Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Oak Grove Middle School Library
7:30 PM
Jamul Fire Chief David Nissen on the Casino & Fire
JIV Casino Spokesman, Steve Davis, will give Update  


That was the message driven home last Wednesday night by some 200 residents who packed the Jamul Primary Auditorium to listen to this latest proposal to bring a big-time gambling casino to the tiny Jamul Indian Village (JIV).
This was by far the best community meeting on the Casino that I have ever attended. Local experts (all Jamulians) spoke to a rapt audience of some 200 people. Here is what I learned:


FINANCES: JIV still owes Lake Entertainment $60 million. Lake's efforts to build and operate a casino in Jamul were unsuccessful, and their stock dropped from $19 to $1.38/share. The new backer is Penn National. They have no history in California, but operate more than 20 casinos and horse racing venues in other states.

CASINO SIZE & HOURS: 203,000 sq ft, -- the size of 3.5 NFL football fields, or 3-times the size of the new San Diego Cruise Terminal. It will operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

ALCOHOL: Alcohol will be sold and consumed 24 hours a day in casino restaurants, bars, and lounges.

TRAFFIC : Penn Natl says there will be an additional 9,000-10,000 cars/day travelling both directions of SR-94. Impact points include
  • Tecate (SR-188)
  • Otay Lakes Road
  • Jamul Drive/Lyons Valley Rd
  • Jamacha Rd
  • Rancho San Diego
To mitigate traffic impacts JIV says they will promote ride-sharing, provide bus and shuttle service, install electric car charging stations, and make some improvements to five key intersections (signals or stop signs). They will pay "their fair share" for other improvements. CalTrans has no budget to pay toward this, so it is not anticipated that these mitigations will be implemented. They have not yet determined how cars will enter or exit the site.

ROAD SAFETY: SR-94 is called the most dangerous stretch of highway in San Diego County and receives LOS (Level of Service) grades of "E" and "F". The JIV will do traffic mitigation on the honor system: "The Tribe will make good faith efforts to implement the mitigation measures..."

CRIME: Crime related to casinos goes up 8-10% within 2 years after opening. Common crimes are drug/alcohol offenses, theft, embezzlement, and prostitution. For the last two years, the California State Indian Gaming Special Distribution Fund has contributed $76,000 to help with law enforcement. (will that even pay for one extra officer?)

CALTRANS FLIP-FLOP: In what was described as a "perplexing" and "complete flip-flop", CalTrans has indicated it will permit construction to go forward without any mitigation in place. This is unlike virtually any other major development including Peaceful Valley Estates, JIV's neighbor, who spent millions on mitigation before it could start construction of 72 homes. There was talk of a lawsuit against CalTrans for these inconsistencies.

1ST DISTRICT SUPERVISOR DIANNE JACOB concluded the meeting by telling the representatives from Penn National that "Jamul is not Toledo and not Kansas City..." She listed the former backers: Palace and Station Casinos, Harrah's, and Lakes Entertainment, and reminded that each had come in "talking big" but that the community stood as one as each effort failed. "The only stars out here are the stars in our skies."

COMMENTS/QUESTIONS FROM AUDIENCE: Several Jamulians who had lost loved ones on SR-94 spoke directly to the Penn National representatives, asking if they could in good conscience promote this project knowing that many more will die on the road.

MEDIA: Here are the two latest articles from the San Diego U-T: