Time to Take Action
Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
 

http://www.sacbee.com/101/story/922065.html

A standout proposal

By Todd Milbourn - tmilbourn@sacbee.com  May 8, 2008, Sacramento Bee

KBC NOTE: (Klamath Tribes, with land given to them in the Klamath Settlement Agreement (they sold their reservation)... intend to expand their gaming. No taxes. No accountability for profits. They are the only group or race that can give unlimited money to elected officials, and give jobs with preference to their own race. Click Here for info on Going to Pieces tribal expansion book and to view the full-length online video.)

Scott Garawitz, Thunder Valley's chief executive officer, says the plan's performing arts center will attract top entertainment. Anne Chadwick Williams / awilliams@sacbee.com

See additional images

It would be the Sears Tower of South Placer County: A 24-story casino hotel, towering above pastures and suburban homes, beckoning visitors for miles in every direction.

Thunder Valley Casino's expansion plans are, in the words of an architect, "jaw-dropping."

The proposed casino would radically alter the landscape of suburban South Placer County, where the skyline today features a four-story government complex, a few three-story parking garages and a biomass plant.

"It'll be a big eyesore sticking out in the middle of nowhere," said Garry Meeker, 68, who lives a few miles from the planned high-rise, to be built atop a low-slung casino that now sits just off Highway 65.

Scott Garawitz, Thunder Valley's chief executive officer, acknowledged the hotel would be out of character for the rolling landscape and that's the point.

"If this were in New York or L.A. or Vegas, people would say, 'This is pretty cool.' But bringing this level of hotel and entertainment to Sacramento is going to blow everything out of the water," he said.

On a tour of the casino grounds last week, Garawitz said the hotel would be the only one of its kind in Northern California a four- or five-star resort on the order of a Four Seasons. One suite would be 2,500 square feet the size of a large suburban home. And the hotel would include two new ballrooms, spas, an arcade and three new restaurants, plus an oyster bar.

The jewel, he said, would be an elaborate performing arts center built by the same Montreal company that constructed Celine Dion's theater at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

"This region is just starved for entertainment," said Garawitz, walking through a casino hallway featuring signed posters of the B-list artists the casino has attracted in the past.

Nothing against the country greats, such as Roy Clark, Garawitz said, but the new theater would attract more current acts.

The proposal is wending its way through the environmental review process. Garawitz said he hopes to begin construction as soon as this summer, with the first phase complete by fall 2010.

So far, resistance to Thunder Valley's expansion pales in comparison to the tumult that erupted before construction of the original casino in 2003. The cities of Rocklin and Roseville and a group of private citizens sued to halt construction, fearing traffic snarls and a spike in crime.

Cheryl Schmit, a Penryn-based gambling watchdog who battled the original casino, said those fears have largely subsided thanks to a landmark agreement between the county and the tribe owning the casino, the United Auburn Indian Community.

That pact funneled more than $30 million to the county over the past five years and helped build a fire station near the casino. The tribe also has agreed to buy a ladder truck for the department if the new proposal gets approved.

"So often other tribes just build something and nothing is discussed or mitigated," said Schmit, who was one of only three citizens to speak at recent public hearing on the plan. "That's not the case with this tribe."

Robert Weygandt, the Placer County supervisor whose district includes the casino, said he backs the proposal but worries the high-rise would diminish the pastoral Placer landscape he's enjoyed since a child.

"It's a provocative question: On one hand, we've been working really hard to increase density for preserving open space. But it's big and tall and very different thing for Placer County," Weygandt said.

For a measure of just how different, consider Lincoln's current skyline, if you can call it that: A grain elevator and a three-story office building, and nearby, the 147-feet-tall Rio Bravo Rocklin biomass plant.

Last year, the City Council relaxed a ban on buildings taller than 50 feet to make way for Lincoln's tallest building yet: A four-story government complex.

"You won't miss it, that's for sure," said Rod Campbell, Lincoln's community development director, referring to the casino high-rise planned just beyond his city's limits.

