Lytton Indians strike back at Loni Hancock

(A hearty hat-tip to Oakland environmental and land-use attorney Stuart Flashman, who noticed this and posted a comment about it elsewhere on this blog.)

hancock.jpgDemocratic voters in the 9th State Senate District recently received a mailer — see it here, pages 1, 2, 3 and 4 — accusing Assemblywoman Loni Hancock — who’s opposed by former Assemblywoman Wilma Chan in the June 3 state Senate primary — of having lowered educational standards, supposedly making it harder for children to reach their chosen career. The mailer was paid for not by Chan’s campaign but rather by Education Leaders for High Standards, an independent expenditure committee.

Check the Secretary of State’s office and you find Education Leaders for High Standards was created May 14 and has no visible support from anyone in the education community, be it teachers, administrators, parents or what have you. Rather, the committee’s entire $49,000 bankroll — of which it spent $47,900 on this mailer — came from one source: the California Tribal Business Alliance independent expenditure PAC.

That PAC, in turn, has received $75,000 each from the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians (Tehama County’s Rolling Hills Casino); the United Auburn Indian Community (the Thunder Valley Casino in Lincoln); the Pala Band of Mission Indians (San Diego County’s Pala Casino); the Pauma Band of Mission Indians (San Diego County’s Casino Pauma); and the Viejas Tribal Government (San Diego County’s Viejas Casino).

AND… wait for it… $164,000 from the Lytton Rancheria of California in San Pablo.

The Lytton Band of Pomo Indians, you’ll recall, operates the San Pablo Lytton Casino (formerly known as the Casino San Pablo card room), which sits both in Hancock’s current Assembly district as well as the state Senate district she aspires to represent. Hancock has been an outspoken opponent of the Lytton Band’s plan to vastly expand and outfit the casino with house-banked, Nevada-style slot machines; public criticism and opposition from state and federal lawmakers eventually convinced the tribe to abandon the plan.

But it seems Hancock and the Lytton Band still haven’t kissed and made up. Expect some unkind words in return when Hancock, backed by local elected officials and anti-casino community activists, holds a news conference about this at noon tomorrow at Oakland City Hall.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Barry E. Breaux, Sr

    The Lytton Casino in San Pablo has generated millions of tax dollars for the city to fund police, parks, and other city projects over the past 5 years. Ms. Hancock is a vocal opponent of the casino and gambling, but she and her supporters have no subtitute for the funding that San Pablo has so desparately needed and now received great benefit.

    I she truly wants to help San Pablo, back away from this issue unless you have a suitable alternative other than increasing property taxes which won’t happen in this state. The money we are getting is there now, not a dream or a proposed tax increase.

  • Anon

    Hmmmmm….. Chan is also opposed to urban casinos – she effectively killed the Gov’s 2006 plan to dramatically expand casinos.

  • A Concerned Parent

    As a parent, I am VERY concerned that she thinks dumbing down standards “makes perfect sense.” It may make sense to the CTA – who cares more about protecting teachers from real accountability than teaching kids – but it certainly means that she will NOT get my vote.

    You should care more about the message here than the messenger here who sent it.

  • Oakland Resident

    I think we all know that the tribes just think Chan won’t be very “effective” in her opposition. Wink Wink.

  • v63sfo

    If they add legalized prostitution, they can help San Pablo fund even more police, parks and other city projects.

  • Lex Luthor

    Give it a rest. How can you only concern yourself with the message and not the messenger? You have here someone with a hidden, or not so hidden, agenda attempting to defeat an opponent to their casino operations. Is it your position the casinos are concerned with the eductional standards in the area? If you are similar to, well pretty much everyone, and think the casinos could give a hoot about eduction, then maybe you should take a second look at their eduction assessment. Possibly they do not have the proper facts or any of them due to lack of concern. Point set match. Messengers count, especially when they could care less about the topic of conversation.

  • Theo

    I was leaning towards Hancock before receiving all the negative mailers. There is no way that I could vote for her in the primary now. The mailers just go to show that her campaign is devoid of ideas and has to rely on hit pieces. I’m voting for Wilma Chan.