Voting: Casino's biggest gamble
After three years, the votes are in, and the good people of Yuba County have spoken about tribal gaming.
There seemed little doubt a casino would be a tough sell. It seemed that way in 2002, when the folks from Enterprise Rancheria magically appeared before the board of supervisors at a July night meeting - with no notice on the agenda - to announce their grand plan.
A few months later, the tribe's corporate backer produced its very own opinion poll, showing close to overwhelming support for the casino.
According to the poll, 57 percent of the people surveyed agreed with this statement: “I support economic development in Yuba County. I would support a gambling facility if it is well planned and will generate good jobs and extra income for the county.”
The tribe's then-attorney pontificated: “The tribe is very pleased to know that the many expressions of support we've gotten from the community are really the sentiments of the large majority of Yuba County, and that the negative and often uneducated comments we've received are actually from a small minority.”
So much for scientific opinion polls. The only poll that really counts is on election day.
Enterprise Rancheria needed that 57 percent support a few days ago. It didn't get it. Not even close.
As for a casino being built in Yuba County in this century, the odds of that happening are about as good as this columnist winning $1 million at Thunder Valley.
Over there, over there: Yuba-Sutter may be near the bottom when it comes to a lot of socio-economic indicators, but it's near the top when it comes to military recruitment.
That's according to the National Priorities Project, which this month released info about 2004 military recruitment rates across the country, broken down by counties.
The information was obtained by Peacework Magazine through Freedom of Information Act requests to the Pentagon.
Wonder how Peacework stands on the war in Iraq?
In California, Yuba County had the fourth highest recruitment rate, while Sutter County was 13th.
The recruitment rate is the rate per 1,000 youths age 18 to 24 who go into the military.
The statewide rate is 5.2 per 1,000. In Yuba County, it's 9.1. Sutter County's rate is 6.7 per 1,000.
Modoc County had the highest rate at 11.8. Santa Cruz County, a hotbed of peace activism, was last at 2.1.
In actual numbers, it was 68 recruits in Yuba County last year and 63 in Sutter County. Los Angeles County had the most - 3,723 - but its rate was lower because its population is bigger.
Of the top counties in California, only two - Sacramento and Solano - could be considered urban.
The others in the top 15 are Modoc, Shasta, Inyo, Glenn, Tehama, Lake, Nevada, Tuolumne, Amador, Siskiyou and Calaveras counties.
Very rural. Very conservative.
Nationally, according to the National Priorities Project, 64 percent of recruits were from counties with median household incomes below the U.S. median - $43,052.
Only four of the top 15 California counties - Solano, Nevada, Amador and Sacramento - have median household incomes higher than the national average.
Conspicuously missing from the list are California's coastal counties, which have high incomes and generally liberal viewpoints.
Harold Kruger's column, Off Beat, appears on Sundays. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org; call him at 530-749-4717; or fax him at 530-741-0140. You can also write him at the Appeal-Democrat, P.O. Box 431, Marysville, CA 95901-0431.