As we discussed in a mid-September post (see "The Compacts Are Dead, The Compacts Are Dead," Sept. 9th), the recent big news from California was the eleventh-hour demise of Governor Schwarzenegger’s proposed compacts with five tribes that would have changed the landscape of Indian gaming in that state.
The political upshot? Partisan finger-wagging with a pinch of special interest-group politics. Republicans accused Democrats with kowtowing to labor unions. Democrats pointed to Schwarzenegger’s last-minute efforts to dump the compacts in their lap to make them look bad. And the unions accused Schwarzenegger with trying to cozy up to well-moneyed tribes who otherwise would oppose his reelection efforts, while excoriating Indian tribes for being “opposed” to organized labor. For his part, Schwarzenegger played off the loss by reiterating that he was “committed” to working with gaming tribes who “deserve no less than the respectful consideration by the Legislature.”
No one seemed to have anything good to say about the proposed expansion of Indian gaming in the state of California. The tribes were simply hung out to dry.
Tune in to see what happens come January 2007 . . . which most likely is the next time we’ll hear anything in the California legislature about the compacts.