Editorial: County must work with Cloverdale Rancheria on casino

Artist's rendering of the proposed Cloverdale Rancheria casino in Sonoma County, California. Image from Cloverdale Rancheria Fee-to-Trust and Resort Casino Project

California newspaper calls on officials in Sonoma County to work with the Cloverdale Rancheria of Pomo Indians rather than start a court battle over the tribe's proposed casino:
Whether one supports casinos or not, it’s important to recognize that this is not a case of reservation shopping. Far from it. The Cloverdale Rancheria, a community of Pomo Indians, was created in 1921, but the regional roots of its members date back hundreds of years. The land taken into trust is next to the tribe’s original 28-acre reservation. Famed basket-weaver Elsie Allen, for whom Santa Rosa’s Elsie Allen High School is named, was a North Coast Pomo and descendant of the Cloverdale Rancheria. Given the tribe’s history and landless status, it has as much right as any tribe to seek to have land taken into trust and to seek to build a casino, as allowed by voter-approved Proposition 1A in 2000.

Nonetheless, the plans, which call for a 575,600-square-foot casino-resort complex, including a 244-room hotel, raise legitimate concerns and questions.

Is such a project, which is targeted for an area south of Cloverdale near Highway 101 and Asti Road, viable given the existence of the Graton Rancheria some 35 miles farther south on Highway 101 in Rohnert Park?

Will the tribe be able to find someone willing to finance the construction of such a major complex, which would also be less than 10 miles from the existing River Rock Casino near Geyserville? That casino, owned by the Dry Creek Rancheria of Pomo Indians, reportedly has already experienced a significant decline in business since the construction of the Graton casino.

Get the Story:
Editorial: Sonoma County needs to start talks over Cloverdale casino

Bureau of Indian Affairs Documents:
Decision Letter | Record of Decision

Federal Register Notice:
Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Cloverdale Rancheria of Pomo Indians' Proposed 65-Acre Fee-to-Trust Acquisition and Resort Casino Project, Sonoma County, California (April 18, 2014)

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