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".


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