for the huge casino proposed nearby in San Pablo. The article also details some of the payoffs for those who are behind the scheme (and here's a hint- they aren't members of any tribe):
In exchange for running Casino San Pablo, the four managing partners will receive a quarter of the net profit.

Those opposed to the casino include the owners and operators of Bay Area cardrooms, which, along with the state lottery and charity bingo games, offered the only forms of gambling allowed in California on non-tribal lands.

The next moves are in the hands of the legislature and of the U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee, where Chair John McCain is holding hearings on the legality of legislation that gave the Lyttons a retroactive title to the land after the cutoff date that allowed automatic entitlement to a casino.

Get the rest of the article here.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

That's pretty clear

When the headline says something like, "Bigger Casino Would Hurt Economy," that doesn't leave a lot of wiggle room, exactly- no matter how many expensive consultants your organization hires to spin the truth.

And that's exactly what a Daily Californinan article said this week. From the myths of business development to job creation, revenue income and quality of life, misconceptions are shattered by the study research. Read on.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

As the San Francisco Chronicle reveals...

... a sprawling, huge monster compared to an even more of a sprawling, huge monster is still a monster.

The Lytton tribe's hired consultants' plans for a so-called "slimmed down Casino" look like it ate a city, instead of a metropolis.

Read the Chronicle story about it here.

Monday, February 21, 2005

A short history

Sunday's Contra Costa Times takes a look at how the issue of Indian gaming has developed through recent years, where it went from something broadly popular among the public to a divisive issue that grew and stretched and alarms many communities throughout our state. Here's an excerpt of the article:
Five years ago, California voters overwhelmingly approved Las Vegas-style casinos on Indian lands, an idea fueled by a desire to help Indians overcome centuries of injustice and become self-sufficient. Bay Area voters supported Proposition 1A by 62 percent.

Since then, tensions have occasionally arisen as mega-casinos sprouted alongside communities in rural areas of the state. But it wasn't until proposals to build casinos in urban areas began to surface that the alarm spread. Now, the strongest opposition since the California Indian Self Reliance Initiative passed in 2000 is targeting proposals to build casinos in the East Bay cities of Oakland, Richmond and San Pablo as well as near Hollister and in Marin County. The backlash here could slow down Indian gaming statewide.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein has introduced a bill to prevent what is intended to be the state's first urban casino in San Pablo. The matter has attracted the attention of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the new chair of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, who has promised to hold a hearing on Feinstein's bill and the attempt by some tribes to build casinos on non-ancestral lands.

A Marin County city councilman is working to qualify a statewide initiative calling for a five-year moratorium on new casinos. Two Bay Area anti-gambling activists have registered a second ballot measure with the state attorney general's office, seeking to ban casinos in urban areas.

And around the Bay Area, residents worried about a mega-casino moving into their neighborhoods are packing town hall meetings.

``What you're seeing is a grass roots reaction,'' said Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, D-El Cerrito, who has voiced opposition to the San Pablo casino, submitted by the Lytton band of Pomo Indians, who want to open a 2,500-slot machine casino. ``I think it's time for a second look at this and I think it's a pretty broadly shared view.''
Surf over here to continue reading "Casino Criticism Grows".

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

More join our side

Now, Senator McCain is requesting federal hearings on the issue of Casino San Pablo. This is good news, because more people will discover the truth of casino sprawl, and hopefully do something to fight in. The Berkeley Daily Planet has the story:
Charging that the Lytton Band of Pomos acquired Casino San Pablo “the wrong way,” maverick Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain announced Thursday evening that he’ll hold hearings on a law that would reverse part of the tribe’s special status.

According to the Associated Press, McCain will hold special hearings on the casino in the Senate Indian Affairs Committee which he now chairs and take up legislation by California Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein that would reverse an earlier law written by East Bay Congressional Rep. George Miller.

California Assemblymember Loni Hancock, whose district encompasses San Pablo, welcomed the decision.

“I fully support the hearings being held by Sen. McCain and I fully support the legislation by [Feinstein]” which seeks to reverse the tribe’s special status, Hancock said.

A leading opponent of the casino proposal, Hancock said, “It’s great to hear that we’re finally going to sit down and have a serious conversation about urban gambling in California.”

Continue reading Sen. McCain Calls Hearings to Derail San Pablo Casino in the Berkeley Daily Planet.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Feinstein describes her legislation

"I have serious concerns about the expansion of Nevada-style gaming -- with its slot machines and in-house banking -- into urban areas," Feinstein said Monday in a statement. "This legislation is designed to prevent the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians from short-circuiting the process laid out in the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act for gaming on newly acquired lands."

