Friday, April 8, 2011

BREAKING! Last Rites for Richmond Gambling Rights

by Rev. Austin Miles
Oakley, CA 4/7/11) After several years of hearings that began in 2003, with haggling, cajoling, coercing, threatening and payoffs, the proposed $1.2 billlion Casino-Hotel-Resort at Richmond's water front, has been given the last rites for the Richmond, Point Molate gambling rights. Even though the voters overwhelmingly made their opposition clear, the tribe of Guidivillle Band of Pmo Indians,  with gambling profiteers behind the proposal, were determined to push this on the people. These tribal casinos were hatched by the mob using white guilt of past injustices to the Indians to gain traction for the scheme,  in this case.the Guidiville Band of of Pomo Indians in front of the project.
Indeed at one of the hearings that this writer attended, one speaker who opposed the casino felt obligated to state that this was nothing against the Indians, he had no prejudice towards them etc. etc. etc.  So white people were shoe-horned into a position to be called racists if they didn't approve the Indian Casino because Indians were running it.  Clever move on the part of the mob.
Millions upon millions of dollars of cash in the stash motivated by the speculation that the casino would take in $1 billion a year AS PROFIT!. This is of course serious money that would propel one to use any means necessary to accomplish the goal. That includes generous bribes and bribe offers.
And, there were takers, even though they knew in their hearts that this would be wrong for the city of Richmond, a city of constant violence, crime and murder. Still, they sold out their own values for bucks. Except for one man in paritcular who stood his ground in opposition as pressure was mounted against him to accept a bribe and publicly endorse the game plan.
Rev. John Anderson runs the Bay Area Rescue Mission in Richmond, a homeless shelter with 325 beds. His is a compassionate ministry which provides for the needs of the downtrodden. With case loads increasing due to the econimic crisis, the mission is constantly in need of funds. Not enough, however, for Rev. Anderson to sell out his integrity.
To deal with their opponents, the casino backers promised huge amounts of money EACH YEAR if the measure passed, and this included charity organizations like Rev. Anderson's Bay Area Rescue Mission.
Slight pause for this observation: Gambling consists of games of chance (they say). So [if] it is by chance, how would the casino operators be able to state the exact amount of money, in the millions, that they could pay out if the measure passed?
The operators know for certain that a casino like the one proposed would take in over a billion dollars a year (their profit). They know that for fact. So is it really a game of chance? Or is it rigged to only pay out so much money? Just remember that those fancy hotels and glitzy casinos were not built by you winning!
Rev. Anderson went to the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors, where the measure would be discussed. He brought with him some clients of his shelter whose lives have been ruined by gambling. They testified that they had lost everything to gambling and wound up on the streets. They told how easy it is to become addicted to gambling.
Lisa Vorderbrueggen, writing for the East County Times reported that "nearly every opposition group has, or is negotiating a lucrative deal with the Guidiville Band of Pomo Indians." Then, she wrote, ," behind the scenes, casino proponents have urged Rev. Anderson to meet with the tribe."
He told them that he would not accept money from Indian casinos, " since gambling goes against the principles that we believe and stand for." He went on to say, "We were not angling for money. We see the devastation that would come about as a result of a casino like the one proposed." And it appears that he is the only organization that rejected the proposed pay off.
Complications began two days after Rev. Anderson took his heroic stand. The Contra Costa Health Department suddenly showed up to inspect the facility. An inspector showed up a day or two later. When Rev. Anderson asked why the inspector was there, he blurted out that his visit was routine, "not the result of a complaint." The inspector said it, not Rev. Anderson. Why of course, that visit, two days after he testified before the Coiunty Board of Supervisors, was purely coindidental.
Then the County Health Department demanded upgrades inside the shelter that would cost Rev. Anderson, $45,000. And this is a time when donations are down11 % and their expenses are up 18%.
Then, on the same day, he received a message from the Pittsburg Redevelopment Agency regarding a property he wanted to buy in order to open a shelter there for women and children. He was contacted by Janis Glover, wife of Contra Costa County Supervisor, Federal Glover. She questioned him about "the mission's religious activities."
Now hold on… don't jump to conclusions… this too was just a coincidence don't you see.  She was merely dealing with some 'church and state issues' that suddenly came up and was simply gathering information for the city attorney. That's what she said. Sure! Let's be sure we have all of this in order:
First of all, Mrs. Federal Glover, who has a political job with the Pittsburg Redevelopment Agency is married to the Supervisor of Contra Costa County, Federal Glover. Glory be!. Another coincidence!
It was a fierce struggle to try and push this proposal through. One man stood in the way with his refusal to compromise on a moral issue by accept ing a bribe to endorse something that he did not believe in and would not be pleasing to God.  Rev. Anderson cannot be bought.  And today, the proposed gambling casino that would do more harm than good for Contra Costa County was roundly defeated.  The tribe and its gambling backers lost the bet.
A tip of the beret to Rev. John Anderson of The Bay Area Rescue Mission, who stayed true to God and himself. He is the rarest of men….a man who cannot be bought. A minister of integrity who would never offend God. He is totally devoted to the ministry God has entrused him with. His pure actions resulted in this headline in East County Times (11/22/09): "Shelter Denounces Casino Cash." We need more ministers like John Anderson.