Here is how those beatings went down:
The scene at the Jamul Indian Village on March 10 mixed irony with pathos in a combination that demonstrated the intense emotions that surround the proposal to construct a casino in Jamul (“Despite promise, homes demolished for casino,” Our Region, March 13). Walter Rosales and Karen Toggery sought two things – to preserve their homes, and to show respect for the remains of their ancestors buried on the land.
According to construction plans, their land, which they have lived on since childhood, and their homes will be bulldozed. Their ancestors' remains will be desecrated by a phantasmagoria of cement and neon that will be erected over their graves. They were evicted from their homes and jeered by the evictors. Dozens gathered to protest the eviction, facing pepper spray and beatings with metal batons to do so.
As we stood with Walter and Karen on that Saturday morning, a backhoe loomed in the foreground, obscuring the view of a hillside dotted with crosses from the Indian cemetery. Native American activists have persuaded politicians at the state and local levels to pass laws prohibiting desecration of the remains of their ancestors. Yet, apparently, such laws can be flouted with impunity by those who urged their passage.
NOW, FIGURING THEIR CUSTOMERS WON"T REMEMBER OR CARE about their actions.
The Jamul Indians are one step closer to building a new casino in East County.
The tribe has entered into an agreement with Penn National Gaming, a developer of casinos and racing establishments, to build a Hollywood-themed casino in Jamul. The proposed $360 million casino is significantly scaled back from previous versions, which at one point included a 30-story hotel. The latest plans are for a three-story, 200,000 square-foot casino with bars, restaurants, at least 1,700 slots and 50 game tables. A parking structure would fit more than 1,900 cars.
The plan still needs approval from Caltrans for road access. The community hasn't signed off, either.
The casino has faced staunch opposition from residents of Jamul, which is about 20 miles east of San Diego. They're concerned about the projected traffic increase and potential problems with clientele, impacts on services and the threat to their way of life.