To continue reading about her leadership, go here.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Breaking news

Popular U.S. Senator John McCain is joining our fight against the San Pablo Casino, and casino sprawl so many communities like ours are facing in their own backyard.

The AP is running with the story, and the Contra Costa Times has more about it:
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., on Thursday said the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians should not have been allowed to skirt federal law to establish an urban casino in the Bay Area.

The tribe and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger have signed a compact for a 2,500-slot machine casino that awaits legislative approval.

McCain announced he would hold hearings on a bill by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., that would undo the legislation authored by Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, in 2000 that allowed the tribe to buy 91/2 acres in San Pablo as a reservation for gambling.

Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, welcomed McCain's move.

"I think this is just another example of the rising tide of concern about urban gambling getting out of control, and operating in a way that was never expected by the (state's) voters when they voted for Prop. 1A enabling gambling on Indian reservations," Hancock said.

Continue reading, "McCain leads fight against urban casino".

As this struggle 'goes national', we welcome the support of Senator McCain, and all who are willing to take a stand with us against this growing trend of backyard casino gambling. I'm amazed to see how this issue has grown larger and larger, thanks to your involvement and willingness, and know his help is going to be a boost to our efforts.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

In the press

Good Morning! If you didn't see yesterday's Contra Costa Times, here's part of it:
But Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, said the limit should be the 1,200 to 1,500 "gaming positions" the tribe proposed in its 1999 application to the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs asking the U.S. government to take the tribe's 91/2-acre San Pablo property into trust to enable gaming.

"The fact is that the Lytton Band received special consideration from the BIA and the Congress," Hancock said. "There was a commitment made, but when the time came to negotiate the compact, the community was presented with a 5,000-slot-machine compact."

Hancock said she wants a scaled-down project to be "clearly stated ... in a renegotiated compact." She also seeks elimination of a provision in the latest compact that would allow the tribe to initiate renegotiation of the number of slot machines in 2008.

Get the rest of the article here.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

We never thought it would come here

Oakland residents are facing the same gambling invasion in their own community. Says a Contra Costa Times article,
Casinos don't belong in busy urban areas, said many of the Oakland residents who took the mic at a town hall meeting Saturday morning.

"When I voted for Indian gambling some years ago, I never thought that it would be coming to my back yard," said Donald Lowry, who lives in the Temescal neighborhood.

Councilwoman Jane Brunner called the meeting to give city residents a chance to learn about and respond to a proposal by a landless tribe of Pomo Indians to build a Las Vegas-style casino off Hegenberger Road.

Click here to finish reading the article.

Friday, February 04, 2005

A letter from my desk...

Dear High School Counselors, Families, and Friends of College Bound Students:

Each year, many of our high school students do not pursue higher education because they think that they cannot afford the cost of attending college. What they may not know is that last year more than 60,000 of California's high school seniors were awarded financial aid grants through our Cal Grant Program. Any high school senior with a 2.0 GPA that meets certain requirements and completes a Cal Grant application by March 2, 2005, may receive up to $8,300 in grants that never have to be repaid. These grants can be used at most University of California and California State University campuses as well as many private, vocational and community colleges in California.

In light of the rising cost of college education, it is more important than ever for students to learn about the federal, state and local opportunities available to assist students and their families with college financing. This year, I am co-sponsoring the Cash For College Workshop, in partnership with the East Bay Consortium CalSoap Program and The Willie McGee Foundation to help high school seniors apply for financial aid. During these workshops financial aid professionals and trained volunteers will provide step-by-step assistance to students and families through the financial aid applications for state and federal funding.   Free tax preparation will also be provided if students and families bring their social security cards, W-2 forms and any other tax related documents. I invite you to learn more about college financing at the Cash For College Workshop hosted by Contra Costa College:
Saturday, February 5th, 2005

10:00am - 2:00pm

Contra Costa College

2600 Mission Bell Drive

San Pablo, CA 94806

I hope that you will assist me in spreading the word about this important event.

Money should not prevent a bright, energetic, young person from pursuing a college education.

For more information about this and other Cash For College Workshops in the East Bay, please contact The East Bay Consortium Office at (510) 879-8367.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

We've heard this before

The Lytton tribe says their Vegas-style casino will generate new jobs, but we know that the price paid will be a lot higher. Read what the Contra Costa Times says about it.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Opposition massing in Oakland

The casino proposed for Oakland is as popular as the one proposed for San Pablo. No matter how many places these things sprout up, people recognize them for what they are, and are speaking out.

Read the article here.