Saturday, June 8, 2013

Is a Casino at JAMUL INDIAN VILLAGE good for a neighborhood? Not Where the BEAT homeowners to EVICT THEM...

Well, maybe not at a reservation where they had to BEAT homeowners to EVICT THEM.

The Jamul Indians and a developer plan to build a casino on a four and a half acre plot of land in Jamul.

The Jamul Indians are one step closer to fulfilling their rags to slot-machine riches dreams.

When the tribe signed an agreement in April with an East Coast developer, Penn National Gaming, to build and run a $360 million vintage Hollywood-themed casino, it settled on a more modest plan than before — no skyrise hotel, for one — but still grand enough to assure their economic prosperity, the tribe’s members say.

Residents of Jamul, a village about 20 miles east of San Diego, said putting a casino in their quiet community makes about as much sense as plopping a farm into the middle of the Las Vegas Strip.

“Keep it rural,” implored Marcia Spurgeon, an anti-casino activist, real estate agent and longtime Jamul resident, during an interview at her office on Jamul’s main road.

“We met halfway. We downsized,” countered Robert Mesa, a tribal spokesman and council member.

At a community meeting Wednesday night at a Jamul school auditorium, residents asked Penn to reconsider and warned they would not give up without a battle.

“We’ve been fighting this thing for over 20 years and I guarantee you you’re not gonna have a chance. We’re gonna fight this thing like the Jamul Alamo,” said Gary Clasen, to applause.

Read the rest of the article HERE

Representatives from Penn said the project will bring local jobs and amended casino plans address safety and quality of life concerns.

This type of back and forth has a familiar ring in East County, where the battle over the development of other casinos has often played out like this: A tribe announces a plan to build or expand a casino, neighbors object, the tribe makes concessions and some version of that casino gets built. That’s what happened with Barona, Sycuan and Viejas.

People with a stake on either side have a long list of benefits or drawbacks to cite, from employment to environmental damage. County Supervisor Dianne Jacob, who is against the Jamul development, addressed the positive and negative impacts of the county’s casinos in an email:

“While tribal casinos loom as giant figures on the local economic scene, they also take a daily toll on many of our smallest communities. They provide needed jobs and entertainment and the tribes play a major philanthropic role across the region,” Jacob wrote. “But the casinos have also brought big-city problems to rural areas, tying up roads with heavy traffic and straining public resources.”

If a casino does come to Jamul under the current proposal, what might its neighbors expect? A look around East County reveals that once the other casinos’ lights pierced the night sky and the dust settled, some original concerns of the neighbors were validated and some unexpected benefits emerged.

Concerns about crime

Does building a casino lead to a thriving criminal underworld in the neighborhood around it? And are neighborhood crimes a result of casino activity or other factors?

A 2006 publication by the California Research Bureau cites a study that found casinos increased crime after a few years: “Prior to the opening of a casino, casino and noncasino counties had similar crime rates, but after six years, casino counties had eight percent more property crimes and ten percent more violent crimes than noncasino counties.”

Jeffrey Vandersip, a senior crime analyst with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, said that for all types of crimes, the county’s casinos fared no worse than other populated areas in the county, according to 2012 crime statistics. “We saw a slight (crime) increase, not as large an increase as what the entire county experienced as a whole. It really kind of fell in line with what the rest of the county experienced,” Vandersip said.

Common offenses at casinos are drug and alcohol violations, he said. “When you have a densely populated area (and) lots of people congregating at the same place at the same time, certain types of crimes are more popular.”

1 comment:

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