Still in business
by Joel Danoy
May 24, 2013 | 8388 views | 44 44 comments | 41 41 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Deciding there was no immediate loss to the city of Tracy, the City Council voted 4-1 Tuesday, May 21, to grant a three-year exclusive negotiating rights agreement with the Spirit of California LLC to bring a 1,500-acre entertainment complex to the north side of the city.

Mayor Pro Tem Michael Maciel cast the dissenting vote, citing his mistrust in James Rogers, the chief executive officer of Spirit of California, and leader of the project.

Rogers has been criticized for not being forthcoming enough about his finances and how he is raising money for the project.

Council members were advised by city staff at the meeting to cease all negotiations with Rogers and Spirit of California.

The city sent Rogers a letter Feb. 7

asking for details of his finances. Rogers responded by letter Feb. 20 and appeared at the March 19 council meeting, where members voted to give him 30 more days to answer the city’s questions. He was again in front of the council on Tuesday because the council felt his financial proof was inadequate.

The Los Gatos-based developer is operating under an exclusive negotiating rights agreement (ENRA) — between the city and Tracy Blast LLC, but he said he needs to establish one between the city and Spirit of California for 628 acres of city-owned land to move the project forward.

Maciel told Rogers that council members “drew a line in the sand” in March and that Rogers provided only “a marginal level of cooperation.”

“I hope I’m proven wrong down the road, but I’m not optimistic that the information will come forward,” he said. “We stiffened our spines a month ago and said, ‘This is what we need to do, this is what you need to do or we aren’t going to play anymore,’ and I don’t think it was done, and we’re waffling if we approve this.”

During a nearly three-hour debate preceding the vote, Rogers told the council that he had investors ready to commit when they feel comfortable the city of Tracy is backing the project.

Rogers said he had about $2 million on hand from investors, including 10 Tracy residents who had invested at least $5,000 each. But to get the “big-money investors,” Rogers said he needs an ENRA with the city — which will serve as his “welcome letter.”

“It lets the investors know that you obviously aren’t going to grant an ENRA if you don’t want this project in your town,” Rogers said. “It’s giving me the opportunity for me to spend my money to bring something to you.”

Rogers said the Spirit of California is investing up to $2 million in financial models and studies that will prove that the project — which could top $1 billion — is a viable economic undertaking.

He said those models could take six months to finish and present to potential investors.

“That’s kind of a lot of proof,” he said. “I don’t want to get caught up in this and that and all of this. If I’m processing and moving forward and spending a couple million dollars on this property, is anybody really upset about that?”

Scott Roddy, a member of the National Development Council in New York City, is a consultant for the city. He recently analyzed the finances of the Spirit of California and told council members Tuesday that he felt there was a 10 percent chance the project would succeed.

Rogers told the council Tuesday that the Spirit of California had purchased stock in Autonomy, an automotive company that plans to make its initial public offering next month, and he expects to have at least $10 million available in two months. The stock purchase was meant to build a balance sheet for the Spirit of California.

The developer also told the council he could secure $300 million from an EB-5 visa program through the federal government. The program allows foreign nationals to obtain a green card if they invest $500,000 in an area that will create 10 jobs.

However, Roddy — who was paid $5,000 by Rogers for his work — said that a balance sheet for a new company like Spirit of California is “an empty suit” and that “what you’re looking for is economic substance.”

Companies capable of financing similar projects are more transparent in their dealings, he said.

“When you walk in and ask financial capacity questions, it’s obvious, you can see it from known investors, and those known investors who are able to meet their commitments is able to be verified,” he said. “It just isn’t present in this case.”

Roddy also noted that the Spirit of California would be unable to repay investors’ money if they were all to request a reimbursement.

Before the vote, Councilman Charles Manne expressed his individual concern that Rogers had not cooperated with the city’s requests and there was “too much uncertainty” with the project.

Manne said he couldn’t recommend approving an ENRA, “because my job here at the council is very simple: It’s to protect the citizens and be a good steward of the dollars they entrust us with.”

“There are a lot of questions in my head and right now I don’t have the comfort level to continue this dance,” he said. “Mr. Rogers did take initiative and provide letters of reference, or letters of referral, on certain items, but nothing that I take as substantial.”

However, Manne would later bring the issue to a vote by seconding a motion by Councilman Robert Rickman to approve an ENRA with Spirit of California.

Rickman said he wanted benchmarks in the ENRA requiring Rogers to complete certain tasks at designated times. He countered Maciel, saying that the council hadn’t drawn a line in the sand and that members shouldn’t be too quick to dismiss his ideas.

