Feinstein ‘very opposed' to Enterprise Rancheria casino
If her actions in Washington, D.C., weren't clear enough, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein left no doubt Tuesday as to where she stands on the proposed Yuba County Indian casino, Enterprise Rancheria: Against it.
"I'm very opposed to off-reservation gaming," Feinstein said after speaking at a luncheon in Sacramento presented by the Sacramento Council of Governments and a consortium called the Next Economy Partnership. "If you want to go that route, go back to the ballot and see what voters think about it."
Feinstein, D-Calif., was asked about Enterprise Rancheria, a project slated for empty land near Sleep Train Amphitheatre. She said when state voters approved American Indian casinos in a 2000 ballot initiative, they did so partly because such casinos would be limited to tribal lands.
"What's happened is these landless tribes have gotten land near urban areas, and they're trying to get casinos there," she said.
But with more than 60 existing Indian casinos in California, bringing in billions in annual revenue, Feinstein said, "How many is enough?"
The sponsoring tribe for Enterprise Rancheria, the Estom Yumeka Maidu, could not be reached for comment Tuesday. But tribal representatives have said their situation is unique because their traditional tribal lands were given up during the 1960s for the creation of Lake Oroville.
Opponents have contended the tribe is "reservation shopping" because there are two Indian casinos operated by other tribes near Oroville. Final approval for Enterprise Rancheria is on hold, while the U.S. Department of the Interior takes a second look at how much local support the project has. The further review came at Feinstein's request late last year, and she has pressed federal officials in recent weeks to finish the review after a 60-day window passed in February.
As well, Gov. Jerry Brown has until September to rule on whether land for the casino can be taken into trust. His office has given no indication on how soon he'll issue a decision.
Feinstein's speech focused on federal spending and job creation at the luncheon before more than 100 local government officials and business leaders. She discussed a bill she will introduce to give companies a sizable tax cut if they file a patent for a new invention and then manufacture the device in the United States.
"Sort of the soft side of hardware is innovation, and that's really where we have a leading role," she said of California.
In a brief speech introducing Feinstein, U.S. Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento, said the two planned to visit levees near Sacramento later in the day to help Matsui convince Feinstein of the need to appropriate more money for levee repairs and upgrades in the region.
"We are committed to get the project authorized, funded and completed," Matsui said.
CONTACT Ben van der Meer at bvandermeer @appealdemocrat.com or 749-4786. Find him on Facebook at /ADbvandermeer or on Twitter at @ADbvandermeer.