Editorial: Voters need a say on North Fork off-reservation casino

Newspaper says California voters should be able to reject an off-reservation casino for the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians:
Before getting all teary-eyed about the high moral standing of the referendum's proponents, consider who is funding the campaign. In addition to support from gambling opponents, hundreds of thousands of dollars are flowing in from gaming tribes that fear the increased competition and from Wall Street investors who have backed existing Indian casinos.

Regardless of their motivation, the referendum's proponents have a point.

It is time to give voters the opportunity to clarify what they intended when they gave Indian tribes the exclusive right to operate gambling casinos in California. Did voters envision the scale of the Las Vegas-style casinos that have popped up around the state? Or the level of greed these operations would create, resulting in the selective cleansing of tribal membership rolls? No, the vote was a "feel good" effort to right decades of wrong done to Native Americans. Voters thought they were giving disadvantaged communities a financial leg up.

Allowing the Legislature and governor to expand tribal gaming off reservations on a case-by-case basis likely will result in approval going to the highest bidders -- or rather, the biggest campaign donors. Since California voters let the casino genie out of the bottle, it is up to them to decide how far the genie can roam. Californians should sign those petitions to help qualify the referendum for the ballot. Let's put it to a vote in November 2014.

Get the Story:
Editorial: Allow voters to revisit Indian casino deal (The Bakersfield Californian 9/5)

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Column: Wall Street firms fund anti-North Fork casino efforts (08/28)

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