Monday, August 29, 2005

More on Campaign Finance Reform...

Here is a great article that expresses the need for real campaign finance reform. Public financing of elections or what is commonly referred to as the "Clean Money" system is the only reform that will deal with the impact that special interest money has in campaigns. Please read this inspiring article, and join me in creating real reform.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

"Clean Money" Real Campaign Finance Reform

Not a day goes by that you don't read an article in the news about “gift giving” by special interests, millions of dollars flowing into campaign coffers or out-of-state fundraisers provided by major corporate contributors with an interest in legislation. The time, energy and money spent in fundraising shifts the focus of our representative democracy from working on solutions for everyday people to focusing on solutions for special interests. It is because of this dysfunctional system that I have made campaign finance reform a top priority on my legislative agenda. This 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 taking a single dime from special interests.

Clean Money is the only solution that eliminates the corrosive influence that money has on cogent public policy. It is the only solution to deal with sneak attack ads by independent expenditure committees. It is the only solution that will make legislators beholden to the people that elected

Join our growing Coalition of Clean Money supporters in California! Here is sample list of our growing supporters:

* California Clean Money Campaign

* Common Cause

* League of Woman Voters

* National Organization of Woman

* Grey Panthers

You can see a copy of my legislation at

Friday, August 19, 2005

Our Efforts Are Being Heard!

Our efforts in the Bay Area to curb the rampant abuses seen in urban casinos are being heard around the nation and across our state. This article from LA's City Beat details how effective our efforts have been and what they are similarly facing in Southern California. A great read. But the moral of the story is simple: we must not let up.
Indian gaming interests are working to create gambling sites in urban areas far from any reservation

To critics of urban gambling, this was almost the attack of the killer casino: a roughly 65,000 square-foot, four-story gambling venue to be located in the congested middle class Bay Area community of San Pablo, directly off the heavily traveled Interstate 80, and down the block from Doctors Hospital, where emergency vehicles already have trouble plowing through traffic. But when the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians rolled out its 500 bingo machines in an expanded San Pablo card club on August 1, it was a far cry from the gambling Mecca of the west, and the 5,000 Vegas-style slots originally negotiated with the governor.

But the San Pablo Casino opening was not entirely without fanfare. It came just days after U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein’s bill to halt the casino hit the senate floor. It fueled a growing national debate about “reservation shopping” – the process by which tribes can acquire off-reservation gambling sites, sometimes in heavily populated urban areas.

Read the rest of the article from LA City Beat.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

This is Happening Everywhere!

It is not just in our neighborhood, or even in California that we are experiencing this uncontrolled casino growth. It is happening everywhere. This opinion piece in The Advocate details the continuous problem.
Vitter pushes casino curbs

The law of unintended consequences never was demonstrated more vividly than when the U.S. Congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988. Then, gambling on Indian reservations was a tiny industry based mostly on bingo.

It is a behemoth today.

At about $18 billion a year, with 400 casinos in 30 states, the tribal casinos are not only ubiquitous. They are also a considerable political force, having contributed very heavily to campaigns for Congress.

Read the rest of the story by Clicking Here.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Study Reinforces Concerns About Casino Expansion

This is a great article from today's edition of the Berkeley Daily Planet.
Expansion of Casino San Pablo Could Pose Major Problems, Study Charges

Should Casino San Pablo eventually win approval to expand to a full-scale casino with 2,200 regulation slot machines, the result would cost Contra Costa County medical services a minimum of $3.6 million annually, according to a study released Monday.

The report comes on the day that the casino opened for play with 500 electronic bingo game machines, an interim measure installed after the Lytton Band of Pomos shelved an application to install 2,500 regulation slot machines at the site.

That proposals could be reactivated at any time. The county commissioned the study earlier this year when the larger casino proposal was still pending before the state legislature.

Doug Elmets, the Sacramento-based publicist for the tribe, ridiculed the study.

“Government, academic and industry studies have repeatedly refuted tired and inaccurate studies like this that are always trotted out when casino proposals are made,” he said. “This is just one more ‘the sky is falling’ scam. It isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. There aren’t 2,200 slots. There are 500 electronic bingo games.”

Bad location

“We are very concerned about the public health impacts of an urban casino,” said county Public Health Director Wendel Brunner in a prepared statement. “This is especially troublesome because the negative impacts would be concentrated in San Pablo, Richmond and North Richmond, communities that already have severe community health problems.”

Read the rest of the article by Clicking Here.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Protestors Gather Outside Casino San Pablo!!

This is how it is done! One way or another they are going to get the message that we do not want casino expansion on any front.
(KCBS) SAN PABLO A coalition of groups opposed to the Indian run casino in San Pablo held a protest Saturday outside the urban casino complaining the new outlet for gambling is not a positive development for the community.

"This is all based on greed," said one of the protestors. According to KCBS reporter Henry Mulak a few dozen people gathered down the road from the casino to hear speakers and march in protest over the casino expansion.

In particular the group is opposed to the addition of 500 video bingo machines which critics say are really just slot machines.

Read the rest of the story by clicking here.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Bingo Games "Confusing" and "Addictive"

Here is a great education as to why Video Bingo has the same impact on the community as the highly regulated slot machines they are intended to replace. Read the article below and pay close attention to the responses of some of the patrons who spent good money, while not even really understanding the machines. Because, in one man's words it's "kind of addictive."

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Gambling Opponents (that's us!) Criticize Electric Bingo

This article from the Associated Press appeared in the San Jose Mercury News on Monday. As you can see we are NOT going to let them sneak anything through this loophole. Gambling machines are gambling machines, no matter how they are built, maintained, operated or provide revenue to their owners. We need to continue to make our voice heard until they remove these machines.
SAN PABLO, Calif. - Electronic bingo machines may be popular with gamblers, but they've raised the ire of critics who claim they are slot machines in disguise.

The Lytton Band of Pomo Indians on Monday began offering 500 electronic bingo machines, the first in the state, at its Casino San Pablo. The tribe was previously rebuffed in its efforts to turn its cardroom into a Las Vegas-style casino, and the machines are seen by many as a way to entice more gamblers.

"They're still one-armed bandits. They're still raking in dough at players' expense. There's no difference," said Dean Marshall, a nine-year San Pablo resident and co-chair of the East Bay Coalition Against Urban Casinos.

Critics say the video terminals look, sound and act like slot machines. They say they'll also lead to the same problems: crime, traffic, and addictive gambling.

"Technology has created a loophole big enough to drive a truck through in that these electronic bingo machines really are slot machines, and they are totally unregulated," said Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley.

But Casino San Pablo spokesman Doug Elmets said electronic bingo and slot machines are "inherently different."

Elmets said video bingo players play against each other and not the house, though the house takes a cut. The bingo machines also "operate more slowly and generate substantially less revenue" than slot machines, he said.

The Lytton initially proposed building a casino with as many as 5,000 slot machines on the site of its cardroom near Interstate 80. The tribe couldn't rally enough support for a casino in the state legislature.

Monday, August 01, 2005



You may have heard the Lytton tribe plans to put in electronic "bingo" machines at Casino San Pablo.  These machines look, act and feel like slot machines. Many of my constituents have expressed to me their opposition to the casinos expansion. Unfortunately this is another attempt by the proponents of the casino to expand against the objections of the local community. Federal law allows for unlimited and unregulated "bingo" machines. Therefore, it is vital that we support Senator Feinstein's Senate Bill 113. This bill would require the Lytton tribe to go through the standard public process that every other tribe has gone through to open a casino.

This article in the San Francisco Chronicle tells the story: