Friday, October 14, 2016

Tribe seeks to build casino in Vallejo

An Indian tribe from the Clear Lake area has set its sights on building a casino in Vallejo, much to the chagrin of local officials. The Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians is targeting a parcel off of Admiral Callaghan Lane and Columbus Parkway near Interstate 80. But, a casino won’t be built there without a fight. In a July letter to the U.S. Department of the Interior, City Attorney Claudia Quintana said that such a casino would “significantly affect” Vallejo by limiting the city’s authority to regulate and tax the land. “Approval of a tribal casino would also unquestionably cause significant impacts to the natural and human environment in and around the city of Vallejo,” Quintana wrote. “Such a casino would entail biological impacts, water impacts, impacts on traffic and noise to the neighboring area, among others.” The city contends the tribe failed to prove a connection to the land, since its ancestral area is located 60 miles away from Vallejo. In a letter dated Aug. 23, Solano County Supervisor Erin Hannigan wrote that the board had learned about the proposed casino almost eight months after the Scotts Valley Band asked the federal government to determine if the property would support a casino. Neither the tribe nor the federal government contacted the county, Hannigan wrote. She also suggested the tribe may be “reservation shopping,” based on the distance between Vallejo and the tribe’s ancestral territory and current headquarters, and the evidence that the Vallejo area is actually the ancestral territory of other tribes like the Patwin. “This ‘reservation shopping’ by the Scotts Valley Band takes away economic opportunity from tribes that actually have historic ties to the lands encompassed by Solano County,” she wrote. Federal officials, along with nearby tribes, have also expressed concern about the lack of notice and transparency this process has taken compared with how these things have been done in the past, as well as the lack of interest in local input and the unusual speed with which it all seems to be happening...more

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