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12/31/2003 Entry: "It's Little Big Horn all over again"

"The odds of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger arm-wrestling a 'fair-share' 25 cents out of every dollar netted by Indian slot machines are about as likely as your winning the Lotto.

"The gaming tribes wield too much clout. Their political contributions have bought them the loyalty of many legislators. And the law is on their side.

"'I don't think (Schwarzenegger) had the foggiest idea what he was talking about when he was talking 'fair share," said Mark Macarro, chairman of the Pechanga Band of Luiseo Mission Indians near Temecula.

"Further complicating the issue is a ballot proposal dubbed the Gaming Revenue Act of 2004. Submitted by the sheriffs of Los Angeles and Sacramento counties, the initiative is under review by the state attorney general's office and is being targeted for the November ballot if enough signatures can be collected.

"As the initiative is written, it could result in Las Vegas-style gambling moving off the reservations and into urban areas at card clubs and racetracks. That would occur if the tribes don't pay the state 25 percent of their slot revenues.

"Five racetracks would share 30,000 slots, and 11 card clubs would share another 30,000. Thirty percent of net winnings from the slots would go to a fund for abused and neglected children, local public safety and other purposes.

"But the initiative also would exempt the racetracks and card clubs with slots from certain tax increases, allow the racetracks to discontinue horse races and exclude more than 80 other card clubs and two racetracks from getting slots.

"Opponents claim the initiative may violate federal law and could be struck down as misleading by the federal courts.

"'They have got Indian tribes as whipping boys to stir up support for the expansion of gambling,' said Howard Dickstein, a lawyer representing such tribes as the Pala Band of Mission Indians in San Diego County.

"Proponents of the initiative did not return phone calls regarding the legal implications."

But, hey, we don't have to pay the vehicle tax and think of all the money we'll save because we can't afford to go to camping either.

"The state's demand for a bigger share of Indian revenue began shortly after the 2002 re-election of then-Gov. Gray Davis. He asked the tribes to pay $1.5 billion into the state's ailing general fund. The tribes were outraged.

"Davis also demanded that local governments have a say in casino construction to head off negative off-reservation impacts. Tribes said it was an infringement on their sovereignty.

"'Our goal has never been to be good neighbors,' said Jacob Coin, executive director of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association. 'We tried the good- neighbor thing in 1492, and look where it got us.'

Ha... yeah, well... um...

"Collectively, a majority of gaming tribes already contribute about $125 million each year to two state funds. The funds are supposed to give $1.1 million each year to tribes that don't have gaming or have fewer than 350 slots, to support gambling addiction treatment and to pay for the state's oversight of Indian gaming.

"The funds also are used to ease the negative effects of casinos on cities and counties. San Bernardino County is to receive $1.5 million next year and Riverside County $10.5 million."
Power to the players. Indian tribes gain clout with gaming, making gov.'s effort challenging, by Ben Schnayerson, Long Beach Press Telegram, December 30, 2003

So, let me understand this, casinos on Indian Reservations out in the trees have such negative effects on the cities and counties near them, that the tribes pay several million a year to mitigate those negative effects. And now the Sheriffs, who see many negative effects of all sorts of things (including gambling), want to bring all this negativity into the middle of the communities they are sworn to protect? Is it just me or does this sound stupid to anyone else?

But, hey, we don't have t pay the car tax (yet)!

 

 

 

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