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Barstow Casino Vote Must Wait

12 August 2005

BARSTOW, California – As reported by the San Bernardino County Sun: "An initiative supporting Indian casinos in west Barstow has qualified for the ballot, but the measure is not likely to go before voters for five to nine months.

"Of 2,101 signatures on an initiative petition circulated in July, 1,490 are valid, said George Bennett, manager of voter services for the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters.

"That's 256 names above the 1,234 signatures needed to qualify the initiative as a ballot measure.

"However, today is the deadline for the initiative to qualify for the Nov. 8 ballot, and City Clerk JoAnne Cousino said the California Elections Code prohibits her from certifying the signatures until the City Council's next regular meeting, scheduled for Monday .

"…Only council members Helen Runyon and Joe Gomez agreed to ask for the meeting. A majority is needed. But Cousino said a special session would only allow council members to discuss the issue and not place the measure on the ballot.

"Former councilman Manuel Gurule, who spearheaded the petition effort, disagrees.

"…He pointed out the city attorney told council members this month that they can always call a special meeting to place an initiative on the ballot.

"…Mayor Lawrence Dale declined to call a special meeting.

"…Cousino said it could be months before voters can cast ballots on the initiative…"

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