Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Breaking NEWS!!!

Senator Dianne Fienstein's legislation on Casino San Pablo passed the Senate Indian affairs Committee today! With a 10-3 bipartisan vote this legislation would require the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians to go through the standard BIA process before opening a casino at Casino San Pablo. More updates to come on this breaking news!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

It's Time to Come Together as a Community...

The City of Richmond has been suffering from a cycle of chronic systematic violence. In order to survive, we must come together as a community and support the families who have lost loved ones. Additionally, we must begin to work constructively and develop a regional crime prevention plan that will stop this cycle of violence. Crime prevention programs including seamless technology sharing among law enforcement are vital in addressing this problem.

But as a community, to achieve healing, we must set aside our differences and, working together, we can stop this senseless violence.

Please read this article in the Contra Costa Times

Monday, June 20, 2005

Bay Area message gets through to urban gambling

From the Oakland Tribune...

THE Koi Nation will have to go shopping elsewhere for a "reservation" on which to build an urban casino.

The Oakland City Council and an unhappy public have sent the tribe packing with its plans to build a 2,000-slot casino near the Oakland International Airport.

Even the tribe's offer to pay the city $30 million a year for 20 years wasn't enough incentive to get the city's support.

Read the rest of the article by clicking here.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Special Interest Spends Millions and the People Lose.


On Monday night, the Governor called a special election in November. As a result, political observers have estimated close to two hundred million dollars will be spent by “special interests” to promote or defeat the proposed ballot initiatives. The Governor will undoubtedly use his pulpit and his ability to continue raising millions of dollars from the business and corporate interests that support his agenda. On the other side, grass roots organizations and labor groups whose members include nurses, teachers and firefighters will be raising millions of dollars to combat these initiatives. Unfortunately, in the midst of this special interest arms race, the people lose. 

Unfortunately, not one of the Governor’s proposed ballot measures will bring real reform to California. In fact, only one of as many as ten ballot measures even attempts to address the elections system – the proposal to have redistricting conducted by retired judges. But even the redistricting proposal will not touch the issue of “special interest” money that the governor claimed he came to Sacramento to “sweep away. 

Until we have a serious discussion about publicly financing elections we will continue to see abuses by the Governor and special interests in our Initiative and legislative process. I oppose this special election because it special interest driven....

Read more about it here.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Koi Nation Deal Highlights Needs for Prop 1A Reform


Last Week the Koi Nation agreed to withdraw their proposal for a casino at the Arrowhead Marsh in Oakland. I applaud their response to community opposition to the casino. The casino proposal at Oakland is yet another attempt by Las Vegas developers to put casinos in California urban areas. These projects are often put forward over the objections of the local community and represent how Prop 1A needs reform to clarify that urban casinos were never intended when Prop 1A was passed by the the voters.

Read more about it in the Oakland Tribune.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Breaking News!!!


Today Legacy Partners announced it will withdraw its proposal to build a massive 200,000 square foot casino with the Koi Nation at Oakland International Airport. We applaud Legacy Partners and the Koi Nation's response to the overwhelming opposition in the community to the casino at Arrowhead Marsh. Thanks to grass-roots organizing by concerned citizens, advocates in the environmental community, the faith-based community and strong opposition spearheaded by Jean Quan of the Oakland City Council, we have strongly and successfully opposed the construction of one more controversial casino with long-term detrimental and negative impacts on the Bay Area.

Read more about the breaking news here!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Actions of GOP Operatives Illuminates Needs for Reforms

This is an article that reports on the scandal of two key GOP operatives pressuring tribes for money and campaign contributions in exchange for political favors. Read on about how this scandal has prompted hearings in Washington DC and further illuminate the need for greater transparency with respect to tribal gambling operations and necessitate a serious look at real and substantial campaign finance reform through publicly financing campaigns.

Read the article by clicking here.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Congress is working to resolve the issue...

Congress is working diligently to resolve the issue of off-reservation casinos. They are currently seeking legislation that will address the very important issues and concerns we have brought to their attention.
Pombo's bill hearing draws debate on East Bay casinos

SACRAMENTO - The East Bay took center stage Monday in a brewing political debate over American Indian tribes pushing for casinos in prime gambling markets, and whether local communities should have the power to stop them.

Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, chairman of the House Resources Committee, drew a packed crowd near the state Capitol for a field hearing on his bill to change the 17-year-old federal law that laid the foundation for a vast expansion of Indian gaming.

