Article: reg. required.
The battle over the four Indian compacts on the February ballot already figured to be an expensive one.
But the costs – and stakes – went up today when the Pala Band of Mission Indians donated $2.5 million to oppose rival tribes' casino expansion compacts on the Feb. 5 ballot.
The tribe, which operates a casino near San Diego, had previously given $500,000 to gather signatures for the four referendums to challenge the compacts, but had not promised to financially back the campaign itself.
In August, tribal attorney Howard Dickstein, who represents Pala and a second tribe which gave $500,000 for signature gathering, the United Auburn Indian Community, told The Bee, "What they have decided is to provide financial support for the signature gathering. If and when it qualifies for the ballot, they will have a fresh look at what, if any, participation they will have in the campaign."
Now it’s clear that Pala, which runs the Pala Casino Spa & Resort, is backing the effort to overturn the compacts, at least to the initial tune of $2.5 million.
The last time the Pala tribe donated to the referendum effort, a similar sized check was sent by the United Auburn tribe within two weeks.
Al Lundeen, a spokesman for the referendum effort, wouldn’t comment if more money was on the way from United Auburn , saying that revealing the campaign’s finances “would give our strategy away.”
As for the $2.5 million, he said, “We’ve felt all along we would be running a campaign until Election Day and this gives us a better opportunity to do that.”
All told those groups have reported raising $8.7 million, though much of the money was spent qualifying the referendums for the ballot. OP: You know the ballot that our Governor and Pechanga don't want YOU to vote on. PLEASE: NO ON 94. The big 4 tribes have $34 million war chest. And for Pechanga, it's a shrinking tribe, they don't need expansions before the smaller tribes get theirs. We don't have funds, we have the power of the pen and keyboards.