Councilwoman Nancy Young said she was excited about the potential for jobs and local attractions in Tracy. She wanted to give the project a chance, because “we are possibly on the brink of history here.”

However, Young also recalled a statement her pastor made about giving people enough rope to hang themselves.

“If it’s something that’s good, it’s not going to hurt them, but if it’s something that’s bad, they’re going to hang their own selves for everybody to see and it’s clear,” she said. “I think that it will be good for us to give the opportunity for this to happen.”

Mayor Brent Ives said the only loss to the city right now is the time city staff members spend working on the project. Spirit of California is reimbursing the city for labor costs — which is typical for a developer during the process. Ives did not account for the time lost to other projects.

The city was unable to provide an exact number of staff hours dedicated to the project, because multiple departments are working with Spriti of California and a total wasn’t available Thursday, May 23, according to Monica Gutierrez, management analyst for the city of Tracy.

She did state that the city of Tracy had been working with Tracy Blast LLC since April 2011, and that the company put down $25,000 to cover staff time associated with the city processing its ENRA. In August 2011, the city entered into a cost recovery agreement with Blast, Gutierrez stated.

During the meeting Tuesday, city staff confirmed that no other developers have shown interest in the land that Spirit of California is negotiating to use and that the company’s financial balance with the city is fully paid at this time.

“I think Councilwoman Young said it very well — give him the rope he needs to either go out and swing away on it or to hang himself,” Ives said. “The project is worth that to me, because in general terms, most people would like to see a project like this in Tracy.”

All the council members individually stressed to Rogers that the ENRA was a gesture of support and not an endorsement of the project.

However, the investor section of the Spirit of California website on Thursday stated that the passage of the ENRA showed the city was backing the project.

“The City Council has expressed unanimous interest in having this entertainment park in their City,” the website states. “The City of Tracy has granted us a 3-year ENRA (Exclusive Negotiating Rights Agreement) due to the City Council’s full support of the project.”

The city staff will begin identifying benchmarks and requirements for the ENRA and present a draft for approval by the council in the coming months.

Rogers said he could work closely with the staff to “get one done in two weeks,” but City Attorney Daniel Sodergren told the council it would take 60 to 90 days for the city staff to thoroughly complete the process.

• Contact Joel Danoy at 830-4229 or jdanoy@tracypress.com.
Comments
(44)
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backinblack
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May 31, 2013
To LMLM and all others who constantly complain about how miserable Tracy and in many instances CA and life in general is, try stopping for a second and think about what it's like right now for people who live in Oklahoma.

One word all of you should think about, perspective. Whenever you think life is so miserable think about others who have it so much worse you can't come close to imagining what it would be like to be in their shoes.

Think about it, as I write there's men & women possibly dying a long way from home so you can exercise your right to bitch & moan about whatever. Mothers, fathers, & children have lost their lives to mother nature in the last couple of weeks including tonite.

I don't believe in a higher being so I'm not going to be a hypocrite and say I'm going to pray for my fellow Americans in Oklahoma, but I sincerely ask those of you who believe in God to pray for your fellow Americans who at this current time have it a lot worse than you.
Ornley_Gumfudgen
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June 01, 2013
BIB

I use ta complain I had no shoes till I met a man who had no feet.

I believe an I pray for them an you as well. Th cool thang about God is that he don't force ya ta believe. That's real freedom.

Wobbley
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May 29, 2013
If I thought this project had an inkling of a chance of coming to fruition I'd be planning my exit strategy from Tracy for several reasons.

I moved here in 2003.

1. This isn't about a park at all, in my opinion. The 'companies' primary means of profit is via a casino. They are clear about that on thier web site. Most likely, the casino will be built first, because that's where the money draw is.

2. Like many other persons of productive age, I travel to the bay area to work every day. The idea of adding another 50,000 vehicles travelling through Tracy is bad enough.

3. The proposition to pay for the park seed money by guaranteed EB-5 visa grants ($300 MILLION dollars) equates to 600 new indigent workers. Enough to staff a WHOLE CASINO (imagine that). These guys will set the pay standard for anyone trying to get a job there.

Wobbley
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May 29, 2013
4. The noise. I live in Pacific Point, which is well South of 11th street. During soccer season (in particular) the racket from the announcers can be heard from inside my house, until as late as 10PM. Imaging the roar of 50,000 cars and perhaps 100,000 or more individuals engaged in various activities? The smell of cow #$*& I can handle. This development would literally be the equivalent of the Las Vegas strip in what (was) the quiet part of town).

5. The environment. Noise pollution, air pollution, litter, crime. All of these follow Casinos(in particular) closely. The project relies extensively on the infrastructure our tax dollars built. We voted up sales tax to increase emergency police and fire response. The needs of this project will dwarf anything our police force has previously dealt with. This will result in the need of, for example, hook and ladder/high rise fire suppression equipment and training. In addition, our officers will be involved more heavily in crowd and traffic control. The money to pay for these upgrades has to happen first.

Sure there are key businesses that COULD profit from the project, but most likely they would be overwhelmed. It’s hard enough to get into one of the key restaraunts in Tracy on Friday night. Then it would be impossible. Thank goodness there is no serious money in this endeavor.

Wobbley
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June 04, 2013
Oh yah, one more thing, I grew up in Milpitas/Fremont. Lived my whole life here in California. Milpitas was primarily Apricot orchards (and a land fill) when my family moved there. Back then most of the valley was green. Yes, I do remember.
Wobbley
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June 04, 2013
Ornley,

the deal with Thunder Valley was between the county and the tribe. I assume that Spirit WILL be an Indian casino, because to the best of my knowledge, they are the only ones allowed to build casino's in california. My point being the deal with Thunder valley was in an unincorporated area on Tribal Land, not within the city of Tracy (which Spirit will in fact be).

The deal with Spirit may not be so sweet. Because my assumption is that in the short term 5-10 years, we will only see the casino.

In any case it will never happen unless real money is thrown into the pot and that has yet to happen and it's been a few years, no?

RE: Spellin corrections????? Really?
Ornley_Gumfudgen
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May 31, 2013
Cont.

“I read #3 entirely wrong. Oops.”

Easy ta do when ya form an opinion based purely on emotion an not entirely on facts. I’ve done it, it’s a human thang. No foul.

“Like I said, our Police and Fire departments will need considerable expansion (IE NEW MONEY) to adequately cover this property.”

Guess whair that “NEW MONEY” comes frum? It’s call Developer fees an th City develops th additional infrastructure needed frum that. Then all of our taxes, yers, mine an thairs pays ta maintain it. Guess who pays th most in those taxes? Th park would an that tax burden would be shouldered by those comin ta th Tracy area ta enjoy what th park/casino provides.

“The idea of having a 'Disneyland' in our backyard is intriguing (just not in my backyard :D).”

An it ain’t in your backyard. In fact th location is about 4 lineal miles away frum whair ya personally live on th otherside of an already noisy an busy highway.

“Thunder Valley Casino, for example, generates 90 9/11 calls per month and is in unincorporated land near Roseville.”

Well, assuming that ta be completely true, that seems ta be a problem fer th county an County Sheriff as Tracy’s infrastructure doesn’t cover unincorporated land unless thair is a special agreement an fees paid.

“By the way, is this new casino a tribal casino?”

Don’t know anything other than what we have been told.

“Placer county added 5 deputies, a fire station (and personell for cover 3 persons 24 hrs/day), road improvements, water and sewer improvements. Thunder Valley pays for all of it. They also contributed significantly to Lincoln, Roseville and Rocklin.”

It’s Placer County, not country, an personnel not personell, not that I’m pickin on yer spellin but just sayin. So they hired five deputies to cover a three person 24hr day, made road improvements along with water an sewer improvements an Thunder Valley pays for all of it? Sounds like yer sayin it ain’t all that bad an idea an that it ain’t incumberin th downs of Lincoln, Roseville an Rocklin at all but rather are an asset ta those communities.

Tell me, are th citizens of those communities complainin about Thunder Valley an now bad it has made thair communities? Got some relatives who have lived in Lincoln fer a long long time an as near as I can tell they are happy about th improvements that have come about because Thunder Valley is not far frum thair.

Ornley_Gumfudgen
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May 31, 2013
Cont.

“I read #3 entirely wrong. Oops.”

Easy ta do when ya form an opinion based purely on emotion an not entirely on facts. I’ve done it, it’s a human thang. No foul.

“Like I said, our Police and Fire departments will need considerable expansion (IE NEW MONEY) to adequately cover this property.”

Guess whair that “NEW MONEY” comes frum? It’s call Developer fees an th City develops th additional infrastructure needed frum that. Then all of our taxes, yers, mine an thairs pays ta maintain it. Guess who pays th most in those taxes? Th park would an that tax burden would be shouldered by those comin ta th Tracy area ta enjoy what th park/casino provides.

“The idea of having a 'Disneyland' in our backyard is intriguing (just not in my backyard :D).”

An it ain’t in your backyard. In fact th location is about 4 lineal miles away frum whair ya personally live on th otherside of an already noisy an busy highway.

