Feinstein opposes casino - Hi-Desert Star: News

Feinstein opposes casino

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Posted: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 12:16 am | Updated: 3:42 pm, Wed Nov 16, 2011.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The senior senator from California has sent a letter to the secretary of the interior expressing her opposition to a proposed casino in Joshua Tree.

Dianne Feinstein's Nov. 10 letter to Ken Salazar states in part, "Placing a casino less than a mile from the (Joshua Tree National) park's visitor center and park wilderness will forever change the nature of the desert treasure."

Feinstein told Salazar that Mark Butler, park superintendent, shares her opposition to the proposed casino and has expressed concern that it would jeopardize the park's long-standing legacy as a crown jewel of the national park system.

According to Feinstein, Butler has informed her staff that such a proposal, "Would impair the Park Service's ability to preserve natural resources, cause significant noise and light pollution, obstruct scenic viewsheds and adversely impact the desert tortoise population within the park."

Feinstein told Salazar hundreds of Joshua Tree community members have contacted her and her staff to express, "A wide array of concerns about the impacts on regional tourism, crime, poverty, alcoholism and gambling addiction."

According to the letter, a petition is being circulated, "Which 1,277 of the town's 7,414 residents have signed."

David Fick, a member of the Joshua Tree Municipal Advisory Council and Morongo Basin Conservation Association, characterized the senator's letter as devastating to the casino proposal. Fick has spoken against the project.

The Twentynine Palms Band of Mission Indians had originally planned to develop a casino complex with a buffet, banquet room, shops, bowling lanes, outdoor amphitheater, RV park, golf course and other resort-oriented improvements on their 160 acre reservation that borders the park on south Adobe Road in Twentynine Palms.

Promotional material for the project touted the resort as having, "All the excitement of Las Vegas ... only minutes away!"

Visitors discuss ways to comment on plans

A Joshua Tree Community Association meeting is set for 10 a.m. to noon Saturday in the Joshua Tree Community Center. Guest speakers are Cheryl Schmit, director of Standup for California, and Patricia Mayne, a San Jacinto resident who is working with her community on a proposed 600-acre fee to trust for the Soboba Band's second casino.

The meeting will go over how to comment officially on transfers to trust, community input to appropriate officials and information about other communities with proposed casinos.


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  • michael45 posted at 5:21 pm on Sat, Dec 3, 2011.

    michael45 Posts: 12

    Feinstein is mad because she and her cohort Babs Boxer found out that there is not that much money in Joshua tree gambling for them to get a good payoff envelope. Other wise no problem with them

  • jimc137 posted at 7:24 pm on Sun, Nov 27, 2011.

    jimc137 Posts: 1

    This statement on gambling says it better than I could.

    "Gambling of any sort is built on a faulty premise; it really has the spirit of thievery. Why is that? Legitimate business is win-win. If I sell you a widget for a dollar, you get the widget and I get the dollar. We both win. Nobody can win at gambling without another losing. Many of the losers are those least able to afford it.

    One may object, "But nobody is forced to gamble." Gambling done willingly doesn't make it right. A duel, for instance, is murder by mutual consent. Just because two people agree to shoot each other doesn't make it right.

    The person who gambles and wins has the motive of getting something from another for nothing: thievery. The person who loses has the same motive, but has the added problem of being foolish."


  • worksmart posted at 8:12 am on Sat, Nov 26, 2011.

    worksmart Posts: 75

    Violet, the National Park Service ( local ) has stated they are against the casino. How does that make them a neutral party?

  • Violet posted at 7:40 pm on Fri, Nov 25, 2011.

    Violet Posts: 20

    Uh, ok lets try this. Its called personal research. Using links to confirm your position is quite helpful and shows that you are "informed" about the topic, not just shooting of your mouth. The links below if from the National Park Service which is a neutral party.


  • District37Racer posted at 8:16 am on Tue, Nov 22, 2011.

    District37Racer Posts: 291

    its always the same story.
    Dig up the same objections and claim the same dangers and perils no matter what the size or impact of the proposal. Claim the world will end and wait and see what sticks. If theres that many stupid tortoise out there that they seem to be affected by any thing we do maybe its time they come off the endangered list because they're starting to sound not all that endangered.
    Hopefully the majority of JT residents can decide which way this proposed project goes and not just a small more vocal crowd.

  • yellowlegs posted at 12:33 am on Tue, Nov 22, 2011.

    yellowlegs Posts: 146

    Desertgal, it is always the same story you post. You cry about why you came here and why people shouldn't advance Joshua Tree. If you don't want people building around you, than use your wealth to buy up as many properties as you can afford. Otherwise, what the heck makes you think you own everyone else's property?

    I am sick of hearing about why you came here. Who cares, I don't. Go pitch your story to Fick or the JTCA or the Chamber of Commerce, I am sure they will listen. Than they will tell you their same old sob story and you all will be so happy ever after.

  • yellowlegs posted at 10:20 pm on Sun, Nov 20, 2011.

    yellowlegs Posts: 146

    Mark Butler is just a plain Liar. He can't prove any of the comments he said.

