Critics cite God in opposing Timbisha Shoshone Tribe casino plan

The Timbisha Shoshone Tribe hopes to build a casino at this site along North China Lake Boulevard in Ridgecrest, California. Image from Google Maps

The Timbisha Shoshone Tribe of California might have to deal with a higher power if it opens an off-reservation casino, critics suggested at a public meeting this week.

The tribe is promising annual payments and other considerations in a municipal services agreement with the city of Ridgecrest. But many residents are openly hostile to the idea, citing concerns about religion, addictions and other social ills.

“Do we want to risk the displeasure of God for $395,000 a year?” Pastor Wayne Porter said at the meeting, The Ridgecrest Daily Independent reported.

According to the paper, most of the people who spoke at the meeting and most of the people in attendance oppose the casino. The opposition was surprising to at least one resident.

A parcel map of the proposed off-reservation casino site in Ridgecrest, California. Image from Timbisha Shoshone Tribe

“I just can’t believe what I’m hearing. I feel like I am in the movie Footloose trying to convince everyone to let us have a dance,” one resident said, the paper reported.

The city has scheduled a town hall next Wednesday to discuss the project. An agenda and a supplemental agenda offer more details about the casino.

The tribe hopes to open a casino near the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake. A land-into-trust application will be submitted to the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The tribe has a reservation in Death Valley National Park but it has to look elsewhere for economic development due to restrictions there.

Get the Story:
Public pans casino plans (The Ridgecrest Daily Independent 4/22)
Casino town hall Wednesday (The Ridgecrest Daily Independent 4/22)

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