Democratic 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.