Anti-Elk Grove Casino Petition Validated, City Council to Decide How to Proceed

January 6, 2017 |  

In spite of robo-call warnings from former Mayor Gary Davis and Councilman Steve Detrick, the Elk Grove City Clerk has reported the petition for a referendum trying to stop a proposed Indian $400 million casino resort in the City has been verified and qualified for a special election.

The City Clerk's report came as part of next week's Elk Grove City Council meeting agenda. According to the report from Jason Lindgren, after analysis and statistical sampling conducted by his staff and Sacramento County, of the 14,826 signatures gathered, 11,565 were determined valid, which exceeded the 8,896 threshold. 

That petition seeks to place a referendum on a special ballot asking Elk Grove voters to reverse a recent vote by the Elk Grove City Council to release the Howard Hughes Company from a development agreement. By releasing HHC from the development agreement, HHC could sell a 35.9-acres portion of their unfinished Outlet Collection at Elk Grove shopping center to the Wilton Rancheria.

The Wilton Rancheria, with the financial backing of Las Vegas-based Boyd Gaming, has proposed building a $400 million casino resort on the parcel. To be approved by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, non-reservation casinos must be encumbered by any deed restrictions.

Had the development agreement not been removed the parcel, the Wilton Rancheria's application would have stalled with the BIA.

The petition drive was funded by Emeryville, Calif.-based Knighted Ventures, which operates card rooms. The robo calls that featured Davis and Detrick were sponsored by Sacramento-based Region Business which has warned the future of the unfinished Outlet Collection at Elk Grove, notwithstanding the general decline of shopping malls, is at risk if the casino is delayed or killed.  

In the City Clerk's report, the City Council was presented with two options on how to deal with the petition. 

In the first case, the City Council could just rescind their October 12, 2016 vote. If the City repeals the vote, it cannot be reversed for a one year period.

The other option is to call for a special election. The estimated cost of the special election ranges from $901,000 to $1.8 million. 

Wednesday night's City Council meeting starts at 6 p.m. 

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