Wednesday, July 23, 2008

BarWest presents third plan in five years for a casino in Barstow


City Council recap: Single casino plan detailed

BARSTOW — The Los Coyotes Band of Indians have decided to go it alone in pursuing a casino in Barstow.

Shane Chapparosa, a spokesman for the tribe, and Tom Shields, a spokesman for developer BarWest, outlined a new plan at Monday’s City Council meeting for one casino in Barstow linked to only one tribe, the Los Coyotes.

“We’re back on top of it,” Chapparosa said of the casino project. “We’re not going to stop this.”

The tribe resubmitted a land-into-trust application to the Department of the Interior and filed an intent to start a new environmental impact statement for the smaller, only 23 acres, casino project off of Lenwood Road. In June, the Department of the Interior announced that they had revived the Los Coyotes’ application.

The land-into-trust process makes the land sovereign and is necessary to allow Indian gaming. A previous land-into-trust application was denied by the Department of the Interior in January.

Big Lagoon Rancheria, the other tribe involved in Barstow’s dual casino project, has focused their efforts on developing a casino on their reservation in Humbolt County, said Jason Barnett, a spokesman for the tribe.

* * *
NOTE: This represents the third public proposal by BarWest and the Los Coyotes Band of Indians since 2003. The first proposal was denied by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2004. A second proposal was rejected in back-to-back session of the California Legislature in 2006 & 2007; and by the U.S. Department of Interior in 2008.

Late last week, the Bureau of Indian Affairs issued a new rule that says casinos should be located within 25 miles of a reservation headquarters. The Los Coyotes reservation is in north eastern San Diego County more than 150 mile drive from the Barstow casino site.

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