The Sacramento Bee has an editorial on the Governor's race. Jerry Brown has taken almost $1 million from tribes. We wrote before that he didn't side with the State on issues that affected his benefactors.
Under Schwarzenegger, tribes including owners of the Cache Creek and Thunder Valley casinos gained the right to unlimited expansion in exchange for making payments to the state. Yet the payments are not public. Remember how they promised expanded gaming would balance our budget? How's that working out for us?
Whether the next governor can ensure those payments remains to be seen. The Obama administration, through its Interior Department, recently rejected a Schwarzenegger administration deal with one tribe, saying payments sought by the state were too high.
The next governor will have to decide how to proceed on that issue.
Another issue awaiting the next governor is whether to legalize Internet gambling within California's boundaries. When The Bee asked Whitman about her views on Internet gambling, she said she had not studied it. When Brown was asked, he said he doubted Internet gambling could be stopped. Given that reality, he said there ought to be a way for the state to collect some money from it.
Other questions remain unanswered. Do Brown and Whitman believe tribes should pay into the state's general fund in exchange for the monopoly right to operate Las Vegas-style casinos? Brown's aides decline to answer, noting the attorney general's deputies are litigating that very issue. And yet, Jerry commented on the recent scandal in BELL, an issue his department was litigating. Why keep mum on something that affects ALL Californians.
When Whitman was asked about it, she did not have an answer.
Tribes are investing in Brown by contributing almost $1 million to his campaign. Unlike Schwarzenegger, Whitman accepts tribes' donations, more than $200,000. Tribes would not be donating money unless they believed they would be treated well by the next administration.