-
Tom Butt for Richmond City Council The Tom Butt E-Forum About Tom Butt Platform Endorsements of Richmond Councilmember Tom Butt Accomplishments Contribute to Tom Butt for Richmond City Council Contact Tom Butt Tom Butt Archives
-
E-Mail Forum
RETURN
Chronicle Editorializes Against Point Molate

A bad bet

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A guest tries his luck at a bank of slot machines at the ...

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has helped bring an expansion of casino gambling to the state during his tenure, is finally drawing the line. He has joined the chorus in opposing a plan for Las Vegas-style gambling at Point Molate in Richmond.

The proposed site, as the governor notes in a please-don't letter to the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs, is the wrong spot for a new casino. Schwarzenegger has struck deals that increased gambling in exchange for more state revenue, a position that's contributed to larger-scale California casinos.

But the Republican governor - along with Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer - is opposing the land transfers for the bayside casino plan for an important reason: It would open the floodgates to casinos in urban areas, not the rural locations that voters intended in two statewide ballot measures that gave the go-ahead to tribal gaming.

These leaders are right to put the brakes on the Point Molate site. Opening up there, north of the eastern end of the Richmond-San Rafael bridge, would shred the general bargain between voters and the tribes: Reservations with few economic resources could host casinos in a bid for tribal self-help. These ballot measures - and the tribal leaders who backed them - never anticipated acres of slot machines in the Bay Area or other population centers.

It's easy to see why tribes are headed in this direction. After a quick boom, the gambling industry, which operates many of the tribal casinos, is stumbling. The recession has killed expansion plans at many casinos and left empty hotel rooms and overdue debts in resorts such as Atlantic City and Las Vegas. Moving off reservation land for acreage closer to big cities could mean an edge. It's a strategy that tribes are pushing, this time in the name of job creation in an era of 10 percent-plus unemployment.

But California, with some 60 casino-sponsoring tribes, has more than enough. The state's voters have endorsed limited gambling - contained on reservation land and limited by state compacts. As it is, the proliferation of large-scale casino gaming in California has far exceeded the contours of the measure that was sold to voters when they passed Proposition 1A in 2000.

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/10/15/ED3Q1A5GTM.DTL

This article appeared on page A - 14 of the San Francisco Chronicle

2009 Hearst Communications Inc. | Privacy Policy | Feedback | RSS Feeds | FAQ | Site Index | Contact