Sacramento architect John Packowski said building a high-rise in the foothills doesn't make much sense architecturally, but it's good marketing. If it were in Sacramento, the 24-story hotel would be the eighth-tallest building downtown.

"It's jarring, it's bold, it's gutsy," Packowski said. "They're not making a design statement here; their purpose to attract attention."

Garawitz said the casino had no choice but to go up. The tribe has a few acres available on its trust land but not enough for the size hotel it wanted. A high-rise hotel is easier to manage, too.

"If you did a Motel 6 thing, by the time the room service waiter goes from here to Room 602 on the other side, he needs a breathing apparatus," Garawitz said.

The casino is also looking upward for its 5,000-space parking lot. At nine stories tall, it would be Lincoln's second-tallest building.

About the writer:

  • Call The Bee's Todd Milbourn, (916) 321-1063.

See a larger version of this graphic

 

The proposed expansion at Thunder Valley, imagined above, would encompass a 24-story hotel-casino and nine-story parking garage. "You won't miss it, that's for sure," said Rod Campbell, a Lincoln city official. Thunder Valley Casino

chowderheadlivesforever at 1:18 AM PST Thursday, May 8, 2008 said:

Heres an idea. . . How about the state create a "California Gaming Commission" which would control the odds (like Nevada and New Jersey do) thus offering some form of consumer protection from these money grubbing tribes. Unfortunately our short sighted state government is too easily swayed by the bribe moneies paid by these tribes, to actually look out for the best interests of its citizens.

9 out of 11 people found this comment helpful.

td1837 at 2:21 AM PST Thursday, May 8, 2008 said:

this bld will be seen by everyone in the whole valley and foothills

on a clear day this will stand out like the sutter buttes for miles around- i think maybe cut the height in half would be better. hurray for the concert hall!!! yea!!! finally something in placer co we dont have to drive to like marysville,calexpo,downtown- bring on the concerts!!!! side note- why doesnt thunder have roulett tables??? come one- my favorite game!!!

2 out of 6 people found this comment helpful.

bob3905 at 5:42 AM PST Thursday, May 8, 2008 said:

Go ahead!

Look, I don't gamble and I don't play the Lotto but I support thes existence of both. A fool and his (or her) money is soon parted so let the fools lose their money if they believe they're having fun doing so. That's how I feel. Now Thunder Valley wants a hotel tower? I say GREAT! I wonder why they took so long. Other tribal casinos have been stealing their thunder with their own hotels and theaters. Who really cares about the pastoral landscape? To me the area looks like fields of weeds with warehouses tossed in to break up the monotony. No one drives through this wasteland between Rocklin/Roseville and Lincoln to view the scenery because it's NOT scenic. Let's get some more tax dollars for the county and state and some entertainment options to boot. Way to go Thunder Valley! It's time.

2 out of 11 people found this comment helpful.

beerzie at 6:07 AM PST Thursday, May 8, 2008 said:

This Sounds Awful

And I'm glad I don't live there.

8 out of 11 people found this comment helpful.

pressto at 6:10 AM PST Thursday, May 8, 2008 said:

The cities of Rocklin and Roseville and a group of private citizens sued to halt construction, fearing traffic snarls and a spike in crime.

As the facts have shown all of these lawsuits were baseless because the fears they had never played out. Personally I am against all of these huge Indian casinos that have been built and really think the Federal government needs to go back and overhaul the Indian laws that allow them to buy a piece of land and claim it is now a tribal reservation. For chowderheadlivesforever this is the reason the CA government can not regulate anything with these Indian casinos, because they are not covered under state laws and don't have to abide by them when they are on their private Indian reservations, which Thunder Valley is technically.

5 out of 6 people found this comment helpful.

scotto585 at 6:14 AM PST Thursday, May 8, 2008 said:

The only way out

The only way out of this mess, IMHO, is to legalize gambling in the whole state. That would diminish the impact of these eyesores and crime-magnet casinos. Laws against gambing in Calif. are basically a joke at this point, with all the cardrooms, Indian casinos, and the Lotto. Why not go all the way, and remove the benefit to the most powerful special interest group in the state?

5 out of 6 people found this comment helpful.

scrappykid at 7:04 AM PST Thursday, May 8, 2008 said:

Original lawsuits and future of tribal gaming

The original lawsuits didn't understand IGRA, and how much power that gave tribes to do as they wished. Now that the UAIC and municipalities have come to something of a detene (helped in no small part by monies funneled from the casino) it's funny to see greed materialize once again. Go to Thunder Valley some time and examine the demographic. Casinos are basically a tax on people and sociocultural segments that are math-challenged. It's good to see an oppressed people get the right to bulid casinos....why can't African-Americans do the same? Hmmm.

0 out of 1 people found this comment helpful.

sittinginacowpasture at 7:20 AM PST Thursday, May 8, 2008 said:

Do you want to see more financial devastation such as bankruptcies?

Go ahead, build this mega casino. Watch financial devastation run through the region. Soaring bankruptcies, horrible traffic, more pollution, visual pollution, more street crime, etc.

5 out of 7 people found this comment helpful.

Oblio at 7:47 AM PST Thursday, May 8, 2008 said:

Stop the gambling monopoly on 'Indian' land.

It's time to legalize gambling throughout the state of California. Why should California give up a large percentage of gambling profits so they can get a 'small slice of the pie' from the Indian casinos. This would allow American citizens to gamble without giving up their rights.

4 out of 5 people found this comment helpful.

kingsdude at 8:11 AM PST Thursday, May 8, 2008 said:

Who didn't see this coming?

I knew it was going to expand the first time I visited it on the 'Grand Opening'. It is too small to really compete head to head with Tahoe/Reno. I am not in agreement with this being done, but I knew this day would come, based on all the open land around them. Not sure if they need a HUGE tower to house the rooms,should keep it in line with the area. If they build the concert arena like the Palms built thiers, the 'Pearl', then Sacramentans/Nor.Cal folk have another venue for BIG name acts to play.

1 out of 2 people found this comment helpful.

bayareasam at 8:22 AM PST Thursday, May 8, 2008 said:

I think the whole project sucks. Why do we even allow gambling in California? People are idiots. They willingly and literally throw their money away, and then complain they don't have the money to see their doctor or pay their mortgage. We don't need a 24 story tower in Placer. It's going to be a huge eyesore. It's amazing how pacifist people become when the rich tribe throws money at them. Sure I'll buy you a firetruck in return for an extra few hundred million a year in profit!

1 out of 2 people found this comment helpful.

brightguy at 8:25 AM PST Thursday, May 8, 2008 said:

Gambling isn't Gambling Anymore!

Its stop drop an go. Sealed boards, Multi-Games on one Machine, Enjoy your Smiles, Odds are thats all you will take home. True luck requires mechanical movement, Electronics can be programed out. Calif is under Qualified to run what its got.

1 out of 1 people found this comment helpful.

Reese1970 at 8:34 AM PST Thursday, May 8, 2008 said:

Legalize gambling...

....and use the revenues to get the State out of the budget crisis it's in!!!! WOW - I knew the casino would eventually build on a hotel (we live in Twelve Bridges right across the highway from the casino), but I didn't think it was going to be *that* big!!!! It'll be nice to see some good concerts and other events so close to home, I suppose. Maybe the Wiggles or Doodlebops will come to TV - LOL - my little one would love that!

1 out of 2 people found this comment helpful.

One111 at 8:52 AM PST Thursday, May 8, 2008 said:

First Things First

The first thing that needs to be done is to construct an overpass over Hwy 65 at Sunset. The traffic there is always jammed up, mostly due to casino traffic. I support a hotel (though a smaller version) It provides a place for partying casino-goers to sleep it off rather than driving after having a few drinks.

1 out of 1 people found this comment helpful.

gooberboy at 9:13 AM PST Thursday, May 8, 2008 said:

That thing is FUGLY!

Indian tribes will soon be the most powerful force in California politics, so they're darn well going to get their mega-hotel tower, no matter what Joe Citizen wants. Fine. I can accept that. But does the tower have to be so screaming ugly? It looks as if somebody told the architects: "You know the Circus Circus in Vegas? That's so cool. We want something just like that!" All money, no taste...

