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Jamul Casino Plan Faces Opposition


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It's a classic case of 'not in my backyard' – that’s resulted in a six-year fight to put a casino on Native American tribal land in Jamul, and pitted a community group vehemently against it.

The land in question is a six-acre plot that belongs to the Jamul Indian village. The plan? To build a $200 million casino on the property, a move made legal by a 1999 compact signed with Governor Gray Davis. The casino would be about 250,000 square feet and rise three stories above ground. This week the tribal members approved an environmental impact report for the project – a move they say makes the project ready to move forward.

But strong opposition from a group called "Jamulians Against the Casino" remains. Opponents say the casino would destroy their rural, bedroom community. The tribe maintains they've worked to address a variety of community concerns, including increased traffic to safety and pollution.

Bill Mesa, gaming commissioner : What we're trying to project is the attitude that we're trying to work with you. We are willing to work with you and we have offered so much money and so many ways to mitigate certain things, that we think that now it's their turn to step up and say we'll work with you guys, but you need to do something about these different items. So that's kind of the way you can answer it. I'm not trying to present the attitude that no matter what you do, we're going to move forward. I'm trying to present the attitude that we want to work with you and we know that we're not going to make you 100% happy, but we want to do what we can.

We spoke with Marcia Spurgeon, the co-founder of Jamulians Against the Casino. She calls the tribe's environmental plan "flawed" and says Spurgeon says the Jamul Community Group is prepared to stand up and fight construction of the casino, taking the matter to the courts if necessary.

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