To the Editor: Urges comment on Casino TEIR

I urge you to read and consider the message below and all the attached documents [available for review online at noridgecrestcasino.com] regarding the proposed Indian casino in Ridgecrest.

In January 2018 I acquired and read a copy of the four-plus-inches- thick “Draft Tribal Environmental Impact Report Timbisha Shoshone Casino Project December 2017” (TEIR).

I was especially concerned about “Appendix J, Section 1, Population and Employment Related Impacts” on Page 25, which states, “The Ridgecrest Casino is expected to draw over 320,000 annual visitors to the area in Year 1, employing 218 people and 370,000 annual visitors in Year 3 employing 361 people.”

I sent my comments and questions on the TEIR to the Timbisha tribe in a letter on Jan. 29, 2018. I stated in my letter that I was not in favor of the casino, especially due to the tribe’s economic analysis. I quoted myself in my comment letter, saying that the economic analysis is grossly overstated. Paragraph 10 of that letter reads, “Estimates of 1,000 people per day are absurd and cannot be supported.” My letter subsequently ended up in the News Review as a guest Editorial.”

In March 2018 I found out that the city was sending a team to Washington, D.C., to meet with the Department of the Interior in support of the casino, so on March 30 I sent a letter to DOI, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Senator Dianne Feinstein and Congressman Kevin McCarthy, as well as county and city officials.

This letter stated my serious concerns with the project, and that violations of the National Environmental Protection Act, lack of appropriate mitigation measures, lack of public input, lack of protections for the city of Ridgecrest and lack of transparency were enough to trigger an administrative review.

I have yet to hear from DOI or any elected official. The history of the proposed casino, which is many years in the making, indicates motives of profit-driven classic greed, which will benefit only a very few.

There is no easy way to know if our officials are honest with us. The financial ties between the casino promoters, officials and businesses remains murky, and lack of transparency is suspicious. After you read the cited documents, like me I’m sure you will have more questions, important questions.

Like me you will want facts and answers, so like me, chose not to look away. Our grandchildren will be stuck with the consequences.

Raymond Kelso

Story First Published: 2018-09-28