Friday, November 21, 2003
Gray Davis' last act: It appears as though Gray Davis, as is his standard practice, sold out the interests of California for a few million dollars in (insufficient) political support from the state's Indian tribes.
Whatever Davis' ulterior motive for waiving the environmental mandate on the tribes, he has deprived the new governor of what little leverage he had to renegotiate compacts with all 65 of them.
Schwarzenegger wants the tribes to pay their fair share of the estimated $5 billion in gaming revenue they are raking in each year on slot machines alone. Factor in the hefty profits from tribal-owned hotels, resorts, restaurants and table games, and their take is even greater.
The environmental mandate was the prime means of achieving that eminently equitable end. It required tribes to mitigate problems caused by their gaming facilities. These include traffic congestion, adverse effects on air and water quality, noise, sewage treatment and wildlife habitat.
Thus far there's been little outrage from the environmental lobby, of course, they've always been more forgiving of Democrats than of Republicans.