    Yea, no wonder Diane Feinstein sent that letter to Ken Salazar, David Fick was there filling her full of nonsense. An example of that is the "fraudulent" 1227 signatures that Lorraine says she acquired. I bet many of those signatures are not valid because they aren't 18 years old or don't live/own property in Joshua Tree.

    I am sending a letter to Ken Salazar and asking him to validate the signatures because I think Lorraine knowingly included people that she knew were not valid. And since they were presented as evidence to a US Senator to make a decision, I would think that constitutes "Fraud".

    I am also starting my own petition for signatures as part of the "Grow Joshua Tree Program". If you are interested in helping collect signatures, call Julian Gonzalez at (760) 366-8100. I bet I can collect more the 1227 signatures the anti-growth and anti-job crowd has collected over a 2 month period. Writer One, JSmith2011, Dis37Racer and Yes Casino here is your opportunity to do more than just post words. If you are really concerned about Joshua Tree, Call me.

    By the way anyone that is in favor of responsible growth for Joshua Tree needs to boycutt the businesses known as "Wind Walkers", "Joshua Tree Outfitters", "Grateful Desert" and "Joshua Tree Health Foods". More to follow this week.

  • desertgal posted at 8:39 am on Sun, Nov 20, 2011.

    desertgal Posts: 76

    There are two opposite thinking, kinds of human inhabitants that live in this basin. The ones that chose to live here in order to escape the accoutrements of living in an urban community.....the ones of us that moved here to live far away from city lights, traffic, housing density, congestion, and big box malls. Joshua Tree has grown little enough since we first arrived 42 years go as visitors, It is still small enough to be the pleasant community it was, ...maybe a little more housing, and few more local businesses....but still a friendly close knit community. 15 years ago we made Joshua Tree our permanent residence. We rarely find a rneed to go outside the basin. Everything we need is right here locally. The basin as a whole suits the needs of the residents that came here for exactly what the community represents.

    Then there are the others that can't be happy unless every square inch of nature is covered in asphalt and concrete. It 's amazing that any person(s) will choose this locality, seeking a relaxed way of living and then immediately want to change it. The majority, and yes I honestly believe that the majority of Joshua Tree residents do not want or need casinos, super Walmarts, big box stores or housing complexes. There are any number of vacancies in already heavily condensed desert communities. Communities that are more conducive to that other half of those that yearn for that sort of desired living. I've been told if I don't like progress we should move. Well we have news for you, we already did that, and thought when we came here, a peaceful quiet life would be assured............maybe not. Soon maybe even Amboy won't be far enough away to escape the sprawl!!!!!

  • JSmith2011 posted at 1:29 pm on Fri, Nov 18, 2011.

    JSmith2011 Posts: 3

    Can anyone spell "JOBS". Maybe there is a way to keep these little "turtles" away from this nasty gambling casino. The area needs business and jobs!!!!! Seems like there has to be a happy medium. We live in San Diego but have owned property up in in Yucca for 50 years. We need business and jobs up there to get the economy growing.

  • idavidgraficks posted at 3:17 pm on Thu, Nov 17, 2011.

    idavidgraficks Posts: 828

    I HAVE a copy of the letter, I was at the meeting with Senator Feinstein's representative when the letter was presented and the Senator was addressing both possible casino locations in this letter. There is no doubt about this issue, both parcels (29 Palms 160 acre parcel and JT 90 acre parcel) are mentioned in the letter.
    The Hi-Desert Star's article could have quoted a bit more for clarification, but you have been corrected as to your assumption. I have also sent your email a PDF of this letter. David Fick

  • WriterOne posted at 12:41 pm on Thu, Nov 17, 2011.

    WriterOne Posts: 13

    DavidFick.... I'm not one bit "mistaken". This Hi Desert article is presumed to quote accurately statements made upon which we comment; to wit: ""Placing a casino less than a mile from the (Joshua Tree National) park's visitor center and park wilderness will forever change the nature of the desert treasure.""

    The Hi Desert article we are commenting on referrences the CURRENT casino proposal, NOT something in another jurisdiction that has been scrapped at least a year in the past. Whether or not Feinstein "potentially" makes reference to a past and defunct issue is not for you or "us" to decide. What bothers me is that some other govt agency is being pelted with fundamentally false information -- relative to the CURRENT issue in controversy. That simply means, in this specific comment/issue, that Feinstein's "letter" gives Salazar false information. So, don't tell me (and other readers here) what "you" THINK she "might" have "meant". What's on paper is what was said.

    I could go on picking your stuff apart... but I have better things to do.

  • YES CASINO posted at 8:53 pm on Wed, Nov 16, 2011.

    YES CASINO Posts: 1

    Obstruct scenic viewsheds? I live closer to the Park than a home run hit. Feinstein is worried about a casino one mile away, when I can see and hear MCAGCC (Earth's Jarhead Central) operations and lights all night at 25 miles? Not to mention the helos overhead viewshed. Not to mention the criminals hauled to the (gulp) jail viewshed next to the park. Oh, and the bail bond offices viewshed. Bars, etc. This part of Feinstein's letter reeks of copy/paste conservative church group propaganda.