The controversial draft bill would grant a local jurisdiction veto power over tribes seeking "off-reservation" land for gaming. It also would create two "Indian Economic Opportunity Zones" in each state, where tribes could cluster casinos.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Let the Hearings Begin...

Here is the agenda for Congressman Pombo's hearings on Off Reservation Gaming. We will continue working with the Committee in looking at these controversial issues and we will follow the Senator Feinstein's legislation (S 113) closely. Please continue to check this blog for updates. For a copy of S 113 please CLICK HERE.
California State Library
914 Capitol Mall, Room 500
Sacramento, CA
Monday, June 6th, 2005
12:00 p.m.


The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Resources will hold an oversight field hearing on “A discussion draft bill regarding Indian gaming and its need and effects in Northern California.”


Chairman David Beltran
Lower Lake Rancheria of Koi Nation

Supervisor Valerie Brown, Sonoma County
Northern California Counties Tribal Matters Consortium

Assemblymember Loni Hancock
14th Assembly District, State of California

Tribal Treasurer Leslie Lohse
Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians

Chairwoman Margie Mejia
Lytton Rancheria

Supervisor Mike McGowan, Yolo County
California State Association of Counties
Chairman, Indian Gaming Working Group

Chairman Wayne R. Mitchum
Cachil Dehe Band of Winton Indians (Colusa Indian Community)

Chairman Virgil Moorehead
Big Lagoon Rancheria

Pat O’Brien, General Manager
East Bay Regional Parks District

Cheryl Schmit, Director
Stand Up for California

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Urban Casino's Do Not Bring the Economic Prosperity Promised

This excerpt is from an article in the Chronicle by David Lazarus showing just how much San Pablo would benefit from a casino... not at all.
The Lytton Band's tribal chairwoman, Marjie Mejia, reiterated in testimony before state lawmakers in January that the casino will create jobs and bring prosperity to the area.

"As people who understand what it is to be poor, we are committed to providing our fair share to the people of the East Bay and California," she said.

But Bill Thompson, a professor of public administration at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, sees things differently.

He's done extensive work on the economic impact of urban casinos, including a recent analysis of the proposed 2,500-slot-machine San Pablo complex. His study was commissioned by opponents of the project.

"For a casino to boost the local economy, it has to bring in money from other places, and that money needs to be spent outside the casino," Thompson told me.

"I don't see a deluge of outside dollars into the Bay Area by putting a casino in San Pablo. I see money being taken from other parts of the town. I see stores and restaurants closing.

"I don't see Las Vegas," Thompson said. "I see Atlantic City."

I know what he's talking about. I visited Atlantic City recently and saw for myself how the glittering mega-casinos looming over the boardwalk stand apart from the rest of the town.

Inside the casinos, I saw thousands of seniors and working-class people pumping coins into slots and gambling away money at green-felt card tables.

I saw restaurants, shops and entertainment with prices that were low enough to discourage visitors from ever going elsewhere.

Outside the casinos, I saw boarded-up storefronts and neighborhoods that had clearly seen better days, with none of the vitality of, say, Las Vegas' commercial and residential areas.

Read the rest of the Chronicle article by clicking here.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

They just can't take a hint...


The casino proposals are not gone. As this article by John Simerman of the Contra Costa Times shows, we are winning, but the battle has just begun. I will continue to keep you informed of the ongoing hearings and issues as they develop.
Long odds for casinos in East Bay

Scotts Valley, the Guidiville Band of Pomo Indians and Lower Lake Rancheria-Koi Nation face long odds for casino rights in North Richmond, Richmond and Oakland -- even if the local communities warm to the idea.

"What people don't understand is how difficult this really is," said Michael Derry, who heads the Guidiville band's economic development company. "Not everybody's going to make it."

Most likely none of them will, said George Forman, an attorney for several California tribes.

"A 50 to 1 shot just won the Kentucky Derby. I don't have a way of putting a number on it," said Forman, "except to say that what is being asked hasn't really been done before."

The tribes' chances didn't improve any last week, when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger fired a warning shot at a raft of urban casino proposals in California.

The governor formally pledged to oppose all of them -- except for two tribes that already have federal rights to gaming land.

One of the two is the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians, which has a deal with Schwarzenegger for a casino with as many as 2,500 slots in San Pablo, but no approval from the Legislature. The other, Federated Indians of the Graton Rancheria, hopes to build a casino near Rohnert Park in Sonoma County.

Read the full article by clicking here.