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Barstow Signs Deal With Tribes

20 July 2006

BARSTOW, California – (PRESS RELEASE) -- The Barstow City Council last week unanimously approved the City's Municipal Services Agreements (MSA) with the Big Lagoon Rancheria and Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians, the next step in the process of bringing their proposed casinos and resort to Barstow.

"Big Lagoon is happy to have reached mutually beneficial agreements with the City of Barstow," said Virgil Moorehead, Big Lagoon's tribal chairman. "We look forward to continuing to work closely with the City to ensure the casino resort brings the needed economic development and other benefits to the Barstow community."

The MSAs are comprehensive intergovernmental agreements that were negotiated between the City's staff and the Tribes to ensure mitigation of impacts from potential development on the Tribes' lands and provide compensation to the City for public services and otherwise establish rules and standards for the development and operation of the Tribes' proposed casino resort. The Big Lagoon/Los Coyotes Tribes will be the only gaming tribes in southern California to have such binding agreements with the community in which they operate.

The Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians initially signed its MSA with the City of Barstow in 2004, before the Tribes had successfully negotiated gaming compacts with Governor Schwarzenegger. The agreement was slightly amended to precisely mirror the Big Lagoon's MSA.

"Los Coyotes appreciates the people of Barstow's enthusiasm in creating the kinship that will benefit both communities," said Dr. Catherine Siva Saubel, Los Coyotes' spokesperson. "I wish to thank the Mayor and the City Council for working with us to nurture and cultivate this project."

In the agreements, the Tribes agree to:

* Pay an estimated $6.7 million to the City in the first year of operations and estimated payments of over $198 million over a period of 20 years (with a 4 percent growth factor).

* Pay up to $1 million each toward the construction of police and fire stations, if deemed necessary by the City.

* Pay for Fire Department personnel to be trained to handle high-rise fires if there are buildings more than four stories high.

* Adopt tribal ordinances prohibiting the following:

-- No person under the age of 21 is permitted to gamble and may only be in the gaming areas if they are walking through to a non-gaming area of the resort.

-- No person under 21 is permitted to purchase, consume or otherwise possess alcoholic beverages, and all alcohol beverage service is subject to applicable State Liquor Laws.

-- No nude entertainment or sexually oriented activities will be allowed on trust lands.

-- Fuel dispensing facilities for motor vehicles will not be permitted on trust lands.

* Ensure that the project passes strict environmental reviews.

* Pay the costs of traffic mitigation and any necessary environmental mitigation.

* Pay the City for all service, development and impact fees.

* Contribute $40,000 per year to community programs to prevent problem gaming.

* Offer training programs to assist local residents in becoming qualified for positions at the casino resort and work in good faith to employ qualified city residents.

Completing the placement of land into trust is the next step in the process to proceed with jointly developing the $160 million casino resort. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is currently preparing a scoping report for a draft environmental impact statement to identify potential environmental impacts of the project. A public scoping hearing was held in Barstow in May. The EIS is part of the federal government's review of the Tribes' pending land-into-trust applications.

California lawmakers are currently reviewing legislation to approve the compacts Governor Schwarzenegger signed with the Los Coyotes and Big Lagoon in September 2005.

The Barstow Casinos and Resort are designed to capture some of the market of an estimated 60 million cars that travel through the community on their way to and from Las Vegas each year. The projects will support approximately 900 construction jobs and 1,700 full time positions at the casinos. It is expected that the Los Coyotes and Big Lagoon tribes will contribute to the local community government yearly. The Barstow community has lagged behind the state in economic development with more than 35% of the residents on public assistance. More than 2,000 local residents signed postcards addressed to the Governor asking him to negotiate the compacts.

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