Supporters of a proposed casino within Madera County have formed a political committee and entered the ring to defend the controversial project as opponents collect signatures seeking a statewide vote on the issue.
The proposed gaming house by the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians would contain some 2,000 slot machines and an eventual hotel on a 300-acre parcel of land near Avenue 17 and State Route 99.
Ratified by the state legislature in June and approved by Gov. Jerry Brown, the compact between Brown and the tribe to build the casino has come under fire as an alleged instance of “reservation shopping,” a term coined by critics to describe the practice of tribes building casinos outside their jurisdiction.
The planned casino site sits some 40 miles away from the tribe’s 80 acres in the Madera County foothills, but tribal officials say the land has been historically tied to the tribe by the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs...