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QUOTATION: People often say that, in a democracy, decisions are made by a majority of the people. Of course, that is not true. Decisions are made by a majority of those who make themselves heard and who vote - a very different thing. - Walter H. Judd

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2004-08-21 - 1:19 p.m.

"In gambling the many must lose
in order that the few may win"

California's Governor Schwarzeneggar recently signed a compact with the Lytton Indian tribe for a proposed gigantic casino in the Bay Area City of San Pablo just off already congested I-80. We always dread going to Berkeley or S.F. on the days there is a race at the track near Berkeley, because traffic can be so backed up. In fact, we often have to leave home in Davis at 11 a.m. to get to the theatre in time for a 2 p.m. matinee performance because traffic is so unpredictable even on a Sunday. [62 miles - What should normally be an hour and 20 minute trip. ] From Pinole to the Bay Bridge is currently often bumper-to-bumper. Imagine what it will be like with the added traffic headed from all points east and west toward that 600,000 sq. foot casino with its 5,000 slot machines? What ARE they thinking? $$$$, I guess.

The governor’s office, in a briefing for reporters, has released more details on its deal for a massive new Las Vegas-style Indian casino in San Pablo in the Bay Area, even though the governor says he remains an opponent of urban gambling. He approved the San Pablo deal, they said, because federal legislation granting the Lytton tribe rights to gambling on that location forced his hand. He agreed to a mega-casino, with up to 5,000 slot machines, in the hope that the revenue that would flow from the operation would mitigate all the ill effects from the casino.

Among the provisions:

  • The tribe will have to conduct an environmental impact report and then get the sign-off of the city of San Pablo, Contra Costa County and Cal Trans before going forward. The deal might eventually include a new freeway off-ramp into San Pablo from Interestate-80. [I would certainly hope so!]

  • The governor’s office expects the state’s take to be at least $150 million a year, which would be 25 percent of the casino’s earnings from not just slots but card games as well. Payments to the city, county and CalTrans would be deducted from that amount. The remainder would go to the general fund.

  • A 35-mile exclusion on competing casinos would take another “act of Congress” for Schwarzenegger to approve another urban casino.

  • The casino will participate in the state’s workers compensation program for injured workers, abide by Cal-Osha worker safety regulations, and allow employees to organize in union via a secret ballot if they wish. State and local law enforcement will have their run of the place, and the state will have considerably more leeway in regulating the operation than it has with other Indian casinos.

  • The casino will abide by extensive requirements concerning pathological gambling in its advertising and promotion and will have to prominently display warnings about compulsive gambling and hotlines for people to be treated. It will allow people to black-list themselves from the joint and will have the right to deny entrance to people it suspects of being problem gamblers.

    A bit of history…

    In December of 1995, the City of San Pablo welcomed Northern California's newest card club. In October of 2003, Casino San Pablo was placed into trust for the Lytton Band of the Pomos Indians.

    Designed by John Malick and Associates, the casino combines classical and Moorish elements for a stunning effect. A 65-foot landmark tower guides visitors to the 71,000 square foot structure where a multi-level water fountain adds a playful ambiance.

    The elegant, Moroccan-themed casino employs over 400 people to ensure that patrons receive the finest service possible. The relaxed atmosphere of the Broiler restaurant with its romantic fireplace allows patrons to enjoy the delicious multi-cultural entrees created by Chef Tom Wicinski. In addition to ordering in the restaurant, food service is available 24-hours a day at the 40 card tables.

    For those interested in live entertainment, the Casino's Oasis Showroom offers a variety of musical concerts and dances. Additional facilities include: a cocktail lounge, valet parking, a banquet room, a gift shop, and game arcade complete with pool tables and the latest in video games.

    Since opening, Casino San Pablo has enthusiastically embraced a good neighbor policy with the City of San Pablo and local organizations. The Casino helped establish the San Pablo Community Foundation, which offers a variety of health and social services as well as recreational and cultural events. The Casino continues to donate generously to this important organization as well as to the Brookside Community Health Center, and numerous local youth teams.

    I’m happy to report that it may have hit a snag, according to anotherarticle in today’s Bee. Sources close to the negotiations say that state Senate President Pro Tem John Burton has demanded the proposal for a 5,000-slot machine casino be scaled back to no more than 2,500 machines. The compact between the State of California and the Lytton tribe includes a deal with a management team headed by another tribe and the Maloof family, which owns the Sacramento Kings and the Palms Hotel Casino in Las Vegas. At that size, negotiators for the tribe and the government argue the casino would not make enough money to pay the management fee nor would they be able to finance costly road improvements or local government costs.

    "It's an economy-of-scale thing," said one source close to the negotiations. "It costs as much to build an interchange off I-80 and do all the other things if you have a 2,000-machine casino as it does if you have 4,000 or 5,000 machines, and you have a helluva a lot less money to pay for them."

    Based on revenue reports from similarly sized Indian casinos in Connecticut, a 5,000-machine casino could generate annual net revenues of $800 million to $1 billion. [And with the state of the California budget, I can imagine the gleam in Arnold’s eyes as we speak!]

    The compacts must be ratified by two-thirds of the Legislature before being sent to the Interior Department for final approval.

    The tribe's original proposal envisioned a casino similar in size to the 70,000-square-foot card room the tribe currently operates on the 9.5-acre parcel. But the new plan foresees a casino covering up to 600,000 square feet. That would be three times the size of the Thunder Valley Casino near Rocklin. The complex would include two casino floors, a giant events center, restaurants, bars and a food court. The compact negotiated this week would allow the tribe to operate up to 5,000 slot machines, although tribal sources said the actual number likely would be closer to 4,000

    * * * * * * * *

    Dear Friend,
    A front group for the Bush campaign called 'Swift Boat Veterans for Truth' continue to spread their lies about John Kerry's military record. Their statements have been contradicted by official Navy records, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune and every man who served under John Kerry, yet George Bush refuses to condemn their tactics. Through his silence George Bush is approving their action. In fact, Bush campaign officials in Florida are even promoting events for this front group.

    Today the Kerry campaign is asking all of us to join together and stand with John Kerry. Tell George Bush: stop the smear, get back to the issues. Visit and sign John Kerry's petition. Enough is enough! No matter what these Bush campaign shills now say, John Kerry's commanders in 1969 remarked that 'In a combat environment often requiring independent, decisive action, LTJG Kerry was unsurpassed.' In fact all John Kerry's performance reports (available on John Kerry's website) display an absolutely heroic record of service. John Kerry's campaign has just released a new internet ad (below)called 'Old Tricks' which shows John McCain asking George Bush to apologize for attacking his own heroic record in the Republican primary election of 2000. View the ad by visiting: http://www.johnkerry.com/oldtricks or click on the picture below.
    I did -- and I'd appreciate it if you would, too. TIA.

    Joan Callaway
    You might want to stop by and play this latest Kerry video.

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