California | Legislation | Opinion
Graton Chairman: Indian gaming bill was unfair

"In a recent editorial, “Money talks” (Sept. 4), The Press Democrat claimed that “big money and power politics” was the driving force behind a state Senate committee's unanimous rejection of Assemblyman Jared Huffman's resolution on Indian gaming. The real reason the resolution failed is that the resolution was unfair, illegal and bad public policy.

Huffman's resolution urged the governor to require Indian tribes with gaming developments to negotiate agreements with counties as far away as 75 miles. It certainly did not take powerful lobbyists to convince committee members that this provision discriminated against Indian tribes. After all, the resolution expressly singled out tribal casino developments and subjected them to a whole new set of approvals that no other developer would be required to meet.

For instance, the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, which already has mitigation agreements with Rohnert Park and Sonoma County, could have been required to negotiate additional agreements with Marin, San Francisco, Lake, Mendocino and Contra Costa counties.

Although the resolution's 75-mile provision only applied to Indian developments, it would set a precedent for all economic development that could overturn the current permitting system and create a roadblock to virtually all future development. Imagine what would happen if all developments in one county were contingent on approval from a neighboring county. Would Sonoma County accept the conditions for development of its airport imposed by supervisors in Marin or San Francisco?"

Get the Story:
Greg Sarris: Indian gaming resolution died because it was unfair and illegal (The Santa Rosa Press-Democrat 9/15