1 out of 2 people found this comment helpful.

firefargo at 9:22 AM PST Thursday, May 8, 2008 said:

ha ha ha

those native americans are getting the last laugh now. making bank without paying taxes. doing whatever they wanted under federal protection. ruining cities, towns, villages and people by spreading their cancer of gambling. ha ha ha they laugh all the way to the bank. building a highrise in Roseville ha ha ha. and there is nothing you can do to stop it.

1 out of 1 people found this comment helpful.

VoiceofReason at 9:30 AM PST Thursday, May 8, 2008 said:

Economic shot in the arm

lots of constrcution jobs provided during the initial build out and several hundred ongoing well paid/low skilled (needed with our education system) jobs. I don't have a problem with this project.

1 out of 3 people found this comment helpful.

kennerd at 10:19 AM PST Thursday, May 8, 2008 said:

If you build it - they will come....

I am so glad that I gave up gambling years ago. For those who are into gambling, this will save a lot of trips to S. Lake Tahoe.

1 out of 1 people found this comment helpful.

catdude at 10:29 AM PST Thursday, May 8, 2008 said:

Which is worse?

A vertical eyesore or a horizontal one? Lincoln, Rocklin and Roseville have covered the Placer County hills with horizontal eyesores (tract housing blight). Thunder Valley wants a vertical one. Both look equally bad.

3 out of 3 people found this comment helpful

yubamatt at 10:33 AM PST Thursday, May 8, 2008 said:

Ugly

Tear out the oak trees, build houses for miles, install a mall, a casino, and a skyline. That's progress. I wouldn't worry about it sticking out like a sore thumb. The pollution in the area is getting so bad, you'll have to be within a couple of miles of the structure to actually see it. I commute in from the north, sometimes the pollution is so bad, I have to be within 8 miles of downtown to see the buildings.The new building will hide in the brown air. Perfect!

0 out of 1 people found this comment helpful.

bob3905 at 12:29 PM PST Thursday, May 8, 2008 said:

Again

There's NOTHING there. There is no there, there. It's fields of weeds and dead grasses. Why does everyone go off on how ugly it is and make comments like "I'm glad I don't live there". Listen, no one lives there. It's warehouses and dead grass. The only impact this will have is on traffic. They should ask the tribe(s) to foot the bill for a proper interchange and go forth. For those who complain about pollution, it's the cars that choke the air more than any other thing. If people aren't driving to the casino they're driving somewhere. I doubt very much the casino adds much of anything to our polluted atmosphere.

2 out of 2 people found this comment helpful.

AVM at 12:31 PM PST Thursday, May 8, 2008 said:

Cheryl Schmidt

is a classic NIMBY. She spearheaded this crusade and fought the tribe tooth-and-nail when it was going to be in Penryn. But now it's elsewhere, she doesn't give a damn. Just as long as it's not near her.

1 out of 1 people found this comment helpful.

frontosa23 at 3:51 PM PST Thursday, May 8, 2008 said:

bob3905

I've disagreed with your posts at times, but this certainly is NOT one of them. You're saying everything I would say about this subject.

0 out of 0 people found this comment helpful.

rpatte at 4:25 PM PST Thursday, May 8, 2008 said:

Educate yourself

California Tribes and Nevada Casinos operate under basically the same payback percentages...these percentages are programmed into the software on the game and can range anywhere from around 80% payback to 100% payback...the individual casino owner or tribe decide where it is set...If you do not like where TV sets it's payback percentages than go somewhere else but to write that the payback percentages are not regulated is simply wrong.

0 out of 0 people found this comment helpful.

intensity74 at 5:46 PM PST Thursday, May 8, 2008 said:

This is typical Sacbee misreporting. I do not support this project but 24 stories is hardly a Sears Tower...There are several buildings in downtown Sacramento larger than this.

0 out of 0 people found this comment helpful.

 
Home Contact

 

              Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM  Pacific


             Copyright klamathbasincrisis.org, 2008, All Rights Reserved