Opinion: Vote no on California gaming compacts

"Every once in a while voters get a chance to correct a legislative mistake. The Secretary of State has officially qualified four referenda, Propositions 94, 95, 96 and 97, for the February 5, 2008 ballot. That means voters will have a chance to reverse the “sweet heart deal” that the governor and the majority of the legislature made with a few wealthy Tribes. Of course, I’m referring to the Big 4 Gambling Deals -- a political giveaway that would result in unfairly benefiting four of the state’s wealthiest and most powerful Indian tribes at the expense of other tribes, workers and taxpayers.

As an educator, these deals are especially bad because those behind them promise schools will benefit, when the truth is, not one penny is guaranteed to education.

We’ve arrived at this point after these Big 4 Tribes -- Pechanga, Morongo, Sycuan and Agua Caliente – spent millions in campaign contributions to cut themselves a Sacramento deal that dramatically shifts the state’s gaming policy from modest growth to rapid expansion. During the past few months, they spent millions more trying to keep their deals off the ballot by hiring people to block the signature-gathering effort. However, nearly three million referendum signatures were collected to demand the opportunity voters now have to cast a vote against these terrible deals.

Now that they’re in the position of selling their deals to California voters, they’re making misleading claims about the benefits to the state. In his analysis of their recent TV ads, Peter Hecht of the Sacramento Bee called them on it for “suggesting that ‘without these agreements, billions of dollars would disappear from the state budget and our state would get nothing.’ There is nothing to ‘disappear’ because the state treasury currently receives no revenue stream from the tribes.”"

Get the Story:
Marty Hittelman: Big 4 Gambling Deals – A Bad Deal For Education And For California--“No” on 94, 95, 96 and 97 (California Progress Report 11/30)