“Thunder Valley Casino, for example, generates 90 9/11 calls per month and is in unincorporated land near Roseville.”

Well, assuming that ta be completely true, that seems ta be a problem fer th county an County Sheriff as Tracy’s infrastructure doesn’t cover unincorporated land unless thair is a special agreement an fees paid.

“By the way, is this new casino a tribal casino?”

Don’t know anything other than what we have been told.

“Placer county added 5 deputies, a fire station (and personell for cover 3 persons 24 hrs/day), road improvements, water and sewer improvements. Thunder Valley pays for all of it. They also contributed significantly to Lincoln, Roseville and Rocklin.”

It’s Placer County, not country, an personnel not personell, not that I’m pickin on yer spellin but just sayin. So they hired five deputies to cover a three person 24hr day, made road improvements along with water an sewer improvements an Thunder Valley pays for all of it? Sounds like yer sayin it ain’t all that bad an idea an that it ain’t incumberin th downs of Lincoln, Roseville an Rocklin at all but rather are an asset ta those communities.

Tell me, are th citizens of those communities complainin about Thunder Valley an now bad it has made thair communities? Got some relatives who have lived in Lincoln fer a long long time an as near as I can tell they are happy about th improvements that have come about because Thunder Valley is not far frum thair.

Ornley_Gumfudgen
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May 31, 2013
"Ornley, look at the residential properties around Disneyland or Great America."

What residential properties are ya talkina about around Disneyland? When Disneyland was built area consisted mainly of orange orchards, similar ta th place you now inhabit that use ta be tomato, alfalfa, bean, corn and/or sugar beet fields. But what th heck, as long as yer personally comfortable an have yer needs met right?

With Great America, th area was primarily cherry orchards and gladiola fields an not much in th way of residential developments.

Unlike you, unfortunately, I am old enough ta know what those areas looked like when parks were. Amazingly close to the same conditions/area where they are dreaming of putting this project. Th only real difference is time.

"Increased noise, traffic, and crime is a given for a facility of this size."

It pretty much goes without sayin that any man made development anyware is gonna do this an size frum one home ta half a city don't make a difference. Ya simply don't have noise traffic or crime if thair ain't no one around ta do it.

Kina like th increase of noise, traffic an crime when ya got here years after I came ta Tracy.

Cont:

victor_jm
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May 31, 2013
The viability of many communities is predicated on the fanaticism of its citizens in the consumption of a thing, and this thing can be anything, and this thing is usually a sedative.

My metaphysics isn't about trifle amusements, but many of us desire daily distractions because we are cognitively uninspired.

For many of us, life is about being cognitively uninspired.

Remember, we are servants to the economy; the economy isn't a servant to us.
Wobbley
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May 30, 2013
Thunder Valley Casino, for example, generates 90 9/11 calls per month and is in unincorporated land near Roseville.

By the way, is this new casino a tribal casino?

Placer county added 5 deputies, a fire station (and personell for cover 3 persons 24 hrs/day), road improvements, water and sewer improvements. Thunder Valley pays for all of it. They also contributed significantly to Lincoln, Roseville and Rocklin.
Wobbley
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May 30, 2013
I read #3 entirely wrong. Oops.

Ornley, look at the residential properties around Disneyland or Great America for that matter. The additional revenue and traffic has made little improvement on the average citizen there.

Increased noise, traffic, and crime is a given for a facility of this size.

Regarding infrastructure. If the park is within Tracy proper, which it is, our facilities will need to expand to support it. Like I said, our Police and Fire departments will need considerable expansion (IE NEW MONEY) to adequately cover this property.

The idea of having a 'Disneyland' in our backyard is intriguing (just not in my backyard :D).
Ornley_Gumfudgen
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May 30, 2013
Since our waste water treatment plant’s smell is so objectionable, I’d expect that investors would see to it that is changed so as not ta offend thair patrons. Then thairs th waste water fer Laprio that would probably be improved as well, givin relief ta those who live just south of th I205 corridor.

Ornley_Gumfudgen
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May 30, 2013
Cont. can prove th investment can create or preserve at least 10 jobs fer U.S. workers excludin th investor an thair immediate family. Somehow or other I don’t thank anyone has 600 immediate family members who are gonna move here an “set the pay standard for anyone trying to get a job here based, on a $500,000 ta $1,000,000 investment.

In fact, I rather like th idea of attractin $500,000 ta $1,000,000 dollars ta be invested here in Tracy rather than somewhere else. Don’t see many American investors linin up ta do that. No, it seems many are more interested in settin up operations in other nations rather than in thair own.

