The Right Coast

August 25, 2005
We are very concerned
By Tom Smith

It always nice to hear on the radio that the local Indian tribe is planning to build a 30 story casino complex on the 6 acres they own in your rural paradise. I don't see why I should care, except for the effect it would have on property values, turning the local highway into even more of a death trap, and having to look at a 30 story highrise against what has been a scenic horizon.

After shock, I suppose I am thinking a little tribe such as they are can't possibly carry this sort of absurd project off, given the intense outrage it is sure to provoke among residents (including me), not to mention the politicos who oppose it, from Arnie to County Supervisor Dianne Jacobs, who has been very good on this issue (and who actually is a pretty impressive lady). I mean, can a few dozen Indians really put up a skyscraper up in the middle of a residential area, and to hell with everything from fire protection, to water worries, to all the little critters, to caring about ruining the neighborhood for everybody else? Can that really be legal? I'm a law professor, and it beats the heck outta me.

I suspect this is a negotiating ploy by the Jamul band to get opponents of a less horrific plan (I guess less horrific) to back off. I don't know enough to judge whether it is clever or not. It certainly is provocative. If it looks like the Jamul Indians really plan to go through with it, the level of opposition will be extreme. I would call many people who live in Jamul a trifle eccentric to begin with, and a giant gambling tower could make them go frankly insane. You could get something like a war. But I don't think most people believe the Indians really mean it, yet.