Pacheco casino contributes $145,100 to Antioch card room initiative, Tiburon-based committee spends $89,000 on consultants, signature gathering

By Allen Payton

The committee formed to place an initiative to limit card rooms, on the June Primary Election ballot in Antioch, has raised $145,100 and spent $89,718.23 as of December 31, 2015. All of the funds were contributed by the California Grand Casino in Pacheco.

Known as the Antioch Coalition Against the Expansion of Gambling, the committee is based in Tiburon, California at the office of its Treasurer, attorney David M. Fried, according to the required financial report submitted on Monday, February 1st.

However, the proponents are Antioch Economic Development Commission Member Lamar Thorpe and his wife Patrice Guillory, and LaTonya Harman, all Antioch residents. Thorpe unsuccessfully ran for the Antioch City Council in 2014 and according to his Facebook page appears he might be considering another run, this year with the comment “2016 is here… another election year. Decisions, decisions…” ending in a smiley face emoji with a wink.

The three filed a “Notice of Intent to Circulate Petition” with the statement:

“We are proposing the Citizens Initiative Against Gambling Expansion in order to Preserve, maintain and protect the City and the People of Antioch by requiring a public vote before there is an expansion of gambling, to ensure card rooms do not expand into larger Casinos without voter approval and to clarify and strengthen the laws governing card rooms and their location.”

However, in January, 2015, the Antioch City Council had already voted to decrease the number of card room licenses allowed in the city from five to two, and currently there is only one in operation. That one has six tables for card games. Other forms of gambling, such as slot machines and roulette tables, are not allowed. In addition, there’s generally a state moratorium on new card rooms in the state through January, 2020, but does allow for up to a 25% expansion in the number of gambling tables, hours of operation, etc., if approved by the City Council.

The funds spent by the committee have gone to pay $29,000 to Mosher/Whitehurst, a San Francisco-based campaign consulting firm, and Tulare, California-based Olson & Associates, another campaign consulting firm with a specialty in qualifying initiatives for the ballot. That company paid individuals who gathered over 9,000 signatures at grocery stores throughout Antioch.

Since enough signatures of registered Antioch voters were gathered, the initiative qualifies for the June Primary Election ballot. The City Council, at their Tuesday night regular meeting, will have the opportunity to either adopt the proposed ordinance, or let it go to the ballot. If the measure goes to the ballot, it will cost the city’s General Fund between $132,771 and $177,028, according to Antioch City Clerk Arne Simonsen. It has already cost the city over $3,000 in payment to the County Elections Department to verify the signatures.

To view the committee’s entire financial report, click here: Form 460 – Antioch Coalition Against Gambling Expansion 7-1 to 12-31-15

the attachments to this post:

Form 460 - Antioch Coalition Against Gambling Expansion 7-1 to 12-31-15
Form 460 – Antioch Coalition Against Gambling Expansion 7-1 to 12-31-15

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