Editorial: California communities left out of tribal gaming debate

"What does the Obama administration have against the residents of Amador County?

Tiny Amador, home to just 38,000 people, is fighting a pitched battle with the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs to prevent the construction of two giant new Indian casinos in its backyard. The locals have a legitimate beef and the feds need to listen.

In one lawsuit filed last month, the county seeks to prevent the Ione Band of Miwok Indians from building a gambling palace in Plymouth. The charming but far from completely spruced-up hamlet of just 1,000 inhabitants sits in northwest Amador. Plymouth lacks the road system, law enforcement presence, water, sewers and other vital infrastructure to support such a large development.

Despite persistent objections from the county's elected officials, the acting assistant secretary of Indian Affairs in May reversed a decision of his Bush administration predecessor and took 228 acres of land near Plymouth into trust on behalf of the Ione Band, so the tribe can build a casino. If it stands, the federal action means the tribe will not have to comply with a rule that requires it to show that gambling at that location would "not be detrimental to the surrounding community.""

Get the Story:
Editorial: Communities get the shaft as Indian casinos keep expanding (The Sacramento Bee 7/15)

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