Column: Winners and losers for Graton Rancheria casino

"If Proposition 1A to amend the California Constitution in March 2000 had proposed to open up the state to billion-dollar Las Vegas gambling interests with no provision for them to pay taxes on the money they take out of our communities, it probably wouldn't have passed.

But Prop 1A asked us to allow the governor to negotiate compacts with federally recognized tribes to operate slot machines and other games of chance on Indian tribal lands in California. Californians passed that with a 65-percent landslide.

If Proposition 1A had proposed that we allow development of a $433 million casino and resort project on 254 acres of farmland just outside the Rohnert Park city limits, it probably would have caused a bit of a debate in Sonoma County.

But the Federated Indians of the Graton Rancheria didn't have tribal lands in March of 2000, in Rohnert Park or anywhere else, and they had no announced plans to develop a casino. So Sonoma County voters supported Prop 1A with a 56-percent majority."

Get the Story:
Chris Coursey: 3,000 slot machines will create winners and losers (The Santa Rosa Press-Democrat 4/13)

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