Off Beat: DiFi still fighting Yuba County casino
When she's not introducing gun control laws, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., is aiming at Indian casinos. And she gets some of her ammo from Yuba County.
On March 6, Feinstein reintroduced her Tribal Gaming Eligibility Act, which will cut down on reservation shopping by tribes.
To bolster her point, Feinstein cited the cases of Richmond and Yuba County.
In both areas, voters had advisory measures on proposed casinos.
"So Richmond voters made it clear how they felt by overwhelmingly rejecting the advisory measure by a margin of 58 to 42. Voters also elected two new City Council members who strongly opposed the casino. It was an unambiguous rejection of this reservation shopping proposal," Feinstein said, according to the Congressional Record.
"Fortunately, the Department of the Interior rejected the misguided Point Molate proposal. But voters in Yuba County were not so lucky."
Feinstein then described the history of the Enterprise Rancheria proposal.
Somehow, she described Yuba County as "suburban."
"In 2005, Yuba County voters had an opportunity to weigh in on a casino in this mostly rural and suburban Northern California community. By a margin of 52-48, voters rejected the proposal. Many cited concerns about crime as a reason they opposed the project," she said.
"But after the dust settled, the Department of the Interior decided to move forward with the project anyway. Despite the fact that voters rejected it and only one of the 21 public officials in the area polled on the issue expressed support for the project."
The senator chided the Department of the Interior, saying its "claim that even one local official supported the project is dubious. The so-called support is based on a memorandum of understanding the county entered into prior to the advisory election. The county never offered a letter of support when consulted and still has not to this day."
Feinstein neglected to mention that the Marysville City Council, on a 4-1 vote in October 2011, approved a letter of support for the project.
The city stands to benefit financially if the casino ever is built.
"As a former mayor, I know the financial pressures that local governments face, especially in these tough times," Feinstein said.
"The temptation to support large casinos, with the promises of hundreds of construction jobs, can be strong.
"But I also know the heavy price that society pays for the siren song of gambling. This price includes addiction and crime, strained public services and increased traffic congestion."