|Judge Finds City Council Action On Casino
August 22, 2008
A superior Court Judge has found that the core of the Viramontes Five acted illegally in approving a Municipal Services Agreement for the proposed Scotts Valley Band of the Pomo Indians’ casino. This issue came up before the City Council was in 2006 when the Scotts Valley Band of the Pomo Indians needed a commitment from a government agency to provide municipal services to their proposed casino on the Richmond Parkway just outside the Richmond City Limits. They needed the agreement to bolster their chances of getting the federal approvals they needed. Contra Costa County, in whose jurisdiction the casino would be, refused to provide a municipal services agreement. So they approached Richmond.
You can see from the vote in the Minutes of the 11/21/2006 City Council meeting (below) that all of the “Viramontes Five” who were on the City Council in 2006 (including Bates and Marquez, now running for re-election) supported it, and I voted against it, along with Mayor McLaughlin and Tony Thurmond.
Not only did Bates, Marquez and Viramontes support it, they also gave away the store, like they did with Chevron, by not at least getting some money for the City in advance. When I saw how the vote was going to go, I at least wanted the City to get something out of it. If they had accepted my amendment, the City would have been $1 million richer – right now. This proves again what amateurs the Viramontes Five are at negotiating with professionals in the real world.
City Council Minutes 11/21/2006
In the matter to approve, in substantially the form presented, the Municipal Services Agreement (MSA) between the Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians and the City of Richmond with such changes that the City Manager determines is in the best interests of the City. Janet Schneider, Administrative Chief, stated that staff reviewed the key positions of the Municipal Services Agreement. As a result of the Study Session held last week, Council directed staff to make changes to the draft agreement, which has been incorporated in the current MSA. The following individuals gave comments: Charles T. Smith, Andres Soto, Rev. Charles Day, Lee Jones, Tarnell Abbott, Bob Ellison, Anthony Fuller, Jeff Ritterman, Barbara Becnel, Dr. Henry Clark, Fred Jackson, Ethel Dotson, Kathleen Sullivan, Cochise Potts, and Ann Rufinio. Discussion ensued. A motion was made by Councilmember Rogers, seconded by Councilmember Griffin to approve the contract. Further discussion ensued during which a substitute motion was made by Councilmember Butt, seconded by Councilmember Marquez, that a $1 million payment be made upon execution of this agreement and be taken off the first payment due should the project go forward. Chairman Arnold, Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians, stated that he agrees with the policies stipulated in the MSA as currently written. Councilmember Thurmond asked how possible violent impacts will be addressed. Chairman Arnold replied that the group will pay for extra police officers and police patrols; will work together with the City of Richmond, Sheriff’s Department, and the California Highway Patrol. Councilmember Marquez withdrew his second for the substitute motion. The original motion by Councilmember Rogers, seconded by Councilmember Griffin to approve the MSA passed by the following vote: Ayes: Councilmembers Bates, Griffin, Marquez, Rogers, Vice Mayor Viramontes, and Mayor Anderson. Noes: Councilmembers Butt, McLaughlin, and Thurmond. Abstentions: None. Absent: None.
Richmond Casino Pact Illegal, Declares Judge
By Richard Brenneman
Thursday August 21, 2008
Berkeley Daily Planet
A Contra Costa County judge dealt a blow to plans for a North Richmond
casino Wednesday, saying she intends to strike down an agreement for the
City of Richmond to provide police, fire and other services.