The obvious benefit of building a casino near an urbanized area such as Rohnert Park with quick access to a major highway is that it brings gaming closer to more potential customers.
But what should be just as obvious is that the closer you get to an urbanized area — and the larger the project becomes — the more significant the environmental impacts are and the more susceptible the project will be to criticism. Furthermore, the closer you get to starting construction, the higher the volume of that criticism becomes.
Both of those factors were at play this week as relations between the community and the Graton Rancheria appeared to hit a low point — just as construction on the 3,000-slot casino began. But it doesn't appear that Greg Sarris, the chairman of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, and others behind the project were prepared for it. This despite the fact that, when it comes to building this casino, they appear to hold all the cards."
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Editorial: Getting off to a better start with casino talks
(The Santa Rosa Press-Democrat 6/24)
Update provides details on Graton
Rancheria casino construction