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Schwarzenegger Turns to Tribes for Help

5 May 2006

CALIFORNIA – As reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune: "Three years after bashing Indian gaming tribes on the way to the governor's office, Arnold Schwarzenegger is quietly reaching out to California's most powerful tribal leaders as he prepares for what could be a difficult re-election campaign.

"The overtures, similar to those the Republican governor has made in recent months to other special interests he has battled, could lead to another round of gambling expansion while chilling possible tribal opposition to his bid for a second term.

"…In recent weeks, Schwarzenegger made personal calls to tribal leaders such as Agua Caliente's Richard Milanovich and Morongo's Maurice Lyons, several sources said. The two Riverside County tribes and a number of others have been at odds with the governor since rejecting his terms for new gambling agreements, or compacts, two years ago.

"The governor also has begun a series of meetings with three prominent tribal groups. On Wednesday, he sat down with the California Tribal Business Alliance, a small group of tribes that include Pala, Pauma and Viejas of San Diego County and two others that negotiated the first new gambling deals with Schwarzenegger.

"Next Wednesday, the governor has invited the powerful Riverside County tribes and other members of the Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations to join him in his office.

"The following day, he is scheduled to meet with representatives of the state's oldest and largest tribal lobby, the California Nations Indian Gaming Association.

"Many of those tribes have been seeking a meeting with Schwarzenegger for more than two years.

"…But, in addition to more slots, many tribes are eager to talk to Schwarzenegger about the push for off-reservation casinos, and the competition they could bring to established casinos…"

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