Two Casino Hearings Planned for Tuesday By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Tuesday April 05, 2005

Two major East Bay casino debates are scheduled for today (Tuesday), one in Washington D.C. and the other in Martinez. 

In the capital, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), chair of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, is conducting a hearing on legislation by Sen. Diane Feinstein that would force a reconsideration of the proposed Las Vegas-scale Casino San Pablo. 

Closer to home, Assistant Contra Costa County Administrator Sara Hoffman told city and federal officials gathered for a hearing on the Point Molate Casino that County Supervisors would meet today to discuss a resolution that calls for a ban on any new tribal reservations with casinos in the county. 

Written by board members John Gioia and Gayle B. Uilkema, who represent the board’s two easternmost districts, the measure wouldn’t have binding effect on the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which has final say on new reservation lands. 

Hoffman said the board would provide the city and the Bureau of Indian Affairs with written comments after the vote. 

East Bay Assemblymember Loni Hancock, who has led the opposition to the San Pablo, is scheduled to testify at today’s Washington hearing, as is Sen. Feinstein. 

At issue is legislation by East Bay Rep. George Miller, which bestowed retroactive status on the Lytton Rancheria band of Pomo Indians’ acquisition of the Casino San Pablo card room. 

By backdating the acquisition, the tribe was allowed to develop a casino without undergoing the hurdles faced by two other tribes planning casinos in Richmond and North Richmond. 

McCain has been strongly critical of Miller’s legislation, and Feinstein legislation (Senate Bill 113) would force the Lyttons to undergo the same review as the other two projects.