Opinion: Say no to off-reservation casino in California

"Sometime in the next 10 weeks, and despite opposition from Richmond's mayor, the governor, the state's two U.S. senators, and what seems to be a lot of Richmond residents, the City Council could vote to transfer Point Molate's title to Upstream LLC, a consortium put together by a Berkeley developer who also represents a small band of Pomo Indians that he hopes will become California's next gaming tribe.

Upstream has already paid the city a $15 million nonrefundable deposit toward a possible $50 million purchase price, promising to build the most eco-sustainable casino, hotel and housing complex this side of Las Vegas.

The developer has promised tens of millions more dollars from imagined future gambling revenues to the city, county, environmental critics and others. Along with the land transfer, Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar would have to agree to convert Point Molate into reservation land for urban gaming. If he doesn't, Upstream could turn around and sell the land to a third party, such as Chevron Corp., which has a huge production facility just over the ridgeline.

Some on the City Council seem to take the promise of casino jobs for maids and security guards as the best they can provide their low-income constituents, even though I see no indication that this is what the people of Richmond support."

Get the Story:
David Helvarg: Don't gamble with Point Molate (The San Francisco Chronicle 1/8)