Major support for the Wilton Rancheria casino

The Wilton Rancheria’s proposed casino-resort received major support from different sectors at a Senate informational hearing.

US.- Last July 19, Governor Jerry Brown signed a tribal-state compact that is currently under review at the California Legislature. The tribe wants to build a casino-resort on a 35.9-acre site and has received some opposition, but not enough to counter the major support from lawmakers and businesspeople and construction unions, which was ratified at a Senate informational hearing.

During the hearing at theState Capitol, Elk Grove Council Members Pat Hume and Stephanie Nguyen (among many other Elk Grove leaders) sided with Assembly Member Jim Cooper (author of the AB 1606 which would ratify the tribal compact) and praised the casino proposal. Hume was quoted by the Elk Grove Citizen and highlighted the amount of money a venue would generate for Sacramento county and the tribe’s goal “to become self-sufficient (…) and getting themselves off of the United States’ taxpayers,” as they fund their own programs. “Our city and our region are lacking so much of the funds to be able to support this community, and so I’m in very full support of this (project),” Nguyen added.

Jack Gribbon, AFL-CEO of Unite Here (which represents 300k hotel and casino workers including 7k tribal ones), expressed his support and said: “We hope you vote for it unanimously, and we hope the Assembly votes for it unanimously, as well.”

However, there was some opposition at the hearing, starting with Trent Smith of San Bruno’s Artichoke Joe’s card room who said the business is concerned with the “legal grounds in which the federal government has the authority to take land that is under California jurisdiction and to give it to a tribe.”

Stand Up for California! (which has been opposing the casino for a while) Director Cheryl Schmit also spoke against the venue and said “the citizens of Elk Grove deserved to weigh in on the project before it got this far.”

AB 1606 will be heard “in the coming weeks,” according to spokesperson Skyler Wonnacott and the future of the Wilton Rancheria tribal compact will soon be determined.

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