Official: Prop. 48 outcome has no impact on project
By Jose Quintero
BARSTOW — State voters on Tuesday rejected a ballot measure that would have allowed a Native American tribe build a casino on non-tribal land near Fresno. The proposed casino would have been located approximately 40 miles from the North Fork Rancheria Band of Mono Indians reservation.
Leading up to the general election, former Barstow mayor Lawrence Dale urged residents to vote in favor of the proposition to benefit the future prospects of the Barstow Casino and Resort.
But on Thursday, Dale said the proposition would not impact the Barstow casino because it was a singular proposal that impacted two Indian tribes in Northern California.
Tom Shields, a spokesman for the Barstow Casino project, confirmed the rejected measure would not play a role in determining the future of the casino.
Shields said the project will “move ahead as if the proposition never happened.”
Over the past 12 years, Dale has worked tirelessly on the proposed development. In 2004, the federally-recognized Los Coyotes tribe and the City of Barstow signed a Municipal Agreements that would provide 4.3 percent of revenue sharing with the city.
On Thursday, Shields was hopeful the future of the $160 million project could soon be determined.
“Last year our environmental statement was approved and the U.S. Department of Interior is currently finalizing a two-step determination process,” Shields said. “They have to determine if the casino is beneficial to the tribe and the local community.”
According to the project’s website, the City of Barstow would receive an estimated $4 million in the Barstow Casino and Resort’s first year of operations.
“This casino would be tremendously beneficial to the city of Barstow and to the tribe,” Shields said. “There has been a tremendous amount of support from the community.”
According to the website, more than 80 percent of constituents in Barstow have voted in support of the casino and over 400 attended the hearing for a draft of the Environmental Impact Statement.
Once the two-step determination process is completed it will be sent to Sacramento, then Washington D.C. for approval, Shields said.
“Then we would have the ability to renegotiate a compact with Gov. Brown, which would then have to be approved by state legislature,” he said.
The proposed casino would bring more than 1,000 permanent jobs to the Barstow area, including 823 jobs in the facility and 262 casino operation jobs. The casino also would result in 1,065 construction jobs, experts say.
Originally posted on the Desert Dispatch