Opinion: Let the public decide the fate of Guidiville Band's casino

"While the 2010 election was seen as a setback by some, for Richmond it marked a tidal shift in a seven-year battle to protect Point Molate, the last large undeveloped headland on the bay, long targeted for an Indian gambling casino. Last week's election demonstrates that even poor communities can assert their right to control their own shorelines and perhaps destiny, despite outside pressures.

On the winning side were the local activists of Citizens For a Sustainable Point Molate and the Richmond Progressive Alliance, which includes the Green Party mayor of this low-income predominantly African American and Hispanic city of just over 100,000.

On the side that didn't win was a Berkeley developer with plans for a $1 billion casino resort, a small band of Pomo Indians hoping to break into urban gaming and an even smaller band of environmentalists. Also, there was Chevron Corp., which has a refinery in Richmond. It put $1 million behind three City Council candidates who were pro-Chevron and pro-casino (though one who had voted for the development while on the council opposed the casino in the election). Upstream LLC, the consortium put together by Berkeley developer Jim Levine, promised to build the most eco-sustainable "destination resort" casino this side of Vegas."

Get the Story:
David Helvarg: Let the people decide future of Point Molate (The San Francisco Chronicle 11/12)

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