4. Th noise. I live about half a mile frum th soccer field Wobbly is complain about an have lived thair since 1980 long before that section of town was even developed. Perhaps I should have complained more when they were buildin it so I wouldn’t have ta put up with th “noise” of complaints by those who moved ta Tracy AFTER I moved here.

Use ta work on a dairy farm an when th neighbors complained about th smell of cow crap th owner would sniff th air an say, “Don’t know what yer talkin about, smells like money ta me.”

A Las Vegas strip in a quiet part of town. Right, whare no town exists on th north side of a busy highway. Don’t thank so.

5. “The environment. Noise pollution, air pollution, litter, crime. All of these follow Casinos(in particular) closely.” Care ta offer any verifiable data ta substanciate such a claim?

“The project relies extensively on the infrastructure our tax dollars built.” First of all, yer tax dollars didn’t build that infrastructure, developer fees did that. You simply pay taxes ta MAINTAIN it. As th project moves forward, IF it moves forward ta development, th monies necessary fer those upgrades will be provided by th developer/investors of th project, just th way every other development has done in Tracy since before 1980 when I first arrived on th scene.

Casino’s almost always have thair own restaurant facilities an if anything th locals tryin ta get into existin key restaraunts on a Friday would probably have it easier as more locals would opt out ta go over ta th Casino ta eat.

BART is not really a viable option unless ya bring it in frum Antioch/Pittsburg. Thair are no existin right of way’s through th Altamont an th only road bed available is next ta Byron Road. Ta get BART through th 580 corridor from Pleasanton, through Livermore, through th Altamont Pass an into Tracy would be a phenomenal expense at a phenomenal level of difficulty an inconvenience an take years ta complete. Don’t really see that happenin when th cheaper route to connect ta BART is down th line next ta Byron Road. So dreamin of BART comin ta Tracy is worse than dreamin about High Speed Rail comin through Tracy which is more apt ta happen than getting BART in town.

(“#4, the noise is from the sports complex and high school.) One wonders why someone would move close ta one of these places. Perhaps ya didn’t an it, like you did ta me when you moved in, simply encroached on ya. Well, that’s life ain’t it? What ya gonna do stop all growth in Tracy? That hasn’t worked out as well as some supposed now has it? We’ve had slow/no growth fer some time now an frankly I don’t see thangs improvin all that much.

Ornley_Gumfudgen
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May 30, 2013
Well since we're listin thangs here a response ta th list from Wobbley.

I've been around town since 1980, but that don't really matter much as thair are some 80,000 plus individuals that also live here.

1. Yep, I'd expect th casino ta go up first, it's th easiest an quickest ta build ta start makin an income ta offset th investors money. Don't see much wrong with that as it's a fairly normal business practice across th nation.

2. I've driven over th Altamont fer most of th time I have lived here an honestly, I doubt thair will be another 50,000 vehicles drivin through that area because of this. Here' an idea, let em build it in Manteca. Th increase of traffic down th 205 corridor, alleged by Wobbly ta be 50,000 vehicles, will be th same, Tracy will have no part of it, an thay all will travel through th Altamont pass anyway, assumin its 50,000 vehicles, which I doubt seriously.

3. EB-5 visa grants, created by the Immigration Act of 1990 created by a Democrat controlled congress an signed inta law by th first Bush in th White House, whair th foreign investor (note investor is singular an not plural) must invest between half ta one million dollars, are granted a visa IF cont.
Wobbley
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May 29, 2013
(#4, the noise is from the sports complex and high school)
Wobbley
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May 29, 2013
You want to benefit everyone? Bring BART closer to Tracy, that would be immensely helpful.
Ornley_Gumfudgen
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June 04, 2013
Ornley,

"The deal with Thunder Valley was between the county and the tribe. "I imagine that SJ county will be involved as well.

"I assume that Spirit WILL be an Indian casino, because to the best of my knowledge, they are the only ones allowed to build casino's in California." Ya do know th meanin of assume don't ya? :)

"My point being the deal with Thunder valley was in an unincorporated area on Tribal Land, not within the city of Tracy (which Spirit will in fact be)." Don't really know whair th City Limits are on that side of town but I suspect, since th property is owned mostly by th City an th City is placin a Youth Sports Park on th property that it's in th City Limits or soon will be.

"The deal with Spirit may not be so sweet. Because my assumption is that in the short term 5-10 years, we will only see the casino." Kind of hard ta see through that clouded crystal ball inta th future don't ya thank? Who really knows since thair just in th early plannin stages?

