David Rosenberg — Judge, Yolo County Superior Court / Howard Dickstein Connection Runs Deep (TLR Note: Presently, sufficient prima facie evidence to allege Rosenberg part/aware of unlawful fishing expedition, confiscation of IRS documents, etc)
“The governor thinks he can raise more revenue” from Indian casinos, “so you’d think there would be some urgency,” said Howard Dickstein, who represents seven tribes negotiating with the Davis administration. “I detect no urgency.”
The talks also may illustrate how the signature-gathering campaign to recall the governor is affecting his actions. Some tribal officials and political observers suggest that he has been inhibited in the negotiations over the state’s compacts with the Indians by fears that alienating the wealthy tribes could prompt them to help fund the recall effort.
Administration officials say the recall attempt has nothing to do with what they describe as the deliberately slow pace of the discussions. The governor’s negotiating team has been meeting not only with tribes, but also with local government officials, citizen groups, legislators, law enforcement, unions and other interested parties, said David Rosenberg, Davis’ senior advisor on Indian gambling.
“We resolved early on that we would subject ourselves to the criticism that now we’re moving too slow,” Rosenberg said. “It’s more important to the governor that the product be a quality product rather than a quick product.”
With California facing a record budget shortfall at a time when the state’s Indian casinos are raking in billions of dollars a year, Davis raised hopes in January of a significant infusion of new money when he announced plans to renegotiate gambling agreements with dozens of tribes. The aim, he said, was to convince the tribes to share an additional $1.5 billion a year with the state and to address local concerns over the environmental impact of Indian casinos.
Under federal law, the tribes are not required to pay state or federal taxes, and the 1999 agreement with the state that regulates Indian gambling provides for no direct payments to the California treasury. Davis administration officials now acknowledge that they erred in not demanding more when they negotiated the agreement, which gives the tribes a monopoly on casino-style gambling in the state. The current talks were intended to correct that.
More than two dozen tribes say they are willing to meet the governor’s demands, adding that they have made specific proposals for how to do so while allowing a modest expansion of Indian gambling. But after nearly three months of negotiations, Davis hasn’t responded to their offers or made a counter-proposal, they say.
Some tribal representatives say the governor seems to have put the talks on the back burner while he concentrates on fighting the ouster effort. With some affluent tribes criticizing the governor’s quest for more casino revenue and openly considering whether to support the recall attempt, his approach to the negotiations is understandable, political analysts said.
“Davis has to be even more careful in dealing with the tribes than under normal circumstances,” said Dan Schnur, a Republican consultant who was communications director for then-Gov. Pete Wilson during the 1990s. “One bad move and he’s going to see Morongo or some other tribe putting $1 million into the recall.”
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), a gubernatorial hopeful who has become the recall’s main financial backer, has sought the support of tribes for the campaign against Davis.
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