Sunday, October 31, 2004

In pitch for Prop. 70, tribe thanks state for opportunity

Richard Milanovich, tribal chairman of Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, on Friday wrapped up a whirlwind week for the Proposition 70 campaign with this statement:

"California’s gaming tribes are offering $500 million a year -- for a century -- to California."

Milanovich, who chairs a tribe that has been at the forefront of a ballot initiative to allow an unlimited number of slots, and the introduction of table games such as craps and roulette in tribal casinos, was referring to the corporate tax that would be paid to the state on net profits, if Indian casinos were expanded.

That tax now stands at 8.84 percent.

The people of California were thanked by Milanovich for their generosity in the tape produced at Agua Caliente tribal headquarters in Palm Springs.

"California’s Native Americans have achieved new prosperity and opportunity through gaming,’’ he said, which has been shared with all tribes and can now be shared with the people of California.

Milanovich concluded by saying it was unfortunate that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s campaign against Proposition 70 included "racially charged rhetoric.’’

"But I believe the people of California support Native Americans, and will reject those tactics on Tuesday,’’ Milanovich said.

The comments come on the heels of TV ads by by actress Stefanie Powers and former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura in favor of the measure. And, just 24 hours before Schwarzenegger’s "Road to Reform" bus tour through Southern California.

Stops are planned today in Del Mar, Anaheim and Bakersfield by Schwarzenegger to stump for propositions 1-A; 59; 64; 69 and against propositions 63; 66; 67; 68; 70; 72.

On Friday, during pre-taped interview between Schwarzenegger and radio talk show celebrity Sean Hannity, brief mention also was made of the governor’s stance on Proposition 70. In the show aired locally on KNWZ-AM radio in Palm Springs, Schwarzenegger said he opposed the measure, because "Indians are trying to have a 99-year monopoly and create huge casinos all over the state."

In past interviews Milanovich has said market influences would dictate growth, and a proliferation of casinos is not projected.

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