    Poverty? Already here. Look around.

    Alcoholism? Already here. Look around. I don't recall the Tribe mentioning alcohol.

    Light pollution? It's my understanding the old Nuwu plans had taken this into consideration.

    Gambling addiction? None of your business if I want to gamble my earnings away. Call the Gambler's Hotline from any casino in Cal you choose.

    Butler doesn't get out much, no? I think other Nat'l Park Sups may differ, like myself, that JTNP is the Crown Jewel of the system. Great place? Absolutely!

    Big resort? Seems like there's room for another venue. Unless if you don't like competition...

    Tortoises? That's been covered already.

    You are living amongst Chemehuevi burial grounds and ancestral lands. They belong here no less than you and I.

    Residents in favor are also friends of JTNP and the Desert!

  • idavidgraficks posted at 8:39 pm on Wed, Nov 16, 2011.

    idavidgraficks Posts: 828

    WriterOne is slightly mistaken. Senator Dianne Feinstein was referring to the 29 Palms 160 acre site as being less than one mile (actually about half a mile) from Visitor Center of Joshua Tree National Park in 29 Palms. The Desert Tortoise issue involves proposed flood control management designs that intrudes on their routes (tortoises don't follow man-made maps). The 2010 Census population figures for Joshua Tree were relied upon by Sen. Feinstein, which were off by about 18% (reasonably accurate estimates are about 8,800 population count). I think the No Casino petition at last count was about 1380 signatures, but I think a good percentage are not all Joshua Tree residents (We'll have to ask Lorraine L. about that).
    We were told by the 29 Palms tribe that there would be approximately 125 jobs for the 20,000 sq. ft.. In regards to tourism, a casino would diffuse the Gateway Identity that Joshua Tree currently has in relation to the Joshua Tree National Park tourists. Please attend the JTCA meeting ( Saturday 10-12 AM, JT Community Center) to clear up the assorted negative aspects of Indian Gaming.
    I know Senator Feinstein had to rely on her staff for most of the info details, but her heart's in the right place on this issue for Joshua Tree and the National Park. I did a web search for Senator Feinstein and Indian Casino and found out she's been dealing with Indian Casinos way before this issue that the Morongo Basin has been (2007).
    WriterOne, I can nit-picky with the best of them, but I want to thank you for your website in service to the Joshua Tree community (www.JoshuaTreeStar.com).

  • WriterOne posted at 6:05 pm on Wed, Nov 16, 2011.

    WriterOne Posts: 13

    [sad] Dianne Feinstein has been misinformed.

    The driving distance from the proposed casino is 2.2 miles to the unofficial Visitor Center on Park Blvd, and an additional 5+ miles to the Park's entry Ranger Station gate. The chance of a Desert Tortoise getting from any point in or near the Park to the general vacinity of the proposed 130-acre casino property on the north side of the 4-lane, 65-90 mile per hour traffic on the 29-Palms highway is nil.

    Although not confirmed by this writer, the population of the unincorporated community of Joshua Tree is greater than the 2010 US Census as estimated by Mr. David Fick. Many outside the Census boundaries were not counted resulting in an estimated resident population of about 8 thousand+ in lieu of the "official" 7,414 noted by Feinstein.

    I hope this clears up some misinformed comments Ms Feinstein made -- or were quoted.

    Jobs at the casino would amount to a mere 200 +/- a few, so, that is not at issue.

    As to the "impact on tourism..." (etc) I must conclude that there would be "some" increase in "tourism" or "visitors" from outside the Morongo Basin. As to the other items on the "have an impact on..." Well, if a mini-mall were built there (or anywhere) "crime" would increase as it would if a housing tract were there instead. As to "alcoholism" and "gambling addiction", those are just a few extra words thrown in to make the "negative" aspects seem more valid. And, if that were true, the local mental health workers will giggle all the way to the banks.... which are located some 9 or 10 miles west in Yucca Valley.

  • District37Racer posted at 10:39 am on Wed, Nov 16, 2011.

    District37Racer Posts: 291

    Um, how would the proposal adversly affect the turtle population in the park

    Fienstien is concerned with regional tourism? But the tourism she touts that would be a benefit to other communities in the ridiculous sand to snow land grab is ok? She wouldnt want a casino because it would make her ultimate goal of locking the whole Southern California desert up from everyone but the granola eaters a little harder

  • MacPlastic posted at 9:10 am on Wed, Nov 16, 2011.

    MacPlastic Posts: 31

    Dianne Feinstein is a friend of the Desert and Joshua Tree National Park. Why else would she say "Placing a casino less than a mile from the (Joshua Tree National) park's visitor center and park wilderness will forever change the nature of the desert treasure." and tell Ken Salazar that hundreds of Joshua Tree community members have "A wide array of concerns about the impacts on regional tourism, crime, poverty, alcoholism and gambling addiction."



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