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  Point Molate Statement from Mayor McLaughlin
March 10, 2011

Statement about the FEIR Vote Tuesday night

Dear readers of Tom Butt’s E-Forum:

Many of you are aware that the City Council voted to certify the Pt. Molate Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) on Tuesday night.   I want to start out by saying clearly that this was NOT a vote on the casino.   It was vote to certify an EIR.   Certifying an EIR is distinct from approving a project.   I stated this at the Council meeting, and I am stating it again now.

Vice Mayor Tom Butt addressed many of the problems with the FEIR and offered modifications.   I felt strongly that his suggested modifications had merit.   Our staff had some concerns with some of Tom’s suggestions, and offered an alternative set of modifications.  Councilmembers Ritterman, Beckles, Booze and Rogers felt that staff’s point of view was more in line with their thinking, and thus cast a majority vote to certify the FEIR.  I chose to vote against this certification because it didn’t include insertions suggested by Tom Butt that I felt were important to strengthen this environmental document.

So, while disagreements on this document emerged, it’s important to remember that no one on Tuesday night cast a vote FOR or AGAINST a casino.   The matter at hand was the certification process of the environmental impact report, and there were differences on how to approach this. 

None of us should fear our differences.  As we move forward, we will find many such differences.  It will be incumbent on each of us to learn how to evaluate such disagreements.   In my view, the disagreement on the FEIR is not as significant as disagreements regarding the issue of whether to allow a casino to be built at Pt Molate.   It is the responsibility of the new City Council to take up the casino issue, and we shall indeed do so at our April 5 meeting.   I urge the public to come out on April 5th and sign up to speak on the item.
I ask my colleagues on the City Council to use insight and patience to endure our differences regarding the FEIR, as we prepare to come together on another day to bring resolution to this very important matter concerning a casino at Pt. Molate.

Gayle McLaughlin
Mayor, City of Richmond