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Are Rohnert Park's Government Officials Acting Like Las Vegas Mobsters?

An accusation by the coalition against the construction of a Rohnert Park casino likens RP city officials to Las Vegas mobsters. Do you agree?

The big news around Rohnert Park these days is the coming of a casino that's said to bring millions of dollars of revenue for the city and schools in Rohnert Park.

But now an allegation has sprung up that the agreement -- a memorandum of understanding that addresses the impacts of the casino on the city --  between Federation Indian of Graton Rancheria (FIGR) and the city is invalid.

Stop the Casino 101 Coalition said that all construction needs to be stopped and they have filed a court complaint alleging that the gambling compact awarded to the tribe behind the casino is invalid because it is contingent on an agreement that doesn't exist between the city and the tribe.

According to this story in the Press Democrat, the tribe originally had planned the construction of the casino on lands that overlap with the current 254-acre Wilfred Avenue reservation. But the actual location of where construction recently began is not where they tribe stipulated it would be in an existing agreement with the city.

The group that's against the casino said because the location is off, the MOU is invalid and the construction is being done illegally.

In the Press Democrat's story, city officials said are planning to address this issue, at a future time. However, Stop the Casino 101 Coalition is demanding an injunction against the construction of the casino until the matter can be sorted out.

According to a Stop the Casino 101 press release:

The issue of the invalid MOU was raised in the Second Amended Complaint in Stop the Casino 101 Coalition v. Governor Jerry Brown that was filed July 31.  Attorney for the Plaintiffs Michael Healy sent a letter and a copy of the Press Democrat article to Deputy Attorney General Bill Williams today advising them of this admission by the City.

In his letter, Mr., Healy says, "The lack of an effective MOU between the City of Rohnert Park also means that the Compact is not yet in effect and that the current construction activity is illegal. Please advise at your earliest opportunity what steps your client intends to take to halt this illegal activity, so as to avoid the necessity of further law and motion practice.""

"We are calling upon the Governor's office to do what they are required to do, and shut down casino construction now, " said Pastor Chip Worthington, founder of Stop the Casino 101 Coalition (STC101), one of the Plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging the state gambling compact passed in May. "No agreement means no compact means no casino."

"The City knew they had no agreement, the FIGR knew they had no agreement and the Governor's office knew there was no agreement, but they let the compact go forward anyway, and just hoped no one would notice," he said. "Well, we noticed."

"This is unconscionable behavior. The future of our community is at risk, and our government officials are acting like Las Vegas mobsters. From top to bottom, this is a betrayal of the voters' trust."

STC101 has already requested an injunction to stop casino construction in its Second Amended Complaint, but a date for the hearing has not yet been set.

Now we place the question up to the readers of Rohnert Park Patch. Does Stop the Casino 101 have a point? Or are they just delaying the inevitable? Do you support a casino in Rohnert Park?

Tell us in the comments.

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Erica N. August 19, 2012 at 04:56 PM
I agree with Robert Aherne's comment from last week. Las Vegas backed $$ saw the writing on the wall back in the late 80's when Ronald Reagan created the loophole in the law for 'gifted land' to be declared soviern territory. Now we have postage stamp areas of our state (and nationwide) that do not abide by local or state laws banning casions. Las Vegas is loosing market share with the poor economy, and this is taking candy from a baby for them. Now folks won't have to incur the cost of airfare to Vegas - it will be popping up all around us, and the communities are ham-strung. No politician I see anywhere, including our Governor is brave enough to risk the loss of a re-election by simply saying No More. Really sad. The loopholes in the federal law need to be closed. I am all for Native peoples thriving, and living a powerful life in all of America - are Casino's the only way they can achieve this???
Bee Ben August 20, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Rohnert Park City Manager Gabe Gonzalez has written a letter to the Rohnert Park Patch editor, complaining about the headline, "Are Rohnert Park's Government Officials Acting Like Las Vegas Mobsters?" The Patch has not (yet) published this letter. In the letter, Gonzalez states that he finds the headline to be "offensive and terribly insulting to the the hardworking elected and appointed officials...of Rohnert Park." Mr. Gonzalez, you were appointed to a public position by a board of elected representatives. Part of your JOB is to undergo public scrutiny, It was the Stop The Casino 101 Coalition that made that statement; the Rohnert Park Patch published it, clearly identified as such a statement, as a legitimate news item. ANY effort to squelch public discussion of news amounts to an attempt by government authority to exercise censorship. Such control by government at any level,would have been more appropriate in the former Soviet Union. The Patch is not Pravda (another local media outlet is far more in the hip pocket of City government, and we do NOT need another one) and should not be subject to such control, nor should it be "encouraged" to adhere to the City's idea of "acceptable journalistic standard," as the letter states. What is news reportage but a statement of what has happened, as closely to the actual words, facts and actions as possible, not vetted by those in authority who would squelch dissenting views? Shame on you, Mr. Gonzalez.
don August 20, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Bee Ben I have to agree. Mr. Gonzales, if you can't stand the heat, get got of the fire! I as you all have figured out , am not a supporter of the stop the casino people. However, they have the right to make any statements in the "patch" they feel necessary to promote their position, as do I or anyone else. enough said.
John Walsh March 29, 2013 at 09:19 PM
Stop the Casino 101 hah a joke it tis' when are you guys going to stop hating? If you can't beat em' join em' it's time to surrender at this sad game you are hung up on don't you think? RP is actually getting a chance at being on the economic map for once in it's long life. This is great for your economy, it actually gives people a reason to come to your city now, I mean think about it.
don March 29, 2013 at 09:41 PM
Jean Your lack of knowledge is, to say the least, astounding! This whole valley was indian land before it was stolen from them by the europians! If one doesn't know the history of the early Californians then it is best to keep one's mouth shut and listen to those who know whats happening. At least the 101 folks know the truth of what happened.

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