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Petaluma staying out of legal fight against casino

The Graton Resort & Casino raised their signature flower logo on the exterior of the building on Wednesday, August 21, 2013. The casino is set to open Nov. 5, even as a group attempts to shut the casino down. (photo by John Burgess/The Press Democrat)

The Graton Resort & Casino raised their signature flower logo on the exterior of the building on Wednesday, August 21, 2013. The casino is set to open Nov. 5, even as a group attempts to shut the casino down. (photo by John Burgess/The Press Democrat)


Petaluma won’t join in the legal fight against the Graton casino set to open in two weeks.

After a closed-session discussion Monday night before the regular City Council meeting, council members voted to remain on the sidelines of the legal appeal being led by a group of mostly Rohnert Park residents fighting against the Graton Resort & Casino in Rohnert Park.

The casino is set to open Nov. 5 and will be the largest gambling hall in the Bay Area.

The Stop the Casino 101 Coalition is appealing a Sonoma County judge’s August ruling against its effort to invalidate Graton’s compact with the state that allowed the Las Vegas-style casino on 254 acres it purchased on Wilfred Avenue.

The group has also sought to add Petaluma’s legal weight to its fight. The group is concerned about 277 acres of land east of Highway 101 near Kastania Road owned by the Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians.

The tribe, which owns River Rock Casino in Geyserville, is seeking to have the land taken into federal trust, a prerequisite to operating a casino.

Although the Dry Creek chairman has said a casino is not in their present development plans, local leaders are skeptical. Casino opponents believe if the Graton casino is stopped, so will any Petaluma plans.

“I think it’s a little short-sighted. But it certainly doesn’t come as a surprise,” said Marilee Montgomery, one of the anti-casino leaders, of Petaluma’s decision. “It’s unfortunate that Petaluma doesn’t see far enough in the future to not understand you can’t run around putting out all these fires.”

She said she didn’t know what went into the council’s decision.

City Attorney Eric Danly didn’t immediately return a call seeking information. He didn’t announce specifics of the vote.

You can reach Staff Writer Lori A. Carter at 762-7297 or lori.carter@pressdemocrat.com.

8 Responses to “Petaluma staying out of legal fight against casino”

  1. James Bennett says:

    Yeah, I’m in a deal like that.
    The private interest pays, the city stays PC…
    but they’re pulling strings behind the curtain.

  2. Paul says:

    In speaking with people about this casino during the last year, it’s my observation that the people who can least afford to be at this place are the ones most excited about it.
    I know of a woman who has gone out and bought wardrobe items, in anticipation of THE GRAND OPENING. At the same time, she dashes around paying her monthly bills at the last moment most months.
    I have yet to meet a well to do individual who is chomping at the bit to lay some money down.
    Just a couple observations from an old grumbler. You can start dealing without me.
    I’m not against gambling or having a good time. I’m simply FOR living well within one’s means. I realize this is an old, some would say outmoded, concept. Sleep well, casino gamblers. May your money safely land with the corporate interests over in The Silver State. God speed, little dollars!!! :-)

  3. Michael Sheehan says:

    Yankee great Yogi Berra said “If the fans don’t come out to the ball park, you can’t stop them.”

    The Casino is the reverse of that. If people want to come out and throw their income down the drain, that’s their business. But if they are throwing government welfare checks down the drain paid for by taxpayers, then our wasteful, fraud-ridden, corrupt government should stop sending them taxpayer-financed welfare checks.

  4. Follower says:


    Has it ever occurred too you that these “poor pensioners & welfare recipients” might actually enjoy the entertainment they’ll experience at the casino?

    If you oppose people using their pensions or welfare money to gamble, SURELY you must oppose those same people using that money to buy drugs, alcohol or lottery tickets… but they do.

    So would you support drug testing welfare recipients?

    Maybe ban anyone receiving Government assistance from buying lottery tickets or booze?

    Wouldn’t it be much easier (and healthier) for you to mind your own damn business & let people live their lives as they see fit? Right or wrong?

    Oh, that’s right… WE will be forced to pay the price for their bad decisions.

    Maybe THAT is the REAL “problem” here.

    All these “poor pensioners & welfare recipients” depend on the Government to catch them when they fall over drunk or stoned from the booze and drugs they bought with their welfare money.

    Yeah… the CASINO is the “problem”.

  5. Papa E says:

    Personally, I have always thought of Indian Casinos as Native American Revenge; and more power to them!

  6. Irene Tavenner says:

    It will be a truly great day when the buses pull up filled with pensioners and welfare recipients ready to spend their government checks at the machines.

    Tax money being recycled. The losers are the poor who will fund this casino in hopes of hitting it big while in reality, they are just wasting their time and getting poorer.

  7. Graeme Wellington says:

    I’m really looking forward to the casino opening. I’ll be there on day one hoping I’ll get an opportunity to shake Greg Sarris’ hand. They have truly done an outstanding job. The restaurants alone are going to be a major attraction to all of Sonoma County.

    None of the other tribes have done it so well. Rohnert Park can beam with pride at this accomplishment. The complainers are all wet and jealous.

  8. Elephant says:

    Smart move by the Petaluma City Council.

    The Rohnert Park Casino is a done deal. Besides, with it going full bore, no one in their right mind would go to a two-bit operation like one south of Petaluma would be. So this move does plenty to prevent another Sonoma County casino.

    Now the real plans for that site south of Petaluma are another story altogether. And I don’t thing that it’s ANYTHING that you’ve read in the papers. The good part is that it would need two separate votes by the people to remove restrictions on any development (or Petaluma City Council support for development) in that location.