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A few dozen Californians braved last week’s winter storm to attend a voter education meeting in the city of Carson, where panelists clarified the pros and cons of props 94-97. Carson’s city treasurer Karen Avila and No on 94-97 Coalition Director Ted Green weighed heavily January 24 on the benefits and consequences the propositions would have on the state. Carson City Councilman Mike Gipson presented the two hour session.
Dubbed the “Casino Props,” 94-97 allow the government to enter into compacts with California’s Indian casinos and regulate their operations. A yes vote, according to proponents would give much needed funding to the floundering state budget.
“You should always follow the money when looking at propositions,” Avila said, adding that those voting no had a vested interest in doing so.
Props. 94 through 97 will allow the tribes to add slot machines on their existing tribal lands in Riverside and San Diego Counties, she explained. In return, the tribes will pay increased revenues from these machines to the state to support services in communities statewide.
However, Green said at the meeting, “proponents don’t like to talk about the details of the propositions.”
Those “details,” he said, involve “sweetheart deals” that only a few tribes are able to make with the government at the expense of the others.
“Four tribes outstrip [the others] with political power,” Green said.
“They basically have cajoled the governor with threats of voting him out if they didn’t get what they wanted.”
“It’s amazing what millions of dollars in political contributions can get you in Sacramento these days,” reads the No Coalition’s argument against the props.
“Just ask four of the wealthiest and most powerful tribes in the state-Pechanga, Morongo, Sycuan, and Agua Caliente. After wining and dining the Legislature, the Big 4 tribes cut a deal for one of the largest expansions of casino gambling in U.S. History. Far beyond the modest increase voters were promised. It’s a sweetheart deal for the Big 4 tribes, but a raw deal for other tribes, taxpayers, workers, and the environment...”
Other topics included Prop 93, which would: reduce the total amount of time a person may serve in the state legislature from 14 years to 12 years, allow a person to serve a total of 12 years either in the Assembly, the Senate, or a combination of both and provide a transition period to allow current members to serve a total of 12 consecutive years in the house in which they are currently serving, regardless of any prior service in another house.
“These simple but important adjustments will let legislators spend more time working for taxpayers, and less time worrying about which office to run for next,” say proponents.
Gabriel Sanchez, Yes on 93 argued at the meeting, “that legislators should be around long enough to see the effects of the laws that they pass.”
But “the initiative lengthens terms for politicians,” opponents say.
“It doubles Assembly terms from 6 years to 12 years and makes Senate terms 50 percent longer-increasing them from 8 years to 12 years. Proposition 93 will dramatically increase terms for more than 80 percent of state legislators. Politicians will have more time to develop cozy relationships with lobbyists.
“That’s why Proposition 93 is funded by millions of dollars from major special interests with business before the Legislature, including developers, energy companies, gambling interests, large insurance companies, and trial lawyers...”
The bad weather prevented the appearance of some speakers who were headed here from up north via the grapevine, which had been shut down earlier in the week.