Editorial: Stop monkeying with Mechoopda Tribe over casino plan

"Our view: When important land-use issues are decided in a federal court in Washington rather than locally, our citizens lose. Drop the lawsuits and start talking.

We've heard many governments complain over the years about monkey wrenchers — people who oppose everything and file nuisance lawsuits with the intention of either killing the proposal or, more likely, just stalling it for a very long time.

Now we see government doing the monkey wrenching.

Butte County, which didn't raise a legal challenge when two Oroville-based tribes wanted to build casinos, is fighting the plans of a Chico-based tribe to do the same. The county has even gone so far as to hire a professor to challenge the tribe's heritage and say the Mechoopda aren't really a tribe — not the smartest PR move ever in light of the government's history of mistreating Indians.

Any hope of the two sides talking to settle their differences ended right there.

The Mechoopda have been talking for more than a decade about building a casino near the intersection of highways 149 and 99. The county took no stance on the project at first, then stepped up its opposition. It has now spent about $400,000 on outside attorneys to argue against the proposal.

Those county attorneys won a battle in federal appeals court this week, but it's far from a milestone victory. Rather, it's just a ruling that delays a real decision for quite a while longer. Monkey wrenching."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Quit monkeying with Mechoopda (The Chico Enterprise-Record 7/15)

Also Today:
Mechoopda Casino Latest (KHSL-TV 7/14)

D.C. Circuit Decision:
Butte County v. Hogen (July 13, 2010)

Related Stories:
Mechoopda Tribe weighs move after losing gaming land decision (7/14)
DC Circuit reverses land-into-trust decision for Mechoopda Tribe (7/13)
County waits for ruling in case against Mechoopda Tribe casino (6/28)
County to appeal ruling on Mechoopda casino (5/13)
Judge dismisses lawsuit against Mechoopda casino (4/15)