Casino: Social programs lose, critics pay

Posted: November 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

SACRAMENTO, CA — There’s a strange rumbling in the Thunder Valley. And elsewhere.

Former tribal Chairwoman Jessica Tavares and seven others circulating council recall petitions have been banished from United Auburn Indians lands and face suspension of annual payments of $30,000 in shares of casino proceeds from six months to four years.

Tavares and the other recall proponents cited misuse of funds, specifically criticizing the council for pledging $1 million to help keep the Sacramento Kings NHL hockey team from moving to Anaheim, the Bee reported, while cutting funds to a tribal school and to a tribal drug rehabilitation program. They also pointed to payments of some $26 million to attorney Howard Dickstein and criticized handling of the tribe’s audit.

One Bee writer likened these events to a “family squabble,” pointing out that when Tavares was council chair, she also banished her critics from the tribe. It appears to be very much a squabble over spending on social programs and education versus spending on “whoknowswhat,” legal, and sports franchise extortion, however.

Casino facilities have been viewed very much as cash cows, but governmental entitites must spend money on legal fees in contesting shares of casino proceeds.

Wage drops at casino facilities are threatening to ripple through the industry from Atlantic City out. Resorts Casino Hotel was the site of protests in September, when new ownership hired back laid-off workers at significantly lower pay (click here for more info).

Low wages are prevalent at non-tribal facilities, where some longtime workers in maintenance, etc., are being paid under $8 an hour.

Last week, Gov. Deval Patrick signed into law a bill to legalize casinos in Massachusetts, thus “creating” thousands of low-paying jobs, generating hundreds of millions in revenues over which to squabble and eliminate the need for players to travel outside of the state. More at Berkshire Eagle.

Click here for more news from PoetsCollective.

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