"In any case it will never happen unless real money is thrown into the pot and that has yet to happen and it's been a few years, no?" Depends on what ya consider real money, how much is needed an th number of investors willin ta pony it all up no? Never is a long time an other "never will happens" have come ta past, no?

"RE: Spellin corrections????? Really?" It was made in jest since people often comment negatively about my intentional mispellins. Mainly its a statement ta inform ya I am not as ignorant as ya might suspect frum my writin.

backinblack
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May 29, 2013
Ornley & vegitrks, While admittedly not knowing much about Indian casinos & gaming your back and forth got my curiosity going so I did a little research. It appears Ornley is correct as from what I can see there is currently 3 "off reservation" casinos in the US.

I don't usually rely on Wikipedia as a source but in this case and on this point there's other evidence out there to support:

"Additionally, the national expansion of Indian Gaming has led to a practice critics call reservation shopping.[23] This term describes tribes that, with the backing of casino investors, attempt to locate a casino off their reservation, usually near a large urban center. However, although authorized by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, only three such "off-reservation" casinos have been built to date."
Ornley_Gumfudgen
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May 29, 2013
BIB

You have just exhibited th art of makin comments based on knowledge rather than speculation or, "What actually is" versus "How I would like the world to be." Thanks.
ChrisRoberts
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May 28, 2013
Mooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
behonestguys
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May 28, 2013
Let's see - the City owns the Holly property; Rogers wants to do a deal with the City concerning that property; he has been unable to provide adequate financials and has legal skeletons lurking in his closet; and the City still wants to do business with this guy. In the real world, a person like that would be shown the door and told never to come back so as to avoid wasting the business owner/landlord owner's time. But oh, I guess the City doesn't think like that since the time and money wasted in dealing with Rogers doesn't come out of Ives', Manne's, Rickman's or Young's pocket, but out of our pockets. What business sense!
1219tracy
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May 25, 2013
Did anyone think maybe its Connolly/Garamendi and company behind this deal trying to make the city look foolish. Then no one will want to build here. They need to send this guy packing and concentrate on building the city up. Financially the housing prices and stocks are on the way up, now would be the time to promote our city in a good way. Build up the mall, get some decent stores in there, get some more restaurants, entertainment places like Boomers for kids...you get the drift. Right now our city doesn't have a focus on a direction to take the city.
me-here
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May 26, 2013
What in the world makes you think Mark Connolly and Celeste Garamendi have anything to do with the Spirit of California? I happen to appreciate their keeping an eye on the City Council's deals.

EveNings
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May 27, 2013
How do you know those two are not looking out for their own developer dealings? Did they have plans to build a hunting industry out there with the help of her brother to the tune of over $10k in state hunting fees and sell housing permits nearby to hunters while getting involved in trying to shutdown a nearby motorbike park and swimpark to further their own financial interests in a hunter's Disneyland park? Did you ask John Garamendi if he has something against outdoor bike riding? Did you ask John Garamendi if the peripheral canal is contaminated as the water near Celeste's and Mark's property? Did you ask if they were really "keeping an eye" on water issues or trying to rake in money from the state of California withe the "Friends of Carnegae" website? Did you ask them what kind of Ponzi scheme that is going on? I'm guessing you don't ask and you're just a spectator on the sidelines?
backinblack
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May 25, 2013
LMLM, If you're going to critique Ornley's writing style which he's explained a number of times and tell him to grow up, I suggest to you don't use words like crap or acronyms such as OMG in your comments. If there's a writing style which can be looked at as adolescent it's this OMG, LOL garbage which is helping to dumb down our society.

Also, some of us remember your old persona and why you were banned, I can't recall Ornley ever using the type of language in this public forum which got you in trouble. Hmmm, mabe you should pick a different battle or better yet, don't read his comments if you have a problem with the way he writes.
mommyofthree
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May 24, 2013
We DO NOT need this or any casinos or card rooms or anything else that brings more trouble. This city needs to concentrate on cleaning up all the crap first and THEN look into what we can bring here. They even keep an outlet for goodness sakes, I mean come on. They also can not keep business's or get good ones in downtown. It's like this town leaves all these 50 things half done and then moves on to the next thing....
Ornley_Gumfudgen
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May 25, 2013
Don't ya mean YOU don't need it? What about others an thair desires an needs? Don't they count?

First of all, ever consider why we can't keep an outlet store or downtown business store open? Is that the fault of th dreams of this developer?

Ta respond ta LuvMyLifeMore's comment about Tracy "starting to look and feel like a major crap hole," I got a couple of comments ta make.

