Column: Graton Rancheria casino affects Sen. Boxer's record

"In the national battleground that is California's U.S. Senate race, weighty issues dominate, like jobs, economic dislocation and California's future, and rightly so.

But sometimes, a politician's seemingly minor actions taken long ago end up having the biggest impact on our lives.

Often, those are the ones politicians would prefer that we forget, like legislation Sen. Barbara Boxer pushed a decade ago that could bring a casino-resort to her electoral backyard, Sonoma County.

On the stump and in debates, Boxer counters Republican challenger Carly Fiorina's charge that she has been a do-nothing senator by pointing to "a thousand Boxer provisions," laws that bear her stamp.

Boxer, seeking her fourth term, displays more than 100 of them on her campaign website. The list is heavy on environmental legislation, detailing how she helped set aside a million acres as wilderness and secured hundreds of millions of dollars for flood control, water and mass transit projects.

But that list omits the Graton Rancheria Restoration Act. Signed by President Bill Clinton in 2000, Boxer's bill restored sovereign rights to a few hundred Miwok and Pomo Indians in the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria.

On Oct. 1, the tribe reached a milestone, albeit without public fanfare. The U.S. Department of Interior took 254 acres into trust, essentially creating a new reservation for Federated Indians directly off Highway 101 south of the Sonoma County city of Rohnert Park – prime land for a Las Vegas-style casino."

Get the Story:
Dan Morain: Old casino bill tarnishes Boxer's green image (The Sacramento Bee 10/10)

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