Board of Education will continue discussion on casino opposition

After discussing the possibility of a resolution against the
proposed Miwok casino in San Benito County last week, the Board of
Education decided it needed more time to research its options, said
board member Joan Campbell-Garcia.
Hollister – After discussing the possibility of a resolution against the proposed Miwok casino in San Benito County last week, the Board of Education decided it needed more time to research its options, said board member Joan Campbell-Garcia.

“There was no actual decision (last week), but there was a lot of discussion,” said Campbell-Garcia Thursday. “We were really discussing the whole implications of the casino coming in. No action was taken because we really wanted more information.”

The California Valley Miwok tribe has teamed up with investment group Game Won in an attempt to build a casino off Highway 25 in San Benito County near the Santa Clara County line. The proposed Miwok casino would be similar in size to Yolo County’s Cache Creek, which is 66,000 square feet with 1,762 slot machines and 120 table games.

Gov. Schwarzenegger has said he will not allow Indian casinos in counties tribes cannot prove their ancestral ties to, unless there is overwhelming support from the locals. Since some doubt the Miwoks have roots in San Benito County, many locals have spoken out against the casino.

California Valley Miwok Project attorney Phil Thompson has said he will prove the Miwoks are indigenous to San Benito County.

While Campbell-Garcia said last week the board members were “basically all in favor of some kind of resolution” against the proposed casino, board member Mitchell Dabo said earlier this week it will take some time to draft the actual document.

“By January I think we’ll have something for sure if not by the ninth of December (the board’s next meeting). I think we’re definitely going to have something, we’re just working on the wording to make sure it’s politically correct,” Dabo said Monday.

California Valley Miwok Project coordinator Gary Ramos countered the board’s potential opposition last week, saying a casino would be open only to patrons aged 21 and older and would bring in revenue to fund community facilities for youth.

“Regardless of the school board’s position, we look forward to working with community leaders to ensure that San Benito’s young people will benefit along with the community as a whole,” Ramos said last week.

The board will discuss a possible resolution again on Dec. 9, although a decision on that date is not guaranteed.

“What we’re doing between the last meeting and the next is to study again and report back,” said Campbell-Garcia. “We’ll be getting more informed individually.”

Jessica Quandt is a staff writer for the Free Lance. Reach her at 831-637-5566 ext. 330 or at [email protected]

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