First, whair are ha gonna get th money ta do th cleanin up yer talkin about,raise taxes on people perhaps? Somehow or other I don't thank that's gonna be received well in th population of Tracy.

Second, Tracy will probably start lookin better when ya leave. An when yer commentin on how people write, thairs no Buh in Bye-Bye. But I doubt ya can take any criticism as well as ya dish it out ta others.
jarbuckle
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May 24, 2013
Ornley dosent see a problem. Even though the city's consultant stated:

However, Roddy — who was paid $5,000 by Rogers for his work — said that a balance sheet for a new company like Spirit of California is “an empty suit” and that “what you’re looking for is economic substance.”

Companies capable of financing similar projects are more transparent in their dealings, he said.

“When you walk in and ask financial capacity questions, it’s obvious, you can see it from known investors, and those known investors who are able to meet their commitments is able to be verified,” he said. “It just isn’t present in this case.”

Roddy also noted that the Spirit of California would be unable to repay investors’ money if they were all to request a reimbursemet"

I guess its only a problem for the 10 Tracy residents who allegedly invested $5,000 each. Now with the councils help Rodgers can bilk a few more Tracy residents out of their money. The council is legitimizing. aiding and abetting this fraud. NO PROBLEM RIGHT ORNLEY.

Ornley_Gumfudgen
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May 25, 2013
"NO PROBLEM RIGHT ORNLEY."

First ta smooth th egotistical feathers of LuvMyLifeMore, who seems ta be th linguistic monitor in these comment sections, th sentence should end with a question mark an not a period.

That bein said, back ta jarbuckle, thair's an old sayin that a fool an his money are easily parted. If ya invest in somethang without examinin all th angles an end up loosin yer money who do ya have ta blame but yerself.

If this guy is doin somethang illegal that's one thang. But as far as I can determine he ain't done anythang illegal an it's just speculation that he's out fer no good.

BIB, good comment ya get it. Probably th best news received this AM is that soon, if ya can trust her, LuvMyLifeMore won't be commentin here much longer as it appears she intends ta move out of California. But I am forced ta comment that I pity th place she moves ta cus frum her continuous litany of negative comments I seriously doubt she or te community she moves inta will be very happy.

In short, I doubt her comments will be missed much here but that's just my opinion, providin I am allowed ta have an opinion. :)

Honestly though, I hope she fairs well where ever she ends up.
victor_jm
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May 28, 2013
Ornley,

I would have included a comma with the sentence, as well.

"No problem, right Ornley?"

Cadence, my friend.
victor_jm
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May 28, 2013
"No problem. Right, Ornley?"
Ornley_Gumfudgen
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May 28, 2013


victor_jm

"No problem. Right, Ornley?"

At this point in time, that's correct. If people unwisely invest thair money an loose it, that's thair doin.

Near as I can tell, thair payin thair own way an own expenses th city is incurrin as they attempt ta get th project ta move forward. Don't see a problem with that either as it employs people an th people payin fer it is this developer. If public monies were supportin this then I might have a different outlook on it. So far public monies don't seem ta be an issue.

vegitrks
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May 28, 2013
Ornley, I believe it is you that needs to get your facts straight. Indian Casinos must be on Indian property, the Indians have control through their tribal committee and then get a huge percentage of the take of the Casino. And I havent had a bad experience at indian casinos, I just wouldnt want to live by one. I am not aware of any theme parks that are situated by casinos...but as a parent, that wouldnt be a place I would want my kids hanging out. You have your opinion, I have mine. I think this is the worst idea I have seen proposed in a long time, I dont think there is any chance this will ever become a reality, thank goodness!!!!!
C3TJ
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May 24, 2013
Wait, he's using investor money to purchase stocks in a company nobody has ever heard of to increase his balance sheet? This should be more entertaining than any entertainment center ever will be.
Ornley_Gumfudgen
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May 24, 2013
Don't really see much of a problem here.

It's not as if thair are anyone else lookin ta develop th site an what has been done is not a permit or right ta start building, it's "a three-year exclusive negotiating rights agreement."

I expect a lot of negotiatin goin on over th next three years if they wanna get permission ta build it. An until that "negotiating" is completed NOTHING is gonna physically happen that will impact Tracy at all.

As ta "why here in Tracy?" Probably because Tracy is a hub that connects th Bay Area ta th rest of th State/nation, frum th aspect of transportation.

As I recall no one was much enthused when someone built an entertainment theme park in th middle of orange orchards back in 1953. I suspect th financiers an those against that endeavor are eatinn a little crow in that they didn't support th venture an marginalized themselves out of a huge chunk of change fer thair lack of vision.

Anyone got a better deal fer this property? Bring it ta th table.

"Cost ta th city?" What cost? Be specific cus th article states, "Spirit of California is reimbursing the city for labor costs — which is typical for a developer during the process."

C3TJ
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May 24, 2013
I was at the meeting in March for a different item and after hearing the staff report, was rather surprised the council gave him any additional time. Strikes me as a bit shady and somebody I would definitely not want to conduct business with. I remember there was some discussion about him reimbursing the city for staff time for planning and research costs - I believe it had to do with verifying his funding (which wasn't there.) He hadn't paid for several months and joked that the check was in the mail. That said it all for me. After seeing this article, I just read the council agenda for this last meeting. Seems like there was even less reason to continue negotiating with him. Bankruptcies (while negotiating with the city) and multiple lawsuits. Doesn't sound very good.
walkingtall
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May 24, 2013
Why on earth is the city allowing us here in Tracy to be duped by this guy. This project will never happen and I think it was pretty clear from the beginning. I have been to the city council meetings and this guy just dances around what the city is asking for! He is stalling to try and get the backing he needs as he goes along. Forget it City Council and work on getting businesses to come to town that are serious. Just by the size and scope of the project should have been a clue that this was not real. Why would they pick Tracy of all places? I think certain City Council members are holding out hope as they want to be the hero's that made it happen, such as Nancy Young. Her comments were " we are possibly on the brink of history". Seriously Nancy? Wow! This city council never stops amazing me. Move on and get to the real business. Do your jobs!
vegitrks
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May 26, 2013
I just dont understand the whole project...I haven't seen a whole lot of indians around Tracy, so how does an indian casino fit in? And I'm still trying to figure out how a themepark, a casino, a winery, a marina, and who knows what else go together...Really, what kind of crowd are they trying to attract? I appreciate our local farm land, are we really willing to let this project seriously be considered? I hope not!!!!!
Ornley_Gumfudgen
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May 27, 2013
vegitrks

It's clear, by yer statement, that ya don't go ta th relatively local Indian owned casinos nearby.

Ya don't see "a lot of indians around" them either. An Indian casino would fit in Tracy as well as one would fit in anywhare else in California an any Indians you see are primarily decorative advertisement for th casino.

Also, this is the first I've heard about a marina, which would be rather tough given th location of th property with respect to th river.

Th type of crowd they intend ta attract is th same crowd that visits th other nearby Indian casinos in the area, like Jackson.

With respect to local farm land, first of all it's reclaimed land from the delta.

Secondly, th farming that's done thair primarily is alfalfa or other feed crops for animals as since Holly Sugar sold th property ta th City of Tracy sugar beets are no longer grown in that area. So it's not as if we are really loosing any local farm land that produces food for humans.

Third, th property already belongs ta Tracy who has been leasing the farmin back to a local farmer to keep th land from going fallow until th City decided what ta do with its property an not a long term farm.
vegitrks
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May 27, 2013
Ornley...I take it that you must be a vegitarian, because last time I checked, alfalfa and any other feed crops are just as important to the farming community as vegies. As for the indians, if you didnt know, the property an indian casino is built on, has to be indian land...I happen to know some of the property owners where this project is proposed, and they are definately NOT american indians. And I have been to several indian casinos, and no offense to anyone, but no thanks on wanting that kind of crowd in our neighborhood...and really, who wants to take their kids to a theme park that is right by a casino? Not too many responsible parents, none that I know of...

Ornley_Gumfudgen
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May 28, 2013
vegitrks

Nope, I am an omnivore. Wish I was a vegetarian though cus it's a healthier diet but oh well, that's th way it is.

Unfortunately yer incorrect about "indian land" an casinos as thair are several examples of indian owned casinos that are not on traditional "indian land."

With respect ta theme oriented parks fer family entertainment bein in close proximity to casinos thair are dozens of em all over th nation an they don't seem ta have a problem.

Sorry ya have had a bad experience in casinos but as ta th crowd they attract thair not any different than th folks ya encounter on th street an many in yer own neighborhood an good responsible parents ta boot.

Myself I don't gamble so th gamin portion of most casinos don't hold much interest fer me other than th entertainment derived by people watchin.

So pardon me if I don't put much stock inta yer complaint as it's fraught with errors derived by yer own speculation instead of facts.

Are thair bad indian casinos? Most certainly, just like other businesses. But most are on th up an up an people enjoy themselves thair with little ta no problem.

Ya don't have ta patronize em if ya don't wanna. That's called freedom


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