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Citizen Voices

Little Vegas or America’s Finest City?

When I was growing up in Encanto, I remember seeing downtown San Diego - with its abandoned buildings and trash lined streets - and thinking, "Wow, this part of San Diego is as scary as being on the wrong part of Euclid, at the wrong time." (For those who will defend the law-abiding character of Euclid, remember this was the late '70s and early '80s I’m talking about. It was dang scary, okay.)

Later, I wasn't surprised to find out a little history about downtown, namely that it used to be a red light district, where hookers earned a living from sailors on shore leave; squatters looked for a good deal on property; and unscrupulous salesmen hooking up either transaction made out like bandits.

Going downtown today, I notice lots of people looking for those same things: sexy time (à là Borat), and prime property. Once redevelopment started to attract businesses downtown, the seedy and nefarious history was supplanted with another unstated goal: glamour.


San Diego got a whiff of the big city up north - Los Angeles - via our money-magnetizing Convention Center, surrounding hotels and tourist-friendly/locals-repellant bars (uh, Señor Frogs), and about five new bars, nightclubs, adults-only party hot spots opening every month with very VIP-sounding names from Deco’s to Aubergine - all with a few dozen honeys freezing outside waiting for you to pay their $10 cover charges.

It’s not my favorite scene.While San Diego’s businesses growth benefits the economy, in some ways downtown also stands for pricy over consumption. So, what’s my point?

You know, San Diego is not meant to be Vegas.

Chuck from Escondido, CA
February 04, 2008 at 11:38 PM
Do we really want to treat these gamblers any differently than an adult who wants to gamble on the latest tech-stock or real estate fad? I don't want to see SoCal as Little Vegas, but do get tired of politicians trying to save me from myself.


Alma from San Diego
February 05, 2008 at 12:49 AM
Your point is well made; vice shouldn't be regulated by politicians.... but the voters get to decide this one, so I'm voting no. There were other problems w/these propositions, namely the general fund would get the funds and none was earmarked for anything in particular. It can be used for anything, including a million dollar fountain in a remote state park. Plus, I'm afraid Californians will get so accustomed to Vegas-style casinos, buffets, shows & all else that in the near future a slot machine will show up in Downtown San Diego. Eek!!

Chuck from Escondido, CA
February 05, 2008 at 12:57 AM
Since Sychuan owns the US Grant Hotel on Broadway, I wouldn't be surprised about slot machines in SD either.

Jenn from Solana Beach
February 05, 2008 at 01:14 AM
I don't have a problem with more slot machines at all. If "sovereignty" really means anything, the tribes should be able to make their own decisions anyway. Oh wait... sovereignty doesn't mean that at all. never mind.

Dave from Oceanside
February 05, 2008 at 02:52 AM
I'm sick of us telling the Inians what they can do... They have their "sovereign nation"... but we tell them what they can do.. of course.. the Indians know that it's not really their nation.. because the US has been hosing them from the start.. So now.. we have allowed their nations to do something that makes them money.. fine.. they shouldn't have had to ask... And now they are willing to give us more money to do something else that they shouldn't have to ask to do... fine.. Maybe with the extra money the morons that pretend to run our state could keep the parks open.. instead of throwing their hands up and shrugging their shoulders and saying, "Duh.. I dunno how to fix it." ... and who is actually opposing these expansions??? Isn't it big-time gaming that is against this?! Maybe I'm lost and don't know which issue you're talking about .. after all you mention no proposition numbers.. and with a busy world and lots to read on the eve of an election I'm not digging too far past your links to figure out what you're talking about.. In the future, It would be easier for us to figure out what your main issue is if you link to it when you mention you are voting no on it.. or maybe mention the proposition number.. Anyway.. you are right.. we don't wanna be a Little Vegas... and if you travel out of our pardise and to the hundreds (thousands) of places that have similar gaming set ups you will find that your fears are extremely unlikely to come to fruition. As to corruption.. this city is like any other.. if there is a bunch of money to be had.. there are people ready to lie, cheat and steal for it.. and a bunch of voters to be shocked that they helped vote people in to allow such things... I mean, Gee Whiz.. they sure looked a nice guy in that ad and on the poster... Do hose the Indians any more than we already have/do... vote yes.

Dave from Oceanside
February 05, 2008 at 02:57 AM
Ok.. for the above post... add an "n"... "like" and "n't"... among other mistakes in fast typing to get done so I can read to my kids.. So.. the above post should end saying..

Don't hose the Indians any more than we already have/do... vote yes. If you have a problem with strip clubs.. fine.. that's zoning.. that's local.. that means get up off the couch and into a town council meeting... But leave the Indians out of it.... please.

Alma from San Diego
February 05, 2008 at 03:11 AM
It would be nice if the same four tribes (by the way, there are only four tribes mentioned in any of the Props this time...they are 94-97) felt as passionate about protecting the economic interests of the smaller, non-casino owning tribes as some proponents of casino expansion. There are no minimum guarantees of percentage revenue sharing written into the's all up to the already wealthy tribes to distribute as they wish. Big casinos are opposing Props 94-97 and I guess that's a response to worries about competition. Which is exactly my point.... does SoCal want to compete with bigger casinos who'd feel threatened by an expansion? I doubt that Truckee, CA is attracting the same attention from the tourist dollar as Sandy Eggo (unless you count nearby Lake Tahoe, Nevada.) Maybe the connection I make to Vegas goes in that direction, the tourist economy San Diego is addicted to.

Dave from Oceanside
February 05, 2008 at 05:35 AM
Yeah.. maybe we should nix the casinos and let people gamble in the back alleys.. they could take downtown back.. toss up some red lights for the sailors.. oh wait.. they aren't going to gamble without the casinos.. right? And we probably shouldn't trust the Indians to treat their kin better than the US treats 'em... why should they be trusted.. the are, after all.. Indians. And.. yeah.. Truckee wouldn't attract the same attention from the tourist dollar.. unless you count Lake Tahoe.. uh.. should that count?? Is that a city or a fictional place.. oh?? it's real... hmm.. then I guess Truckee would attract the same attention (though If you haven't heard of snow .. or (shudder) actually gone skiing maybe you'd think that there isn't any tourist dollars being attracted up there..) Right.. let's let the big gaming interest keep their monopoly.. competition isn't the American way.. keeping the Indians in their place is... If we've learned anything since.. oh.. the 1600s... it's that there is no room for letting Indians do anything without making sure we make them feel inferior and insignificant... let's vote NO and then help them make their casinos bigger anyway.. let em keep the money and let California get the money they need from Californians.. But either way.. let the Indians make a living somehow... Vote YES... and take your zoning issues to the city... besides.. what's wrong with a few strip clubs.. your congressmen/councilmen/groping governor need places to go and spend their ill-gotten gains... who do you think goes to strip clubs.. the poor?? Find a strip club and look in the parking lot.

aaryn b. from san diego
February 05, 2008 at 06:17 PM
I'm with Dave on this one, though not quite as vehemently. There are compelling arguments on both sides of the issue and it's unfortunate that the facts have been so muddied with transparent arguments about morality. We should all be smart enough to figure out that morality cannot be legislated and that people are going to gamble whether there are an additional 17,000 slot machines. For me, it boils down to this: The Native Americans---whose land was invaded and taken from them---were given parcels of some of the least desireable land in the nation as some sort of conciliatory acknowledgment. Along with that came the promise of autonomy (interesting Wikipedia link by Jenn up above, by the way) which is turning out to be less a guarantee than lip-service. Lo! The tribes found a way to make money---lots of it---and now the rest of us want to stake a claim on it. That they are willing to pay anything to the state of California is generous. Of course, they're looking out for their own best interest...who else is going to do that? Our govenment? Right. Because they're always looking out for us... As to how that money is allocated: Why is it the buisness of the citizens of California to determine/dictate how the wealthy tribes distribute their wealth? It is, after all, their wealth. And if we're so concerned as to how state funds are being spent, then it would be prudent for voters to get educated and demand accountability from all of our elected officials from the lowliest council member to the governor. I have yet to hear a decisively convincing argument for a NO vote on this issue.