WASHINGTON — Community activists called on a District of Columbia judge Monday to block efforts to place a gambling initiative on the November ballot.
“This is not the kind of economic development we want in our community,” said Dorothy Brizill, founder of D.C. Watch, a community-based government reform group. Brizill joined civic and religious leaders in challenging a referendum backed by former D.C. Councilman John Ray.
“Everyday that I can’t get on the streets and collect petitions, the clock is running,” said Ray, who served 15 years on the council before leaving government service in 1996. Ray is spearheading efforts to develop the Capital Horizon Entertainment Complex on a 14-acre site along New York Avenue, about four miles west of the Maryland state line.
The $510 million project would include a hotel and casino, stores and restaurants. Ray said it would generate 1,500 jobs and produce $210 million in revenue each year for the city, which supporters said could be used for public education and a prescription drug program for senior citizens.
Tribe suing governor over gaming compacts
SAN DIEGO — A California Indian tribe that owns a Harrah’s casino near San Diego sued Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, seeking to block agreements with rival casino-operating tribes that eliminate a ceiling on how many slot machines they can run.
The Rincon Band of Luiseno Mission Indians said in a suit filed in U.S. court in San Diego that the compacts would break existing agreements the tribe has with the state. Rincon said the agreements would hurt its business by allowing competitors with casinos closer to Los Angeles and San Diego to add more than 2,000 slot machines.
“The new compacts would destabilize the limited market established by the existing compacts, defeating the tribe’s investment-backed expectations, rendering its new facility virtually worthless, and destroying the opportunity to achieve the promise of self-sufficiency held out by the original compacts,” the tribe said in the motion, which spokeswoman Joanna Farasati said was filed Monday.
Schwarzenegger, who as a candidate vowed he would help end the state’s budget deficit by having Indian tribes contribute more from gambling revenue, last week said five tribes agreed to pay $1 billion next year in exchange for the right to operate as many slot machines as the market will bear.