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Barstow Voters Support Casino

8 June 2006

BARSTOW, California – (PRESS RELEASE) -- More than 80 percent of Barstow voters shot down a ballot measure Tuesday that could have blocked the Big Lagoon/Los Coyotes casino resort from being developed in Barstow.

"The overwhelming number of Barstow residents who opposed Measure H is clear indication that the Los Coyotes, Big Lagoon and the people of Barstow are of one mind, one heart and one purpose," said Catherine Saubel, Los Coyotes chairwoman. "Tuesday's vote leaves no doubt of the strong support for this project."

Measure H outlined a set of requirements for gaming in Barstow and attempted to prevent the City from supporting the Los Coyotes and Big Lagoon project by prohibiting gaming on the site designated in the Tribes' compacts signed with the State of California. It also would have set requirements that could prohibit the City from supporting the applications of Los Coyotes and Big Lagoon before the federal government.

"It's clear, Barstow supports the development of the Los Coyotes/Big Lagoon casino resort in Barstow," said Gregg Lint, chair of the Barstow Citizens for Real Economic Development, which led the effort against the measure. "The voters saw though this scheme to stop the only casino project approved by Governor Schwarzenegger for Barstow. Our community just can't afford to lose the 3700 good paying jobs and economic development that the Los Coyotes and Big Lagoon Tribes' project will bring."

The next step in the process to proceed with jointly developing the casino resort is obtaining legislative approval of the compacts Governor Schwarzenegger signed in September.

"This landslide defeat of Measure H sends a strong message to legislators in Sacramento that Barstow supports the Governor's compacts with the Tribes," said Mayor Lawrence Dale. "This comes at a perfect time as the Legislature is prepared to take up the compacts. Our community's support is no longer in question."

When ratified, the compacts will allow the tribes to proceed with jointly developing a $160 million casino resort complex in Barstow. Within the proposed 47-acre complex, each tribe will own and operate an individual casino facility. The compacts also specify how associated revenues and infrastructure costs will be fairly distributed among the tribes, the State, and local government.

Each tribe is also applying to the Department of Interior to request that its portion of the land be taken into trust. A scoping hearing was held in Barstow in May. Construction can begin once the applications have been approved.

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 more than 1,000 construction jobs and 1,700 full time positions at the casino. 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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