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Jamul Casino Idea Raises Ire

Elected officials at several levels have weighed in against the Jamul Indian Village’s proposal to build a 30-story casino/hotel complex on its 6-acre reservation.

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-El Cajon, urged Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton to do what she can to prevent the casino’s construction. Hunter sent Norton a letter Aug. 30, saying the casino would create traffic hazards and other public safety problems.

A representative of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger wrote Jamul tribal Chairman Leon Acebedo on Aug. 29, warning the tribe may be in danger of violating its gaming compact with the state. Peter Siggins, the governor’s legal affairs secretary, said the tribe was in danger of violating water quality standards and the plan may involve unauthorized gaming devices. The proposal also raises “troublesome questions about adequate provisions for fire protection,” the letter says. Siggins asked tribal representatives to schedule a meeting with the governor’s office.

A spokeswoman for county Supervisor Dianne Jacob reiterated the supervisor’s opposition to a Jamul casino, saying the new proposal is unacceptable and that its impacts on the community cannot be mitigated. Jacob opposed the previous casino idea.

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Under the previous plan, the tribe proposed annexing land next to the 6-acre reservation to support a low-rise casino complex.

The Jamul tribe unveiled its proposal for a high-rise putting a casino, hotel, several restaurants and a 2,800-space parking garage in one complex on Aug. 24. The tribe has pledged to mitigate the project’s impacts.

Acebedo, the tribe’s chairman, said in a statement then that the Jamul band needs a viable economic development project, that it needs the project now, and that it has been forced to propose the high-rise because other plans to develop a casino have been stalled.

Lakes Entertainment of Minneapolis is working with the tribe on the venture.

The tribe estimates the hotel and casino could generate 1,900 new jobs.

Brad Graves

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