Sonoma County Supervisor Shirlee Zane is fuming today over a vote by Rep. Lynn Woolsey supporting legislation Zane says will “open the flood gates to us becoming a Northern California Las Vegas.”
Tucked into a huge spending bill,the controverisal legislation, known as the “Carcieri fix,” passed in the House on a 207-206 vote on Wednesday. Rep. Mike Thompson voted against it. Woolsey supported it. Zane says if the bill passes the Senate, it would essentially free up more reservation shopping and tie the hands of local government to put any limitations on casinos and other projects.
“Woolsey basically stabbed us in the back,” said Zane. “It basically passed by one vote. As far as we were concerned, she was the deciding vote.”
The Carcieri fix essentially is a work-around of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that denied a Rhode Island tribe special trust status that would have exempted the tribe from paying state and local taxes on that land and abiding by other regulations.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein is an ardent opponent of the measure. It’s unclear how Sen. Barbara Boxer would vote. President Obama has repeatedly said he supports the land trust measure.
Zane was part of a group from the California State Association of Counties that went to Washington to urge Woolsey and others to oppose the quick fix. “This is exactly what we have been campaigning against, counties across the country,” Zane said. “And she basically stuck a huge knife in our back. It’s unthinkable. And I’m furious about it.”
She said the legislation would essentially allow officials from the Department of the Interior “to take land out of environmental protection and establish a trust for tribes whenever they want it. That means casinos wherever they determine a trust should be.”
She’s particularly concerned about the impact in Sonoma County which has five tribes. She fears it means local cities and the county would be hampered even more in their ability to stop casinos and/or in obtaining mitgations and settlement agreements regarding local impacts from such projects.
- Paul Gullixson