Hard Rock International executives who visited here last week along with tribal members of the Enterprise Rancheria, pledge that they’ll be good corporate citizens. And they have the mantra in place to remind themselves of that pledge – a set of four principles.
Mark Birtha, newly-designated president of the the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sacramento at Fire Mountain, now under construction in Yuba County, put it out there:
1. Love all, serve all.
2. All is one.
3. Save the planet.
4. Take time to be kind.
That doesn’t sound like the philosophical points of most of corporate America, especially of a company specializing in gambling. But Hard Rock is a different sort of outfit. Bought up in 2007 by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, it’s much of what made them attractive to the local tribe that’s been scratching and clawing to get a casino built here for the last 17 years.
Tribal chairperson Glenda Nelson talked about the company’s prowess and experience ... but also about how their morals matched up with the local tribe’s.
There’s bound to be some skepticism of those four standards. It’s a casino operation. But we were pleasantly surprised that they introduced themselves via those standards. They could have hung their hats on managing for efficiency and profitability – perfectly legitimate points for a corporation to brag on. But they talked about treating people well and serving the community before they got into other things.
Qualms about a big-time gambling operation? Many of us have at least a twinge of concern. Yet, gambling persists and will whether there’s a casino here or not.
Some other points to keep in mind:
• Those Hard Rock officials said that where they build, they don’t see increases in problems such as crime or homelessness. And problem gambling remains about the same as it would have been without a casino.
Additional problems are small when put into context – they’ll be adding another 1,300 to 1,400 jobs to the local economy, working with local utilities, funding local programs, partnering with local governments and Yuba College...
The local hotel and casino will be open, it’s expected, in about a year.
• Of those jobs they’ll be adding, they have an agreement that preference will be given tribal members and to local residents. In a deal this large, there are bound to be a great many hires made from the greater Sacramento area. But there should be plenty of opportunity for locals.
They didn’t get into specifics but did say that the jobs would be above minimum wage and would include benefits.
• There’s some fear that the small band, the Estom Yumeka Maidu Tribe of the Enterprise, would get sidelined in tandem with a big outfit such as Hard Rock. Not going to happen, according to Nelson and Hard Rock officials.
They’re partners and, again, they emphasize that it’s a great partnership and that the local tribal members are fully involved in decision making and philosophy.
“We are blessed to have the Seminole Tribe of Florida partnered with us on this. It’s a game changer. I think we will all see that,” said Nelson.
Our View editorials represent the opinion of the Appeal-Democrat and its editorial board and are edited by the publisher and/or editor. Members of the editorial board include: Publisher Glenn Stifflemire and Editor Steve Miller.