This week on Valley Edition we talk about plans by a local Native American tribe to open a casino on land north of Madera along Highway 99. The effort took a big step forward in recent days as the Bureau of Indian Affairs agreed to put the land for the new casino in trust for the tribe.
The planned casino would have as many as 2,000 slot machines and 50 card tables, and is estimated to generate hundreds of new jobs. But some tribes with other nearby casinos, including the Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino in Coarsegold have expressed opposition to the plan, fearing it would hurt their operations, and accusing the tribe of "reservation shopping."
Host Juanita Stevenson talks with Maryann McGovran Vice Chair of the North Fork Rancheria and Charlie Altekruse, Community Relations Director for the tribe. We also hear from Cheryl Schmit from the group Stand Up For California, and from David Quintana Political Director for the California Tribal Business Alliance, both of whom oppose the Madera casino.
Also on our program today, we learn more about an effort from the Central Valley Air Quality Coalition which is asking San Joaquin Valley counties, including Fresno and Kern to implement a new emergency air quality monitoring system. Walter Ramirez of the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation is our guest. We close our program with an interview with CSU Bakersfield professor Doug Davis, who has written a new memoir titled "Gifts Given: Family, Community, and Integration's Move from the Courtroom to the Schoolyard." The book details his memories of one of the most significant and painful incidents in America in the 1950's, the forced desegregation of Clinton High School in rural Tennessee. Davis tells us about his memories of the turbulent summer and fall of 1956, the role his father played on both sides of the issue, and how one night, the eight year old boy discovered a cross burning in his front yard.