|Council Approves Municipal Services
Agreement with Tribe
November 22, 2006
In a 6-3 vote last night, with Butt,
Thurmond, and McLaughlin dissenting, the Richmond City Council approved
a Municipal Services Agreement with the Scotts Valley Band of the Pomo
Indians that provides a potential boost for the tribe’s goal of placing
land along the Richmond Parkway into trust with the Bureau of Indian
Affairs for the purpose of operating a casino. The land is outside the
Richmond city limits, but Contra Costa County had refused to negotiate
with the tribe pending completion of an environmental impact statement,
approval by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the initiation of a compact
with the State of California that would include a process for mitigating
impacts and compensating for municipal services.
Conventional wisdom is that the Bureau of Indian Affairs will look more favorably on a casino application that has support of a local government agency and has a municipal services agreement in place. The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors has consistently opposed the project. The Richmond agreement includes an explicit statement of support.
Speakers on the issue, as well as City Council members, were divided between those who believe the jobs and money from the operation will mitigate a history of violent crime in parts of Richmond and North Richmond. Others felt the opposite, that the casino would breed crime and violence.
Sensing that the Council would approve the resolution, I made a substitute motion to require a $1 million payment from the tribe concurrent with execution of the agreement so that the City would have some compensation for its commitment, even if the casino failed to be approved, and so that the City would have some money now, rather than years in the future. My motion failed for lack of a second.