In Wednesday’s posting, I discussed why Mayor Glass’ strategy of allying with Greg Sarris and the Graton Indians to stop the Dry Creek Band from building a casino south of town will not work. With the Graton Casino operating, it will be nearly impossible to stop the Dry Creek from obtaining approvals to build a casino just south of Petaluma. Apparently, Mayor Glass responded at a Democratic Party meeting that night by saying that he is often outvoted by the rest of the Council.
This posting addresses two concerns that have been raised.
1. IT IS NOT TOO LATE.
Some people think it is too late to do anything. That is simply not so. There are plenty of examples of illegal Indian casinos that have been shut down.
In September 2001, a Texas District Court found that Speaking Rock Casino and Entertainment Center operated by the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo (the Tigua Indians) was subject to state law and operating illegally and therefore a public nuisance. It ordered the tribe to cease and desist its illegal gaming activities. The appellate court affirmed the injunction in 2002.
In June 2002, a different Texas District Court found that the Alabama-Coushatta Entertainment Center operated by a tribe of the same name was also subject to state law and that its Las Vegas style casino was offering games in violation of Texas law, and it ordered that tribe to cease and desist its illegal gaming activities.
In March 2011, a Michigan District Court issued a preliminary injunction ordering the Bay Mills Indian Community to cease operating a casino which it had just constructed.
In July 2012, an Oklahoma District Court shut down the Kialigee casino.
In August 2013, the Tahlequah casino in Oklahoma was closed after operating illegally for almost three decades.
2. GRATON WILL ACTIVELY OPPOSE DRY CREEK WHETHER OR NOT PETALUMA OPPOSES GRATON
On Thursday, the Argus Courier editorialized that if the city of Petaluma opposes Graton, Graton will no longer actively oppose Dry Creek. That is naïve and wrong. Graton opposes Dry Creek out of its own economic self-interest. If Dry Creek opens a casino south of Petaluma, Dry Creek’s new casino will be 15 miles and 20 minutes closer to San Francisco than Graton’s. That would draw away many of Graton’s customers and make it much harder for Graton to repay the $800 million owed to bondholders. So Graton will vigorously oppose Dry Creek whether or not Petaluma opposes Graton.
If people want to prevent a Dry Creek casino from opening south of town, the best strategy remains to oppose the Graton case and not allow the precedent to be set.