My story today on the Jamul casino got pretty lengthy, so a few other noteworthy points didn’t make it in.
- Instead of building on the 6.2-acre site, opponents say the tribe could consolidate its casino into another reservation. Doing so, Supervisor Dianne Jacob said, would allow the Jamul band to build in “a much more appropriate location and work with that tribe — without ruining a community. There is another option for them.”
Lee Acebedo, the Jamul tribal chairman, said that won’t work. He said the legal mechanism doesn’t exist, pointing to failed federal legislation that had tried to allow such a move. Even if casino consolidation were allowed, he says, the tribe is too far into the process in Jamul to move elsewhere.
“It’s not a viable option,” he said. “We’ve spent too much time and energy and money on the project we have now.”
- Much of the country’s resistance to new casino construction occurs as tribes acquire new land and try to build on it, said Steven Light, co-director of the Institute for the Study of Tribal Gaming Law and Policy at the University of North Dakota.
Light made one other interesting point that didn’t make my story: The reason why stereotypes often pop up in these debates:
For a lot of people, it’s hard to know what happens on daily basis in real American Indians’ lives. It’s easy to fall back on stereotypes. When you go to a reservation, they’re regular people. Some are dealing with poverty, some are well off. Some have ties to the land and deep spiritual connections and some don’t. And it’s easier to use stereotypes.
- The reasons why environmentalists are concerned about the casino’s construction: Edge effects. This is the term for pushing the urban fringe closer to undeveloped land. The closer it moves, the more it brings everything associated with the fringe: more lights, more traffic, more people. A large swath of protected land sits to the east of the Jamul Indian Village.
Mike White, San Diego director of the Conservation Biology Institute, said these issues are a concern:
It’s the indirect impacts that are probably the bigger issue. You just have loads of traffic and lights and things that have the potential to degrade that rural undeveloped nature. As you move to the east (of Jamul), you’re back into this very important block of open space that’s contiguous with (preserved) land to the east.
To the extent that the casino requires that you widen (Highway) 94, do you attract other businesses in there? And will people want to move there because you’re pushing the urban fringe out? Those are the things that concern me.